Brother Thomas B. Marsh, formerly the President of the Quorum of the
Twelve Apostles, has now come to us, after an absence of nearly
nineteen years. He is on the stand today, and wishes to make a few
remarks to the congregation.
You will comprehend the purport of the remarks he wishes to make, by
my relating a part of his conversation with me yesterday. He came into
my office and wished to know whether I could be reconciled to him, and
whether there could be a reconciliation between himself and the Church
of the living God. He reflected for a moment and said, I am reconciled
to the Church, but I want to know whether the Church can be reconciled
He is here, and I want him to say what he may wish to. [Brother Marsh
then arose, and the President continued.] Brethren and sisters, I now
introduce to you brother Thomas B. Marsh. When the Quorum of the
Twelve was first organized, he was appointed to be their President.
REMARKS BY THOMAS B. MARSH.
I do not know that I can make all this vast congregation hear and
understand me. My voice never was very strong, but it has been very
much weakened of late years by the afflicting rod of Jehovah. He loved
me too much to let me go without whipping. I have seen the hand of the
Lord in the chastisement which I have received. I have seen and known
that it has proved he loved me; for if he had not cared anything about
me, he would not have taken me by the arm and given me such a shaking.
If there are any among this people who should ever apostatize and do
as I have done, prepare your backs for a good whipping, if you are
such as the Lord loves. But if you will take my advice, you will stand
by the authorities; but if you go away and the Lord loves you as much
as he did me, he will whip you back again.
Many have said to me, "How is it that a man like you, who understood
so much of the revelations of God as recorded in the Book of Doctrine
and Covenants, should fall away?" I told them not to feel too secure,
but to take heed lest they also should fall; for I had no scruples in
my mind as to the possibility of men falling away.
I can say, in reference to the Quorum of the Twelve, to which I
belonged, that I did not consider myself a whit behind any of them,
and I suppose that others had the same opinion; but, let no one feel
too secure: for, before you think of it, your steps will slide. You
will not then think nor feel for a moment as you did before you lost
the Spirit of Christ; for when men apostatize, they are left to grovel
in the dark.
I have sought diligently to know the Spirit of Christ since I turned
my face Zionward, and I believe I have obtained it. I have frequently
wanted to know how my apostasy began, and I have come to the
conclusion that I must have lost the Spirit of the Lord out of
The next question is, "How and when did you lose the Spirit?" I became
jealous of the Prophet, and then I saw double, and overlooked
everything that was right, and spent all my time in looking for the
evil; and then, when the Devil began to lead me, it was easy for the
carnal mind to rise up, which is anger, jealousy, and wrath. I could
feel it within me; I felt angry and wrathful; and the Spirit of the
Lord being gone, as the Scriptures say, I was blinded, and I thought I
saw a beam in brother Joseph's eye, but it was nothing but a mote, and
my own eye was filled with the beam; but I thought I saw a beam in
his, and I wanted to get it out; and, as brother Heber says, I got
mad, and I wanted everybody else to be mad. I talked with Brother
Brigham and Brother Heber, and I wanted them to be mad like myself;
and I saw they were not mad, and I got madder still because they were
not. Brother Brigham, with a cautious look, said, "Are you the leader
of the Church, brother Thomas?" I answered, "No." "Well
he, "Why do you not let that alone?"
Well, this is about the amount of my hypocrisy—I meddled with that
which was not my business. But let me tell you, my brethren and
friends, if you do not want to suffer in body and mind, as I have
done—if there are any of you that have the seeds of apostasy in you,
do not let them make their appearance, but nip that spirit in the bud;
for it is misery and affliction in this world, and destruction in the
world to come. I know that I was a very stiffnecked man, and I felt,
for the first four or five years especially, that I would never return
to the Church; but towards the latter part of the time, I began to
wake up and to be sensible that I was being chastised by the
Almighty; and I felt to realize the language of Jeremiah concerning
Ephraim in the last days, where he says, "Is Ephraim my dear son? is
he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly
remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will
surely have mercy on him, saith the Lord."
Thinks I, this language suits my condition. I then thought, I will go
back and see if the Lord will heal me, for I am of the seed of
Ephraim, and I felt troubled from that day, and my soul was vexed with
the filthy conversation of those Sodomites.
After forming this resolution, I tried to get an outfit, and I kept
trying for two or three years; for I did not want to come here sick,
lame, decrepid, and dependent; and therefore I kept on trying; but
instead of gaining, I was like the man that undertook to climb the
tree—I slipt down farther than I got up. I then thought to myself, I
am getting old, and every year makes me older and weaker; and if I do
not start, I shall soon die, and then whose fault will it be? I
concluded it would be my own fault if I stayed. I therefore said, "I
will go now." That was last January. I looked round a few days to see
what I could raise, and I raised five dollars and ten cents, and I
said. "Lord, if you will help me, I will go." I felt that he would:
therefore I started with but five dollars and ten cents, from Harrison
County, Missouri, to come all the way to this Valley. I knew that I
could not come here with that small sum, and I did not see how I was
to get any more; but before I got out of the State, the Lord had
changed my fortune, and I had $55.05. I then concluded within myself
that the Lord was with me; but still I had some hardships; for I
traveled on foot in some severely cold weather, and I found that my
chastisement was not over, notwithstanding the favor of the
Lord in helping me to some means. I remarked that I had fifty-five
dollars when I left the States, and that, too, obtained honestly,
without any speculation, trading, swapping, or stealing; but I earned
what I got, and left a good name behind me.
I have given you some items of my apostasy. I will now relate some of
my recent experience.
When I got to Florence, or Winter Quarters, where I had to stay,
waiting for an opportunity to cross the Plains, I read many of the
publications and works of the Church, and became strengthened and
informed in regard to the Priesthood of the Son of God. Although I
knew something about the Priesthood before, so far as the theory was
concerned, yet I discovered that I had never properly understood it;
and hence I feel that my faith is greatly strengthened. I wanted to
get posted up and see what the "Mormons" had learned since I left
them; and I learned very much by reading the discourses that had been
The doctrine of plurality was a great bugbear to me, till I got to
Florence and read the works of brother Orson Pratt; and now I see that
it is heaven's own doctrine, and the Church of Jesus Christ can never
be perfect without it. Had I known as much of the Church of Jesus
Christ and its doctrines before I apostatized as I now know, I think I
could not have backslidden.
I have come here to get good society—to get your fellowship. I want
your fellowship; I want your God to be my God, and I want to live with
you forever, in time and eternity. I never want to forsake the people
of God any more. I want to have your confidence, and I want to be one
in the house of God. I have learned to understand what David said when
he exclaimed, "I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God than
to dwell in the tents of wickedness." I have not come here to seek for
any office, except it be to be a doorkeeper or a deacon; no, I am
neither worthy nor fit; but I want a place among you as a humble
servant of the Lord.
I did say once, when coming along, inadvertently, They may think that
I am coming to get office, but if they offer it to me I will not have
it, and that will show them I do not want any; but I took a second
thought and said, I will say, The will of the Lord be done.
I have now got a better understanding of the Presidency of the Church
than I formerly had. I used to ask myself, What is the difference
between the President of our Church and a Pope? True, he is not called
a Pope, but names do not alter realities, and therefore he is a Pope.
God is at the head of this kingdom, and he has sustained it. I was
along in the start of it, and then Joseph was the little one; but, as
the Scriptures say, "The little one shall become a thousand, and the
small one a strong nation;" and Joseph lived to become a thousand, and
this people are fast becoming a strong nation.
I am just as confident as I can be in the truth of those things that
brother Heber has spoken of; for I see in my meditations how the
Priesthood has been restored, when the Lord had taken it from the
earth by the death of the Apostles, and how the authority to
administer in the name of Jesus Christ was also taken, and that, when
the authority went, miracles were taken away and the power of God
ceased to be manifested through men during the long period of the rule
of antichrist and anarchy.
I see the propriety of God's vesting the authority in one man, and in
having a head, or something tangible to see, hear, and understand the
mind and will of God. When I saw this, I said, It is consistent:
Christ is the great head of the Church. Christ is the head of
his Church in the same relationship as every head is to the body to
which it belongs; for every head must have eyes to see, a mouth to
speak, and ears to hear. Well, Jesus Christ is the head of the Church,
and he has got a man to represent him on the earth—viz., President
Brigham Young. Jesus Christ is still the head of the Church; and his
will to man on the earth is known by means of the mouthpiece of God,
the Prophet, and Seer.
When I came to these conclusions, I said, Now I will go there among
them; for I have found out how I may learn wisdom from God. I want to
learn wisdom, and not to be ruled by my own imaginations.
God has given me reasoning powers, and I will use them, so far as I am
capable, in the acquirement of knowledge. But how will I get wisdom
from God? The answer is plain. He speaks through his mouthpiece,
therefore I will go and place my ears close to his mouth—for I am not
good of hearing—and I will pray to God in secret; and to such he has
said he will answer them openly. I will pray for the thing that I
want; and the chief desire of my heart before God is, that I may know
that he accepts me.
Well, where shall I go, was the next question, to get a response to
this desire? The answer was, Go to the President of the Church—to the
mouthpiece of God, and then you can be taught, and there will be no
difficulty in learning the mind and will of God.
I thank God that he has brought me back here, where I can receive such
instructions, and with a prospect of seeing, notwithstanding my
advanced age, the glory of God. Many of you that are young will live,
as has been said, to see the glory of God manifested on the earth.
FURTHER REMARKS BY PRESIDENT BRIGHAM YOUNG
A portion of the congregation have heard what brother Marsh has said;
but he spoke so low that you could not all hear. He wants to know
whether this people are willing to receive him into full fellowship.
When he came to Florence, he applied to brother Cunningham, who was
then presiding there, for baptism. Brother Cunningham at first refused
to baptize him, probably thinking that it would be better for him to
wait till he came to this place; but he afterwards gave his consent to
brother Marsh's being baptized. Brother Marsh now wishes to be
received into full fellowship, and to be again baptized here.
There are many here who have formerly been acquainted with him—with
his moral character, and they can judge as well as myself. Those who
are not acquainted with him will be willing to coincide with the
judgment of those who once knew him.
I shall call a vote, to ascertain whether the people are willing that
he should be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, and be acknowledged a member in full fellowship. I wish those
who are willing to receive brother Marsh into full fellowship as a
member in this Church and kingdom to manifest it by the uplifted
hand. [All hands appeared to be raised.] If there are any who are not
willing, they now have the privilege of manifesting it by the uplifted
hand. [Not a hand was raised.]
Brother Marsh, I think that will be satisfactory to you.
[T. B. Marsh: "It is, and I thank God for it." ]
I presume that brother Marsh will take no offense if I talk a little
about him. We have manifested our feelings towards him, and we know
his situation. With regard to this Church's being reconciled to him, I
can say that this Church and people were never dissatisfied
with him; for when men and women apostatize and go from us, we have
nothing to do with them. If they do that which is evil, they will
suffer for it. Brother Marsh has suffered. He told me, yesterday, that
the Christians might hang up their fiddle in regard to there being no
Catholic Tophet or Purgatory.
You are aware that the children of the Mother Church have dissented
from the idea of there being such a place as Purgatory; but brother
Marsh says that there is such a place, and that he has been in it
during the past eighteen years and upwards. I asked him whether he did
not have to pray himself out. He answered, "Yes." I then remarked—If
you prayed yourself out, I suppose you saved the priests' fees. "Yes,"
he said; "It did not cost me a cent of money." However, it cost him a
great deal of labor, trouble, and pain.
In conversing with brother Marsh, I find that he is about the same
Thomas that he always was—full of anecdotes and chit-chat. He could
hardly converse for ten minutes without telling an anecdote. His voice
and style of conversation are familiar to me.
He has told you that he is an old man. Do you think that I am an old
man? I could prove to this congregation that I am young; for I could
find more girls who would choose me for a husband than can any of the
Brother Thomas considers himself very aged and infirm, and you can see
that he is, brethren and sisters. What is the cause of it? He left the
Gospel of salvation. What do you think the difference is between his
age and mine? One year and seven months to a day; and he is one year,
seven months, and fourteen days older than brother Heber C. Kimball.
"Mormonism" keeps men and women young and handsome; and when
full of the Spirit of God, there are none of them but what will have a
glow upon their countenances; and that is what makes you and me young;
for the Spirit of God is with us and within us.
When brother Thomas thought of returning to the Church, the plurality
of wives troubled him a good deal. Look at him. Do you think it need
to? I do not; for I doubt whether he could get one wife. Why it should
have troubled an infirm old man like him is not for me to say. He read
brother Orson Pratt's work upon that subject, and discovered that the
doctrine was beautiful, consistent, and exalting, and that the kingdom
could not be perfect without it. Neither can it be perfect without a
great many things that the people do not yet understand, though they
will come in the own due time of the Lord.
As I have but a few minutes for speaking, I will relate a little of
the current news of the day.
On Friday evening, the 11th inst., two of the brethren who accompanied
brothers Samuel W. Richards and George Snider from Deer Creek to 118
miles below Laramie, came in, and reported that soldiers and a heavy
freight train were there encamped opposite to them and on the south
side of the Platte. They could tell that they were soldiers, from the
appearance of their carriages, wagons, tents, and mode of encampment.
We did not learn anything very definite from these two brethren lately
Messrs. Russel and Waddle are freighting for Government, and some of
their trains were scattered along to the Sweetwater. They have
twenty-six wagons in each train, with a teamster and six yoke of oxen
to a wagon. Some of those trains were on the Sweetwater when brother
Samuel passed down, and quite a number of them are in advance of the
soldiers. The brethren learned that Captain Van Vliet,
Assistant Quartermaster, was coming on to purchase lumber and such
things as might be needed for the army.
Last evening, brother John R. Murdock arrived direct from St. Louis.
He left here with the mail on the 2nd day of July, and reached
Independence in sixteen days, making by far the shortest trip on
record, and in eighteen days-and-a-half from here landed in St. Louis.
He tarried there till brother Horace S. Eldredge and brother Groesbeck
had transacted some business, and then started up the river with a
small train. On the 9th of August, brother Murdock left Atchison, K.T.
Troubles were daily expected to break out in Kansas between the
Republican, or Free State, and the pro-slavery parties; for which
reason General Harney, with the cavalry, a portion of the infantry,
and, I think, one or two companies of the Artillery, were detained
there by orders from Washington, and Colonel Johnson ordered to assume
the command of the army for Utah.
Some fifteen or sixteen hundred infantry started from Leavenworth; and
when brother Murdock passed them, one hundred miles below Laramie,
about five hundred had deserted, leaving, as he was told, about one
thousand men on their way to this place. He passed a few freight
trains, which were entirely deserted by the teamsters, and Russel and
Waddle were not able to hire teamsters to bring those trains forward.
Brother Murdock did not think that they could get here this fall,
unless we helped them in. Their teams are pretty good, but they are
very much jaded. Their mule teams are in better condition, because
they regularly feed them on grain.
From the time that I heard that the President of the United States had
issued orders for soldiers to come here, they have had my best faith
that the Lord would not let them get here. I have seen this people,
when palsied with agues, fevers, and with various other diseases,
hurled out of doors, driven away from their cellars full of potatoes,
from their meal chests, from their cows, houses, barns, orchards,
fields, and finally from their happy homes and all the comforts of
life. I have seen that a good many times, and I pray that I may never
see it again, unless it is absolutely necessary for the welfare and
advancement of God's purposes on the earth. I want to see no more
suffering. I will not use the word suffering, for I call it joy
instead of sorrow, affliction, and suffering. If we live our religion
and exercise faith, it is our firm belief that it is our right to so
exercise our united faith that our enemies never can come here, unless
the Lord in his providence sees that it will be for our good.
It is my faith and feelings that, if we live as we should live, they
cannot come here; but I am decided in my opinion that, if worse comes
to worst, and the Lord permits them to come upon us, I will desolate
this whole Territory before I will again submit to the hellish
corruption and bondage the wicked are striving to thrust upon us
solely for our exercising our right of freedom of conscience.
I will say, in reference to President Buchanan, that, for his
outrageous wickedness in this movement, he shall wear the yoke as long
as he lives; he shall be led about by his party with the yoke on his
neck, until they have accomplished their ends, and he can do no more
for them; and his name shall be forgotten; and "Old Bright," as
brother Kimball calls him, shall be free. I am persuaded that for
their horrible, wicked treatment to this people—the only loyal people
in the United States—the only people who know the worth of the
Constitution—they will be sorely punished.
After doing what they already have done to this people—after
sending among us the filth and scum of all creation (as some of the
officers were) as officers of the Government, contrary to the genius
of our institutions, I want to tell them that, though they continue to
send poor pusillanimous curses here to be Government officers, we will
not submit to it, troops or no troops. I shall tell them this in
plainness and simplicity; and they shall find that in my simplicity I
will try to sustain so righteous a position. And I believe that the
point is yielded, both in Europe and America; and I believe they
acknowledge that Brigham is a man of his word; and I have come to the
conclusion that we will not again have officers thrust upon us
contrary to our consent, the Lord helping us.
When brother Murdock left St. Louis, Mr. Cummings, the person who had
received the appointment of Governor of Utah, was going to Washington,
and he could not learn that there was one of the Territorial officers
with the soldiers: hence I do not see but that I shall have to again
preside over our Legislative Assembly this winter. I do not see that
it can be otherwise; and William H. Hooper will be Secretary, just as
he was last winter. They have refused to pay the expenses of the last
Assembly and other just debts due to this Territory; but God will
overrule those things for our good and the advancement of his kingdom,
if we live our religion.
Our enemies will yet be glad to come to us for safety and salvation;
and we will do as brother Kimball has said—we will save the old
veteran fathers; and the time will come when we will be baptized for
them, while those who trample upon the rights of their fellow men will
be weltering in hell. Yes, we will bring up those old revolutionary
sires and save them; for God loves men who are true to each other and
are true to him.
If any want to apostatize, I want them to look at brother Marsh. I
wish you could all see and understand what he has suffered. He has
suffered a little; and I could tell you a good deal of the suffering
induced by the weaknesses of men.
When the Quorum of the Twelve was first chosen, Lyman Johnson's name
was called first, Brigham Young's second, Heber C. Kimball's third,
and so on. I had seen brother Marsh and others who were nominated for
the Quorum of the Twelve, and I looked upon them as men of great
powers of mind—as men of ability—men who understood the things of
heaven. I looked upon them as angels, and I looked up to them just as
my children look up to me.
I considered brother Marsh a great man; but as soon as I became
acquainted with him, I saw that the weakness of the flesh was visibly
manifest in him. I saw that he was ignorant and shattered in his
understanding, if ever he had good understanding. He manifests the
same weakness today. Has he the stability of a sound mind? No, and
never had. And if he had good sense and judgment, he would not have
spoken as he has. He has just said, "I will be faithful, and I will be
true to you." He has not wisdom enough to see that he has betrayed us
once, and don't know but what he will again. He has told me that he
would be faithful, and that he would do this and the other; but he
don't know what he will do next week or next year.
I do not know what I shall do next year; I always speak for the
present. But a man that will be once fooled by the Devil—a man that
has not sense to discern between steel grey mixed and iron grey mixed,
when one is dyed with logwood and the other with indigo, may be
deceived again. You never heard me say that I was going to be
true to my God; for I know too much of human weakness: but I pray God
to preserve me from falling away—to preserve me in the truth. I depend
not upon myself; for I know too much of human weakness and of myself,
to indulge in such remarks.
I derive strength from a superior source. I have been drinking from
that source for many years; and, as I told you last Sabbath, I have
been trying to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. And, if we are faithful,
we will all be counted worthy to be his disciples. God bless you!