I have listened during the progress of this Conference with very great
satisfaction. Everyone that speaks bears testimony to us that our God
has not forsaken us, and that the prayers of this people are still
acceptable before him, and, notwithstanding our weaknesses and our
sins, that we are a blessed and a happy people, and that our God is
near at hand to multiply his blessings upon us.
I have rejoiced in listening to my brethren who have recently returned
from their missions. I feel that I am one of them, and I thank my
heavenly Father for that good Spirit which has so bountifully attended
their labors and returned with them.
I do not believe that it has ever fallen to my lot, since we have been
a people, to hear, at any one time, so large a number of our returned
missionaries stand forth before the people to give in their testimony
and speak of the dealings of God with them, as we have heard during
this Conference. They universally bear the same testimony, rejoicing
in their labors, manifest the goodness of our God upon them and upon
the people where they have labored; and it is evidence to my mind of
the increased favor of God upon this people, and that it is the
faithful prayers of this people that sustain our sons and our brethren
who are sent forth by the voice of this people as their
representatives to preach the Gospel to the nations.
It appears that there is no one who lifts up his voice to speak in the
midst of this people but is constrained to speak good for Israel.
There seems to be no doubt upon the minds of the people—no forebodings
of distress in the hearts of the Elders of Israel. What there may be
lying in our path—I was going to say, we neither know nor care; but we
do know that the straightforward path is strewed with blessings,
glory, honor, exaltation, and eternal lives. Let us not, therefore,
turn either to the right or the left from the path our God has marked
out, whatever there may be of trial alongside of the path.
I feel firmly convinced of this, whatever may be by some accounted
trials, that when we reach them, if the light of the Lord is in us, we
shall pass them without stopping to consider whether they are trials;
and we shall look back upon them and count it all joy. To us it will
be glory, honor, and exaltation, and steppingstones to that which we
are seeking for—the very means, in the hands of God, of
preparing us to receive all that he has in store for us.
Is it not enough for us to know that our Father in Heaven will suffer
nothing to come upon us, only that which is to prepare us to receive
the good he has in store for us? Ask this people, Are the soldiers
coming in here? Are we going to have a fight this fall? Are they
coming in on our Emigration Road, or going round by Fort Hall? What
will the United States do? Will they raise 50,000 volunteers next
spring? Shall we burn up what we have got and take it Indian fashion?
What is to be the result of all these things?
Ask anybody to tell you; and who is there that will describe the
course God will mark out before this people and the course our enemies
will take towards us, or the precise details of the program that is
before us. Who is there that can tell us?
Ask this or that Elder if he has any revelation on the subject, or
appeal to the congregation of the Saints; and who is there that can
answer it? I confess I cannot answer it, nor have I ever heard it
answered by anybody else in detail; and I conclude the Lord will take
his own course; and doubtless he will show us the program as fast as
we are prepared to act it, and that will be fast enough.
The Lord hath shown us both ends of the drama. As to the particular
scenery of the different parts of the drama, it will be made manifest
from time to time. When the curtain is raised, we shall see it, if we
are on hand to play our part. I am fully persuaded we have a good
manager, and he is our God: it is he that is moving upon the
checkerboard of nations, and he understands the game and will make the
Go back and take a retrospective view of this people and the dealings
of God with us from the time of the organization of this Church, the
persecutions through which this people have passed in Ohio, Missouri,
Illinois, and the various places where we have been located; and when
has the Lord beforehand made known all the particulars of the scenery
through which we were destined to pass? He has always given us general
items and sufficient to encourage every faithful man to do his duty
and trust in him for the result. But if all the details were made
known unto us—if we could see every minutia portrayed, would there be
a chance for the exercise of our faith in the same degree as now?
Would there be a chance for the faith of this people to be shown in
the same degree?
For my own part, I feel perfectly satisfied to leave it in the hands
of our God, where it is, and where it should be, to make manifest unto
us just as much from time to time as he sees is necessary to bear up
and sustain this people.
It is through faith that the Lord performs his wonders among his
people; and in enduring that trial of their faith he gives a blessing;
and often the Lord shapes trials in a manner different from our
expectations. We, in our limited capacity, may mark out in our minds a
program; and when he moves upon the checkerboard, he does not move
the men we have in our minds, but he shapes and moves in another way;
and we should be satisfied with the result. He will get the game, and
in the end will move into the king row and be able to move both ways,
I feel first-rate. All is right with the Lord; all is right with his
kingdom, and with everybody that is right. And may the Lord help us to
keep his commandments forever! Amen.