Once more I have the opportunity of beholding the faces of the
Latter-day Saints here in the valleys of the mountains.
I begin to be almost weary in trying to carry salvation to the wicked
nations of the Gentiles; and because of the many years that I have
spent on missions, I find myself almost a stranger in the midst of the
Saints at home. There are now but very few that I can recognize. There
are many that have known me for upwards of a quarter-of-a-century that
I have forgotten.
I have felt, since I started for home this last time, that I should,
perhaps, be permitted to tarry with you longer than I have had the
privilege of doing at any former period of my life.
If anyone should ask me where my home has been for the last
quarter-of-a-century, I should answer—Among the nations; for that has
been my principal abiding place ever since the year 1830.
When I received a letter from the President, releasing me from
the Office at Liverpool, and also releasing all the missionaries in
that country, without specifying in the letter what time I should
return, I immediately felt a great desire to return this winter; and
by this means I believe I have saved to myself some six or seven
months time that I can dwell here in the midst of the Saints; and at
this peculiar period I feel that it will be a great blessing to me to
be with you—that if you have to share toils and tribulations in
having your enemies upon your borders, I may share them with you; and
that if you have peculiar blessings bestowed upon your heads, that I
also may be made a partaker of them.
Should my brethren say to me, "Brother Orson, we wish you to take a
mission, now, to China, or to the East Indies, or to any other part of
this globe, and tarry there twenty-seven years before you return to
your home," I would go. Yes, I would gladly go, and feel that it was
my duty, and that I was pleasing God in obeying the counsel of his
The Lord sent forth this message some twenty-eight years ago; and,
during this period, the servants of the Lord have been sent out
especially to the Gentile nations, that their times might be
fulfilled, and to give them an opportunity of receiving the truth.
Those servants have gone forth, though in their weakness; and, with
very few exceptions, they have been very faithful in their duties.
They have fulfilled that parable that is recorded in the Book of
Mormon, where the laborers are said to have gone forth and labored
with their might, and the Lord of the vineyard labored with them; and
it predicts that they should be faithful in keeping the commandments
of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.
We must, therefore, draw this one conclusion—that the testimony that
has been borne to the Gentile nations is sufficient, so far as our
weak judgment can comprehend, to condemn them all, if they never hear
another sound from the voices of the servants of God while they exist
in the flesh. Why is it enough? Has every individual among the nations
of the Gentiles been preached to? I will tell you what has been done.
Thousands and tens of thousands of large congregations have been
preached to in the United States and in Great Britain. Thousands and
thousands of the servants of God have lifted up their voices, day
after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year,
and warned the nations; and the Lord told us, more than twenty years
ago, that he had sent forth his servants to warn the people, and it
became those who had been warned to warn their neighbors. The Lord,
more than twenty years ago, said to his servants, "Your garments are
clean from the blood of this generation."
Where is there a Gentile nation upon this earth, if they were to be
destroyed this very day, that could come up before the Lord of Hosts
and plead any excuse before him for not knowing concerning the
latter-day message which has been sent forth? According to my feelings
upon this subject, I believe that they have been fully warned,
beginning with the nation of the United States that inhabit this
promised land. They have also been thoroughly warned in Great
Britain. The nations of Europe have been offered the message; but they
would not receive it. It seems to me, according to my judgment, and
according to the vast amount of testimony that has been sounded in
their ears, that they are delivered over, not as individuals, but as
nations, to the hardness of their own hearts, to fight against the
work of God.
The Lord says, in the preface of the Book of Covenants,
"Search these commandments; for every jot and every tittle shall be
fulfilled, and not one word shall fail." The inhabitants of the earth
were commanded to search those commandments; and you will find in that
preface that the Lord told the inhabitants of the earth that his
servants, the weak things of the earth that he was then sending forth,
had power to seal both on earth and in heaven the unbelieving—yea,
verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be
poured out upon the wicked without measure.
Now, the Lord moves upon the hearts of our First Presidency to say to
the Elders of Israel abroad, "It is enough: come home. Your testimony
is sufficient. The wicked reject it; they fight against it: therefore
you may now return to these mountains and valleys. Return from the
nations of Europe, return from the nations of Africa, return from
Great Britain, from the United States, and from the Canadas, and come
home to these mountains."
In sending forth a message of this kind to the Elders, what does it
show? Why, it closes for the present the testimony of the servants of
God, and shows that the warning is sufficient, and that both earth and
heaven bear witness that the Gentiles are left without excuse.
Apparently, all the devils that brother Kimball and the other brethren
saw in vision on their first mission to England seem now to have
entered into the tabernacles of the people; and you can see them gnash
their teeth at the Saints, just as they were seen by brother Kimball;
for the Devil influences them and makes them instruments to fight
against the people of God.
Read the vision of Nephi, where the Lord showed him the sending forth
of this message to the nations—"And it came to pass that I looked and
beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and
she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds,
tongues, and people. And it came to pass that I beheld the church of
the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness
and the abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters;
nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the
saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their
dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the
wickedness of the great whore whom I saw. And it came to pass that I
beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together in
multitudes upon all the face of the earth, among all the nations of
the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God. And it came to pass
that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended
upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant
people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth;
and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in
great glory." [Book of Mormon, 1st Book of Nephi, chap. iii., 47-50.
What is it that is going to increase righteousness and the power of
God upon the Saints that are scattered abroad upon the face of the
earth? It is the increase of righteousness here at headquarters; and
as branches of the great vine of the same Church, they will feel the
influence of the same Spirit, even before the intelligence can reach
them by letter. When you reform and turn away from your sins—when you
practice righteousness here, the Saints of God abroad feel stirred up
to do the same things, and the Spirit of the Lord rests upon them the
same as it does upon the people here, only not to the same extent,
because you live at head quarters, at the fountainhead, and
you have a greater experience; therefore, your experience,
righteousness, and faithfulness, entitle you to more choice gifts than
those that have not the same experience.
The power of God will rest upon the Saints of these valleys first, and
then upon the Saints in all the world, just in proportion to their
righteousness. The Lord is going to increase power here among the
people. Have we any dangerous circumstances to pass through that
render it necessary that more power should be made manifest? Have we
got to bear testimony to kings and to the rulers of the earth at the
present time? No, we are not called to do this; but those who are in
the nations abroad may have this to do.
What, then, is needful to be done? We have got a different work to do
than what we have had for the last quarter-of-a-century.
You recollect that the Lord has said he would try and prove us in one
scale, and then he would try us in another, and see if we would be
faithful in carrying out the principles of salvation.
When we were thus tried, we went forth and whipped out the religious
world spiritually. Their priests, their lawyers, their doctors, their
great men, their discussionists, and their wise men have all been
whipped and backed out—so much so that they have confessed that they
could not stand before the powerful reasoning of the servants of God
and the power which accompanied the great latter-day message. But now
we have to be tried in another point. We have whipped them out so far
as their doctrines are concerned, and they have now come up to try
physical force upon us.
I do not know that the Lord would have sent us down there to drive
them, if they had not first come against us. But they have come up
with sword in hand, with the best engines and imple ments of war, with
their best disciplined armies, their scientific officers, with men
that profess to have skill in all the arts of warfare and ability to
whip out the few Saints here in the mountains.
Do you think that that God who has enabled his Saints to fight moral
and spiritual battles, to array argument against argument and
principle against principle in all the contests which they have been
called to have, and who has brought them off victorious—do you think
he will not defend them at this time also? If he has supported us in
all these things, do you suppose that he is going to allow us to be
overcome by those who have persecuted his servants, and to let our
necks be trampled down under their feet? If I have any understanding
of ancient and modern prophecy and of the spirit that is in me, the
Lord intends to perform his part of the work for the deliverance of
I must say to the Latter-day Saints throughout this Territory, that
the same God who has strengthened them to overcome their enemies
spiritually will be their defense, and his power and strength and his
arm will be stretched out for their deliverance. When you go to meet
your enemies, they shall be prostrated before you, and you shall
overcome them. And as you have overcome their priests by the strong
force of argument, so shall you literally and physically put your
enemies to flight, and one shall chase a thousand, and two shall put
ten thousand to flight; and this you will do by the power and strength
of that God who fought for Israel in ancient days.
Have we any ancient prophecy upon this subject? Yes, we have; and let
us bring it up; for we now live about the time that the mother of
abominations was to gather together and fight against the Saints.
In the last chapter of the 1st Book of Nephi, paragraph 3, the
Prophet says—"And all that fight against Zion shall be destroyed, and
that great whore, who hath perverted the right ways of the Lord, yea,
that great and abominable church, shall tumble to the dust and great
shall be the fall of it. For behold, saith the prophet, the time
cometh speedily that Satan shall have no more power over the hearts
of the children of men; for the day soon cometh that all the proud and
they who do wickedly shall be as stubble; and the day cometh that they
must be burned. For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath
of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will
not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous. Wherefore, he
will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the
fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even
unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous
need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even
if it so be as by fire."
Nephi looked upon these things and saw the condition that the people
would be in, and therefore he said, "You need not fear." Do you hear
it, Latter-day Saints? You need not fear, for the Lord will preserve
his people, even if it must needs be that he sends fire down from
heaven to destroy the wicked and those that preach false doctrines to
the children of men, even the whore of all the earth; for they must
tremble and fall and crumble to dust.
I feel as strong, and I do not know but stronger, in regard to the
work that is now before the Saints, than I ever have done in bearing
testimony to the truth of the Gospel. I have always felt that God
would give me wisdom, argument, and testimony to confound gainsayers
and opposers of the truth; and thus God has enabled me to do. I have
the same feeling today—not that we have the strength to do it
ourselves; but I know that God will strengthen us for the work we have
Though the Lord may suffer our enemies to come and invade our borders,
and though we have been driven and trampled upon, and though we have
laid down our necks for them to tread upon, he has now got us here,
where he will show forth his power.
He has let us rest in these peaceful valleys in safety and in
quietness for some ten years, and now he seems to say to the wicked,
"Inasmuch as you will not give heed to the testimony of my servants,
and you are determined to invade their borders, go up and try it, and
I will show you that I will gird on my strength and arm my servants,
and they shall defend my cause."
It will be just as the Lord said in December, 1830—"I will call the
weak of the earth, and I will gird up their loins; and they shall
fight manfully for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet."
He also says, "I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens
also; and the inhabitants of the earth shall know that you are my
people, because of the power and the strength that shall be manifest
in defending yourselves against your enemies." This is what the Lord
intends to do.
It needed the United States as a nation or as a government to unjustly
come up against us, in order to bring about these things. How many
scores and hundreds sit in this congregation that have never been in
one solitary mob? Have you been tried with persecution and mobbing and
death? Have you been tried at the mouth of the cannon or at the point
of the bayonet? No—many of you have not; hence a trial is needful. Can
you expect the power of God without a trial of your faith? It
is expedient that you have a trial of your faith. It would be one of
the easiest things in the world for the Almighty to send fire and
brimstone upon the earth and destroy our enemies, or to swallow them
up by an earthquake as he did in days of Israel.
In those days the Lord enabled Israel to overcome the Hittites, the
Hivites, the Jebusites, &c. How easy it would have been for the Lord
to have destroyed them by earthquake, or by fire, or by something of
this kind! But he did not do it—and why? Because he wanted to do
several things at the same time: he wanted to destroy the wicked, and
to see if his servants would flinch in the hour of danger. The Lord is
going to defend this people, but not without their agency. He is not
going to let us sit upon our easy chairs and not expose ourselves. If
we were to do this, we should not be worthy of the kingdom of God. He
offers us the kingdom, and says it is ours, upon certain conditions.
What else does he say? "My Church shall be free and independent of all
creatures beneath the celestial world." Have we been free from the
United States? No, we have not; but we are to be made free from every
government upon the face of the earth; and wherever there is any
dominion that is beneath that of the celestial world, we are to be
free from it.
Now, suppose the Lord had offered us all these things, and we should
sit down and not move a finger for the blessings he had given, should
we be worthy of them? No, not at all. We should be in this condition,
if we were suffered to take possession of these blessings without any
If we are dilatory, we shall have to suffer as in days gone by, and
our enemies will come in here and bring in their whoredoms and
abominations that they have been accustomed to from their youth up.
This will be the case, if we do not save ourselves by our diligence
and obedience. But if we show to God that we are willing to stand up
in behalf of his kingdom and of the truth, even unto death, then,
notwithstanding our enemies may be two hundred to our one, we shall
feel strong in the Lord, and he will fight our battles. Then we shall
accomplish that which has been promised by the Prophets; and not only
the United States will have to suffer, but as the Prophet Isaiah
says—"The multitude of all the nations that fight against Zion shall
become like the dream of a night vision, as when a man who is hungry
dreameth that he is satisfied with food, and he awaketh and behold he
is faint." So will be all nations who fight against this people: they
will pass away before the power of the servants of God. His servants
will be clothed with wisdom and with the power of the Most High to
prevail against all their enemies.
We would let the poor curses alone, if they would stay at home and
mind their own business. The American continent never was designed for
such a corrupt Government as the United States' to flourish or prosper
long upon it. After they should become ripened in iniquity, it was not
intended they should continue. The Lord has designed another thing,
and for this reason we are here in these mountains: the little stone
has been rolling uphill.
If our enemies keep coming up here, after the Lord has shown his power
and enabled his servants to cope with them, if they still continue to
fight against Zion, the Saints of God will roll down upon their
borders and take them upon their own lands. But before that day comes,
we have to show our wisdom by skirmishes and in various conditions in
which we shall be placed; and we have got to show the nations
that God intends to do something here in the mountains.
When he has done this, we shall then roll down to the borders of
Missouri and take possession of our inheritances, from which we have
been illegally and unconstitutionally driven.
Brother Kimball says we could not roll down until we rolled up. But we
have been rolling uphill for the past ten years, in fulfillment of the
prediction of Isaiah, which says—"O Zion, that bringest glad tidings,
get thee up into the high mountain;" and having rolled up for ten
years, we shall soon begin to roll down. But I do not think it will
take ten years to roll downhill; for we shall be propelled by the
power of God, and the work will be hastened.
The power of God will be with us, and the Lord God will redeem Zion,
as he redeemed Israel in Egypt; and not only his angels, but his
presence will go before us, and the nations of the earth shall fear
because of the power of God which shall accompany us.
Then will be the time that the Gentiles can be preached to by the
Elders with some sense; or rather, they will be preached to by Israel
that is scattered amongst them. Then, brethren, you can go and preach
to them, and say the power of God is with you, and say to the people,
Look yonder, and behold the children of Zion delivered by the power of
God; and then you will be respected. Then you can go to the palaces of
the great and preach to the king upon his throne, to the great men, to
the nobles, and rich men of the earth; and many will fear, and receive
your testimony, and flow to Zion, bringing their riches with them. But
now you could not go into their fine palaces, nor find access to their
rich and splendid mansions. You could not get them to hear you for one
moment. No: they would degrade you, if possible, to the lowest hell.
There is not a people upon the face of the earth that were ever
degraded like the Latter-day Saints. They look upon you worse than
they do upon any set of pirates that travel the open seas—that is, if
they believe their own words; for they circulate these things in their
lectures and in their periodicals; and there is no use to try to
preach to them, but let the Lord work with them and with this people.
Let the Lord purify his kingdom, and let the most bitter branches be
pruned off—not by some means entirely independent of the Saints; but
let the people go to work and trim off such bitter branches as
Missouri and Illinois, because of their wickedness and mobocracy; and
then the nations will begin to see that there is power there. Yes,
trim them up, in order that the natural branches that bear fruit may
bear more fruit—that Zion, in other words, may increase her tents and
stretch forth her curtains, even the curtains of her habitations, and
make not only the desolate cities of Zion, but the desolate cities of
the Gentiles to resound with songs of praise to Him that sitteth upon
the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever. This is what the Prophet
says about it—"And their desolate cities shall be built up and be
inhabited by the Saints of the Most High." God will bring about this
work; and as to our being overcome in these valleys of the mountains,
it will not be, if this people do as they are told—if they are willing
to do right in all things.
If this people will hearken to the law of God, and in everything be
humble and meek, and keep his commandments by day and by night, from
one year's end to another, we shall be, as it is said in the parable
of the vineyard, as one body—as the roots and tops of the
great tree which the Lord God has planted and made equal, so that the
top will not jostle over because there is not sufficient strength in
I want to see this people of one heart and of one mind; and when the
word comes forth, I want to have them as well-disciplined as the
Gentiles, and ten thousand times better.
This is the people who have the right to be of one heart and of one
mind for the defense of Zion, for the defense of their wives and
children, for the defense of their vineyards, and their flocks and
herds, but more especially for the defense of the kingdom of the Most
Let this be the main object of this people. You know that it is the
kingdom of God or nothing! Therefore may righteousness be our object
from this time forth and forever. Amen.