I rise before the congregation to make a few remarks, by request of my
brethren and by the call of the Spirit of my heavenly Father which I
feel within me.
I do not expect to say much, nor to detain you long; but I want to say
a few words, for I feel that my spirit is full of testimony this
morning; and I tell you what it is, or rather some of it. I know that
Jesus lives and dwells at the right hand of his Father, and that he
intercedes for the Saints. I also know that Joseph Smith lives; and I
can testify that I have felt a measure of the spirit of Joseph
influencing the minds of the brethren during this Conference, and
that, too, to a greater extent than I ever did in my life.
I feel a testimony within me that I have in a great measure been
asleep; but through the mercy of God I have woke up, and I feel that
the Lord has been merciful unto me and unto this people; and he verily
has met us and called to us when we were afar off; and I am thankful
for this: I rejoice in his mercy, his long-suffering, and his
I can tell you, my brethren and sisters, fathers and mothers in
Israel, and all you that feel that you have got an uncomfortable yoke
upon you—it is simply because it is not the yoke of Christ; for
Jesus said, when he was here, that his yoke was easy and his burden
light. I know by experience that when I have the yoke of Christ upon
me, it is light; and what else do I know? I know that there are
persons who complain that the Gospel yoke chafes them; and I want you
to understand that such persons have not got on the right kind of
yoke. [President B. Young: "That is verily true, sir." ] Now, you that
have on such a yoke had better pull out the bow-keys, throw off the
yoke, and then put one on that won't chafe you; for I tell you, as the
Lord God Almighty lives, it is now or never with the Latter-day
The Lord has been merciful unto us, and has called to us by the mouth
of his servants and his Prophets that are here, and has given us an
opportunity to renew our covenants and again receive the blessings
which it is our right and privilege to enjoy.
Supposing the Lord should take away these Prophets and Apostles from
amongst us, I want to know how many of this people there are who would
ever find their way to heaven? There is not a man or woman that would
ever do it. They would slumber, and sleep, and be lost in the darkness
and confusion that envelope the world.
We have revelation upon revelation, precept upon precept, and shall I
say, here a little and there a little? No. But I will say that we
have handed out to us here a good deal and there a good deal.
Here is the fountain of life; and I feel that it is the duty of all to
improve upon that which they receive; for this is the day of
salvation, and "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a
salvation?" I believe there will be no way of escape for those who are
slothful and indifferent.
The other day, when brother Kimball was prophesying relative to the
wheat, and also about the granaries, and endeavoring to show you the
necessity of preparing for a time of scarcity, the good Spirit
whispered to me and said, "What brother Kimball has stated is just as
true as Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dream;" and I verily
believe it, and you may depend upon it, brethren and sisters, that all
those things will come to pass as they have been predicted.
Do you know that we have the Prophets of God among us? There are
people here, who profess to be Saints, who know but very little in
relation to the Gospel which they have embraced; but I tell you that
we are not only blest with a Prophet, but we have Prophets in our
midst. I know that brother Brigham is a Prophet of God, and that he
wears the mantle of Joseph; and I can tell you also that brother
Kimball is a Prophet, and these men are filled with the Spirit of the
Do you not think that I am glad? Yes, I am, and my soul rejoices in
the Holy One of Israel, and I feel more happy and a great deal better
than I ever have done in all the days of my life; and I am sensible I
know more of the principles of the kingdom of God; and I trust I shall
learn enough to steer clear of the wickedness of men, and in the own
due time of the Lord make my escape from this ungodly world.
I realized, while brother Wells was speaking, that the whole world was
and is Babylon; and I realize that everything outside of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one vast Babylon, full of
confusion, wickedness, corruption, and abominations of the deepest
dye. Brother Wells also showed you that the great men in the United
States are not agreed in any one question that comes before them. He
also showed that this had been the condition of the world for ages.
I have found, however, that they were perfectly agreed in one thing,
and that was to destroy the Babe of Bethlehem—the Church of Christ;
and they are just so yet: they are determined to oppose the truth and
take the lives of the Prophets of God, and their cup of iniquity is
almost full. The dragon has poured out his mighty flood after this
Church, and has tried his best to sweep the Saints of God from the
earth. But we still live, and we intend to live eternally, despite the
Devil and all his emissaries.
What does Daniel say, speaking of these days—the days in which you and
I live? He says, "The kingdom shall never be taken away nor given to
another people." What have the Prophets of God been teaching us for
years? They have told us, time after time, that if they had fifty
Saints of the right stripe, they would rather have them than to have
hundreds and thousands of those who are fearful, half-hearted, and
We live in the dispensation of the fulness of times; and all other
dispensations, as the Prophet of God has said, were only preludes to
this great and last dispensation; for in this day there will be the
greatest work performed, the greatest miracles wrought, and more of
the power of God displayed, and also more of the power of Satan, than
have ever been witnessed since the world began.
I teach the people that Joseph Smith was greater than any
other Prophet that ever lived, except Jesus Christ. [President B.
Young: "That is true. How can it be otherwise?" ] It can't; and I tell
you that he is just as active today as ever he was, and he can do
more for this people and for the cause of Zion than he could when
In the days of Israel of old, and in all former dispensations, there
have been many Prophets; but Joseph Smith stands at the head of this,
which is a dispensation of all dispensations: it will comprehend and
complete the unfinished work of all former days.
I thank my heavenly Father that I live to behold this day. While
sitting here, I have thought of the first Conference that was ever
held in this valley. It was nine years ago last October. I reached the
valley during the sitting of Conference, and some of the brethren
said, "The Conference is sitting; won't you go?" So I walked down to
where they were holding Conference, and I found them by the side of a
haystack. There was Father John Smith and a little handful of men that
might have been covered with a small tent, and they were holding the
Semi-Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
When I contrast the present Conference with the one of which I have
spoken, I feel to thank God, and my soul magnifies his name for his
goodness in gathering his people who were then scattered by their
enemies. Some were upon the Plains, a great many at Winter Quarters,
some hundreds had perished by the sufferings there endured, and few
had found their way to this peaceful valley, where I can now behold
12,000 persons assembled at a Conference meeting. This does my soul
good, and I feel that we have all great cause to be thankful for the
great and marvelous blessings conferred upon us.
Brethren and sisters, let us rejoice in our deliverance from the hands
of our enemies; let us rejoice in our happy condition and in our
prosperous circumstances. Let us rejoice, for the kingdom is
established and never will be given to any other people.
There is one thing more which I want you to understand, and that is,
that God is not dependent upon any one man or woman for the carrying
on and accomplishment of his work. If you have not a mind to work for
the Lord, let it alone; for he can do just as well without you as with
I know there are men under the sound of my voice who are bound by the
chains of the Devil, and they are and will be controlled by them, and
you cannot liberate them; and what is the matter? They are not of the
right blood, and there is nothing right for them: they are controlled
by a contrary spirit; they are opposed to everything and to everybody
but themselves. I have reflected much upon this subject, and I have
been led to conclude that if we could just let into their veins one
drop of "Mormonism," it could not be got away from them—I mean when
the Gospel is first presented to men and women.
If the right spirit and the good seed be sown on good ground, it will
bring forth good fruit. Persons who have the truth implanted in their
hearts, if they are honest, will grow in the knowledge of God until
they obtain a fulness.
We read in the Scriptures of a certain class of men who never come to
the knowledge of the truth, and still they are said to be ever
learning. I will tell you the reason why they never come to the
knowledge of the truth: it is because they never loved the truth, and
consequently they went the wrong way to work. There have been such men
in every age, and there are just such now, and I expect there ever will be until the last and final separation.
All kinds and characters seem to be needed now, and the great net
catches all kinds that come to hand, and the fishermen have got to
separate them; and this is not the work of a moment, but still it is
an important part of the work of the Lord.
Brethren, let us work while the day lasts; for I can tell you, as the
Lord Almighty lives, that we have to act differently from what we have
done: we must live nearer to the Lord, and not suffer ourselves to go
to sleep any more. Have you not heard brother Brigham say as much as
two years ago that if things did not go on in a different way from
what they had been going, he would take his pack on his back and go
into the wilderness and live his religion? Did not I rejoice last fall
when he arose in this stand and said that the time had come when the
people must reform and keep the law of God? It brought to my mind the
dream which I had respecting the lions, the dogs, and the tigers. It
was revealed to me in that dream that those men who lead this people
are the Lions of the Lord; and I know they will overcome the dogs.
There has been a great work done in this Territory: the people have
reformed, and there are a great number of men in this congregation who
have been engaged in the work of reformation the past winter; and I
know that the Spirit of God is with them. I also know that a very
large majority of the people want to live their religion.
I want to tell you something right here that I have told the people in
the districts where I have visited. I have told them to look at the
bait before they swallowed the hook. I tell you, our religion is full
of common sense; and I know that common sense has got to have an
important place in the mind of every man and woman; and when the
Spirit of God operates upon the minds of the Saints, it teaches them
that which is consistent.
If you and I keep humble, and keep a childlike spirit, and never have
anything about us but that kind of an influence, then, if a spirit
approaches that is not of the Lord, we shall know it. Let us control
our tongues, for James says the tongue is an unruly member and sets
all on fire; and I can tell you how you may escape. When an unruly
spirit approaches you, just hold your tongue, and then the fire which
is connected with that spirit won't hurt you. I tell you, those wicked
persons that come to annoy and disturb the peace of the Saints of God
will have the fire of hell in them. [Voice: "And swallow the hook
without the bait." ]
When I go into the company of a man, I know what kind of a spirit he
has about him; and you can know it also, if you will carry with you
the right spirit. The Lord has not given me anything that he is not
willing for you to have; therefore, strive to have in you that Spirit
which will enable you to discern the evil from the good.
Let us live our religion and become sanctified before the Lord, and
remember that we are playing a game now which is not only for the time
present; but we are now acting a part that will establish our
character for a very long hereafter: therefore, let us so order our
lives that we may not look back with regret, when we have passed
through this probation, that we have not lived better and done better.
I pray God to have mercy upon us and keep us humble, that we may
perform well our part, and eventually be prepared for the rest that is
promised to the people of God.
I cannot express how thankful I feel when I think that I am living in the midst of a people where there are Prophets and Apostles.
Brother Woodruff said that he was glad that he had the privilege of
living in such a day and amongst such a people; and I know there are a
great many who feel just as he does, but they cannot all speak here
and tell of it. I know that I rejoice in the privileges of the Gospel,
and I wish to encourage my brethren and sisters to be faithful, to be
diligent and prayerful, and always be ready to observe and carry out
the counsel of our superiors. Let us be united, for in our union
consists our strength.
I do not feel to detain the congregation, but this is my testimony and
my exhortation to the Saints; and I know that these men who lead us
are true, faithful, and valiant; and if we follow their instructions,
we shall be landed safely in the haven of rest.
I can tell you there is a vast difference between a drover and a
shepherd: the shepherd leads the flock. This was the way the ancient
shepherds of Israel did, and it is the way they do now in many of the
eastern countries; and this is the way for shepherds to do with the
flock of Christ.
If you undertake to drive people into heaven, you will have a job on
hand. I would just as soon undertake to drive an antelope into
Emigration Canyon. If we cannot lead them there, we cannot get them
there at all; and if we should happen to drive a few through the gate,
we should have to stand there with clubs in order to keep them there;
for I can assure you that heaven is no place for anyone who has to be
driven in order to get him there.
It is said that the husbandman is the first to partake of the fruit of
the garden and the field, and he then administers it to others; and I
want to know if you think you can administer that which you have not
got? Now, I can assure you, there is a great deal in these things for
you and I to understand; and if we will apply our minds, we shall
learn many important lessons. I want to know if you ever heard
anything from the Prophets of God about driving people into heaven?
Did they ever teach you a doctrine of this kind? No: but it is, "Come,
come," all the day long.
In the days of Jesus there was a spirit of this kind, and the people
could not get any of the "holy water" without paying for it; for there
were so many picayunish fools around trying to carry out their own
will, and they would neither go into heaven themselves nor allow any
one else the privilege; but Jesus came along with the key and opened a
door and told the people to come. Yes, he cried, "Come, all ye that
thirst, and drink of the waters of life freely."
I thank God that we can partake of those waters of life now, without
money and without price. The Lord has chosen us according to his
promise; for he has said that he would choose the poor to be heirs of
his kingdom. When I think of his goodness, I feel to say, Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord, all ye his Saints! Amen.