I am pleased that this Conference convened upon the 27th, for it is a
date written indelibly upon our memories.
We have been blessed in hearing the testimonies which have been borne
by Presidents Young and Kimball, and Elder Taylor. I think the
majority of this congregation, though they might not be able to bear
as strong a testimony as those who have spoken, can bear testimony
that the Lord our God, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, has
revealed to them that Joseph Smith, while he lived, was a Prophet of
God, inspired by the revelations of the Almighty to unfold the eternal
truths of heaven to a perishing world.
I believe that the feelings of this people respond to the testimony
that has been borne today; and if we should wait here for all this
people to express their feelings in relation to their confidence in
Joseph Smith as a messenger of heaven, and in the revelations of God
through him, we should have to wait many years.
There are some things we know by seeing, and other things we know by
hearing, tasting, smelling, &c.; but the light of the Eternal Spirit
that brought us out of darkness into the Church of God is the great
abiding testimony of this people.
Indeed, men have apostatized after they have seen and heard Joseph,
after they have seen angels, after they have seen the sick healed, and
after they have spoken in tongues and prophesied, and had the
interpretation of tongues. You will recollect that long since
I gave you my advice in relation to the proper time a man ought to
apostatize. My advice was that he should never apostatize in a dark
and cloudy day—never when he felt bad—never because he felt hard
towards his brother or brethren in the Church; but when he
apostatizes, he should wait for a clear day, when everything around
him is prospering; and then, before he apostatizes, he should ask
In relation to men's apostatizing, I recollect in the upper room of
the Temple in Kirtland, Ohio, when we were assembled there, a very
noted man, by the name of Sylvester Smith, bore testimony of what he
had seen of the Prophet of God, of angels, &c. He said he wanted to
bear testimony, and continued to say, "I have spoken by what you call
the Holy Ghost; the eyes of my understanding have been touched, and I
have seen convoy after convoy of angels; I have laid hands on the
lame, and they have leaped like an hart; I have spoken with tongues
and had the interpretation thereof; I have seen the sick healed time
after time—but let me tell you, everything I have seen and everything
you have seen is the height of idiotism." This was Sylvester Smith,
after he apostatized.
This was the testimony of an apostate, which is conclusive proof to me
that a man may see the hosts of heaven—the chariots of Israel and the
horsemen thereof, and gaze on the glory of God, and be filled with the
Holy Ghost; and unless he retains the Spirit of God, he will
apostatize. Therefore my advice to the Saints has been, and is, and
whenever I give you good advice in the future, it will be the same,
that you propose in your hearts never to depart from God or from his
people, only when you are filled with the Holy Ghost; and then when
you do it, ask counsel of his servants.
I felt glad when brother Brigham nominated John Smith, the son of
Hyrum, to be our Patriarch. I have been acquainted with his father
personally. I have lived with him for years, and I know the spirit
that is in his son; and I know the Lord God has promised to bless his
children, and that his Spirit will rest upon his son, to unfold and
teach the eternal truths of heaven to bless the people of God.
I would rather have a young man to fill this office than an old man
who is filled with the leaven of sectarianism. Give me a man who was
raised by a "Mormon" father and a "Mormon" mother, and raised
the faith from his childhood. That is the man I want to bless me and
the people of God.
- Jedediah M. Grant