Brother Kimball has borne his testimony to the truth of the work in
which we are engaged: he has exhorted you to faithfulness, and
presented practical morality. For your satisfaction, I will present
some of my views concerning the kingdom of God, and leave the subject
for others to elaborate.
Erroneous traditions and the powers of darkness have such sway over
mankind, that, when we speak of a theocracy on the earth, the people
are frightened. The government of the "Holy Catholic Church," from
which all the Protestant churches are offshoots, is professedly
theocratic, though it is directly opposed to the theocracy described
in the Bible.
But few, if any, understand what a theocratic government is. In every
sense of the word, it is a republican government, and differs but
little in form from our National, State, and Territorial Governments;
but its subjects will recognize the will and dictation of the
Almighty. The kingdom of God circumscribes and comprehends the
municipal laws for the people in their outward government, to which
pertain the Gospel covenants, by which the people can be saved; and
those covenants pertain to fellowship and faithfulness.
The Gospel covenants are for those who believe and obey; municipal
laws are for both Saint and sinner.
The Constitution and laws of the United States resemble a theocracy
more closely than any government now on the earth, or that ever has
been, so far as we know, except the government of the children of
Israel to the time when they elected a king.
All governments are more or less under the control of the Almighty,
and, in their forms, have sprung from the laws that he has from time
to time given to man. Those laws, in passing from generation to
generation, have been more or less adulterated, and the result has
been the various forms of government now in force among the nations;
for, as the Prophet says of Israel, "They have transgressed the laws,
changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant."
Whoever lives to see the kingdom of God fully established upon the
earth will see a government that will protect every person in his
rights. If that government was now reigning upon this land of Joseph,
you would see the Roman Catholic, the Greek Catholic, the
Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, the Methodist, the Baptist, the
Quaker, the Shaker, the Hindoo, the Mahometan, and every class of
worshippers most strictly protected in all their municipal rights and
in the privilege of worshipping who, what, and when they pleased, not
infringing upon the rights of others. Does any candid person in his
sound judgment desire any greater liberty?
The Lord has thus far protected and preserved the human family under
their various forms and administrations of government, notwithstanding
their wickedness, and is still preserving them; but if the kingdom of
God, or a theocratic government, was established on the earth, many
practices now prevalent would be abolished.
One community would not be permitted to array itself in opposition to
another to coerce them to their standard; one denomination would not
be suffered to persecute another because they differed in religious
belief and mode of worship. Everyone would be fully protected in the
enjoyment of all religious and social rights, and no state, no
government, no community, no person would have the privilege of
infringing on the rights of another: one Christian community would not
rise up and persecute another.
I will here remark that we are generally looked upon as a dangerous
people, and for the reason that there are thousands and millions of
people who are afraid that justice will be meted out to them; and they
say, to use Scripture language, that "if the Saints are let alone,
they will take away our place and nation, and will measure to us what
we have measured to them." They conclude thus because they estimate
others by themselves, realizing that if they had the power to deprive
us of our rights, they would exercise it. "We will judge you
Latter-day Saints by ourselves. If we had the power to destroy you, we
would do it; and we are afraid that if you are let alone, you will
have the power to destroy us and will do as we would under like
circumstances." If this people had that power today, they would not
infringe in the least upon the rights of any person; neither could
they, without ceasing to be Saints.
When the Saints of the Most High are established upon the earth, and
are prepared to receive the kingdom of God in its fulness, as foretold
by the Prophet Daniel, they will have power to protect themselves and
all the sons and daughters of Adam in their rights. Then, when a
person or community says, "I do not want to believe your religion,"
they will enjoy liberty to believe as they please, as fully as we
The Creator has given agency to every son and daughter of Adam, and he
does not infringe upon our agency. We are at liberty to believe in him
and in his son Jesus Christ, or to let it alone.
When the kingdom of God is established, we can believe in the
principles of the eternal Priesthood or in something else, and be
equally protected in our outward rights. My law, says Jehovah, is
pure: it is the law by which the worlds are made, and by which all
things are. Those laws tend to exaltation and power; but the world is
observing rules that tend to death. You have the privilege of
believing and practicing a law that will bring to an end, if you wish,
not only to the first death, but also to the second.
Jesus has taught us not to fear those wicked persons that are seeking
our lives. Do not fear those who only have power to destroy the body,
and after that can harm you no more; but fear God and observe the laws
he has given and will give, that evil spirits may have no power over
you after the body is left to rest.
This body must die: it is so decreed by the Almighty. "For
dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return;" and it matters little
whether you die today or tomorrow. Do not fear the wicked, but fear
him who has power to destroy both soul and body. The man that pursues
principles that tend to death resigns himself unto death, and no power
can hinder it.
People are afraid of "Mormonism," as they call it. They are afraid of
the Gospel of salvation, and say that we have something that others
have not—that we have an almighty influence, and that influence is a
mystery. Certainly that influence is a mystery to all men: it is a
mystery to us. I have not time now to explain to you the reasons why
it is a mystery.
When the doctrine of salvation was first preached to me, and the
vision of my mind was opened, I undertook to fathom the depth of the
Gospel plan; but I could not. I was familiar with the doctrines taught
by the various Christian denominations, and could easily comprehend
them; but I soon learned that I could not fathom the full extent of
the doctrine of salvation as revealed in our day through the Prophet
Joseph; for I discerned that it was incomprehensible in its extent. It
was soon suggested to me—Which of all the doctrines do you now say is
the most Godlike—that which you can comprehend and fathom—that which
you can measure, or that which you cannot? That which I cannot.
To finite capacity there is much which appears mysterious in the plan
of salvation, and there is an eternity of mystery to be unfolded to
us; and when we have lived millions of years in the presence of God
and angels, and have associated with heavenly beings, shall we then
cease learning? No, or eternity ceases. There is no end. We go from
grace to grace, from light to light, from truth to truth. But I do not
want to follow that thread any further at present.
It is recorded in the Bible that in the last days the God of heaven
will set up a kingdom. Will that kingdom destroy the human family? No:
it will save every person that will and can be saved. The doctrines of
the Savior reveal and place the believers in possession of
principles whereby saviors will come upon Mount Zion to save the
house of Esau, which is the Gentile nations, from sin and death—all
except those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost. Men and women
will enter into the temples of God, and be, in comparison, pillars
there, and officiate year after year for those who have slept
thousands of years. The doctrine of the Christian world, which I have
already said I was familiar with, sends them to hell irretrievably,
which to me is the height of folly. They do not understand what the
Lord is doing, nor what he purposes to do.
It is alleged and reiterated that we do not love the institutions of
our country. I say, and have so said for many years, that the
Constitution and laws of the United States combine the best form of
Government in force upon the earth. But does it follow that each
officer of the Government administers with justice? No; for it is well
known throughout our nation that very many of our public officers are
as degraded, debased, corrupt, and regardless of right as men well can
I repeat that the Constitution, laws, and institutions of our
Government are as good as can be, with the intelligence now possessed
by the people. But they, as also the laws of other nations, are too
often administered in unrighteousness; and we do not and cannot love
and respect the acts of the administrators of our laws, unless they
act justly in their offices.
Jehovah has decreed and plainly foretold the establishment of
his kingdom upon this earth; and it will prove to me a shield to the
ordinances of his house, in the endowments, and in all the gifts and
graces of the Spirit of God with which the Priesthood, so to speak, is
clothed. The municipal laws of that kingdom are designed for the
protection of all classes of people in their legitimate rights; and
were it now in its fulness upon the earth, and the New Jerusalem built
upon this continent, which is the land of Zion, the Latter-day Saints
would not alone enjoy its blessings, but all denominations and
communities would be alike protected in their rights, whether they
worshipped the Supreme Author of our existence, or the sun, or the
moon, or, as do some of our aborigines, a white dog; and none will be
permitted to infringe upon their neighbors, though every knee shall
bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. The Hindoos
would have the privilege of erecting their temples and of worshipping
as they pleased; but they would not be permitted to compel other
worshippers to conform to their mode of worship, nor to burn their
companions upon the funeral pyre; for that would interfere with
The kingdom of God will be extended over the earth; and it is written,
"I will make thine officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness."
Is that day ever coming? It is; and the doctrine we preach leads to
that point. Even now the form of the Government of the United States
differs but little from that of the kingdom of God.
In our Government a President is elected for four years, and can be
reelected but once, thus limiting the time of any one person to but
eight years at most. Would it not be better to extend that period
during life or good behavior; and when the people have elected the
best man to that office, continue him in it as long as he will serve
Would it not be better for the States to elect their Governors upon
the same principle; and if they officiate unjustly, hurl them from
office? If a good man is thus elected and continues to do his duty, he
will keep in advance of the people; and if he does not, he does not
magnify his office. Such is the kingdom of God, in comparison.
When the best man is elected President, let him select the best men
he can find for his counselors or cabinet; and let all the officers
within the province of the Chief Magistrate to appoint be selected
upon the same principle to officiate wisely in different parts of the
nation. Our Father in heaven does not visit every place in person to
guide and administer the law to the people, and to do this, that, and
the other: he never did and never will; but he has officers, whom he
sends when and where he pleases, giving to them their credentials and
missions, as does our Government to our fellow men here.
Some would have us believe that God is present everywhere. It is not
so. He is no more everywhere present in person than the Father and Son
are one in person. The Bible teaches that doctrine precisely as it is.
The kingdom that the Almighty will set up in the latter days will have
its officers, and those officers will be peace. Every man that
officiates in a public capacity will be filled with the Spirit of God,
with the light of God, with the power of God, and will understand
right from wrong, truth from error, light from darkness, that which
tends to life and that which tends to death. They will say, "We offer
you life; will you receive it?" "No," some will say. "Then you
perfect liberty to choose death: the Lord does not, neither will we
control you in the least in the exercise of your agency. We
place the principles of life before you. Do as you please, and we will
protect you in your rights, though you will learn that the system you
have chosen to follow brings you to dissolution—to being resolved to
When the government of God is in force upon the earth, there will be
many officers and branches to that government, as there now are to
that of the United States. There will be such helps, governments, &c.,
as the people require in their several capacities and circumstances;
for the Lord will not administer everywhere in person.
The world seem to be afraid of the power of God, or rather, as I
observed not long since, afraid that we are not in possession of it.
They need not borrow trouble upon that point; for if we are not what
we profess to be, we shall certainly fail, and they will no longer be
disturbed about "Mormonism." Brother Kimball said that his friends at
first limited the existence of this work to one year; and when the
year passed, they extended the time to two years: they then put it off
five years; and I do not know what time they have now fixed upon.
I know that the kingdom of God is in its youth upon this earth, and
that the principles of life and salvation are freely proffered to the
people all over the world.
Our Elders go from east to west, from north to south; and they almost
invariably go without purse or scrip.
When Mr. Greeley was here, he was anxious to learn what salaries our
missionaries received, and what salary this and that officer in the
I told him that our missionaries received what the people gave them
after they went from here. A few have started from here with money to
pay their passage across the sea, that they might not be delayed in
reaching their point of destination.
He then asked me whether I did not receive a salary.
I replied, "No, my friend; I can truly say to you that I do not have
the value of a cabbage-head from the Tithing Office, unless I pay for
"What!" said he, "do you not have pay for your services? You devote
all your time."
I remarked that I should count myself a poor hand to dictate this
people and hold the position I occupy in the providence of God, unless
I was capable of maintaining myself and family without assistance from
the Church, though I have had a great deal given to me by the members
of the Church. The Lord has blessed me with ability to provide for my
wants, and those of my family; and if he has not blessed all the
Elders with like ability to sustain themselves, we will assist them
when necessary; but we pay no salaries to our Elders and Bishops. My
salary consists of the providences of God while I live, and eternal
life when I faithfully finish this probation.
When the kingdom of God is established upon the earth, people will
find it to be very different from what they now imagine. Will it be in
the least degree tyrannical and oppressive towards any human being?
No, it will not; for such is not the kingdom of God.
I believe in a true republican theocracy, and also in a true
democratic theocracy, as the term democratic is now used; for they are
to me, in their present use, convertible terms.
What do I understand by a theocratic government? One in which all laws
are enacted and executed in righteousness, and whose officers possess
that power which proceedeth from the Almighty. That is the kind of
government I allude to when I speak of a theocratic
government, or the kingdom of God upon the earth. It is, in short, the
eternal powers of the Gods.
What do the world understand theocracy to be? A poor, rotten
government of man, that would say, without the shadow of provocation
or just cause, "Cut that man's head off; put that one on the rack;
arrest another, and retain him in unlawful and unjust duress while you
plunder his property and pollute his wife and daughters; massacre here
and there." The Lord Almighty does nothing of that kind, neither does
any man who is controlled by his Spirit.
Again, the theocracy I speak of is the power of the Holy Ghost within
you—that living and eternal principle that we do not possess in the
fulness that we are seeking. When we talk about heavenly things, and
see the world groveling in their sin and misery, and loving iniquity
and corruption, the heavens weep over the people, and still they will
not infringe upon their rights. God has created them so far perfectly
independent as to be able to choose death or life; and he will not
infringe upon this right.
And then to see people running after this and that which is calculated
to destroy them spiritually and temporally—to bring upon them the
first death, and then the second, so that they will be as though they
had not been—is enough to make the heavens weep.
When his kingdom is established upon the earth, and Zion built up, the
Lord will send his servants as saviors upon Mount Zion. The servants
of God who have lived on the earth in ages past will reveal where
different persons have lived who have died without the Gospel, give
their names, and say, "Now go forth, ye servants of God, and exercise
your rights and privileges; go and perform the ordinances of the house
of God for those who have passed their probation without the law, and
for all who will receive any kind of salvation: bring them up to
inherit the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms," and
probably many other kingdoms not mentioned in the Scriptures; for
every person will receive according to his capacity and according to
the deeds done in the body, whether good or bad, much or little.
What will become of the rest? Jesus will reign until he puts all
enemies under his feet, and will destroy the death that we are
afflicted with, and will also destroy him that hath the power of
death; and one eternal life will spread over the earth. Then it will
be exalted and become as a sea of glass, as seen by John the
Revelator, and become the eternal habitation of those who are so happy
as to gain eternal life and live in the presence of our Father and
There are millions and millions of kingdoms that the people have no
conception of. The Christians of the day have no knowledge of God, of
godliness, of eternity, of the worlds that are, that have been, and
that are coming forth. There are myriads of people pertaining to this
earth who will come up and receive a glory according to their
A man apostatizes and comes back, and there is a place prepared for
him; and so there is for all persons, to suit their several capacities
and answer to the lives they have lived in the flesh.
There are many who swear occasionally; others get drunk, &c. Do you
not know it? O fools and slow of heart to understand your own
existence! But many indulge in such practices, and some will stumble
here and there; and we must keep pulling them out of the mire and
washing them all the time.
Will they be consigned to eternal damnation for such conduct? No; for
these who drink too much will make good servants, if you can
get them where whiskey will not cloud their brains, or where there is
none. Make servants of such characters and set them to work in their
different departments, and they can do something: they are not
useless. They are the workmanship of God's hands—brothers to Jesus,
flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. The same Father that begat
the tabernacle of Jesus on the earth brought forth the world of
mankind; and we are all his children, whether we do wickedly or not.
We are the offspring of one common Father.
Brother Kimball says that it is a pity there is such a quarrel in the
family. In the flesh we are the sons and daughters of Father Adam and
Mother Eve: we are all one family; and yet we are contending and
quarreling, and have arrived at such a pass that many do not know
whether they belong to one kingdom and family, or not.
There is a place for all; but those who have sinned against the Holy
Ghost will become angels of the Devil, and must suffer the wrath of
Then I might say, O ye wicked nations of the earth, why do you quarrel
with us all the time for doing you good? We want to build up Zion and
bring up your fathers and mothers to enjoy a glory, and you are trying
to prevent us. They are contending against their own lives—quarreling
against their own salvation and being. But I can truly say to all that
I am thankful that I live to see this day and what we call the Gospel
of salvation, but called by our enemies "Mormonism," because we
believe in the Book of Mormon.
We are in possession of the principles of life, and I exhort you to
cleave to them under all circumstances. Do not fear those who only
have power to shorten your mortal existence; but fear God, our Father
in heaven. Love him and keep his commandments. Love righteousness all
the days of your lives. "Mormonism" is true. It is life and salvation
that we proffer to all mankind, and we are now struggling against the
power of death, and by faithfulness shall overcome. And still you know
that our enemies are thirsting for our destruction; and why do they
seek to destroy us? Because we are striving to be righteous. We have
the words of life for them, to do them good, to save them and their
fathers who died without the law.
With you, my brethren, I have the principles of eternal salvation; and
for this cause they quarrel with us. The world say that we have
principles that really lay the axe at the roots of the trees of all
false creeds; and if we are let alone, their creeds will cease having
followers. If they let us alone, and we are wrong and corrupt, as they
say we are, we shall come to an end.
Why do they prefer to be corrupt? They do not understand true
principles, otherwise they would say, "Praise God! I am thankful that
you are here. Do right, prosper, and bring salvation to all the house
of Israel, and to the Gentile world so far as you can."
Let us alone, and we will build up the kingdom of God. We are striving
for what all Christendom professes to be, and we will bring it forth.
If they persecute us, we will bring it forth the sooner. Could all the
Elders of Israel have given "Mormonism" the same impetus that the last
quarrel has done? No. The Lord will bring more out of that than all
the Elders could have done by any performance of theirs.
If the Devil and his servants are permitted to persecute us, why
should we complain? Has not the Prophet said that the servants of
the Devil would make lies their refuge, and hide themselves
under falsehood? Poor, miserable, lying curses here can write lies and
publish them and send them forth in every direction. Traders take our
money for goods, and all the time stir up every destructive element in
their power to sell our blood, destroy our lives, and pollute our
Should the Lord reveal to me that my work on this earth is finished, I
am ready to depart this life at any moment he may require. But the
time has not yet come, and I expect to live until the Lord is willing
that I should die.
I expect to live until I finish my work; and what is that? To promote
the welfare of mankind, and save as many of the sons and daughters of
Adam as I can prevail upon to be saved. How many I shall prevail upon
to be saved is not for me to say.
When I get through my work here, my body will have the privilege to
rest; and I understand where my spirit will go, and who will be my
associates in the spirit world.
We have more friends behind the veil than on this side, and they will
hail us more joyfully than you were ever welcomed by your parents and
friends in this world; and you will rejoice more when you meet them
than you ever rejoiced to see a friend in this life; and then we shall
go on from step to step, from rejoicing to rejoicing, and from one
intelligence and power to another, our happiness becoming more and
more exquisite and sensible as we proceed in the words and powers of
God bless you! Amen.