We have been very much interested, brethren and sisters, by the
address of Elder Hyde; and no doubt the value of the sentiments
advanced have been duly appreciated. As a people having a knowledge of
the first principles of the Gospel of salvation, we are qualified
above all others to appreciate the value of the truths of heaven when
they are revealed to us. It is of the utmost importance that we divest
ourselves of every corrupt and selfish principle and of every species
of "covetousness, which is idolatry." To live before the Lord with
honesty is a matter of so much importance that it cannot fail to be
duly appreciated by the Saints of the Most High.
Whenever these principles are presented before them, the contrast
between the situation that we have hitherto been placed in and our
present condition is also very striking, as has been shown us by the
contrast drawn by Elder Hyde.
When we had to face the science, the learning, the eloquence, the
skill, and the intellect of the entire world—a single handful of us
against the whole world—God bore us off victorious. His hand has
preserved us. His Spirit inspired us, so that the mighty were
confounded, the eloquent were put to silence, and the learned were
constrained to say to their fellow men, "Do not listen to it; do not
read their books; do not hear them, nor go where they are. You may be
In almost every instance, what has been by all philosophers and wise
men considered the worst argument that ever was used has been resorted
to—that is, brute force. You convince a man by brute force, and he is
of the same opinion that he was before. You force a man to accede to
your laws and rules, and his mind is only enslaved; and then, when it
breaks loose, it is ten thousand times worse than if no brute force
had been used. Notwithstanding this, the world cry, "Extermination and
In looking over the papers that have been brought from the
States, we find that a great proportion of them have been speculating
on the cost of exterminating the "Mormons;" and there is one very
uncomfortable speculation about it. One of them, in estimating the
cost of a war of extermination against the "Mormons," said, "We shall
have to expend from fifty to a hundred millions, and then we shall
have nothing to show for our pay but naked, barren rocks." This is the
condition of affairs; but it is a war of principle, and "Mormonism"
must be exterminated, though it is not at all a profitable business.
Now, there never was a man, from the time that this work commenced,
that ever made himself popular by opposing it; and in future, whatever
may be their attempts, it will be the ruin of every man that
undertakes it; and this has been the case with every man that has
attempted to make such a speculation. It never did and never will pay
The God of heaven has raised up this people. He has carried them, as
it were, in his arms. He has cradled them in adversity and has brought
them into these mountains; and here he wishes to nourish and preserve
them. I never lift my heart to the heavens without praying to the
Almighty to gather out of the midst of his people all those who do
offend and work iniquity, and to gather out of the midst of Zion every
corrupt heart—every man that will not turn from his sins, forsake his
wickedness, and love the Lord his God with all his heart and his
neighbor as himself.
Such a people will have the blessings of God: such a people can be
protected by the Almighty: such a people cannot be overthrown by all
earth and hell combined. Then let us be such a people; and if
corruption exists in our hearts, let us cut it out; for I can tell you
we shall be sifted as with a sieve; and while our enemies are
endeavoring to destroy us and desiring to murder us, to exterminate
us, to deprive us of our existence, to wipe us from the earth, to blot
out the name of the kingdom of God, they are only suffered to crowd
upon us that we may be tried and purified.
We should not desire the shedding of blood; but we are required by
every law of nature, by every principle of righteousness, and by every
constitutional principle upon the face of the earth, whether civil,
political, or military, to defend ourselves and prevent our being
broken up by others. This is a naturally inherited right, and God
requires us to defend ourselves. And inasmuch as we have to defend our
sacred rights, we should do it in the name of the Lord, with all
humility, with a desire to sustain his kingdom; and, let what will
come, trust in God for the result and be satisfied with it.
Elder Hyde, in drawing the comparison in reference to the millions of
our enemies—to the great wealth that they possess, showed their
advantages in numbers and wealth. But let me ask this question, Have
they got a thing that the Lord did not give them? Have they got a
solitary farthing that the Lord did not bestow upon them? If they use
that which he has given them for evil, they will have to give a minute
account of that stewardship.
The boasted national surplus funds are directly calculated to produce
extravagant and unprincipled legislation, and will have a tendency in
the end to strip them of funds and leave them in poverty, while the
straitened circumstances of the Saints will only be the means of
purifying, driving away, and scattering from their midst those who do
offend and work iniquity.
I feel to rest satisfied that the Almighty will control all those
things for the good of this people. The Lord has said it is his
business to take care of his Saints. If you are taking care of a child
and are rearing it up to manhood, you have to look after its
education, correct its morals, regulate its conduct, and inflict
punishment when necessary, that the child may realize the difference
between good and evil—between doing right and doing wrong.
Peradventure the Lord wishes to have a tried people, and he has
determined to try the Saints sufficiently, and he will protect them in
his own way. The Lord will apply the rod. Sometimes he has scourged
the people of Israel in one way, and sometimes in another. Sometimes
he has scourged them with pestilence, with wasting, and destruction,
and sometimes with famine, or by delivering them into the hands of
their enemies; and in all these ways he has scourged his people that
they might know and realize that God is over them, and that he
controls all things.
There was a sheriff that came to an old lady and said to her, "Well,
old woman, I have taken your son Jim, and I have locked him up in
jail, where he never will do any more mischief." "Oh," says she,
"is it possible that Jim has gone to jail?"
"Yes," the sheriff replied; "I
have put the little whelp where he never will do any more mischief;
and I thought I would come and tell you what had become of him." The
old lady felt sorrowful and mortified at the bitter way in which the
sheriff told it. "Well, Mr. Sheriff," said the old lady, "I hope, when
the Lord has punished poor Jim all that he deserves, that he will burn
This is the sentiment that I have with regard to the means made use of
for the purpose of punishing and sifting us, or turning those who are
corrupt and causing them to flee away, or of waking us up to our duty.
When the Lord gets through with them, like the old woman, I would be
obliged to him if he would burn the rod. Doubtless he will look after
this matter, if we do our duty. It is only for us to look to the
right—to live our religion, and all will be well.
I know that this is the work of God, and that he will sustain his
servants; and if we will love truth, though few, compared with our
enemies, we shall have light, life, power, and dominion, while our
enemies will lift up their eyes in hell, where there is no water. May
God prepare us for all that we have to encounter, is my prayer, in the
name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
- George A. Smith