Brethren and Sisters—I arise before you this afternoon without having
any particular subject on my mind upon which to speak, hoping and
believing that the Lord will help me, that I may say what I shall say
to your edification and comfort.
"Mormonism" presents themes sufficient for our consideration at all
times and upon all occasions. We never need be at a loss for a
subject, for there is no part of it that we can contemplate that is
not fitting and suitable to almost any occasion that may arise.
I feel that the principles of the holy Gospel are all-absorbing. In
them are concentrated all my hopes of happiness—my life, my business,
all my interests, both temporal and spiritual, in time and eternity,
and I trust will ever be. There is nothing else that I esteem worthy
to engage my attention in comparison, and I have no hopes outside my
interest in this kingdom, neither do I wish to have.
When I embraced "Mormonism," I let go everything else; and since then
I have had no wish or desire but to attend to those things required at
my hands. I take peculiar pleasure and delight in doing anything that
is for the advancement of this kingdom.
I feel an ardent anxiety to see Israel rise triumphant over every
opposing object that may lie in their onward course. With me it is
"Hosanna!" and "Glory to God!" when Israel obtain a single
victory. It is "Israel forever!" all the time.
These are a part of my feelings with regard to this work.
I expect one of the distinguishing features between the Latter-day
Saints and the sectarian world is, that they feel so devoted to the
cause they have espoused, that they are willing to pass through any
amount of suffering, even to the loss of their lives, to subserve its
The outsiders look on the devotedness of the Latter-day Saints to this
cause and kingdom with great astonishment. There is a reason for this
devotedness they know nothing about. They cannot conceive how men
should let their religion occupy their whole affections.
How is it in the United States? They have no confidence in their
religious leaders. Have they any in their God? I do not wish to be
severe in my strictures on them. They virtually say to their religious
leaders, Stand there, and do not dare to interfere with our temporal
affairs, or interfere with us in any way except in religious matters.
They look upon them as their spiritual leaders only.
The world generally have an idea, and it is too true with many of the
Latter-day Saints, that they know better about their everyday affairs
than the Lord. They even go so far as to exclude religious teachers
from holding offices in their political circles. They do not elevate
their religious ministers to the civil offices of the country.
Would not we, as a people, be willing to let the Lord dictate our
affairs temporally and spiritually? This is a distinguishing feature,
I say, between the Latter-day Saints and the rest of the world: they
are not willing that the Lord should dictate their temporal affairs,
and we profess to be willing that he should.
If ever we are prospered exceed ingly, we shall have to submit
ourselves to his dictation temporally, because he is building up a
temporal kingdom on the earth, as well as a spiritual kingdom, in the
last days. He is gathering the people together from the four quarters
of the earth, that he may concentrate a power to bring forth his
purposes in the last days—that he may magnify his name in the
earth—that he may have a people who will do as he wishes them, that he
may exalt and bless them.
The Lord takes us through many channels, through a chequered path, to
bring us to the position to be capable and worthy to receive the
blessings he is desirous of dispensing to the children of men who will
acknowledge him as having a right to rule on a portion of the earth,
at least, if not on the whole of it.
Has he not a right to rule on this earth? Who has done so much for it
as our Lord and Savior? The Prophets have intimated that all his
enemies should be laid beneath his feet, that he should triumph over
every opposing foe, and that the kingdoms of this world should be
broken in pieces, and become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ.
This is what we are expecting in this our day and generation. The work
has commenced, and we have become participants in it—citizens of the
kingdom of God, if you please. This thought carries with it joy and
satisfaction to the soul of every true Saint, and to every person who
is desirous of seeing righteousness obtain a foothold on the earth,
and wickedness walked underfoot.
This is what makes the people of God so enthusiastic in regard to
their religion. Great blessings are held out to them in having the
Lord to reign over them, in being submissive to his will in all
things, and thereby doing the work he has allotted them to do in the
It is very encouraging to the Saints to know and realize that this
duty and privilege rests on their shoulders. The Lord in his kindness
has enlightened their minds to see the ripening of the work he has
commenced and will perform.
The world cannot understand the work in which we are engaged. They
look upon this Church as another sect or persuasion of people. In one
sense we are. Our forms of worship are similar to theirs; but this
abiding faith they do not have. We have something to cling to about
which they know nothing—which their doctrines do not teach. The
blessings we enjoy they think of as being a great way off—something to
be hoped for, but not expected. We understand things they do not;
therefore we have great cause to rejoice and offer thanksgiving and
praise to our God. We have great cause to be industrious and active in
the discharge and full performance of our duties, and to concentrate
our interests in this kingdom and in its advancement.
Let that be our daily work. Let us have no other business—nothing that
shall come between us and our duty in regard to this. Let not the Evil
One place any barrier between us and our daily righteous walk.
It is the duty of each and every one of the Saints to feel that share
of responsibility that belongs to them. Upon our shoulders the kingdom
rests, and the Lord is perfectly willing to roll it forth so fast as
he shall have a people that are willing and capable to bear it off.
Let us not be impatient if things do not come about as fast as we wish
to see them; for, let me assure you, if the Lord were to answer our
desires with respect to this, we should not be able to bear up under
it. So fast as he can get a people who will be able to bear the
kingdom off, he will roll it onward.
The people of God must strengthen their knees, gird up their loins,
endeavor to have their faith increased by living nearer to the Lord,
and by shaking off the Evil One.
There are too many among us who shake hands with the Devil; and while
this is so the Lord cannot bless this people as he wants to bless
them. Were he to pour out the multiplicity of blessings he has in
store upon them now, it would send many of them to destruction;
otherwise his great blessings will save them when they understand
them. It is necessary we should live near to the Lord.
I am not obliged to mingle with evil because it surrounds me. An Elder
whose duty calls him into the Gentile world can keep himself as pure
and as holy as he was in the midst of the Saints. He may enwrap
himself as in a cloak against every evil that would surround his
It is in the power of every man to resist the Devil, and he will flee
from him. He will not take possession of any man's heart unless he
makes him a welcome inhabitant and invites him to share in his
It is in the power of every man and every woman not to give way to
evil thoughts and speak evil against their neighbors. If they do
this, the first thing they know they are overcome. They will think
evil in the first place; and if they encourage the evil thoughts, they
will finally give utterance to them; and when they do this, they are
still further from the true path than before. And so they go on, until
they are overtaken by apostasy, which they did not think of when they
commenced this course.
Everyone has his own peculiar feelings, and it is well enough for
people to be courteous one to another: but suppose a thing is done
that comes across our natural feelings and judgment a little—why
should we set our judgment to be above that of our brethren? Why
should one man suppose he knows better than anybody else? Why
not yield at once to the superior judgment of another? And if another
man's view is not as good as your own, what of it? Let us lay aside
our judgment, and let our neighbor have his way in regard to matters
that do not particularly concern us. Why not, rather than contend?
If we encourage a spirit of contention, we shall fall into darkness.
Why not take a course to live in the light? The result will show which
is the best.
Let us all be for the kingdom. Another man's policy for the kingdom
may be just as good as mine. If you are called upon to act in a
particular place, act in it until you shall be displaced, and act in
it according to the best light and judgment you have, though another
might go about the same thing differently. Let us, however, sustain
that man who is appointed to act, and act with him, so long as he is
honest and sincere within. If all the people in this city and in other
settlements could see this, there would be less contention.
I have seen good men get at variance, in the outside settlements,
because their Bishops did not do as they thought they ought; and I
have seen Bishops removed, and others put in their places, and they
would do exactly the same things in their own way.
I feel like being generous. I feel like letting men go about a thing
in their own way, to benefit the people and the kingdom. Let us look a
little beyond the surface, and see a benefit in another man's policy
as well as our own, and think that another man has got a little
common sense as well as ourselves.
In this way, I think, there would be a great deal less to find fault
with; and then we can see and appreciate the policy of our brother
that is as desirous of doing well, even as we are. Then we should get
rid of a certain thing called envy, which very frequently besets some
I would like to see my brethren learn wisdom. I would like to have
more myself. I would like to have them increase in the knowledge of
God—in things pertaining to eternal life, as well as in things
pertaining to our everyday life and business; and thus let us learn
to save ourselves daily, that we may be saved with a full salvation at
It is not the great things of the kingdom that cause men to fall away
and go to destruction. It is the small things of life—matters of
traffic and deal, upon which people stumble. Large mountains are
magnified from small molehills, and they loom out greater and greater
the longer persons travel in that path.
If I do not want one of my wives or children to go to the Devil—if I
do not wish them to be overcome by evil, I consider it my duty to keep
them out of the way of evil, and not suffer them to visit places and
company that would be likely to lead them astray.
Suppose I place myself and family under the power of influences that
are from the Devil—influences that are calculated to lead us into
darkness and apostasy; or if I have characters about my house who are
filthy, wicked—who curse God and use profane language, having no
respect for my religion, for God, for angels, and holy beings—how
far do you think I shall be held responsible, should one of my family
go into apostasy through this influence which I have thrown around
them? Would I be held responsible, or not?
How far is that mother responsible for her daughter, when she
surrounds her with influences that are calculated to lead her astray
and into darkness? How far can the father be held responsible
for the future conduct of his daughters, after surrounding them with
pernicious influences, and they should, in consequence thereof, fall
It appears to me as though persons in pretty good faith, who think
they may stand themselves, will be held responsible for many of these
things. It seems to me, if I surrounded my family with evil
influences, and they were led astray thereby, I should have nobody
else to blame for it but myself.
It is true sons and daughters may go contrary to fathers' and mothers'
counsel, and parents employ every means in their power to keep them
from wandering into by-and-forbidden paths.
Under these circumstances they may not be considered responsible; but
when parents place bad influences around their children, or introduce
them into their houses, I look quite differently upon the matter of
Even at the present time, many are caused to mourn: they have real
sorrow of heart, in consequence of their own injudiciousness—of their
want of thought and good understanding. They now see where they have
missed it; and many a heart will yet sorrow for not pursuing a
Let us not forget these important items, but have our minds stirred up
to them, and be careful as to what kind of influences we surround our
families with. Let the mother be careful what kind of company she lets
her daughter keep. This is the way to preserve their own hearts from
bitter sorrow, and their daughters from degradation and death. How far
will the father of that young man be held responsible, whose
pernicious practices have led him to drunkenness?
I like to have liquor in my house for family use, in case of sickness;
and if I could have my own feelings gratified, I would always have it
in my house: but I would rather forego all the benefit it would do my
family than to see any member of this Church and kingdom, or any true
friend of mine, led into drunkenness and into death. I would rather
that not a drop more should ever be manufactured, from this time
forth, than that it should be the means of destroying one soul.
If my influence and words could blot out of existence the excessive
use of it, I would do so. When I see otherwise faithful and
intelligent men overcome and rendered perfectly useless by the
intemperate use of ardent spirits, I feel like saying, Never let a
drop more be made, but let it go entirely out of existence. But when I
reflect, I see it is like other temptations of the Devil: men must
know the evil as well as the good.
This is all right; and it is to try them, whether they will show their
integrity, by wallowing in the mire, or by using it without abusing
themselves by it. If men who have an appetite formed for it overcome
it, so much greater will be their reward; but if they subject
themselves to it, it becomes their lord and master. We see a good many
who are controlled by it.
I despise this abominable practice. At the same time, men must have
their agency, and do as they please. If the holy influences of the
Gospel will not fetch them out of it, I do not know anything that
I do not expect any reward for being tempted with ardent spirits, for
I have no disposition to be tempted by it. I have no liking for it,
although I could be benefited by the use of it, in the way I would
use it; but I would rather forego that for my brethren's sake. I have
not that evil desire to overcome. I have other things to
overcome; but this is no besetting sin of mine.
May God bless us and help us to triumph over sin, is my prayer in the
name of Jesus. Amen.
- Daniel H. Wells