Excuse me, brethren and sisters, if I appear before you with my head
covered, as the day is cold and uncomfortable. I deem it necessary to
adopt every means in my power to ward off death, and remain as long as
possible in this state of existence. We cannot live too long, if we
live our religion, worship the Lord our God in the way that pleases
him, and continue to be his friends.
How can we be the friends of God? We are acquainted with but one way.
We cannot approach his presence so as to see him in person, while in
the flesh and unchanged; but we can approach him and see him in his
representatives. Then, to become the friends of God, it is plain that
we should be the friends of his legally authorized representatives on
the earth—the men whom he has placed to lead his people—the men who
hold the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
There are many, no doubt, who do not believe that the servants of God
possess any greater power and authority from him than other men. Such
persons have a perfect right to their belief, and must risk the
consequences of it.
I know that President Brigham Young holds those keys and power to seal
on earth and in heaven—to loose on earth and in heaven. I know also
another thing—that I hold that authority in connection with him; and
not only do I, but hundreds of others. All those who do should be one
with him, the same as the branches are one with the trunk and the
roots of a vine. For it is impossible for a branch to continue in the
vine and bear fruit, if it is not one with the vine. I think you
understand the simple and beautiful comparison used by Jesus Christ
where he says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away and every
branch that beareth fruit, he pruneth it, that it may bring forth more
fruit." This applies particularly to this principle of oneness.
Jesus Christ spoke very frequently by comparison, and no doubt used
that style of language because it is the most impressive. I speak a
great deal by comparison, and know of no better way to express myself
and make plain to my hearers the idea or principle that is on my mind.
What a pleasure it would be to us to see every Elder of Israel
partaking freely of the Spirit and power of God, being clothed with
the power and realizing the responsibility of his calling, and
separating himself from the wickedness of the world, that we might be
one in Christ, as he is one with the Father, that the Holy Ghost might
take up his abode with us, and abide with us continually, showing us things to come, and bringing things to our remembrance.
All those who possess this Spirit cannot help becoming Prophets, and
it would be as much in their nature to prophesy, as it is in the
nature of the fountain of City Creek to give out its constant supply
of water; and that fountain depends upon another for its supplies. So
the Holy Ghost taketh of the things of the Father, and revealeth them
unto us. There never was a fountain that had not itself a fountain
from which it drew its supplies; and so it is with the creation of all
things in heaven and in earth. It always was and always will be.
There are some people in our community who feel very much discouraged
for fear we shall have to leave the valleys and flee into the
mountains. Supposing we have to flee into the mountains, what of it? I
care not. I would as readily go into the mountains as stay in the
valleys, if it were the will of God. But we never shall be forced into
such circumstances, if we do right. I have told you, President Young
has told you, and hundreds of others have told you that we never
should leave this country until the Lord wanted us to.
There was a man here a few days ago, who has been in the Church nearly
as long as I have, who told me we should have to leave the valleys and
flee into the mountains—into the secret chambers, and close our doors
around us. I told him the mountains were nothing more than sloping
masses of Mother Earth—that we were now in the chambers, and should
not yet go on to the roof. You need not trouble yourselves upon that
Let us be more diligent than ever in building and improving, in
cultivating the earth, and raising from it wheat, corn, flax, cotton,
fruit—everything necessary for our comfort and the sustenance of
life—sheep, and cattle, and horses, and all kinds of useful animals.
Cease to cultivate the earth, and it is impossible for us to exist in
life. It supplies us food and clothing, silver and gold, and precious
stones; yea, everything to comfort and bless our mortal
existence—everything to adorn, beautify, and embellish. Let us, then,
by a diligent and judicious cultivation of Mother Earth, and by a
careful husbanding of her products, work our way into permanent
independence as a people. Industry and true economy are the elements
of the independence of any people. If every man in this kingdom would
pursue this wise and profitable course, there would not exist among us
much more trouble.
The United States and all the nations of the earth are about to have
as much to do as they can attend to, without troubling us. Not many
years will pass away before we will build our temple here, and the
sons and daughters of the Almighty will enter into it and receive the
endowments and blessings that are in store for the faithful. But do
not expect that I shall prophesy that that house will be built without
hands. Though the kingdom that was to be set up in the last days,
according to the Prophet Daniel, was compared by him to a stone that
was cut out of the mountain without hands, we cannot suppose that
temples can be built without hands. The Prophet had reference, no
doubt, in this comparison to a block of rock detached by an invisible
power from a mountain side, which commenced in its rough and
unpolished state to roll down to the plains beneath.
Joseph Smith, in his day, used similar comparison when speaking of
men who are polished. He compared them to a smoothly polished stone,
which, when set to rolling, would lose all its fine polish, and turn
up marred and bruised, without even leaving a line to mark its course.
On the other hand, set a stone to rolling that is unpolished
and rough from the mountain side, and it will do great execution in
its course, and leave a visible path behind it, and become smoother as
it rolls. Joseph compared himself to a rough stone. What is the use of
polishing stones for building purposes before they are taken out of
It is not always the outward appearance that shows the true man. That
man who has a good heart is very apt to manifest outwardly good
fruits. There are thousands in this place who are nearly as good as
they can be at the present time, though the next minute it is possible
for them to be better.
People talk much about time and eternity, and they say they do not
care so much for eternity as they do for time. And again, others say
they do not care so much about time as they do about eternity. They do
not think for a moment what they are talking about. What is time?
(striking the pulpit.) That is all there is about it. That little
circumstance of my striking the pulpit is in eternity. It is eternity
on the right and on the left, behind and before, and the time being,
as it appears to us, is the center of it. So we pass on from time to
eternity every day we live. We are in eternity, in eternity. Civilized
nations have divided a portion of eternity into seconds, minutes,
hours, days, months, and years for their own convenience, to mark
their passage through time.
The uncivilized, or savage tribes of men, the American Indians, for
instance, have no other calendar than incidents in nature, such as the
rising and setting of the sun—hence they count by so many sleeps; the
full and dark of the moon—hence they count by so many moons. In
short, the only idea we have of time is gathered from natural
phenomena in eternity. We might introduce here a beautiful comparison
of a ship in the middle of the Atlantic. Is it not a pathless waste of
waters all around to the passengers on board, except on the frail
timbers where they stand? So it is with eternity, with this
difference—eternity is shoreless.
Let the brethren and sisters come to the conclusion that now is the
time to set out anew, and then continue from this time henceforth and
forever in doing right. If any of you have been in the practice of
drinking spirituous liquors to excess, cease at once the wicked and
destructive practice. If such a practice is committed, it has its
time, and makes its mark on the broad face of eternity: if you cease
the practice, no time is given to it, and it cannot leave its trace on
eternity from that instant until you again commit the same wrong. This
reasoning will apply to every other wrong committed by the children of
Let us spend time in doing right, and we shall receive in the Lord's
time right for right, grace for grace. If we do not associate with the
wicked world any more than is unavoidably necessary for the time
being, do you think they will have anything in common with us in
eternity, or we with them? No. This is all I have to say now about
time and eternity.
If we were to take the right course, it would not be long before we
should be nearly independent of supplies from abroad. It would not be
long ere we should be able to sustain ourselves independently, and
then with greater ability bring about the purposes of our God; and
this would make all men amenable to him and to his rule. A man will
give all he has to save his natural existence for the time being; at
the same time he can neglect with perfect impunity the things that
pertain to his eternal existence and interests.
Is it not better for us with one accord to determine to be
Saints indeed—to live our religion every moment by serving our God and
keeping his commandments? How can a man keep the commandments of God
and suffer himself to be dishonest, to be deceitful, to steal, and
take the advantage of his neighbor in every possible way, and lie to
him to gain a dollar? A man cannot both be a Saint and be dishonest.
No doubt the dispositions of the parents have some influence in laying
the foundation of the character of the child, morally and physically;
and God, in one of his revelations to Joseph Smith, has said, "But
behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the
foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten; Wherefore, they
cannot sin, for power is not given to Satan to tempt little children,
until they begin to become accountable before me; For it is given unto
them even as I will, according to mine own pleasure, that great things
may be required at the hands of their parents." And Jesus said,
"Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of
such is the kingdom of heaven."
How do people become dishonest? By, in the first place, yielding to
temptation, and suffering the spirit which is in them to become
contaminated by the power of the evil one. Men become confirmed
drunkards by nourishing a depraved appetite for spirituous liquor, and
thus they become slaves to a destructive habit.
If men by their organizations were compelled to steal, to murder, and
do a thousand other evils, they could not be held accountable, and the
agency of man would be destroyed. Satan tempts men to evil, and they
have power to resist the temptation. The more sin is cultivated, the
stronger it grows, until it binds down men with strong chains.
Satan whispers in the ears of those who list to obey him, "Lie a
little, deceive a little, take the advantage of your neighbor a
little, drink whiskey a little: it will not harm you" —leading them
along, as it were, with silken cords, until he binds them with his
strong chains, and readily leads them down to destruction.
Do you inquire whom I mean? I mean those who are guilty. Are there any
of this character here? Yes; I see some of them now. Are they to be
seen disgracing themselves in the public streets? Yes: you may go down
into "Whiskey Street," and you can see them every day. How does it
appear in the eyes of good men and in the eyes of God and angels, when
they see those professing to be Saints and Elders in Israel, holding
the Priesthood of God, drinking whiskey and swaggering with those who
hate God and his people, who, if they had the power, would kill
President Young, and me, and Daniel, and any of our friends who are
determined to uphold and sustain righteousness?
The scene that occurred down that street on Christmas day is still
fresh in our minds. O heavens! What a celebration of the day on which
Christ the Savior of the world was born! O horrible example! For men
professing to be Saints and friends of God, with murder in their
hearts, to thirst for each other's blood! The duty of the Seventies
and Elders of this Church is plainly defined. I would separate all
such unprofitable branches from the vine, and let them wither and be
burned. I say unto you Seventies—ye authorities of the Church of God,
You are not doing your duty if you do not do this.
President Young has cried unto you loud and long, ye Elders of Israel;
and he has shaken his garments, and the responsibility is upon you. It
seems as though you cannot prune the vineyard, in the righteousness of
your calling, unless he shall step forward and do it at the
peril of his own life. Hear this, ye Bishops and Elders, for I will
tell you of it. Why do not you do your duty? "Why," some of you,
perhaps, can say in great truthfulness, "I was drunk myself last week,
and dare not, for fear of being told of it." Then go forward and
repent of your sins before the people, and then step forward and
separate; take the diseased sheep from the rest of the flock.
O ye Elders of Israel! How long are you going to sit under these
things in tame inactivity and let the wickedness of the world debauch
and lead away this people? How long shall we wait for you to go
forward in the faithful performance of your duties? Shall we have to
wait until the Spirit shall say, "Cut off the unprofitable servants?"
In the few remarks I have made, I have expressed my feelings very
pointedly, and mean what I say.
I am now near sixty years of age, and I have no need of spirituous
liquor. I do not use it. I feel much better without it than with it.
Without it, I enjoy the natural exercise of the functions of my
nature; whereas, were I to use it, the opposite would be the case.
I look upon men who keep whiskey shops, and vend it, in the same light
as I do those who frequent such places, and get drunk, and swear, and
wallow in the mire. A few days ago a drunkard was severed from the
Church; and it will not be long before more of them will be, if they
do not repent.
Would I suffer a wicked man to hire any house to sell whiskey in? No.
If I did, the moment he went out of it I would put fire to it, and
clean the whole thing out.
There are men whom we have nourished and cherished in our midst, and
purchased their goods, and comforted them, invited them to our
parties, and blessed them, and made them rich; and for the space of
nine years and over they have been lurking like an adder in our path.
Will I still feed them? Yes, when they are hungry and destitute. But
will I cherish them to cut my throat? That is what you are doing. You
are nourishing men who would cut our throats the very first
opportunity. Why do you do it? Because they sell goods a little
cheaper than they can be manufactured here. Let us send for our own
goods, and raise in our own country, as much as possible, all the
staple articles of our own consumption.
Let us love according to the order of God, according to the principles
of righteousness and truth. It is not the tabernacle that I love, but
the spirit that dwells in it—not the tenement, but the tenant. Why
should I love the poor, sickly, frail body that is daily going back to
the dust? Let us place our affections upon spiritual and heavenly
things, that endure forever, and not upon things that are earthly and
perish with the using; but let us regard them in the light for which
they were created by the Great Creator and Ruler of the universe.
Money was not made to worship, but to be a convenience. You cannot eat
it, but you can buy bread with it, which will keep you from
starvation. When I was in London, I used to think I was well off if I
could get two penny loaves a day and a little water. The pennies were
of no use to me, only to buy the bread. So with all earthly things. As
I have already said, Let us love heavenly things; let us place our
affections upon the things that are eternal. I honor, love, and
reverence the spirit of a good man who honors his calling. I do not
care if he has but one eye, one arm, or one leg.
You may take away almost any member from the body, and the
head can live, though it may not accomplish the same amount of good as
it could if all the members were healthy and in active usefulness. The
head is the mainspring of the body, the center of light and
intelligence. Take away the head, and the natural body ceases to live
and to be intelligent. If the man who leads us was destroyed, it would
very materially affect the body. But if every one of this people
should turn away but him, he holds the Priesthood and power of God
just the same. All those who hold the Priesthood and honor their
callings can put it upon others in every part of the earth where they
may be in the discharge of their duties.
May God bless you, brethren! Peace be upon you! The peace and blessing
of God be multiplied upon all the righteous here—upon all the
righteous that are in the east, in the west, in the north, and in the
south, throughout the extension of the whole earth! May this blessing
be upon the righteous, and upon their righteous seed after them for
May he help you to withdraw yourselves from unrighteousness and cleave
to righteousness in time, and then you are eternally in it. May the
Lord comfort the righteous, and help them to overcome the little
evils. It is the little frivolous disputing and contention in families
that creates the greatest difficulties and troubles, and hinders us
from merging into the blessings of God, and from that communion with
the Holy Ghost we might enjoy. Now, ye Elders of Israel, step forward
and do as you have been told in righteousness and truth. If you are
not righteous, repent and begin anew. Amen.
- Heber C. Kimball