Previous to the arrival of our brethren, the lately returned
missionaries, I had requested brother Harvey Whitlock to address the
congregation today, for my own satisfaction; and I will give you the
reason. In 1834 I went to Missouri. After the brethren had been driven
from Jackson County, I saw brother Harvey Whitlock, and heard him
converse only a very few minutes; and from that time I have not had
the privilege of hearing him preach until today, although I have
greatly desired it, from the short conversation we had twenty-four
I shall give way for the missionaries when I have said enough to
satisfy my own mind.
I am very well satisfied with brother Whitlock's discourse; but I wish
to make a little addition.
The people called "Mormons" by the world have a peculiarity about them
that is understood by very few. In a great degree it is not
comprehended even by the Church, and yet they acknowledge it. The
nature of that peculiarity is simply this: The Gospel of
salvation—the Priesthood of the Son of God—is so ordered and
organized, in the very nature of it, being a portion of that law of
heaven by which worlds are organized, that it is calculated to
enlighten the children of men and give them power to save themselves.
It is of the same nature as the further principles of eternal
existence by which the worlds are and were, and by which they will
endure; and these prin ciples are pure in their nature, from the fact
that they are of God, who is pure: but, without the revelation of the
SPIRIT OF GOD, NO MAN can understand them. That is the peculiarity
there is about this mysterious work, and the whole world are
astonished at the unity of this people.
"How is it that this great people can be controlled by one man?" is
the question. To a certain extent they can be controlled and form a
unit, though not as much so as they will when they rightly learn and
practice the true principles of union. You may theorize and prove by
philosophy—in fact, convince the world, theoretically, of the
blessings of unity; and yet there is no union among them. What is the
reason? Because they will not be governed by the Spirit of God. We may
correctly say that there is no difficulty in convincing people of the
truth of the work in which we are engaged. We send our Elders into the
world, in the midst of all the religion and philosophy of the day, and
"Mormonism" takes them up and weighs them "in the balances,"
Prophet says of the Lord's measuring the seas in the hollow of his
hand, and taking up the mountains as a very little thing. A person who
understands the truth of the principles and doctrines we preach and
believe in can handle the religions and philosophy of the day as a
small matter; consequently, it is not difficult to convince the world.
There is but very little difficulty in convincing every person who
will hearken to reason. You can convince them; but what is the
difficulty brother Whitlock was speaking of? The majority of the human
family do not love the truth, and many forsake it after they have
To me it is evident that many who understand the truth do not govern
themselves by it; consequently, no matter how true and beautiful truth
is, you have to take the passions of the people and mold them to the
law of God, and nothing less will accomplish that union and salvation
which we are striving for. There is no other principle, spirit, or
power that will cause people to adhere to the truth. Take this whole
people: they know that "Mormonism" is true as well as they know that
the sun now shines; their judgments, their feelings, and their hearts
convince them that it is true. There is no saving faith merely upon
the principle of believing or acknowledging a fact. Take a course to
let the Spirit of God leave your hearts, and every soul of you would
Do you think that people will obey the truth because it is true,
unless they love it? No, they will not. Truth is obeyed when it is
loved. Strict obedience to the truth will alone enable people to dwell
in the presence of the Almighty. Do people know this?
We see men and women leaving this people—this community. Are their
judgments convinced that "Mormonism" is not true? No; for they know
that it is true. What did Oliver Cowdery (one of three witnesses to
the Book of Mormon) say, after he had been away from the Church years
and years? He saw and conversed with the angel, who showed him the
plates, and he handled them. He left the Church because he lost the
love of the truth; and after he had traveled alone for years, a
gentleman walked into his law office and said to him, "Mr. Cowdery,
what do you think of the Book of Mormon now? Do you believe that it is
true?" He replied, "No, sir, I do not." "Well," said the gentleman,
thought as much; for I concluded that you had seen the folly of your
ways and had resolved to renounce what you once declared to be true."
"Sir, you mistake me: I do not believe that the Book of Mormon is
true; I am past belief on that point, for I KNOW that it is true, as
well as I know that you now sit before me." "Do you still testify that
you saw an angel?" "Yes, as much as I see you now; and I know the Book
of Mormon to be true." Yet he forsook it. Every honest person who has
fairly heard it knows that "Mormonism" is true, if they have had the
testimony of it: but to practice it in our lives is another thing.
When the people cleave to the Lord Almighty, receive of his Spirit,
and purify themselves continually, and walk in the light of the Lord,
they will never forsake their religion; they will be "Mormons" by day
and by night, and forever: in other words, they will be Latter-day
Saints. Every one of you know that these things are true. When men
come into this Church merely through having their judgments convinced,
they still must have the Spirit of God bearing witness to their
spirits, or they will leave the Church, as sure as they are living
beings. The Saints must become one, as Jesus said his disciples should
be one. They must have the Spirit testifying to them of the truth, or
the light that is in them will become darkness, and they will forsake
this kingdom and their religion. I wished to bear this testimony and
make this addition to what has been said by brother Whitlock.
Many of this congregation have left their homes, and, no doubt, are
anxious to learn the current news. It is needless for me to
rehearse the past. That we have all experienced. It is best to speak
of that which is before us, for our present acts prepare us to meet
the future. And, for their encouragement, I will ask the Latter-day
Saints, When and where has the Lord our God deceived us? You would all
answer, Never, and in no place. I would ask another question, with all
due deference to the God we serve, When have our leaders—those whom
God has placed to guide the affairs of his Church and kingdom upon the
earth—deceived us? Let any person, if he can, rise up and point out
the time and place when and where this people have been deceived by
their leaders. We have not been deceived by them; for which, God be
thanked. He is on Israel's side. His arm is almighty to save, and we
have a refuge that the world have not. Whether in peace or war, in
poverty or wealth, the Saints have a refuge that the ungodly have not.
We have the wisdom that the Almighty has incorporated in our
When people are dictated by the power of the Holy Ghost, there is but
little danger of that people or that community being led wrong: the
danger consists in your own neglect of your duty.
With some the question arises, Are we in danger from our enemies? No;
there is no danger, only in our neglecting the duties of a Saint. Are
we in danger now? No. Have we been? No. Shall we be? No, we shall not.
It has been written that many should be slain for the testimony of
Jesus; and, in my humble opinion, there have already been enough slain
to fulfil that prophecy. If I can live until I am one hundred and
thirty-five years old, I shall be perfectly satisfied to die a natural
death, and to believe the revelation fulfilled, without being slain by
my enemies. I strive to live to do good on this earth; and I have all
the time asked my Father in heaven, in the name of Jesus, to let me
depart, when I cease to do good; for I do not want to live any longer
than while I continue to do good. I want to live to oppose wicked men
and devils, until the last one of them are righteously disposed of,
though at times it is pretty hard work to get faith enough to desire
to live to stem such floods of ignorance and sin.
We are not in opposition to anything in earth or hell, except the
principle of death. God has introduced life, and it is the principle
of life that we are after. The power of the enemy is all the time
trying to destroy this life, and I am opposed to that power. I am at
war with it, and expect to be. I do not expect to cease my exertions
in a million of years hence, no more than I do today; but the world
is seeking that which will cause them to perish.
We are striving for eternal life, and are opposed to those who love
and have the power of death. We have the influence and the power of
life, and that necessarily brings us in opposition to those who prefer
the principles of death.
I do not wish to say anything in regard to the life and conduct of
this people: those things are before the world. And, as we have often
published, we challenge them to prove that we are not loyal subjects
of this Government and the kingdom of heaven. We have everything that
produces peace and comfort, and will advance all men in life and
happiness, so far as they will permit us.
Let this suffice, and I will give you the news. What is the present
situation of affairs? For us the clouds seem to be breaking. Probably
many of you have already learned that General Johnston passed through
Great Salt Lake City with his command under the strictest
discipline. Not a house, fence, or sidewalk has been infringed
upon by any of his command. Of course, the camp followers are not
under his control; but so far as his command is concerned while
passing through the city, he has carried out his promises to the
We told Commissioners Powell and McCulloch, in Conference and in
answer to questions, that we most assuredly believed all they said and
all that President Buchanan dictated them to say, so far as their
interest was concerned. We said that we believed that President
Buchanan would fulfil his words, when his own interests prompted him
so to do. We did not say whether he would, or not, in opposition to
We have reason to believe that Colonel Kane, on his arrival at the
frontiers, telegraphed to Washington, and that orders were immediately
sent to stop the march of the army for ten days. That savors of an
anxiety for peace. I expect to see, if the late advices of the
Government are carried out, that portion of the United States' army
now here have the privilege of going when the interest of the country
demand them, and the portion that was to start for this place ordered
in other directions. And when we hear certainly that there are no more
troops coming here, we will believe that the Government means peace,
just as their Commissioners have told us.
I can say, so far as the moves have been made since the President sent
his messengers of peace, that everything bids fair for the fulfillment
of so desirable a result, and that the President is doing all he can
to correct past bad management.
We have no shirt-collar dignity to sustain, for we have no character,
only such as our friends and enemies give us. It is only a shadow, and
we are willing that they should have the shadow, and make the name of
our President honorable, if we can. They are welcome to traduce our
character, if they choose; but they must not undertake to walk us
underfoot, contrary to every principle of the Constitution, right,
and law. The character of those who are such sticklers for it will
perish, for they are taking the downward road to destruction. They
will be decomposed, both soul and body, and return to their native
element. I do not say that they will be annihilated; but they will be
disorganized, and will be as though they never had been, while we will
live and retain our identity, and contend against those principles
which tend to death or dissolution. I am after life; I want to
preserve my identity, so that you can see Brigham in the eternal
worlds just as you see him now. I want to see that eternal principle
of life dwelling within us which will exalt us eternally in the
presence of our Father and God. If you wish to retain your present
identity in the morn of the resurrection, you must so live that the
principle of life will be within you as a well of water springing up
unto eternal life.
I frequently think, when our enemies try to destroy us, and are afraid
that "Mormonism" is going to overrun the country, what a pity it is
that they cannot see that "Mormonism" is the very principle that
preserves them. They cannot understand that. If they could see things
as they are, they would change their present course and be the
disciples of the Savior. They would say, "We will be one with you,
for we wish to dwell in all eternity and enjoy our rights and
happiness without molestation." All beings in the world might have
that privilege, for it is offered to all without money and without
price. We can prove by our Elders that we have offered them salvation.
They can accept and follow good or evil, just as they please,
and we desire the same privilege.
So soon as General Johnston finds a place to locate his command—when
we get news what he is going to do with his troops—we will go home.
Women, do not induce your husbands to go home just yet, but wait until
the proper time. It will not be long first. How would it have been if
this community had been at their homes at the present time? It is just
as much as can be done; day by day, to bear the reflection that
gamblers and corrupt men of every kind are coming into these valleys.
Do you not know that you are much better here than you would be if you
were nearer to them? The Government has been prejudiced against the
Saints because we would not submit to such corruption; and for that
alone we have been cast out and driven to these mountains. I am happy
in being able to say that gamblers and robbers have never dared to
establish themselves here. We can dwell in safety and in peace in
these mountains, if the people, who should be our friends and who
nourish and cherish such characters, would let us alone. We will never
permit any such practices in these mountains, God being our helper.
There has been much prejudice raised against us on account of Indian
depredations, notwithstanding the great trouble and expense to which
we have been subjected in preventing them, and without which no person
could have traveled across these mountains and plains. What is the
reason the Indians have acted so badly? Because of the practice, with
many emigrants, of killing the Indians wherever they could find them.
I can say to the nations of the earth that they may take these Indians,
with all their ignorance, and their not being brought up to labor, and
their being taught from their infancy to steal, and there are as noble
spirits among them as there are upon the earth. In this there is one
man in the Senate of the United States who, I think, agrees with me,
if there is nobody else; and that one is General Samuel Houston. He
has had experience, and has good sense. You will find as fine natural
talent among these Indians as among any people; and often, when one of
them, who has as kind a heart and good appearance as need be, walks up
to an emigrant camp with kindly feelings, he is shot down; and because
they are ignorant, they commit the error, in wreaking vengeance, of
confounding the innocent with the guilty.
Brethren, tarry where you are for a short time, and make yourselves
comfortable. If any of the sisters say they have not a house to live
in, they can go a short distance from their wagon, and get bushes,
and make a comfortable shade. What! Sisters go and get bushes? Yes.
The women can get bushes and make shades, and look as well, in my
estimation, in doing that, as in going round to gossip with their
neighbors. We came to these mountains about ten years ago; and have
you not as good kitchens, parlors, and bedrooms as there were then?
I can offer to you what I offered to Judge Snow, when he came into G.
S. L. City. He came to me and said—"Governor, I would like to rent a
house to comfortably shelter my family." I replied—"I will offer you
the same kitchen and parlor that I came into when I first came here.
I had a large room, canopied by the sky and walled by these mountains;
and if you can find any place that the people do not occupy, you are
welcome to it; but as for my hunting a house for you, I have not time
to do it. You can take the same liberty I did, and have the same
privilege I had when we first came here."
Brethren and sisters, God bless you all! Amen.