I rejoice in the Gospel of salvation. It is the first of all things
upon this earth to me and to everyone who has received its fulness
and the light and glory of the Spirit that accompanies it.
I have been highly gratified with the remarks just made by brother
Bywater: they were truthful and to the point. Also, to what brother
Kimball has just said, my heart responds, Amen.
In teaching the ways of life and salvation, a teacher seldom fully
explains all the ideas he advances, and the light of the Spirit is
necessary for their comprehension. I frequently throw out a part of an
idea, or an idea without explanation; and some will understand, while
others do not. The Spirit of the Gospel is the fountain of salvation;
the Spirit of revelation attends the Gospel, and without that Spirit
no man can understand it. Brother Bywater alluded to the consistency
of the system adopted by this people; yet it is a great mystery to
that portion of the inhabitants of the earth who do not fall in love
with the truth and embrace it in their faith.
False ideas and false principles are as tenaciously adhered to by
those who imbibe them in their faith as is the truth by those who love
it. I presume that the worshippers of idols in China, Japan,
Hindostan, &c., were we to enter their congregations and tell them
that our religion differs from theirs, would be as astonished as we
are that they see and understand things as they do. They are as
tenacious of and as sanguine in their belief—as enthusiastic in their
religion as ever a true Saint was or can be in his. When I contemplate
the endless variety in the dispositions, understandings, temperaments,
countenances, and organizations of people, I am not surprised that
there are those who do not understand things as I do. I expect people
to have their own peculiar views, forms, principles, and notions. In
consequence of this great variety, we should not be astonished if all
do not believe the Gospel—do not love the truth.
When Jesus was on the earth, he reproved sin, taught righteousness,
strove to save the Jews, and deliver the Gospel to the nations of the
earth; but the Jews could or would not understand things as they were.
He came to save, not to destroy; but the Jews took a course through
which they were afflicted and scattered among the nations of the
earth, and brought upon themselves that which they said—"Let this
man's blood be upon us and our children," though he was not disposed
to destroy, but to save them. Stephen prayed that those who stoned him
might be forgiven, as they knew not what they did. Jesus so prayed for
those who assisted in and consented to his death, when he was
crucified for the sins of the world. He was not astonished that all
people did not believe. They would not come unto him that they might
be saved; they would not come to the light that their deeds might be
It may be asked, Can people come to the light? Yes, all can, that
their evil deeds may be reproved—that they may forsake their
iniquities and receive the truth. But will all do so? No. Will all
people believe the truth? They will not. Cannot the inhabitants of the
earth submit to the Gospel? They can. Will they? No, they will not. Is
there a conviction upon the minds of the people, when they have heard
the Gospel preached, and where they have heard of it? Is there a
conviction conveyed by the Holy Spirit that this is the Gospel of
salvation? There is; and it cannot be denied without falsifying the
truth. This has caused the persecution we have received. We are
chastised for our sins, and by this means we are brought to
understanding. We have been persecuted because there is a conviction,
so far as they have heard the Gospel preached, that we have the truth.
This is the cause of the opposition against us.
Would a priest of any denomination oppose "Mormonism," if he was not
convinced that it is true? No. Were a man to come into this
congregation and relate something that every man, woman, and child
present knew to be false, who would take the trouble to disprove it?
We all know the statement to be false; consequently, we will not take
pains to oppose it. On the other hand, were there no conviction in the
sound of the Gospel to the minds of the people—that it is true—that it
is of and from God, who would take pains to oppose it? Let a person go
into a congregation of Methodists and try to prove that Jesus was an
impostor, that every system of religion is false, and that the Bible
is a matter of speculation got up by selfish divines expressly for
their own benefit; and who in that congregation would deem it worth
while to oppose views so erroneous to the minds of those who have
heard, from Sabbath to Sabbath, the doctrines of the Gospel preached,
so far as they understand them? No one, because to them the speaker's
views would be so obviously false.
No man can disprove a truth. This is why people are angry, and why
they contend against facts. They are fearful, and say at once, "If
this system is true, all others must fail." Why not rather every man
rise up and say, "Let God be true, let the truth remain, and let me
know the truth; that is what I want—I will submit to it; and let
every false theory and principle fall, to rise no more?" Will they do
this? No, they will not.
With regard to people's being confined—cramped—contracted, in their
liberties in the midst of these people, all that is required of anyone
is to cease to do evil and learn to do well. Brother Bywater observed
that he had never been in the least contracted, controlled, or in any
way infringed upon, with regard to doing good; neither has any man or
woman in this community. But there is a certain class here that say,
"We want so-and-so, such a piece of ground, or such other kind of
property;" and because they are not always gratified, right or wrong,
they say that they are curtailed in their liberty, and allege that
they are abused. Permit them to have their way, and what do they do,
or want to? Some of them wish to open grog shops, and have the people
patronize them, and get drunk. They wish to put the cup to your lips
and pour the strong drink down your throats, caring only for what is
in your pockets. They remind me of a Methodist priest in Iowa, after a
good collection. The money was on the table, and he wished the people
to sing; so he struck up, "This is the God we adore."
Others, of the class alluded to, wish to establish brothels in our
settlements; and because we will not permit it, they assert that they
are curtailed in their liberties and privileges. That class wish to
scandalize the name of every Saint on the earth, and ridicule the name
and character of the God we adore and serve; but we will not permit
them to do it here. They wish to ride through our streets blaspheming,
and damning everything and everybody that does not bow to their
corrupt practices; and because we will not permit it, they say that
they are oppressed and curtailed in their privileges. Oh, how they are
oppressed! They have not the privilege of serving the Devil quite as
much as they want to. They do not enjoy quite as much privilege to
steal our property, our horses, &c., as they wish to.
Do our enemies love the truth? No; they love lies, and make them. It
is acknowledged all the time that there are evildoers here; but are
they Saints? No. I am not going to give up the ship, or forsake my
religion, because there are those who do evil. I will stick to the old
ship Zion until every passenger, the crew, and every officer on board
are holy and live to God; and, God and good men being my helpers, we
will conquer, and we will run the ship into harbor—the haven of rest.
Be encouraged, all good men and women, and all you grumblers and
complainers, who think that you are curtailed and oppressed, and do
not enjoy liberty here, go elsewhere and get all the liberty you can.
We do not want you here; but if you stay, do not take the name of God
in vain, nor endeavor to corrupt and abuse everybody within your
We have some drunkards who halloo in the streets, and we bear with
them, and intend to as long as we can; and when we can bear no longer,
we will disfellowship them. We have men who are dishonest, and are as
yet obliged to have them; for the net gathers in the good and the bad.
We have the meanest and the best mixed together.
The Gospel we preach is the Gospel of salvation. It is the power of
God sent down from heaven. The Spirit of life, intelligence, and
reve lation is in it, and all who do not possess that Spirit do not
enjoy our holy religion.
May God bless you! Amen.