"Knowledge of the Saints a Cause of Consolation Under Affliction - Children Heirs to the Kingdom of God - Power of the Gospel to Unite Parents and Children - Blessings of Obedience, Etc." (November 29, 1864)

Title

"Knowledge of the Saints a Cause of Consolation Under Affliction - Children Heirs to the Kingdom of God - Power of the Gospel to Unite Parents and Children - Blessings of Obedience, Etc." (November 29, 1864)

Description

Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (Liverpool: F.D. Richards, et al., 1855-86) 10:365-368.
Remarks by President Brigham Young, Elder George Q. Cannon, and President Heber C. Kimball, made November 29, 1864 at the funeral of J. S. Kimball, Son of President H. C. Kimball, who departed this life on 27 Nov. 1864.
Reported by Unknown.

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Sermons

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1864/11/29

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After singing, prayer was offered up by Elder G. Q. CANNON, when President B. YOUNG arose and said: When we are called upon, to pay our last respects to the remains of our friends, and to consign to the tomb that which belongs to it, and to condole with the relations of the departed loved ones, we are brought face to face with one of the stern realities of our existence, and the moans and sorrows of the bereaved lacerate our feelings with anguish. To part with our children is very grievous; it overwhelms us with pain and sorrow; but we have this ordeal to meet and pass through. It might appear that we should become passive and unconcerned, when so common an occurrence as death overtakes our children and friends; that it would cease to excite gloomy and mournful feelings within us; this, however, is not the case, although the Saints are more moderate in their lamentations for the dead than the rest of the world. This moderation in their grief, arises from their superior knowledge of principles, which pertain to the inner life, and the immortality of the soul. "Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!" Again, it is written. "Thou shalt live together in love, in- [366] somuch as thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection. And it shall come to pass that those who die in me, shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them; And they that die not in me, wo unto them, for their death is bitter."
While the sympathies of our hearts, are drawn out for those who mourn the loss of dear ones, at the same time it gives us comfort, and happiness, and rejoicing to see that the departed have made themselves so loved and respected as to call from their friends, such manifestations of love and respect. These displays of tenderness are more marked in those who live the nearest to the Lord, not so much by wild, ungovernable bursts of anguishes in cries and tears, as by a grief that is chaste and subdued, by the knowledge of the future state of the spirits of the departed, and the hope of the resurrection from the dead. We are not ignorant concerning them which are asleep, nor sorrow as others which have no hope: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first." If we mortals are so sensitive at the loss of our friends, what must be the sensations of those who have passed from mortality to immortality -- who are made holy, and drink at the fountain of all intelligence, and are filled with the glory and power of God in the heavens -- who are sanctified and glorified -- and who can see and understand the awful consequences of sin, and disobedience to the commandments of God -- when their friends wander from the path of truth, until they are forever separated, both in this world and in the next? Their grief must be very intense, yet they no doubt possess corresponding intelligence, power, and ability to overcome their sensations, and to submit patiently to all the dispensations that affect this and that existence with which they and we are so intimately connected. What must be the feelings of our Father in heaven, at the disobedience of his children! And what must be the feelings of our fathers, who are behind the veil, when their children despise the counsels of the Lord, and neglect their duties to themselves, and to the Kingdom of God upon the earth, for such a course will lead to their everlasting separation! The Lord says of Israel of old, "I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider." What love and sorrow is conveyed in this quotation!
We have hope, that when we are called to separate with our friends here, it is only for a short season, for we shall soon go to them. This hope, which is blooming with immortality and eternal life, is not enjoyed by the wicked world; hence, we do not mourn as they do, at the loss of our friends. It is very grievous to be robbed of our children by death; still it is right, and such afflictions are pregnant with good to the faithful. When we, as the people of God, perform our duties according to the best of our abilities, and are united therein, there is no circumstance that can transpire in this life, that will not be overruled for our best possible good. This we shall see by-and-by. When the Lord suffers children of all ages to be taken from us, it is for our good, and for theirs. Let us learn to receive the providences of God cheerfully, and with a kind submission, relying upon him, for our confidence, our hope and our all is in him, and all things shall work together [367] for our good. I am well satisfied of this.
Questions are often asked, why our children die, why they are not permitted to live, to fill their earthly destiny, and become fathers and mothers of their race. Many are the physical causes, which lead to the death of our children and friends, before they have lived out the days allotted to them, that, in consequence of our ignorance of the laws of life and health, we are not yet able to overcome; neither have we yet attained to faith sufficient to overcome disease and death entirely in our families. But the Lord has not left us without consoling words for our comfort, when we lose our children, for it is written: "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 unto 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 hand of their fathers."
It is hard for the mother of the deceased boy before us, to part with her son. It wrings from her heart bitter anguish, to see him committed to an untimely grave; but we ought not to allow any great sorrow, to wear upon our mortal tabernacles so as to waste them away, and cut us off from performing that good, which we otherwise might live to perform. Though we cannot altogether avoid grief under sore trials, yet we can overcome excessive sorrow, through faith in the Lord Jesus, and by calling upon the Father in his name -- and that is all we can do. I can sympathize with brother Heber C. Kimball and his wives, in their bereavements, for they have lost many children, as well as others of our brethren and sisters. But, it is consoling to think, that when our children are taken from the earth in their infancy, they are safe, for they are redeemed, and of such is the Kingdom of heaven: they have the promise of a glorious resurrection, to share in glory with those, who are brought forth, to enjoy the blessings of the sanctified. This is a matter of rejoicing to us; and the reflection ought to comfort the mourners, on the present occasion. It gives me no less joy to think, that the inhabitants of the earth, will not have to suffer and endure, the wrath of an angry God to all eternity. It gives me exceedingly great joy to understand, that every child that has been taken from this mortality to the spiritual world, from the day that mother Eve bore her first child to this time, is an heir to the celestial Kingdom and glory of God; and to understand also that the inhabitants of the earth who have been deprived of the fullness of the Gospel -- who have been deprived of the privileges which we enioy -- will be judged, in equity and truth, according to the deeds done in the body, and that every person will receive, according to his merits or demerits. But when members of the Kingdom of God -- we who have received an unction from the Holy One -- are froward in our ways, and will not abide the laws He has given unto us, but will violate our covenants with our Heavenly Father, and with one another, we are the ones that will suffer in the next existence, if we do not repent, and retrace our steps before it is too late; it is not those who have lived and died without law.
As a general thing, yea, almost without exception, the children of parents who are members of this Church, are good, true, and faithful, and full of integrity. It is true, that, when they grow up to manhood, some of them turn away, and wander [368] away from their parents; but, I do not think an instance can be pointed out, where a child has left his parents or parent, who has been trained according to the laws of the Gospel, with proper parental indulgence and restriction. If parents understood how to conduct themselves properly, towards their children, they would bind the affections of their children to them as firmly, speaking comparatively according to the intelligence they enjoy, as the affections of angels are bound to the Gods of eternity. The children of this people are good children. They have the same temptations to endure as others have, yet, almost without an exception, I can assure you that they are good, faithful and true. How important it is, that we should teach our children the way of life and salvation, preserve them in the truth and in their integrity! These noble, Godlike principles should be instilled in them in their youthful days, that when they grow up, they may never feel a disposition to deceive, or to commit iniquity, or turn away from the holy commandments of the Lord, but have power to control and govern themselves, subduing every inclination to evil, and every ungovernable temper, that they may secure to themselves eternal life. It is right to mourn over our dead. It is pleasing to the heavens when strong parental affection is manifested; it is justifiable before the heavens, for they are full of the affections and love that we only have in part, for ours is mixed with sin and impurity.
I can say to brother Heber C. Kimball and to his family, no matter whether your children exist in this life, or in the spirit world, they that put their trust in the Lord will never be destroyed; for the Lord will preserve his own, and the Psalmist has written, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." The seed of the righteous will never be found begging bread; for the Lord will provide for his people in the latter days. He has defended us so far, and has fought our battles, has led us to victory, and blessed us with houses and lands, with friends, and with an abundance of the comforts of life. We are filled with peace, joy and consolation. We mingle with those who love the truth, and this is one of the greatest boons that can be enjoyed by those who love the truth, and delight in it. We are not under the necessity of mingling with the ungodly; we may see them in our streets, and in our houses occasionally; but we are not obliged to fellowship their wickedness; we can keep ourselves perfectly aloof, from their wicked influences. We are not under the necessity, of hearing the name of the God we love and serve blasphemed, or of hearing good men spoken evil of and reviled; for, if we try to avoid witnessing such evils, we can do so for ourselves and for our children, and lead the latter forth in the knowledge of God. I say to this family, and to the brethren and sisters, who have met here to condole with them, may God bless you all. Do not be cast down, sister Ellen; but bear up as well as you can under this bereavement. To part with our children wrings our hearts. Then let us never conduct ourselves in that way towards them, that will cause us mourning when they are laid upon the bier; but let our treatment of our children be such, that, if they should be laid a lifeless corpse before us, we may feel happy and satisfied on that account.