1854 April 7 Conference Address


1854 April 7 Conference Address



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George D. Watt

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Discourse by President Brigham Young,
Tabernacle. April 7th. 1854 2 P. M.
Presedent B. Young spoke after the yearly financial report of the Church, and the Perpetual emigrating fund was <were> read. resident B Young spoke as follows.
I have a few words to say on the reports you have just heard. As to the Perpetual Emagrating fund, if our Bren. will be faithful when they arrive here to refund what has been expended for them, as quick as possable, or as soon as conveniant; This fund is constituted so as to increase continualy; it is as good as money on interest at thirty three and a third percent; and instead of its running out it will eternally increase if men will be faithful and honest.
In the report you find many thousands of dollers reported that has not been donated to the fund; this increase is in consequence of the proper manegment of property. In buying waggons and teems we have managed it so as to save the fund any loss, but by exchanging, and dissposing of the property when it has arrived here we have on the whole gained.
Touching the Church report; if it could be explained to your understandings so that you could see it in a buisness light, it is plain the church is doing just as well with their funds as the Perpetual Emegrating fund Company is with theirs. It is on the increase: and by a proper management of property it will still increase more and more. This report shows and increase of sixty four thousand dollars within the last two years, to increase which the <that the> Church has never paid one days work <for> or one dime of money in the sape of tithing. But this increase is in consequence of properly applying property, as the old adage <is> has it, "It is not much of a trick to make a shirt but it is considerable of a trick to make a shift" so this increase is by making shifts instead of shirts, I have heretofore told the Conference if I was not a prophet I mean to prove myself profitable to this people, the Lord being my helper.
With regard to this earthly substance which it is necessary for us to handle, for we must eat and drink and we want houses to live in, carriages to ride in, besides numerous other comforts and means to make the Earth like the Garden of Eden, this is one branch of our business. To build up Zion is to build up cities to cultivate the earth and beautify it, and prepare ourselves for the society of God and angels, this brings into requisition every particle of mans a bility, he ought not for one moment to cease to acknowledge God in all things, He should be in all our thoughts we should worship him with an undivided heart and affection, and when we do this, we shall handle the things of this world so as not to abuse them, but we shall know what they are for and apple <convert> them to the use for which they were intended in the creation, if we build up Zion, ourselves, or the Kingdom of God on earth, we shall improve upon every talent, upon the means committed to us, and upon every moment of time the Lord permits us to live.
There is no doubt upon my mind but what many of the people are in a mystery with regard to tithing; some think they pay a great deal of Tithing, and are at a loss what is done with it, you have heard a true statement of facts in the report as they were taken from the Books at the Tithing Office. Let me ask you a question, can any of you who have brought the least thing into that Office for Tithing complain of its not being credited to you on the Books? Can any man say that he has worked half a day and not found it credited to his account? if there are such instances tis because they have not reported thems elves; there are many who will work when any thing particular is required to be done and ask no credit, but if credit is required for anything paid in or for labor done, go to the Books and see if you can find the first 25 Cents that has not been credited to those who wished it.
It is true we are doing a great deal, and expending a large amount of means in public works but who have we oppressed in paying for all the buildings and improvements we have made? Do the brethren feel as spirited and interested in paying their Tithing as they do in working for their own individual selves? do they work as faithful a days work when they are paying Tithing as they would expect a man to work for them? The report we have heard gives 11,000 dollars as the Cost of excavating the Temple Foundation, <is> are there not many Men who would take that job and do it for one fourth of the amount, so if there is any blame aledged as to the cost of that work, it must rest upon you for not more faithfully discharging your duty; every Dollar you pay into the Tithing Office is put to usury, not one Dollar of it is squandered, not a sixpence of it is laid out for naught, and we are all the time able to show that we handle and pay out 20 Dollars every time you pay in one. This increase is caused by properly appropriating the property. If any of you are still dissatisfied you are at liberty to go and question the Clerks and the Men that handle this property, & that do as they are told, get them to open up the subject to you for they can show you how every dollar of it has been expended.
Inasmuch as the people are satisfied with the dealings and the doings of their President, I have thought to propose a closer system of business than we have yet had in practice. I would like to propose something to this Conference that if it could be received and lived up to would unite this people more than anything they have yet practised in their lives, there is no act of their lives would tend to unite them more perfectly into one than the system I wish to propose to the Conference. First of all I should present myself as the first person to enter into it, but I will not venture to do so before this Conference, unless those who are acquainted with me and have been for many years, are convinced and do know, that Brigham & I with the help of the Lord are indeendant of the Tithing Office and this Church so far as getting our living conserned and have been, for 20 & odd years, that we have preached the gospel, maintained a large family and made thousands of dollars worth of property by our own economy and the help of the Lord. If the people are convinced that Brigham and I can maintain ourselves and our family and then feed the hungry clothe the naked among <my> our poor brethren, I am ready to propose a closer system of business, but if we <I> have not done this we <I> shall not present our<my>self as a Member of the Firm. Though we <I> made a great deal of money before we <I> came into this Church we <I> never was prospered in it but from the time we <I> was baptized to this day, we <I> have never put my <our> hands to anything that God has not pospered. <and he I> we have labored at nights to support our <my> family, have made property and increased it by changing it but where is there a Man in Israel, or not in Israel that can say we <I> have ever wronged him out of one farthing. If there be such a person and he present himself to us <me> we <I> will restore to him an hundred fold. <The first fie years> after we <I> gathered with the eople of God, Joseph said to the Elders "never put forth your hands again to build up a Gentile City, <this instruction I have strictly obeyed for> My hand has never been stretched forth <from that day> to take up a Tool for that purpose. What I have done has been for the huilding up of this" <people> place. Joseph told me to build up the Saints, and the first 5 years I lived with them it was in as hard a place as ever a man lived in but I scraped together thousands of dollars by the help of the Almighty and the labor of mine own hands and I at the same time travelled and preached for I never saw the day, whereon I refused to go on a Mission or that I was not ready to go. If this Conference is convinced that I am able to maintain myself and do a great deal more I am ready to enter into a closer system of business and for a conmencement I propose myself a Member of the Association and, <I> shall call upon all the Saints who are able to maintain themselves and do something more, to join the firm, and those who are not able to take care of themselves and are not willing to work we shall not receive as Members <of this firm>; I shall deed every particle of my property to the Church, so that I shall not own anything separate and apart from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I want every Man to do the same who can maintain themselves and do something more, and by this means we will make the Church almighty rich. If the conference is satisfied that I can do all I say I offer my name to stand first on the List as a Member of the firm dedicating myself my wives my children and all I possess to the Kingdom of God.
Now this will perhaps try somebody or other, I will tell you who it will <not> try, those who do not wish to work and live by borrowing bread for breakfast and dinner, etc., it <would> will try them severely but we do not want them in the firm. I am perfectly willing to take the poor in, but if I stand as a Member in this firm my voice will be heard in it, and I shall dictate the future life of the poor in that capacity in husbanding their physical and mental pcwers for their good and the good of the firm, I will put them and all the Lord has given me out to usury; a great many people do not want to put themselves to usury, and others do not know how, but I can tell them how. I can take the poorest class of this community that have neither house nor home horse, ox, nor cow, nor vessels to cook their victuals in, and put them in a position so that in 5 years they will be as independantly rich as to the comforts of this life as any man in this Territory with the blessings of the Lord. For all I have the Lord has given to me, and I feel happy for the priviledge of giving it back to him to dispose of it as seemeth him good.
If I should get up such a firm as this I wonder if there are men here who would be afraid that Brigham would want to be the President of it and want some of their property, I have so much property now that I do not know what to do with it. There is nothing more troublesome to me than to have property, and be under the necessity of hiring men around me to help me to take care of it, and see them serve with a slack hand, and waste my substance: the Lord gave it to me to see what I would do with it, and I never expect to see the time that I shall possess enough to warrant me in wasting one kernel of Grain, so no man need be afraid that I shall want their property. If I could get a Company of men that will be true to me I could set all Creation to work and make them as rich as they want to be.
I wish now to say a few words upon Tithing. Brethren and Sisters; you that feel oppressed in paying Tithing I beg of you to pay no more, if we should get up this firm we shall have plenty of property to build our contemplated Temple, we shall have all we want and more than we know what to do with; at present we do not owe a single red Cent but what we are able to countout of our pockets and pay up and have plenty of money left, and when that is done we know how to get more without going to California for it.
Some of the brethren think they pay a great deal of Tithing. I am inclined to find a little fault with you though you do ery well. I wish to address myself to the Bishops of about 19 Wards belonging to this City. Some three or four weeks ago you called out your Wards to pay their Labor Tithing now let me ask you what you thought we had for you to do, that would advance this Kingdom one farthingsworth at that Season of the year. I know you did not see a single days work that you could do to advance your own interests one particle, and you hit upon this as the most proper time to work for the Lord, and the men turned out in a perfect rush, there were hundreds of them piled up together. Bro Cahoon had them three deep. and I have sat and looked and seen more than 100 Men standing still to give a few others a chance to work. Now Brethren this is the way you pay your Tithing, we however took a turn upon you. I went to the City Council and took the job of making a Canal for the Water of the City Creek that you might do something to advantage this Community. But as soon as <no sooner than> you could put your ploughs into your gardens, then when we want your labor and the labor of your teams can we get them? no; you will be at work for yourselves, this is the way you pay so much Tithing and in a way that it will not advance the cause of God unless we take in turns on you and make your labor profitable.
Look at the Tithing Store here some three or four years ago, there was not room to contain the produce that was brought in and we had to make cellars so that we could shovel them full of wheat, the upper Rooms were full, the Cellars were full, and the Barn was filled, we had about 7000 Bushels of Wheat on hand at that time; there was a Complaint then among the people, they said, "O, Wheat is good for nothing," I told the Brethren they would see the time they would want it. What has been the situation of our Store this last year and the year before now the people have got knowledge enough to see that Wheat would not spoil to lay over a year, and that there will be a sure market for it in one or two years, our store is empty; I will venture to say that we have not received one bushel to 50 that has been raised in this Territory this season. If money was very plentiful I expect we should never see another bushel of wheat at the Tithing Office, for the Community would want to pay their Tithing in money. Some few bring their wheat those who can see how things are, others wear spectacles with glasses that correspond to the inner man, They can see no further than what pertains to their own interests. Brethren if you want to be rich in the things of this world and in the things of eternity if you want to increase & to spread abroad, strive to build up the Kingdom of God or you will sink, you will decrease. I wish I had the power to impress upon the minds of this community the necessity of paying their honest Tithing regardless of self, and their families, and their farms, their carriages, their horses of <and> their own greedy eyes, and oftheir lustful heart. If they would do this we should have enough to gather the poor from the nations of the Earth and pour into the Perpetual Imigrating Fund scores of Thousands of Dollars every year, and have enough for home consumption left. But you must think for yourselves, pray for yourselves, and have faith for yourselves, and all you do to secure eternal life you have got to do it for yourselves. I cannot do it for you nor you for me, but if you will pay your Tithing as you ought to pay it, and give your labor when we want it and trust in God for the result, after paying attention to the calls made upon you for building up the Kingdom of God and also to <for> the increase of your labor on your farms and at your homes, you will get rich much quicker than you will by pursuing an opposite course. If this community really want to become wealthy there is a way for you to do it, but you cannot do it in and of yourselves, you are not capable so long as you have <own> not the capital stock on hand to commence with, a great many have not the ability to lay a foundation to get <it> the capital stock but let this community be organized in a family capacity, and let the Father of the family dictate to every Member of his Household and be obeyed strictly by them, they could accumulate all they could wish or ask for. This people never will be rich as a people until they take that course but there will always be those who need to be administered to both those who are healthy and well and those who are feeble and weak and unable to help themselves. But organize this Church in a family capacity and let them cultivate the Earth, enter into Merchandizing, stock raising and every thing else that tends to increase, and this community will become as rich as Cesors, they could gather around them everything they wanted and it would not be more than ten years, before they could manufacture everything in their midst which is now exported from the States, and retain the gold and silver in this Territory instead of giving it to merchants to carry away, but on the other hand we could fill the Territory with Gold and Silver with our own exports and obtain for ourselves every thing that the heart of man can wish for. This is true besides <and> a great deal more. <I>
I now propose that every man and female that are capable of sustaining themselves and a little more, <shall> deed every particle of property they possess to the Church, and then let the Bishop give to every man that which he wants and do what <with the rest as> he pleases with the rest. And let the Bishop act like a Bishop.