1858 May 23 Remarks in Provo

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1858 May 23 Remarks in Provo

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Sermons

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1858/05/23

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John B. Milner

extracted text

Remarks by Prest Brigham Young
Provo City May 23d 10 A. M.

I realize it is a privilege for people to assemble together and impart to each other the knowledge and intelligence they are in possession of. This should be the study of all intelligent beings to instruct those that are inferior to them in point of intelligence. This is the calling of celestial beings and the greatest difficulty with regard to the visits of heavenly beings is the want of intelligence in those to whom they communicate: I realize that the majority of men are in darkness and in ignorance though they seem to know and in their own estimation are extremly intelligent but their ignorance and darkness have prevented heavenly beings communicating to the children of men. As Bro. Amasa has justly stated the providences of God, his dealings with us are expresly <to> directed to import knowledge to his people in order to give them more knowledge, wisdom, intelligence, power, and glory as finite being than are enjoyed by any other people the present move is a good means whereby we can receive intelligence as no beings can realize or enjoy light without a knowledge of the opposite darkness. If intelligent beings in a finite state could have enjoyed the blessings of light in its fullest extent if there had been no darkness upon the face of the earth it would never have been introduced into this world No question but that our appreciation of light would be limited if there was no darkness. No question but if life could have been enjoyed if there was no death; death would have been forbidden to come here we cannot enjoy the principle of life in our systems untill we have experienced the opposite: All facts are demonstrated by their opposites consequently we must taste the bitter to know the sweet we must be partakers of these evils to know and enjoy the blessing of being free from them No being can be exalted in the kingdom of God in any other way than by knowing good or evil by having life and death within their reach to be capable of choosing or refusing consequently it is of neccessity that we should endure, that we should suffer all the privations we are called to endure in order that we may enjoy the blessings which God has prepared for
the faithful. To a certain extent I realize my own weakness ignorance, I realize the want of knowledge and intellgence in this people I must say that from the earliest period of my public carrer as destitute of language knowledge and intelligence as I ever have been I have never had to grapple with anything so difficult to contend with as ignorace in the people to whom I have had to administer. In the Providence and dealings of God with the people when we find intelligence communicated to them and they have opportunities of knowing many things and their knowledge is no more than they cannot help to know, and that intelligence and knowlege is not desired by the people is a difficulty which intelligence has to meet, and which is more disagreeable than anything else: when we are calld upon to teach the people their duty the will of god concerning us, if this people were doing the will of God constantly and were possesed of that knowledge which they might obtain there would be no necessity of their experiencing the opposite, but it is impossible for a person to learn in one day that which he can learn in a year. It is impossible in the growth of intelligence for beings to arrive at its perfection at once. It is absolutely necessary we should have a straight forward solid growth This our experience teaches us it is necessary to bring the opposite into requisition that every part may be school'd and qualified alike that all may grow up together till the kingdom becomes perfect; consequently it is neccessary in the experience of this people to pass through what they had to pass through It is necessary we should receive of the chastisement of the Lord which places the opposite upon the people It is necessary for us to be tried in our fcelings and in our faith, for us to be proven by the providences of the Lord before we can arrive to that fulness of eternal peace which can endure the presence of the Almighty If we are not experienced our glory will be diminished we cannot receive and enjoy the fulness of glory but we may receive an inferior glory, light and kingdom. If this people had the power to to comprehend, to know and understand the principles of eternal life they would magnify the holy priesthood which would glorify and exalt finite beings in the celestial kingdom of God. It is an eternal principle in the organization of society that light and darkness truth and error are in opposition one to the other. Jesus knew perfectly well the opposition he would receive and how was he received by the people? He was spoken evil of while upon the earth. Was it evil in him? Read his history and you will find his life more perfect than the life of any other person upon earth Yet he knew they would be opposed to him He knew and understood the principles of truth and that they would be opposed to him because he had the truth It has been taught to this people so that they might understand the principles which tend to life and those which pertain to dissolution or death, and this people have began to understand the principles of life and all who love the principles of dissolution or death are opposed to us because they want to destroy the principles of life They perfer the principles of death. They loved the same principles in the days of the Saviour at his last moments when Pontius Pilate could find no evil in him; he enquired into his doctrine was there anything in it to promote evil in society The Judge upon the bench could nothing of this in the doctrine or character of the Savior but entirely to the reverse that was the difficulty he was without blame and they feared him because of their iniquity Was there fault in him? Oh no; but no matter this man must be crucified we are afaid of him he influences the people. Is there evil in him? perhaps not, but he must suffer he leads the people he holds an influence over them he teaches them righteousness and if this man is left alone the Romans will come and take away our place and nation and if let alone he will gain influence to overthrow our evil and corrup institutions we are in precisely the same position. Is there evil in our doctrine No: there is not. If there is evil in the people it proves they do not live the doctrine and principles they profess Is there evil in this people in their present actions in our relationship with the United States? No; there is not There is not another people in this government who revere the Government like the Latter Day Saints There is not another people who observe the laws of that Government as strictly as the Latter-day Saints. There is no people who know and understand and so fully practice the principles of our fathers as the Latterdaysaints do Yet the cry is crucify them away with them If the Mormons are let alone our institutions and reIigions will be done away it lays the axe at the root of the tree and will hew down all politics and national because it has an impetus, influence and power in it that no other people possess. Does it promote evil? No that cannot be said in truth. Does it it promote anything that destroys the peace of the people? No by no means but the reverse Does it encourage a true genuine perfect and exalted state of society in every respect? It does. Then what is the matter with it? It gives influence and power to hew down every corrupt principle upon the earth and if let alone our institutions and evils will be exposed to truth and we shall be crushed Now if you can destroy the truth we may be able to fully establish and keep up error and those principles we delight in. When Joseph came forth and preached light and truth the cry was "away with him" It is now "away with them" When I reflect upon this that they did away with him they kill'd Josep Smith and his brother Hyrum, but they did not kill the kingdom they did not kill me but they drove us out alone and we still live and now what is is it It is the Preisthood and the power of it in this people they are afraid of The cry now is Destroy Mormonism or the Mormons will come and take away our place and nation It is the same spirit that crucified Jesus and no more so the evil spirit felt the same influence in the days that Adam lived in the garden of Eden the same spirit and influence existed in the days of Noah in the days of Lot of Abraham and in the days of every good man who has ever lived upon the earth Destroy the Priesthood or it will rule the world This is what they are afraid of Has it been a marvel to my brethren who assembled themselves in 1831 and 2 that they were driven from their possessions If it has they should have reflected upon the history of past ages and they would have seen it was the influence of the same spirit Some may have come to the conclusion that the Devil has more power upon the earth now than he ever had before we should not come to any such conclusions by any means, for the manifestation of his power is more fully developed according to the power of the priesthood upon the earth and their exertions to build up Zion.
If this people were delivered from the predudice which now exists against us and if there was no obstacle in the way of our building up the centre stake of Zion there is not wisdom enough in this people to build up Zion acceptable to the Lord. There should be nowonder, marvel, or repining that the Lord should lead the people the way he has to give them experience; they must have knowledge & build up Zion upon the earth: It is ignorance which we have to grapple with Do you think a man would apostatize if he learned all he might learn while he lived upon the earth, would they go to California and stay a few years in order to find out that Mormonism is true? would they go to the States and some have gone clear back to England to find out they were on the back track? No; they would not. Do you think if people were fill'd with intelligence they would make such a crobked path through this world. No! they would not. I do not know but it is a Missouri word to say "stand up to the rack hay or no hay" they would prove themselves by learning to day to do that which is required and by saying if there is anything to be gained I am going to have it. It is the want of intelligence that causes a cloud to come over their minds. this people may expect to be driven, the prophecies must be fulfill'd concerning this very people. It is said that the Saints shall be worn out Do you think they are worn out yet? this prophecy must be fulfill'd, already thousands have been worn out and thousands more must be worn out: which is the best to be worn out or to lay down and rust out? It is better to keep bright by doing that which is required of us to do and be worn out in service than to lie down in death and have no works to follow us
This kingdom will never be destroyed, it cannot be done The Lord has promised to set up kingdom and that it shall never be thrown down Do we act like loyal subjects in his kingdom? this brings to my mind the exercises of last Sabbath: the meanest, lowest, contemptible acts that can be introduced seem to swerve this people and turn them away If we understood the kingdom of God perfectly what is held up to our view what we should gain or receive by our faithfulness do you think a man would turn away from the truth and lie grovelling in his evil acts? No! he would not. Suppose this people should become filled with the spirit of God so that their faith would remain and continually produce peace and good works do you think that we should then be under the power of Satan? Do you not think the seeds of sin and dissolution sown by the fall would be sufficient to produce all the experience necessary for us? I do. I beleive we should be able to gain all the intelligence necessary to prepare the saints for the celestial kingdom of God. If the people understood the principles of life and practiced them what do they want with the principles of death? Would they want any fellowship with those principles which pertain to death? No! they would not. Yet you see many who desire to hold the principles of life in one hand and the principles of death in the other and many will let go of the principles of life, and cleave to these which pertain to death. They think that great knowledge has been bestowed upon them and although they have a free choice they choose the road which leads to dissolution This is ignorance it is a want of knowledge How many have received the gospel of salvation and run well for a season have become discouraged darkened in their faith and understanding and concluded this gospel is not true and say "why does not the Lord reveal to us the fulness of all we ask" says one "Iam discouraged many times I have concluded the Lord does not hear my prayers and I have thought it was useless to try to live this religion I would like to go to some country where I can live easier. Why this is no country for the Saints, there is no fruit here --no timber-- and nothing to induce a community to stay here" Thus they are continually longing for something they have not. This is ignorance Are not the fruits of the earth here? When we came in here 10 years ago and it can now be testified to with perfect assurance the brethren who came here were told there was just as good corn and wheat in these elements as there is in any place on the earth. There is just as good melons and vegetables here as there is anywhere There are just as good peaches as mortals ever tasted of. The wine and the oil the wheat and the fine flour are here. "Bro Brigham Is there any gold or silver here" Yes! in great abundance "Well if I can find that I am right here." I am jus where I want to be." It proves that person is one of those who lust for gold and silver. What use is gold or silver It does not heal the sick, it will not answer for food or traiment. It is true that if you are where these comforts of life abound it will purchase them, because it is the god of this world, and the world lusts after it. Is there silk here? There is not a better <country> climate in America, on the continent of Europe, or in China for the tree and worm to produce silk and it may be produced of the finest texture. The Sisters ask can we raise any tea here? Yes! this is as good acountry for tea as China it is in the elements here. Raise your tea, raise your own tobacco and clothing and every thing else you want. All you require is the seeds or foundation to begin with and then improve and increase until you abound in all the comforts of life Did we beleive that 11 years ago? Do we beleive it now? Hardly. We beleive it as far as we have proved it "Well what about the gold and silver? can we find any of it" Not if I have faith enough for God to keep it away from you Let it lay in the earth. It produces misery, poverty and corruption, you go to the United States into the most wealthy cities and you will find them filled with wretchedness and corruption. Take away from them the gold and give them stovecoal and Iron and they will become a wealthy, and comparatively a happy people, they would then produce solid and substantial wealth, If we were to open a mine of gold or silver every eye would be upon it and a great many we do not want would come here.
I would rather it would be hoe'd over the hills of corn, and let it let it lay in the earth and produce the wheat. We now believe a great deal more than we did a few years ago Why do people wish to leave this country? I know, whether I tell or not. What does it prove to God? That this people are trying to live virtuous and holy lives; That they are trying to live for the principles of life and salvation-- that there is a spirit which produces peace and joy in the Holy Ghost No doubt of it. and that those who roll sin as a sweet morsel under their tongues feel a fire they cannot endure. This is the reason why they leave. There is no <eople> place which produces life and health like these vallies still let them be vacated and there is no people who could get here that would live here a hard, sterile, barren country nobody would pretend to inhabit but it is the best country we can live in although some may desire to live in a more congenial clime I have told you it is clear in the south but how far south we are going I do not know but many desire to go to some country where all the tropical fruits are produced without labor "Oh how I would delight myself in such a country as that" You would would you? Then you are ignorant to begin with. Look through the whole world upon the inhabitants of the earth and you will find this principle implanted in human beings, that they must be engaged in something or other or they will be miserable. You will find an active spirit in the human family that cannot be idle or dormant Suppose we were to be placed in a country where we could pluck the tropical fruits of of South America should we more happy? we should have to be fill'd with the spirit of the Indians who inhabit that country to be satisfied. Men are continualy grasping after that which will produce happiness One says "give me gold" and another says "give me gold" and many have wanted gold ecause they think it produces happiness, but it does not It is not in the book If it is to be found in any book that book is a libel. Will an increase in goods and chattels, in houses and property produce happiness? No! and it never will. Still you will find many beings who have partaken of the principles of life which are laying dormant within them but you take a man who has them in requisition in him he is not in a state of indolence he is doing something you place a community where they can eat without producing and they will cultivate a dormant spirit and what is their state? Go to that community that live easy without labor and you will find the most corrupt society there is upon the earth: find a society that labors and toils to produce the neccessaries of life and as a general thing <you> there are the most virtuous people. It is true vice may be introduced into the most industrious societies. It is a principle bequeathed to every individual but when that spirit is overcome with evil they are seeking for rest but find none but their eyes are like the fool's eye to the ends of the earth. while those that labor for the neccessaries of life and produce all they need upon the principles of life they lay down in peace they are at peace with all the world. but says one if we cultivate these principles we shall be broken up if we do not do something we shall be lied about They love lies. let them lie on. let them make darkness into light. let them do as they please I do not know as anybody cares. Well but says one "it causes us to leave our houses and we may have to burn them." I tell you they ought to be burnt up Where is there a fence in the Territory that will prevent a breachy critter from going into the fields and destroying the wheat. Talk of leaving them, We have nothing to leave, but says one 'I have a house which is worth five thousand dollars and what shall I do" Build one worth twenty five thousand dollars. Do not be stereotyped in your feelings and improvements If we do we shall not be prepared to build up Zion and be prepared for the coming of the Son of Man We build and build and come to it the nearest we can and we must know that God does not feed his children on butter and honey all the time If we take the chastisements of the Iord patiently it will be for our benefit 'If ye endure chastisement God dealeth with you as with sons; but if ye be without chastisement then are ye bastards and not sons' If we are chastened we are the sons and daughters of the Almighty. We may say our hearts are comforted by all manner of evil being spoken of us falsely because we believe the Gospel. Suppose we had the privilege to understand our real influence and power and should have the priviliege to gain power over this world and to build up the kingdom of God. We have to build up Zion by the Priesthood which will exalt all men in the kingdom of God to bask in the sunshine of intelligence and increase in glory and power. Suppose predudice should cease to exist against this people and our names should be honor'd and our influence should spread over the nations of the earth would that prevent them obeying the laws of the land? No! it would not. If they should say "you are free to our societies and institutions our halls are free to you" and if the influence should spread. would it produce darkness? No! Death? No! Sorrow and misery? No! It would produce joy and comfort, it would raise mortal beings to rejoice continually before their brethren and before God and every heart would be fill'd with cheerfulness, thankfulness, and praise to God. Can an evil man comprehend the principle of confidence which produces happiness? He may know in part but if evil is in his heart he cannot have confidence in others. How do wicked men sustain their own governments? The Japanese would give the best example. Is there a king upon the throne? Yes. Are there any to scan his actions? Yes? His great ones around him watch him closely and if he performs an act injurious to his subjects he is informed of. You may take a thousand to watch the king and who watches the aristocracy? Oh! another grade below them and they in turn are watched by another grade still below them and so on down to the lowest grades of the people. There is no confidence in each other amongst them. How many of them have destroyed themselves, when they committed an overt act have ripp'd their bowels out in sympathy to their children for they know perfectly well if the smallest overt act is discovered their property will be confiscated but if they destroy themselves their property will be allowed to go for the benifit of their children. The whole world is in this position. Is there any confidence? No there is not. How much confidence has the horse in his master? Simply that which is produced by his being compell'd to be subject to the will of his master How much confidence have the officers out here in each other? Just as much as to hold each other by the halter so that they cannot wheel and kick you Would Mormonism produce this? No it would not. It would produce confidence When a people are fill'd with integrity, confidence increases and it makes a people happy. I will venture a prophecy and it is this that many years will not pass away before it will be said "There is no safety for life and property upon the face of the earth except in the kingdom of the Mormons" Hear it! and the Clerks will write it down. It will not be many years there will be no safety for life and property outside of this people Now mark it! Write it down! and to tell the truth-- the facts in the case it is so now; There is no other place upon this <world> continent where a man is safe to travel with gold in his pocket except here: If a man had six Mule Loads of it he could travel through this Territory as safe as the meanest beggar; he might examine it when he got through and if he had not taken any from it himself he would have just as much as when he first came into the Territory. Can this be said of any other people? No it can not. but they say "kill the Mormons" but they cannot do it; they may kill a great many but if they kill Brigham and I, I have a host of boys and they are good for sixty years I am good for sixty years for I have lived neariy that long already I feel as if I could run through a troop and leap over a wall I feel as if I could tear down mountains. The boys are coming up and it will soon be said There is one who has chased his thousand" (This has been done if you did but know it) and there are two who have put ten thousand to flight' We are right where we should be Do you think we are going out of the world? No we are not. You recollect the secret I told you "There is a good country in Central America" but we are in the very country where the Lord wants us to be and we will stay here till we are ready to go somewhere else and if we are told to back to our old improvements bye and bye, we must have some lime burnt, for you know we have needed it here and we must build fences to save our fruit and grain. We have lived eleven years in this country to see whether some four or five men could raise peaches here and when you taste of our peaches you say they are the best you ever tasted We have some of best peaches in the world I have eat of the Chili peaches which are better than those of the United States, and I have raised peaches just as good as those of Chili. Eight years my vines have grown grapes. Eight years I have raised peaches
If you go back go to building garden fences: fence up your fields and pastures and then fence up the ranges to keep your cattle safe and take care of yourselves and when we have another scrape like this moving I want you to be better off. Do you think we are going to lay down still? No Sir. I tell you it has been a benefit to me, when I came into this church I did not own legally and rightfully own the ground my house stood upon and I have been driven and driven and improved every time and now I have left buildings and improvements worth $150.000 but I am not satisfied with them I want to build better. I will keep moving and improving till I know enough to lay the foundation of Zion and satisfy the Lord our God; and people cannot help it. I want <to speak>, now, to speak a little on temporal matters"
Prest. Young then gave instructions in relation to moving, teams &c

John B. Milner Reporter.