1858 November 13 Conference Sermon


1858 November 13 Conference Sermon



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George D. Watt

extracted text

by President Brigham Young before a conference of the Authorities
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Iatterday Saints held in the Tabernacle in Great Salt Lake City Saterday Nov. 13th 1858.
Reported by G. D. Watt.

I wish a good morning to you all, and hope I see you all well. I do not know that I shall talk much to you tho' I have not been to meeting for sometime but have been secluded within my own habitation. I would myself feel glad to hear the brethren who are assembled here to day speak that we may know how they feel. As far as I am conserned, I can say to you that I feel as well in Mormonisam as I ever did in my life. And I can say to you farther, if what is called Mormonisam or the Gospel of Salvation does not correct, entighten, strengthen, cheer, console and guide the steps of an individual, dirrecting him in all his ways, I have not the least idea you would have seen my face this day. This property of our holy religion I learned in the first start of my carreer in this church and kingdom. My religion does not consist in going to Meeting twice on Sunday in the day time and once in the evening, and then once or twice in the week, and suposeing if I do not attend meeting I have no religion. I have no conception of this kind conserning the Gospel I have embraced I have no such feeling nor ever had. Were it not for the principles of this Gospel we have embraced being eternal, and callculated in their nature to sustain the children of men under every circumstance it would not be worth our while to pay the least attention to it, and might as well forsake it at once.
In the few remarks I shall make <at this time>, probably I shall not venture to relate my feelings, my experience my veiwes, and the veiwes of this people, at any rate at this time. Suffice it to say that the Lord has said in one of his revelations given through his prophet Joseph, that this people would be tried in all things, we may consequently expect every shape, digree, and manner of trial we have yet thought of and a great many we have not yet thought of. Still I can say, <that> the trials this people are now passing through are the lightest I have ever known them pass through. The greatest trial now upon this community, and it is felt the most by the inhabitants of this City, is their not having public meetings. Some say it is a trial of their faith to have the wicked in our midst, and see their wickedness; but this is no trial at all; not to me at any rate. Is it a trial to see some <to> join hands with our enemies? No, it should not be called a trial, for we are brought into these curcumstances expressly for the purpose of sifting the Smutt and Chaff from the wheat, that the goats may run with the goats, for there is not the least danger <in the world>of the sheep straying away and becoming goats; tho' all could be wheat if they were disposed. It is just as much the privilege of any apostate who leaves this Church to become santified through the truth as it is yours or mine; but they love wickedness, they delight in evil, and if they are deprived the privilege of mingling with the evil there is in the world there evil passions stirred up by the power of the tempter burns within them like a consuming fire, and sooner or later those who love iniquity will go by the board.
As for my trials I have none at all that is worth naming, <and> I do not consider I ever had in this kingdom, and especially at this time. Is it dark? Not with me. Is it gloomy? Not with me. From the day I first came to this valley to the present, pertaining to the saints in their locations here, there has never been a partical of gloom over my mind or the shade of a cloud; and to day the atmospher of this kingdom is with me as clear as the noon day<s> sun the brightest <clearest> day you ever saw. I have experienced other feelings -- I have wittnessed clouds of darkness and gloom, sorrow and forebodings of evil to be hurled upon the heads of this people, but it is not here; we have no reason to be castdown, to mourn and be discomforted, but we have every reason to be glad, for the Lord has wrought out salvation to this people; and they who do not see the hand
of God in all the movements that has transpired <recently> a year or two past are in darkness, and do not understand his <the> ways <of the Lord>. I maight say, it is strange indeed that this people universaly cannot see the footsteps of the Almighty as plainly as the foot prints of a person may be seen in the snow, or upon wet ground; but I know their weakness. their unbeleife, their ignorance, and their doubtings; <and> that when they see the providences of God plainly manifest they know not whether to attribute these providential manifestations to <God> Him or to somebody else; in this they are like the wicked. Our enemies consider that we are performing all that is done; they give me the credit of generaling <this whole concern of> managing counseling, and leading this people to victory, to Note, character, and fame. All this they attribute to the wisdom of an individual, and <they> cannot see the hand of the Lord in it. It is not the wisdom of man that dictates these affairs, but <it is> the providence of God. The Lord Almighty is leading this people, but the wicked do not see it, and how many are there of the Saints who only see dimly his finger prints in his providential dealings with this people. They are at a loss to know whether to give the credit to God or to man. This is in consequence of unbeleif. I can say, God be thanked, there is not an occurance, however slight, in the onward progress of <the> His Kingdom <of God>,that I cannot see and understand in it, His providences <of God> as clearly as I can see my way home in open day. I trust this is the case with many of you. Here are assembled the authorities of the kingdom of God on earth; here are the Ministers of Salvation, prophets and apostles, a congregation of them, it is for you brethren to say whether you walk to the line of duty or not, it is for you to order your course through life according to the rule of righteousness, and not for me to do it for you. It is not for you to guide my footsteps, nor for me. to guide yours, any further than to tell you how to guide them yourselves. Neither you nor I can save this people, but we are under obligations to give such <that> counsel, and show such an example that all, if they will, may escape the
polutions of the world and secure to themselves eternal life. As far as my teachings and example are conserned I am perfectly satisfied, I would not live one day or hour of my life over again since I embraced the Gospel thinking to better it unless I could have more knowlege than I have had in those hours, days, mounths, and years; so I can say of many of the Elders of Isreal. We must <I would> remember each that every one of us have to save ourselves, to purify oor own <not venture to have their live their lives over again> hearts, and have our own meetings and communings with our God at home, also our own sacrements, at this time especially. Because I do not go to meeting do I grow cold in Mormonisam -- or in the Gospel
of life and Salvation? You might ask the following question within yourselves, Bro. Brigham dont you feel like preaching to the people? I will answer. it. Not much Dont you feel like instructing them, and still hanging on to them to teach them the way of life and salvation, continuing to plead with them. I will be honest with you, and say, not much. You want I should give my reasons. I will do so If the teachings had been observed that has come from this stand <to this people> and lived up to by all, as strictly as they have <been> by a few, the heavens would have bowed long before this, and you could have asked for anything and it would have been granted, but the greedy eye, rhe coveteous heart, and the rebellious feelings of this people who are still held in communion with the saints has almost distroyed the kingdom. Do you think I feel like preaching to such a people? I have preached to them until they are almost preached to death, and I do not feel like preaching much more to them. You know how I felt some two or three years ago this fall or the latter part of the summer. I felt as tho' I could not live without taking my valise in my hand and walking through this Territory to find out if there was a man for God, for it seemed to me as tho' the whole people had gone astray. I related my feelings to a few, and they started out, Jedidiah fell a victim to that spirit, he took it from me, and he labored until he went into his grave, to find among all the people who had forsaken their homes and their all in forign countries to come to this place were still for Christ and none else. Whe had a reformation, and what is the result? I will tell you by relating an anecdote. It was asked an Elder in one of the settlements if the reformation had reached them; "Yes," he replied, "and thank God it is all over. That is the almost universal feeling now. Unless some men are held by the coller, or by the hair of the head they will go to hell -- they will not cleave to the Lord with all their hearts. The question has been asked me when I am going to have meetings, I will tell you when the time comes.
And if any man inquires about Brigham, tell them he is Brigham Yet only a little more so. Do you ask me if I know what Counsel to give, and what to do, I answer Yes as well as I know how to put victuals to my mouth. Do you know how to obey counsel? If the mass <mouths> of all the people were put into one man the reply would be I will do as I damned please, if the coun-
sel suits me I will observe it, and if it dont suite this old fallen corrupt hellish disposition I will do as I please about observing it. This is a true picture of <the> people called Latter day Sainst. Is this the character of the majority of the Latter Day Saints? No. the majority are for Isreal, for God and his cause. I do not charge this upon you who are here by any means but to the people as a whole. You can see how things are, if we were not to draw the line and set the stakes now in this public meeting of officials of the Church if we were not to dictate and tell who should come into this house, the most infernal gamblers and murderers in this City would be admitted here to day, through the influence of of those who profess to be Latter day Saints, in this way, "Theres a freind of mine that I wish to be admitted, true he is not so good a saint as the rest of us, but he is a good man;" in turn he invites one of his freinds a little lower in the scale than himself until there would not be a currupt rotten hearted murderer in our streets but what would have been in this house to day. If I have fellowship with the unrighteous, and ungodly do I not partake more or less of their curruption? I do. There is fellowship in the midst of this people that reaches to the nethermost Hell; and I do not know but some of you who are here to day hold this unhallowed fellowship <of which I speak> and have squeezed into our meeting some of those wicked characters. I thought I had set a good gaurd at the gate who would not let in any whose faces they do not know. <I have to> hold fellowship with a man who will get drunk and shade a little. Do you know what that means? If we were in the old country we should call it stealing; that is what I should call it vulgarly, and in the tongue my Mother taught me when I was a child. It is stealing, but he is a pretty good fellow and I hold fellowship with him, he holds fellowship with another worse than he is, until by and by you will see the end of fellowship stringing out until it comes to fellowship the most damnable scounderel on the earth. Is not that the situation of this people? Dont you think the Lord will chastise the people who are called by his name that hold fellowship with the unrighteous? I know he will. And if this people do not clense themselves from unrighteousness, and turn away from wickedness to their God I tell you worse chastisments than we are now receiving will be upon us. 'What we are receiving now is light, and is expressly to call out the goats. You may say, "it is necessary to have goats among the sheep as they stink enough to keep off the distemper." You need not be afraid but there will be enough left to secure the health of the sheep; the difficulty is to have so many goats that the stink is so strong as to bring on the distemper; there will always be plenty of Goats left to clense the <sheep> flock and keep off fevers. Now do you think I am correct or misstaken with regard to the people? Are my feelings correct or incorrect with regard to preaching to this people. We have not had public meetings in this Tabernacle now for six or seven mounths, do you think I am disturbed as regards not having public meetings? You have had all the meetings You deserve for 17 years to come; I speak as to the Mass of the people. I know the brethren and Sisters in many instances have required new things; I have given explanations upon this time and time again. It is like this <if> you <were to> satisfy your children, and give one a steer, another a saw mill,
a <third> fourth a grist mill, and a <fourth> fifth a Steam boat. The one owing the steam boat runs it on to a Sandbar, and there left it to go to wreck; he comes to father saying cant you give me something else. The one owning the saw mill gets it blocked up with old logs, and brush and so leaves it; now dad cant you give me something else, and so on with the rest, now would you give those children another inheritance to improve upon. This has been explained to the people hundereds of times. Do the people live up to the first principles revealed by Joseph Smith in his first carreer? If they dont they are not deserving more. Is not that right. If they had lived to these principles I know the heavens would have been opened that you could ask for anything and it would have been granted. We would have been as free as we are now, that is, free to do as we please. This kingdom would have gained ground influence and power. But I do not mean to let things discourage me; the conduct of the people do not discourage me. How many thousands of men with their families have we helped to gather with the Saints, and helped them after they were gathered have become our worst enemies? You might think it would be discouraging. I know it would discourage any of you. The Elders of Isreal before me has traveled barefooted, and half naked, going without their food, and laid out of door, to lay the principles of salvation before the<m> world; those that beleived the principles and came into the Church, where are they? You cannot go into any of the Cities of the United States but what you will find a considerable portion of the Citizens are old Apostates from the Mormon Church, You cannot go into Cannada, nor into any state in the Union where you will not find scattered about old Apostates. Canada and the States are full of them. Callifornia is full of them, Oregon and Washington Territories are full of them, and New Mexico has got a great many of them; they are scattered from Texes to Main and from Main to California. This is discouraging to the Elders say they. We have labored and labored, and tried with all my might to bring this people into the Church, we have prayed, fasted, and watched, traveling laboring, and suffering to bring this people into the Church, and they have gone like a dog to his vomit. This you say is discouraging; I do not mean to let any of these things discourage me; if the Lord suffers me to live I expect he will give me grace according to my day, to follow the same course, and do all in my power to save the nations of the earth <and> bring salvation to the house of Isreal, build up Jerusalem, and bring back again the scattered and lost sheep of Isreals fold. I have said it is better for people to die before they are gathered, and die in the faith than to bring them here to apostatise. Those who do gather must have their trials if they are
favored to live where the words of life are dealt out to them continually; they must expect to walk the path of trial equel to there privileges; they must pass through trials equel to their blessings; but <and> those who depend upon a go to meeting religion are worth nothing they will go to the board sooner or later, they cannot abide the day of the Lord; and I say Amen to all who are going away at the present time; and wish they had gone long ago: I wanted them to go years <long> ago, but no. curcumstances had to occur to make them go from us. I would rather be in these mountians with 100 faithful Elders of Isreal who are saints indeed, than with millions of people who are not saints to build up the kingdom, extend it to the nations, and fight all the hell they can muster on the earth, in the earth, and under the earth. If it comes to the sword I would rather have one hundered full of the power of God, who live their religion, than millions who are filled with ungodliness and hypocrisy. This is My faith, I do not know that I have any apology to make for not preaching to the people, and having meeting. When I want meetings I will let it be known, and if the Lord wants meeting any sooner than I do, all he has to do is to tell of it, and if he dont you wont budge me much I reckon
I would like to hear from my brethren to know how they feel, tho' I expect I know pretty well how they feel, but I should like to hear them tell it. If you wish to stay here a few days and talk you can have the privilege. Whether I shall say much to you I do not know. We are right if we live our religion if we do not we are wrong any way it can be fixed. If you want to inquire if everything has gone right, I answer, Yes. There is not a man on the earth could have dictated affairs more kindly, more gently and more magnanimously; they have been dictated and guided by the Almighty, and there is nothing that I know of only in ourselves, in I and the rest of the people professing to be saints not living our religion. If we live our religion everything is just right and God will defend this people, and will bear off the kingdom victorious, and will enable his servants through their labors to gather Isreal redeem Zion, gather his chosen seed, and build up Jerusalem. I feel just as well as ever I did in my life; I have not a disponding feeling, not a cast down feeling, and there never has been a gloomy shade pass over these vallies to me yet, but it has been as bright and clear as the sun in mid day. 'Dont You feel terrified Bro. Brigham.' Not a partical. 'Aint you afraid you will get into trouble? Not a partical. "Aint you afraid this people will be distroyed." Not a partical. "Aint You afraid they will all Apostatise"? I wish they would if they want to go, and quickly. I am not afraid that hair will grow on fine wooled sheep.
All I have to do is to take care of my salvation which I will do God being my helper; and so with all the rest of God's people.
May God bless you. Amen.