1858 November 14 Conference Sermon


1858 November 14 Conference Sermon



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George D. Watt

extracted text

by President Brigham Young before A Conference of Elders in
the Tabernacle Sunday Nov. 14 1858.
Reported by G. D. Watt

Before closing the conference I will say a few words to the brethren. One of the Elders in the stand hopes there will be a few left, that all the Church will not be cut off.
Do you think all is cut off that ought to be brethren. (A voice, "No") I will say a few words upon this point, touching who ought to be cut off and what for. The people have. the words of eternal life laid before them since the organization of this church. Multitudes have embraced the gospel who have seemed to run well for a season, and then slid off, while others have bourn <heat> the <and> burden <of the> an heat of the day. A few only have made improvements upon the preisthood given to them. Now I will tell you what a man or woman ought to be cut off from the Church
of the living God for; when when he or she does that that they know to be wrong. I ask how many of you now hearing me have been drunk within eight and forty hours past, is there any in this room? Yes. Officers of this church were brawinly through the streets last night drunk. Now do you think all are cut off that ought to be. Did you get drunk thinking it to be right? Do you make brutes of yourselves ignorantly? No you do not. How do you think Angels look upon us and what do you think the feelings of our father in heaven are towards this people. There are men sitting before me to day who get drunk, take the name of God in vain, and when they are driving through the Canons or through the streets if they <can> see anything they can pick up and shade they will do it. What do you think of such a people? Do you think these things are right. Do you drink, pilfer, sware, lie, and take advantage of your neighbor ignorantly? No you do not. You do these things with your eyes wide open, you they are wrong. You know you committ sin, that it tends to death, and still you will do them, some of these very men who are sitting before me who ought to be examples to the
flock of Christ, and I hold fellowship with you; I am obliged to. A man comes along, "How do you do bro. Brigham? I am glad to see you." How long is it since you were drunk?" "Well it is true I did get a little worse for liquore the other night. "Did you sware, and take the name of God invain? Yes, but you know, I was the worse for liquire, and my senses were gone." Did you not know Your senses would be taken away if you took liquire? Another comes along, "How do you do bro Brigham, Bro Kimball, Bro. Wells, and all the Twelve Apostles and prophets of Christ." Look here, John, or William, have you shaded any cattle lately, killed any beef that was not yours. "True I must accknowledge I have taken a few creatures, and I know it is wrong, and am willing to do anything to make restitution." What do you supose the Almighty thinks of such A people. Were he to look into the hearts and faces of this community that we boast so much of how many is there who could stand his presence and look him undaunted in the eye, and say with confidence, father here am I. He would say, my saints why dont you do differently? Why do you not do that you know to be right, and forsake that you know to be wrong. How many could stand to look the Almighty in the eye, and say I have done right according to the best of my ability, I have never suffered myself to do wrong knowingly? and when I did I ought to have been cut off from the Church, I have cut myself off <when I have slighted and trod upon those> and stiped the thread of those eternal principles that connects me with the Gods. Look at it for yourselves. If the bosome of the Almighty was not filled with compassion and mercy this people would have been consumed before this. We hold fellowship with the theif, the liar, the swarer, the drunkard, the whoremaster, the whore, and with those who do all manner of iniquity and abomination. Do you think that you and I will ever be prepared to dwell with the Gods? Wnat is your preisthood for, and for what has he bestowed it upon you and I? Why did he suffer his prophet and first Patriarch of the Church to fall marters in consequence of that preisthood. What has he lead this people for, and what has he suffered and died for himself? And You and I are trifling with that eternal life. When I consider these things brethren, if the fire that I feel in me at many times were lavished upon this people it would consume them. What can I say to such a people, to these my brethren? Do you think you can now go home to Davis County, Weber Utah, and Tooile Counties and not get drunk before you get away? Here you are mingling your breath with the breath of Devils, shaking hands with those who are the most corrupt of men, hail fellows, well met. The characters I am discribing are before me, officers in the Church and kingdom of God. When any one of you do that you know to be wrong, You have severed the thread of that <eternal> preisthood that binds you to <that> the eternal fountian of life, if it is not entirely severed it is considerably weakened. Take care of yourselves will you, and love the Lord our God with all your hearts, keep his commandments and never do a wrong thing from this time hence forth and forever. A man may do wrong ten thousand times and be pardoned if he acts acording to the best of his know-lege, and in the integrety of his heart between his God and himself, then he can walk up and look his father in the face, and say if I had known more I would have done better, but I have done according to the best of my knowlege. I am ready to forgive a man or woman seventy seven times a day who sin ignorantly in the integretty of their hearts. But when men whose hearts are full of understanding give way to iniquity, run greedily after wickedness can I for give them? Yes if the Lord will, but he cannot forgive such offenders, the law and mercy of God are such that they who willfuly transgress must pay the debt, they cannot be forgiven if they can, then the docterin held by universalists are true, that the blood of Christ clenses away unconditionaly all sin, and we shall all go to heaven together. The eternal law of Jeovah is such that an angel who falls or rebells against the order of heaven and his superior cannot be forgiven but must suffer the wrath of that superior. If you do wrong knowingly, you have the debt to pay sooner or later. Now do you understand who <shouyld be cut> ought, and who ought not be cut from the Church. Those who sin willfuly, knowingly, understand they must be chastened, and will have to suffer for their guilt; that is the law write it down; and if any do not get revelation take my discourse, for every word of it is revelation -- it is the word of Jeovah to this people, if you receive it it will be salvation to you if you reject it, it will be damnation to you. I will say a few words with regard to revelation it is pertaining to the preisthood and the authority thereof. I want to say something to you I have said a great many times, and I want you to understand it. With regard to prophecy; a man can be a prophet, he may live and die a prophet yet never have the preisthood upon him. Can you understand that? He has not the words of eternal life, he has not the keys and power of life yet he may prophecy as true as ever an Angel did. Thousands have had this power naturly who have never heard the Gospel. I will state to you the authority of an Apostle. You never saw a man that was called to be an Apostle, you never heard, nor read of one, there never was one upon this earth who was called to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ but what if he magnified his preisthood and calling his teachings were the words of life, the keys of life and salvation to the people to whome he spoke. There I stand my words are life to all those who beleive and strictly obey them, but if they are rejected they are death. So much for those who say that Brigham is not a prophet, that Heber or Daniel are not prophets, and I might name scores of others who magnify their preisthood, and who are called to the Apostleship, the words of eternal life flow through them like a river. If the words of life do not flow through them they do not live to their privileges; that is equelly true. Now to you that feel as tho' there ought to be a great deal of preaching, and new revelation, I would recommend the Journal of Discourses, Bro. George D. Watt has reported my discourses and others and sent them to England and had them printed, <and> which can now be obtained here in volumes; take them and read them, and if you can, search the volumes of eternity -- the volumes of heaven -and see if my teachings do not agree in principle and truth with all the truth of eternity; if they do they are the words of life and salvation to all who will beleive, and every man who rejects my words rejects life and salvation to his own soul. Those who hear the words of life and obey them will have joy and comfort, and peace from morning until evening, from the beginning of the spirit of God in their hearts until they reject it: and they <words> will take them through the Gates unto the City, where the father and the son and Jesus Christ dwells. Make much of them, treat them not with lightness.
I want to say another thing before I sit down. I frequently hear the brethren say, as I did Yesterday, such a man has spoken against the authorities of the Church. I would like to correct you your language, not but that your ideas are correct. It never has hurt my feelings when men speak against me. I care no more about what a man may say about me than I do about the cranes that fly over my head, or the crackling of the thorns under the pot; but the question is does that man honer the preisthood? has he violated, and spoken against it? If he has deal with him, <but> if he takes my name in vain it is but a small thing, but if he trifle with the preisthood given to you and me for life and salvation deal with him. Now correct your language in that. If they do not infringe upon the preisthood they may traduce my name as long as they please it will never harm me in the least, neither is it a matter I care about. This much I wanted to say to the brethren that they may correct their language in this matter. But when men trifle with the preisthood deal with them and if I hand out to them the words of eternal life and they trifle with those words deal with them. I say to that bishop who said he was afraid there will be but a few left, hold on, be patient, and see how many men will be left in the streets here, say a year from now, who have been saints all the time, every day, every hour, and every week, call upon them and see where they are with regard to their faith; they are as they were when they first became members of the Church of Christ by embracing his Gospel, only more so; Jesus lives within them and they are like a well of watter springing up to eternal life, they dwell in the fountian of life. Our streets will be clear soon and the saints will be left. The present time will sift out a great manny, and draw them off, and I thank God for it; I am happy it is so, I wish more were going, there will not as many go as ought to go. We shall see how many men will be left who have preserved the name and character of the deity sacred, and walked uprightly before their brethren, whose hearts have been filled with compassion and mercy to their fellow creaters, and whose hands have been extended continually to do good to feed the hungary, cloth the naked, build up the kingdom of God, and do all they can for the salvation of mankind. There will be a good many of this character left; this is incouraging. Let me say another thing to you, for your encouragement. If there is a man in this house, or if you know of anybody in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints that ever knew me chastise a person because I had a private pique at him wont you tell me of it. If I have anything against James, John or William I want to tell you of it, not that I have a private pique at you. I can see bishops, High Counselors, presidents of Seventies, High Preists, and perhapes some of the twelve that will actualy have a feeling against a man that is nothing but something of a private character. "I do not like such a man, he is an evil disposed person. I can place no confidence in him." What is the matter? Why probe the thing to the bottom, and that individual has done something "I dont like". I say shame on such a feeling it is altogether unbecoming a magnammous mind. Mind if I have cause for a private pique at any of you, I will take you alone and tell you I dont like you. If I can say nothing against your character nobody shall hear me say it. And when you do wrong and step out of the way and I chastise you in public, or in private you may know I chastise you for your wrong, I have no feeling in my heart against you as a man. When you do wrong and I know you do it ignorantly, my fellowship is never interupted in the least; but when I learn you do evil <ignorantly> knowingly, and you like to do it I shall not fellowship you; I shall not fellowship evil let me see it where I may: I fellowship good as I always done from the beginning. I have never asked any man woman or child to sustain me in this Gospel, but I have been asked by others to sustain them, and has been called upon to make covenants to sustain certain characters; "Say I Sustain God and his righteousness, and I will sustain You, but if you do not this I cannot sustain you, I will never make a covenant to sustain a man in unrighteousness. Never make covenants to sustain each other out side of the righteousness of God, and then you will be enabled to sustain each other. If I sustain the preisthood of God upon the earth, and walk in it I expect to be sustained, and I am not conserned about men women or children sustaining me in the preisthood. Let us sustain the preisthood and we shall serve as the bases of an Almighty structer, and sustain the fabric that it cannot fall. When you do evil, you weaken your own hands and those who hold fellowship with you. I say this to the Elders of Isreal as tho the whole church were before me; I mean it for the whole church. I will now say God bless you brethren; I pray for you without ceasing, I plead for you before the Lord continualy, and how shamed I am, I feel myself disgraced many times at hearing what I do from the Elders of Isreal, and I hold such a man in fellowship with me, breaking bread and drinking Wine in the name of the son of God with him; I am ashamed and feel myself insulted and abused. Why cannot we be righteous? We can if we will. The Lord help us. Can you help yourselves. If you will be righteous he will help you, but if you will not he cannot help you, for his law is such that he cannot force you against your will. May God bless you Amen.
I wish to say a few words more. We are going to adjourn this conference. We are willing the brethren should hold their meetings in prudence. We are going to fit up the tabernacle as soon as we can; we would have had it done long before this but our joiners have been getting themselves a little clothing, so we have not called upon them to help us. Continue your meetings, and for heavens sake live your religion, and not make a mock of your professions.
Let me have the attention of the congregation of the congregation, while I notice another item. I promiced the clerks I would name it to the brethren in a way they may understand it; that the bishops and Elders may correct the minds of those who are not here. A year a go we sent for the missionaries to return home. The European Mission returned in a body Bro. Orson Pratt was then presiding there; and bro. Samuel Richards was sent with our instructions. The churches raised money by Donation to send the brethren home. They came home. Now I wish to state the facts in the case somewhat perticularly so the bishops can explain them to the people who are conserned. I think we have the accounts of all the money that was donated as far as we know, at least we cannot get much of anything more by inquiring of individuals. This money was disposed of by committees to buy teems, and necessaries to bring the brethren home. When every doller of this money is used for the purposes I have stated we find ourselves indebted four thousand dollars and we have to foot it at the Tithing Office. Why I mention this is that James, John, and Thomas writes to us inquiring if they cannot this or that peice of property that they brought through, for their share of a horse etc for they had an idea the property was to be devided after their arrival in the valley; but the truth is that have four thousand dollar more to pay than this property amounts to. Can we give you anything? No, You are in debt to us; and if we were to charge you as we have other emagrants you would be called upon to pay it. Those who feel bad at not getting their share have spent it, they have eat it up, <and> it is all gone, and four thousand dollars more. Now do not send any more letters to me for your share of the property that never was yours. If I you dont wish me to call upon you to pay your bill of expences for bringing you home, cease to call upon me for that which does not belong to you. There is another item which I want explained. In England they are now donating money for the benifit and releif of the church in Utah; and we have brethren running to the office, "I thought the money that was being gathered in England was to be sent here for the poor, for such a brother
has written to me that he has donated five pounds to help the poor. aint I going to have my share of it? That would make a pretty mess. They dont understand. What does this people owe us to day for money which we have raised by loaning, by disposing of property, and changing property etc. etc. The Perpetual Emagrating Fund owes us now in the neighborhood of one hundered and fifty thousand dollers; and we have been selling mules, waggons, and lumber to pay up these debts. One of the bishops told us to day that some oweing the P. E. Fund had run away and did not pay their emagration debt. I do not like it. Why did you not tell that before. A bishop can stand up here and tell of a man who had run away oweing four hundered dollars, and at this time I would sell my last cow to get
money to pay off these debts; if any man will come and buy all the stock I have got, I dare you to it. I want you to understand that when money is donated there it is to pay the debts of those infernal scounderels who have run away leaving their just debts unpaid. I have got to foot the bill. This money donated is not for you who live here. If you have not bread to eat go to your neighbors, for any body will give you some bread. Have you not potatoes? Tho' they are scarse. Have you not squashes? Squashes in this countery are equel to sweet potatoes. Have you not fed a pig, a cow or an ox to supply you with Meat; then what do you want money for. that we are now screwing ourselves to death to get to pay up the debts of the P. E. Fund. Shall I let you have the money? No. Not a dime of it. Now John, if You apostatise because you cannot get that money, start out tomorrow, for you will have to if I get my fingers on the money, or comes under my controle. These hands have handled more money than I care for, but if I get that money within the reach of my influence, You will not get a dime. I will pay the debts this Church owes. and prepare to bring many more here; We have to pull the weat out, and save it if we need to take a pound of soil with each root, then we will seperate the straw, chaff, and dirt, and save the good wheat in the garner of the Lord. Let the Chaff go off. You understand my position. I think now the bretheren will not be wanting this money. We have helped the poor now until they owe us some two hundered thousand dollars; and I think we will now help ourselves to get out of debt. May the Lord bless you. This conference is dismissed to April 6th 1859. 10 A. M.