1862 June 1 Sunday Afternoon Remarks


1862 June 1 Sunday Afternoon Remarks



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John V. Long

extracted text

by President Brigham Young, Tabernacle, Sunday Afternoon, June 1, 1862
(Reported by J. V. Long)

I shall take the liberty of occupying a short time. A great deal is said, more can be said; much is to be done.
I am gratified to hear the instructions from my brethren; I hear them and try to profit by them. I seek to know the truth and I strive to abide it as well as my brethren and sisters. A great deal of teaching is delivered to this people, and yet we see them coming and going. The inhabitants of the earth that have the privilege of hearing and receiving the gospel, seemingly in good and honest hearts, run well for a season, then some turn away, others continue in the faith. We have a life time to instrut ourselves in and to receive those teachings that are necessary to prepare us for the blessings which the Lord has laid up in store for the faithful. I think I can say for all, and that too with propriety, that we are a people who believe in future rewards and punishments. We believe in being rewarded according to our works, according to the capacity of each and every one, and according to our faithfulness to the ordinances of the Kingdom of God so we shall receive; consequently we wish to improve, we wish to learn and we wish to gain more knowledge. Do we not increase in the knowledge of Christ? To be consistent with ourselves we must say that we increase in obedience to the requirements of heaven.
I hear with great pleasure the variety of spirits, dispositions and manifestations of the brethren when they speak from this stand, I hear it in private conversation. I am convinced that we know a great deal more now than ever we did before; bro. Woodruff who has been addressing us knows a great deal more than he did ten years ago, and I believe that we all knew considerably more ten years ago than we did twenty years ago, and we knew far more when we had been in the Church five, eight, or ten years than we did before we embraced the gospel. We certainly know that a cloud of darkness was taken from our minds when we received the truth. We thought before that we knew how to guide a sinner, when we were accustomed to call them to come to the Anxious seat. Since then we have learned how to come to God; this profitable lesson has been taught us. There are men right before me who have been in this Church twenty five, others twenty eight and some as much as thirty years, and we are all still learning, and when will we be able to come to the knowledge of the truth? How many of this people will attain the required standard? Only a very few. It will be like the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is over. How many of this people will be able to pass through the trials of life and come to the knowledge of the truth? Shall we who are here to day? I hope so; it is my constant prayer; it is my most fervant desire that we may come to a knowledge of the truth.
We heard this morning a few things with regard to the life of man, the continuation of man upon the earth, of mans longevity. We heard this morning, as we frequently do, something about perpetuating our lives. Let me ask a question; Is there a physician in the land that can the people how to continue and ad to the life of man? They give us many good ideas; we get them here and there, and upon these points I have thought, if the people would hearken, to give lectures to tell them how to produce life, how to add to their own lives, to the lives of the rising generation, and how to prepare for the life that is to come. It is not in breaking off drinking tea or chewing tobacco, though this is good as far as it goes. If this people would pay attention to what I am about to say they could learn an important lesson. Let our Elders go into a neighborhood to preach, perhaps there will be from five hundred to a thousand come to hear, and the Elders may continue preaching for some time; they will gather into the Church five or ten and sometimes as many as forty, and perhaps ten out of the hundred brought into the Church will remain. Then again there are very few of those gather into this Church who will learn the principles of life. Why yes, say the brethren and sisters, we come to meeting to learn, we do delight to learn. Would the people practice it, if they were to hear something new? I do not know but I would reveal to the people one principle pertaining to teaching, pertaining to hearing, and finally pertaining to all of us, but they will hear and then say it is nothing new. I will however say to the Elders of Israel when they preach, to remember and practice what they preach, but for heavens sake do not let them preach what they practice.
If it is as it was said this morning, that my children must not drink tea, but I must it will sound very odd. Can I say this in reference to those who teach? Yes, and of myself too, but let it be the study of every Elder from week to week to practice what they preach. Now men what do you say to the brethren when they contend with one another? Do you teach the principles of peace and righteousness? If you do, do you practice those principles? If you wish others to profit by your teaching, and if I wish others to profit by the counsel I give, let me practice what I teach. This is my doctrine, and if I were to appeal to this congregation, how many do you think I would find in the midst of the latter-day-saints that would say bro. Brigham preaches one thing and practices another? Let this pass; no matter whether I do it or not, I should be faithful and practice what I preach.
Well now, I have related a little of what I feel to be the duty of the Elders of Israel, and you may call it new or old, but practice what you preach.
Now I want to say a word or two more to the brethren, because I can apply this to some circumstances. I want to apply this to the very nice, to those who over particular, bro. George A. Smith related a circumstance about a grave gentleman who says to his wife, You and I must drink water, and he binds her to that rule. When his back is turned she slips into the kitchen, and now says she I'll have a good cup of tea, and in this way she succeeds in gratifying her appetite. Now you call to mind circumstances, and you may thereby learn the truth of what I have to say. lf that sister has born a son or a daughter, watch the appetite of that child, for here goes forth an influence, it is conveyed from the mother to the child. Now let us consider our own casesl brothers will drink the tea. the Father in some cases won't drink either tea or coffee, but the Mother will, and she also wants a little spirits, and she craves for this, for that and the other. By and by the child is born, and when it is grown sufficiently large to sit up at the table, it says now Papa I want to sit by you at the table. The Father is drinking cold water, or if it be noon he is taking bean porridge. The Mother steps up and tells the child that bean porridge is not good; you want tea and coffee my darling, says the Mother; you want meat and vegetables; your father was brought up in the woods and it agrees with him to live on bean porridge, but it is not good for you. The Father is kind to the child, allows it to have almost everything it desires, and it is not long before the child says I want to taste of my ma's tea. The mother tips out a little, the child tastes it and it is good. The influence of that mother has gone to that child, and her appetite has apparantly formed an integral part of the child's constitution. This is a consequence occasioned some times by the too rigid rules of the Father. Again Mothers are too frequently guilty of teaching their children not to eat such stuff as bean porridge. I have heard of such instances as this, and I have heard of circumstances where mothers have been ready to whip their children for eating pudding and Milk, but in spite of the influence of the Mothers the children have become fond of it and wish to have it. I have heard of others taking the tea and brandy sling and giving to the child, but through the steady course of the Father, and the influence he has obtained with God he has succeeded in breaking down that appetite. In other cases children will become addicted to certain habits by seeing their file leader. So you may please the appetite of the child, and from this comes the old saying, "As the old cock crows the young one learns."
Now as the file leaders of this people and those who have influence over them act so will the people be influenced and follow in the wake. Don't you know this? It is so more or less, not in every case, but the influence which the Father and mother will have over the child will be great, by means of their own acts. Now let me be addicted to taking the brandy or the whiskey as a beverage, and my influence and my word with my children against using these articles become vanity to them. Cannot we see then that we distribute amongst our children in the rising generation generally those manners, customs and habits which we have ourselves adopted?
Now I want to say a word or two upon another subject, if I can bring my ideas before the people so as to be perfectly understood. We are here, and we are trying to teach the people, we are trying to practice righteousness and make our way to heaven. We are preparing for the kingdom of God on the earth, to redeem the human family and to build up Zion. You hear one elder preach upon the prophesies, he tells what is coming upon the gentile nations, and then he portrays the great blessings which the Lord has in store for his people, he tells of what we are going to enjoy by and bye. We hear of all these great gifts and blessings, the talents of our Elders are displayed before us, and we have all got to believe now that we have to build up Zion upon the earth; And I will tell you what I believe, and I think I have proven both my teaching and practice that I do really believe it; I believe that you and I have to learn the first lessons pertaining to the building up of Zion. Wen we first heard the gospel there was no man capaple of giving us the first lesson. Joseph Smith was the man first taught of the Almighty. The Lord called him and gave him the first lessons, and the first of all others was to believe aright.
Well, we have trailed along from that time until the present; we have been driven from city to city and from State to State, but now we have been here for years in peace, and how much have we learned in regard to building up Zion? We hear one brother say he was driven from Jackson county State of Missouri, and the question naturally arises are you ever going back there? Yes I calculate to go back and to help to build up the centre stake of Zion. Do you really think, says one, that we are going back to build that Temple where the cloud shall appear by day and the pillar of fire by night? Do you think we we have learned enough to build up that city the foundation of whose gates shall be of twelve different kinds of stone, in order that the city may compare with that that shall come down from heaven? Do you think we have to build Temples in which to give endowments and administer for the dead? Do you believe that we have to build houses, and the most beautiful ones that were ever built upon this earth? Do you believe we have to have the most beautiful and agreeable walks and pleasure grounds that were ever made to ornament this earth? All will respond to this in the affirmative. Then I will say why don't you practice a little before going to undertake such a mighty work, Oh, says one, this is good enough for me, living in a log house, or perhaps a miserable old adobe one. This should not be the case; every one should strive to improve to day. Such persons are accustomed to ask their neighbors how they managed to sleep at nights, we cannot, the begbugs have driven us out and we sleep in the wagon. In such case I should ask, why dont you plaster your house, and see if you know enough to plaster, I see it is giving way, and this window is giving way, and it is broken in the corner. O, says the man it is good enough for me, and what is good enough for me is good enough for a king. Then with the next breath you will hear that men say that he is going back to build up Zion, when he really dont know how to lay a rock or adobe in the walls, now I ask are the people prepared to go back and build up the chief city of Zion? Would they know the twelve different kinds of stone that are to compose the foundations for the walls around the new Jerusalem? Do the Elders know enough to go to work and select the rock for the building of those walls? We have had a sample here on the Temple block of how much the Elders know. We had a fine sample the other day we went and took up a few of those big granite rocks which are in the foundation of our temple, and we found them wedged and propped up with little pebbles and small peices of sand stone; and still we have men boasting of what they know. What do you think <I think> I think of such men? If I were training a class of boys, and one of them should commit such a gross blunder I should say he was a poor ignoramus, just as I feel like calling the men that laid those stones. They really have no idea of the Temples of the living God, or else they are damned rascals. You will excuse me but I am angry; I feel that I am imposed upon; I wish I never had anything to do with the foundation of this Temple, for I am ashamed of it. They say they have done the best they could; if so may the Lord grant that no more such may ever come into the church, and may those who have thus set themselves up for a guide board lay down their tools in shame and never attempt to take them up again. <These men>
These men are just like some that I have about me; in their own estimation they know everything, and that which they dont know they think it is not worth while for anyone to attempt to learn; they are full of a sort of ignorant self conceit, pretending to understand and do <nothing> that which they know nothing about. But let this suffice for the present.
There are a number of our sisters here to-day who are school teachers. Now you tell your scholars that if they will be faithful three months, study well, and in all respects be diligent and obedient scholars he will take them on a walk into a fruit orchard, where there are ripe apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots and every kind of fruit that can be <made> named. Say to the children, now you be faithful and dilligent in studying your lessons. Some are studying Geography and History; others Reading and Writing! another class are studying Grammar and Arithmetic, and they are faithful and true to their books for three months. The time appointed comes and you start out in the morning on your walk, having a chance to go to this beautiful orchard, where the fruits and flowers are without number, and beautiful beyond discription. You tell the children that the flowers are in such profusion, and the fruit in such abundance that you may bring enough home to last you your lifetime. Well, each and every one starts out on the journey in the morning, and by and bye the hot rays of heat come down upon the children and one faints by the wayside. O dear, says the governess I wish I had told that child to bring its parosol. By and bye another child complains of being parched with thirst, but there is not a drop of water to be had. Why did not I think to tell some one to bring some water? It is a long way, and why did not I think of it, says the teacher; and why did not I tell that child to bring a bonnett? She is sun struck, or has got the sick headache the teacher has never thought of anything to shield the children from the schorching rays of a meridian sun, nor of anything to protect them from the effects of a chilling peirceing storm. By and bye a heavy blast comes from the north west and chills some of the little ones. The teacher tells them to be of good courage, that they will soon be at their journeys end when they will get the fruit and all that is promised them. So on they go, and finally arrive at the place of destination. Now we have got to the gate, the teacher informs them. But they are so faint, tired, weary and overcome with the sun, the chills and the blasts that they can not eat one morsel of fruit; they cannot eat one apple, pear or plum, but there they are, and there are the beautiful strawberries and cherries. The children begin to complain, one says I am sick another my headaches, and so they go on telling of how faint, thirsty and hungry and sick they feel. O dear, the teacher says, I wish I had thought to tell these children to bring something with them, a hat, a bonnet and shawl, so that in the event of the wind coming from the North West they might have been protected, and that when they got to the garden they might have been comfortable and have enjoyed themselves.
Now sisters this is a picture of the class of individuals who are among the Latter-day-saints; this is a speciman of the wisdom that is here manifested.
There is no one knows how to lay the foundation of the Temple of our God; I excuse none. If Brigham Young does not, there is not a man in Israel that does. I believe Brigham and I would, if we were to try, but I have never seen the wisdom manifested yet. But if I could get men to take lessons we should soon see a great difference. I want to go a little further with this comparison. When people talk of exaltation and the great and glorious blessings of the future, these slouthful creatures are going to receive all these blessings. I will say to such you will be prepared just as these children are in the garden. We get these children there in the garden, but they cannot taste the fruit because they did not come prepared. It will be said you have been faithful, but you did not know how to prepare. Here is the fruit, take it home for there is an inexhaustible quantity and fountain of it, take it home, it will never perish. Well, Clara says the lady in attendance, did you bring your basket with you? No, I did not. Why did not you tell me to bring my basket, says the child? Have you got a basket or a shawl, or handkerchief? No, is the reply. I do not believe you have got anything that you ought to have. Why you ought to have your wheelbarrows and ox wagons and teams to take fruit home to last you your life time. What good has the walk done you? Just what the experience will do for this people; the blessings that are laid up for them they think they are going into the enjoyment of them all, right from the slough of folly and ignorance; they act just like the sectarians do in regard to the thief on the cross Well now, I do not believe in any such thing, but the Elders of Israel may teach from day to day the people are still neglectful and careless. Now if you want to teach right, begin right, then you can easily go right.
I feel that I want to give a few lectures upon life, for life has got to return to man. In the days of David he set the length of a man's life at seventy, although he lived to be more than seventy. Nine years from this day will bring me to that point. Do you think I shall give up then? No. I expect my head will be as good and my intellect as bright, and my mind will be more vivid than it is to day, and I expect to continue to live so, and then when I do go I expect to be prepared to enter upon higher glories. Is this our privilege? Yes; my doctrine is to live to honor the life that we now enjoy and possess.
We are living in the evening of time; this is the last hour. God has sent his messengers to gather the people from the four quarters of the earth that they may learn to honor the life which they now possess. We are endowed with this learning already and it is our duty to honor it and improve upon it.
I was pleased with an observation made to me by a gentleman yesterday. Says he, "when a man eats more than is good for his system, he sins; he may not sin against anybody but himself." When knowledge comes to us and we reject the light and act contrary to it we sin. When the law of God is present to us and we violate it, we sin against heaven. When our duties are pointed out to us and we neglect them, we sin against heaven, against the man that is placed to rule over us, and against the law that is given for us to obey. Now learn the law first. Self preservation is the first law of nature. Brethren, will we preserve ourselves? Sisters will we be found transgressing the law of heaven, of earth or of mankind that are instituted for the social being of mankind? No, is the feeling of all hearts. Let us preserve every law, and keep them inviolate. Let us honor the laws that man has made to control his fellow man. This reasonable and right. Learn what should be learned; how to control Mr. Self. First learn to bring into subjection self, and then let my influence go to my wives and children and to the Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth.
Let this be the feeling of the Elders of Isreael, and then they will be full of light. Well now, the comparison with regard to the Zion of God upon the earth, I do not know that there is anything comes to my mind better than to compare ourselves to these scholars. Are we prepared to walk and take the fruit that the Master has prepared? Now take the walk and prepare to enjoy yourselves hereafter. You know I say a great deal with regard to our temporal position; it is upon my mind, and the spiritual life we have talked about so much, and it is inseparably connected with the temporal. No mortal being will ever attain that spiritual exaltation without first observing the law by which we are here upon the earth. We are living in the evening of time when God is going to raise up a royal nation, for "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him <that> who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." Here is the calling of the sons and daughters of the Most High that come from the uttermost parts of the earth to learn how to build up Zion, and to control the whole earth; to learn to judge angels.
Let us go to and learn these first lessons, to honor our lives and the being that is now already given us, and prepare to make them just as useful as possible that we may be prepared to enter upon the higher glories, and to receive the higher lessons.
Well, brethren and sisters, may the Lord bless you; I pray for you continually, just as I do for myself. I wish to see the honest in heart saved from evil, from every hateful disposition; I desire to see the Elders pure before God, to see them live and learn pertaining to the earth, the nations, the laws of nations; to learn the earth as it is, and the inhabitants thereof as they have been and are and as they will be now for some time.
I heard a heard a few remarks from br. Broderick about the human species, and you cannot make anything else of them than what they are. The people can bring evil upon themselves as did the Lamanites; they brought upon themselves their dark skins, their loathsomeness of character has come upon them because they transgressed the laws of God, the same with the African. We see their dark, glossy skin, and they as a race of beings can never receive their blessings until the residue have come in and received theirs, even all except Cain's, and then they can come in, and they will return to God and become a white and delightsome people; but the Lamanites will first. You and I may have received the oracles of heaven and turn away and become hateful, but we are the children of God, and the Lamanites are and they cannot be anything else, although they are so hateful; and they will be saved. Let you and I take a course to be as fathers and Mothers before them, and as angels to teach them the principles of life and salvation; let us lay a foundation in our preaching, in our acts that the root of the tree may be prepared for excellence, for exaltation in time and in eternity.
May this be our happiness: Amen.