1863 April 7 General Priesthood Meeting Sermon


1863 April 7 General Priesthood Meeting Sermon



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John V. Long

extracted text

at A Priesthood Meeting,
By President Brigham Young, Tabernacle, Tuesday Evening, April 7, 1863.
(Reported By J. V. Long)

Now my brethren, if you will give me your attention I will speak a few words to you. I have not spoken out of doors, I have not felt if it was my duty.
Here before me are the kings of the earth, the Lords of the earth. We have left at home the other portion of the society that composes our community, but here are the responsible persons,-- those who hold the priesthood of the living God. You will find in very many cases that the wife will follow her husband. In fact in most cases if a man apostatizes, he will lead away his wife; a few cases to the contrary. The man is the head, the responsible party. We compose the kingdom of God on the earth; this community called Latter Day Saints form that kingdom spoken of by the Prophet, of which it is said: "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." The male portion of this community are the leading ones, they are the Legislators, they are the senators, they are the House of Lords or the House of Peers, or the Governor and Governors of the body that dictate and guide the affairs of this kingdom; and I will say here when you find a man that will bow down to his wife, and be dictated by her; if the wife dictates, guides and leads, that man will not be accounted worthy in the end to possess a family, for he cannot control them, therefore he will have to be controlled by others; and if he is so happy as to get into the celestial kingdom and get a wife it will be through those that preside over him.
Now here we wish to organize the kingdom of God upon the earth; we wish to see this kingdom perfect. Now the question arises can we perfect the kingdom of God upon the earth? We have commenced, and I will say that there is a great deal already accomplished.-- The people that have embraced the gospel in the latter days have manifested a willingness to do anything that they are required to do in order and by this means perfect themselves upon the earth. This people have manifested great faith and great obedience, far beyond any other people in the world; still there are a great many little things that are yet pending before us and that we have to attend to in order to perfect the organization of the kingdom of God.
It has been said to this people many times that they have got to sustain themselves. We must provide food, raiment and every kind of material that we need for our home consumption. This is the object that I have before my mind this evening, that this people must provide for themselves. No matter what you take up or talk about; if it is corn that we want we must raise it; it is true that some of us do raise it, but we do this we need something else, yes everything that we have to consume. I what you to understand what I am talking about. We as a community, the old and the young, the male and the female, want everything that tends to make life comfortable. Now the question arises in my mind, how many articles of clothing and food have this community in their possession that are entirely useless? Can we say three to ten? Yes, I think we can safely say that many. Could we not say five to ten? I presume we could; I have no doubt but we could. We are anchoring after, longing for and laboring to obtain articles when we have not the least use in the world for but one half of them. We are wandering after shadows, and every impulse of the affections is either for good or for evil; every thing that has been or that will be induced is either for good or for evil. If there is a hundred new articles introduced into the market we want every one of them immediately, and it does seem that we cannot live without them. How on earth did the women live without hoops before they were introduced? Do hoops keep their legs and bodies warm? The sisters say they are very warm and pleasant in winter and cool and agreeable in summer. I never raise any argument on the subject, but still I never think of it but the statement of the drunkard occurs to me. In cold weather liquor warms him, and in hot weather it cools him. What beautiful logic this is; and yet this is just what I have been accustomed to hear drunkards say from my youth. With the ladies the! hoops are so nice, they swing over the kettles and the dishes so prettily
I might ennumerate a great many things that I consider to be useless. I will just mention the tobacco for one article. There is more grumbling in Deseret for tobacco than there is for bread. I recollect when I came into the valley in 1848, bro. Hunter had been here through the winter, and in talking with him he said there was a great deal of suffering, more for tobacco than for bread, and yet this article is useless except for sick cattle. And I know the brethren will testify that it does them more harm than good, and that it causes five times the evil that it does good, yet notwithstanding all this they will not abstain from it. I have used tobacco moderately for many years, though not for several years past, and I know it is useless, and I know that I am better off without it than with it, but the other brethren, it appears, must have it. Then why not go to work and raise the tobacco we consume? We have talked about this for years, but are we any nearer to its accomplishment? Very little, if any. I have asked the Bishops to raise in their wards, the tobacco they wish to consume, but they do not do it. I do not know what they say, neither do I know what they feel, but they do not do it. Now I say that we do not ought to buy another pound to be brought into this Territory, and if I had my way about it I would never suffer another pound to be brought here. Many would think this very hard. What are the sufferings of these brethren for the benefit of the community? They have none comparatively speaking.
I aske this community as a whole and I will say that they are a wonder; the people are better off than ever they were in their lives, and still they think if they have to go without Whisky or tobacco they are making great sacrefices for the kingdom. I do not agree with them. Now if we will do ourselves the kindness to leave our tobacco off, and then you will find that tobacco wont be brought here. While upon this point let me remark that this is just as good a place as there is in America to raise tobacco in. I do not you would get as good a crop, but it can be raised here in large quantities, sufficiently so to supply our market. The madder can also be raised here to advantage, and the Indigo can be raised in the southern part of our Territory. For Madder there is no better place than right round here, neither is there any better climate and soil than there is in these northern countries for raising Madder. We can raise indigo at St. George and Washington and I presume at Toquerville, and perhaps up on the Rio Vergin, but this is not the place for indigo, but when you come to madder you don't have to go south. Then when we talk of tobacco, it can be raised where corn can be raised. They raise good tobacco in Canada, and in the State of New York, and wherever they can raise this large corn.
In regard to cotton I will say do not attempt to raise it here in this climate. Cotton branches out a great deal when growing, the first balls that appear are ripe the first, and the grower is kept gathering for about two months; in Texas they can gather six or eight times.
Now I want to say to my southern brethren who are here and to all the brethren who live in that region encourage the raising of cotton. Supposing we had fifty tons of cotton that we could card, and a merchant could make as much in carding cotton as he could in bringing goods to this place. Cotton is not now less than from ninety five to 105 cents a pound. If we had this amount at St. George we could carry it east and they would spin it for us and bring it home, and then it would not cost us more than one third of what it does now, or we could it to the eastern merchants and bring home the cotton cloth or the money. We can raise cotton and supply ourselves, and this is the business that the people should be looking to. You heard some remarks upon this subject on yesterday, and you hear of it from week to week.
We regard to the kingdom of God upon the earth, we should ever keep in view that we must be made perfect; we must come to understanding we must receive the oracles of truth; we must prepare for the building up of Zion and for the coming of the Son of Man. All these things we preach, and we hear preached, and yet when we say to our Bishops go and organize your wards, and say to one man do this, to another do that; take the farmer and put him to farming, take the wagon maker and set him to work at his trade, let him work in the shop and let him mend the broken wagon, and then let the man who follows the plough go to the wagon maker, the shoe-maker and give his wheat and takes what he wants from them. Just as quick as we come to this we shall prosper and increase in faith, but we have not got one ward organized yet; now I am not going to blame you, nor am I going to find fault or to grumble at you particularly, but I am continually thinking for the welfare of this people, and I pray for them all all the time.
You and I want to be comfortable, to be rich. we want to have our lands and every thing around us that will make us happy and cheerful; and the very course that we pursue makes it appear that we might increase in wealth faster if we knew how to govern and control our own labor. Now we want flax here, and bro. Hunter has just told you that all the flax seed is gone from the tithing office. We lent out some two or three hundred bushels of seed some five or six years ago, and where is the flax and hemp that have been raised by the brethren who borrowed the seed? They have either disposed of it or lost it. Now save the flax seed. Can we find one man that will do us the kindness to raise some flax for thread? This is a thing that I have proposed for several years. We might perhaps find one that would it if we would pay him double what it is worth. (John S. Smith, of Kaysville: I will raise it.) (Bishop Layton said he was going to raise half an acre of fine flax.)
In Germany and in Denmark they raise a superior article of flax, and when a shirt or a pair of pants is put on to a boy it is probably worth ten of such as we buy here in our stores; and if we were organized as Wards we should then raise all these things within ourselves. We should then have our sheep taken care of, and we should have the spinning divided out among our sisters. according to their ability. I would not want to have a man who <that> raises wheat as a farmer to raise all wheat and nothing else. I would advise the farmers to distribute their labor so as to employ themselves all the time. The reason I mention this is because some think that the man who raises wheat must raise nothing else. When a man raises wheat there is just time to plow and plant, and it is time then for planting potatoes; then when he has done this he may sow his turnips and buckwheat, whereas if he had nothing but wheat he could not employ himself; he must be idle a great deal of his time, therefore I say to the farmers divide out your labor.
We want the sheep taken care of. Some of the brethren think they are going to do well with large flocks of sheep, but I do not; I think that our sheep should be distributed among the common people, and let them have the free circulating air as much as possible. If our sheep were taken care of it would not be many years before this Territory would be overrun with them, but as they are now managed it does not look right; it is too much like the management of some of our Elders. We want the wool; we want carding machines and our machines for working up the cotton, and then we want the machinery for working up the wool into cloth. Now when one carding machine is started by a man, another will say I do not know that it is necessary for me to send for one, br. A is getting one and there wont be work for so many. But I will tell you that the sheep will increase faster than the machines for some time, and we ought to try to get the machinery for wool, cotton and flax. We want our shirt bosoms, our temple garments, and all kinds of under clothing.
Brother George A. Smith told about wearing homemade clothes; he has not got so many in his family as bro. Heber, and therefore he gets homemade while bro. Heber has to go without. We would all wear homemade if we could only get it, but as we were told by bro. Kimball we cannot get enough of it.
I would like to get up a system of home manufactures, and all agree not to wear any thing else than what we got at home. This has been talked of, and it has been suggested that we would not buy anything more of the merchants. That wont do at present, but let us make more cloth at home, introduce more machinery and increase our home supply, and then goods will stop coming here. I tell you the speculators are all over the world, and they will bring goods here just so long as we are short of clothing and the means to supply ourselves, but when we can do without their goods they will cease to come here.
Perhaps there is not a better country than this in the world for raising the silk, and we have plenty of men here who understand the manufacture of all kinds of silk garments; and if we will go into this kind of manufacture we shall find it to be a very profitable one for this community. Let our sisters manufacture the silk, let them weave it into garments and they wear until the sisters will be tired of them. Our silk here will be like the silk in the east Indies, it will wear a life time, it will last a person from youth to a good old age. Then let us raise the silk and make it up into such garments as we need.
The linen that we wear is half worn out before we get it. This is done by breaking it all to peices, and then it goes through the hetcheling process, then it is mixed with cotton, and by the time we get it it is rotten and hence it don't last half its time. Let our wives and daughters make it and we will have cloth that will wear for years.
Now another item. It has been said that we should take care of our grain, and one special injunction was not to raise grain to waste, but to but cribs and barns to store it in. Do not let your grain be wasted, for the Lord will curse the ground if we waste our grain. Lay up your grain, and let it lay for a day of scarcity and it will keep fifty years as well as one.
The white bean is another article that we ought to raise in larger quantities than we do at present. They are one of the cheapest and best vegetables we can raise, and they will keep as long as we want them. Bishops, see that your wards raise as many beans as they have seed for, and then instruct them to save more for another year than they have been accustomed to do in previous years. They are a very profitable article to raise. I have stated that they will keep as long as you want them, and I will add that they will keep as long as you will keep them dry. I have my bean porridge every day or two from beans that were raised before we moved south; I toted them to Provo and brought them back, and they are just as good as they were when just raised and I think better.
Now does anybody know the whereabouts of a single bushel of buckwheat? If we should have a scarce season we could raise it after the grasshoppers pass off.
How many of you have got pure sugar cane seed? Our cane produced very well the first two or three years, but last year it was agreed that on an average it took two and a half gallons of juice to make as much molasses as was previously made from one gallon. Have you got the pure seed in any of your wards? If not and there is another kind being introduced here you had better try and keep them separate. If you mix them you wont know them apart in a short time. You can raise half a dozen kinds of cabbages and half a dozen kinds of beans, but you may mix them altogether and you wont know kinds you have. The different kinds of cabbages and cane ought to be kept far enough apart so that they won't mix. If this care is not taken the bees and flies will mix them and spoil the varieties.
Well now, I feel to urge upon the brethren to raise that which will sustain our community. I want to live with you, and I have to buy a great proportion of my provisions.
Raise your flax, your cotton and your hemp. Get your handcards and card up your cotton, till you can do better, and spin it up, and if it is a little coarse never mind it will last all the longer for that.
We have got some women here that can spin thread as well as anybody you ever saw, and I say let us raise plenty and set them to work. Where are you going to get the thread from? 0, say the people we can get it from California. and how long will it be so that you can get it there?
It was observed that cotton was king, but instead of that the king raised the cotton and controlled it. Now we are the king that can govern and control these circumstances at our pleasure. Let us govern and control ourselves and our energies, anu go to work and raise a hundred tons of cotton and bale it up so that we can put it into the wagons and take it down to the States and sell it.
I was in conversation with a gentleman not long ago, it was Judge Kinney, and he remarked in the course of the conversation "I have been a close observer, and I never have heard you say anything but it has come to pass. I remember once hearing you say one of the most preposterous things I ever heard, at least so it appeared then. You told the people to go to raising cotton for it would not be many years before cotton cloth would be seventy five cents a yard, and I have lately been in these stores and heard them asking that very amount." You all know, brethren, that I have not said much about it, for I might as well talk to some <them> about building a ladder to the moon. But it appears that my words are noticed by those outside of the Church and they can refer to their fulfilment. I am happy to say, however, that some are beginning to see the necessity of a self sustaining policy, and the brethren are beginning to talk to each other about these things. I am rejoiced that the people are beginning to see the propriety of making their own clothing and that it is really necessary for us to do this, and those that will not do this will have to go without. There are plenty of men here who, in their youthful days were so situated that if their mothers did not make their breeches they had to go without, and I think we are beginning to see just such days now. Men are beginning to see in the States that they cannot raise grain for the hundreds of thousands of troops that constantly kept in the field, for many of those troos are taken right away from their agricultural pursuits, and then the continually waste of life renders it necessary in to keep up the army to call for other drafts. Last fall there had been thirteen hundred and fifty thousand troops called into the field, and then the conscript law picks them up wherever it finds them, and the result is that farms are lying idle, and the factories in many mannufacturing towns are stopped for want of men and cotton. Then what are they doing besides? These very men that own these factories in the eastern States have traveled through the States buying up all the crash, setting their machines to work to pick it to pieces, and then they make up into cloth and sell it for fine cloth. They have had to do this to supply the army. Now where are they going to get it from to supply the army and the nation by and bye? Are the south going to let them have it? No, they are not. In the south part of Illinois and in Indana they are reported to be trying to do something towards supplying this deficiency. It is true that they are at present independent, so far as their hunger is concerned, but who is it that raises their flax and hemp? This will be found out by and bye. You may go to one shop in the States now and ask what are you making? We are making machinery and wagons. To another what are you doing? We are making pistols, swords and cannon. And almost all other kinds of mechanical shops are shut, so much so that it is hard to find those that are manufacturing the articles we want. All the mechanics are engaged making spiers and other impliments of war, and this is going to grow tighter and tighter, and there will be trouble upon trouble in this nation. Now can we prepare our granaries? and will we do it? Will we raise our cotton and flax for our present and future benefit? Let us do it; and let us also take care of the sheep and the wool, and let us get the spinning wheels and set our women to work, and if they want frills and bonnets let them make them. I presume I have talked enough about these matters, but I feel the importance of these things.
I have talked to our mechanics about economy, and about getting in debt, for most of them are in debt, but they do not seem to heed me. If they see br. Brigham go to the Barber's shop they must go; if he shaves they must shave; if there is a grocery shop they must visit that, and if they see a place for fancy ribbons, belts, shoes made of paper, and furbelows generally why they must have them and they cannot live without them. They must go to the store, for there is tea, coffee, sugar, oysters and sardines; they must go to the store for there is broadcloth, fine boots and hats, and they must have them; and in fact everything that an English Lord would want, and I don't know that an English Lord would want near so many articles of finery as our mechanics do, for there is nothing but what they do want, and they must have what they want. A man comes along and says I must have something or other out of the store, and br. Wells you must furnish me something. Well, how much of a family have you? A wife and two, four, six or eight children. Have you a cow? Yes, but I turned her out and lost her.--Have you a pig? No, I have not, and I have not got any chickens. Then what do you do? I go to work and I go to the store. My wife wants a cap and a bonnet and some frils. What does she do with these articles? O she wears them. What does she do with the offal food and with the swill? Why don't the man fat his pig? O, it is so much trouble. The frugal wife saves all the bits and all the slops for the pigs, and the economical man will grow his corn, take care of his fodder for the corn and his corn to fat his pig, and he builds up a nice henroost for the fowls and comfortable shed for the cow, the man milks the cow and they have a little butter to eat and some milk for the children. By these means they have a little pork to eat, also some eggs and chickens; by and bye they have a calf and it is put into somebody's hands till it is suitable for beef; he brings it in and sells half of it, and then he has his milk, his potatoes and his dried meat. Such a man gets up of a morning, does his chores, gets his breakfast and goes to his work rejoicing. But here is our mechanics all the while complaining that they have no pigs, no fowls, and you must double my wages for I cannot support my family. I know that I can take a family in this city, such as most of our laboring men have, and give me one dollar and a half per day and I will be a rich man in a short time, but here we have them complaining of being poverty stricken; they have no tape, no needles, pins or thread, and if a man sees a dozen pins in the door yard he won't pick them up nor tell a child to do it, and away goes a hundred yards of cloth for this, that and she other useless purposes, and hence people are poor.
Well, I think I won't talk any more of this home economy.
Now I want to talk to the people a little on another subject. I want you to shell out your $5 or $10 each in money for the benefit of our Missionary fund. I am not going to accept of such a subscription as we have had to-day. The subscription to day was one blue skin, the second an order on old (Camp) Douglas who died with the gout. Come on now with your blue skins. There are hundreds of men that ought to give more than has been given to-day. The Lord Almighty is ashamed of you, and I am ashamed of you. Say you will bring ten cords of wood, and another here is a ten or twenty dollar note. This is the way to do, and let the Elders go forth like men of God, and don't stingily dole out a few dollars. I tell you if you see things as they are you would be ashamed of yourselves.
I have not said anything about the Temple or the Tabernacle; I will, however, say that we intend to build both of them.
I will now leave these subjects till to-morrow morning.
God bless you. Amen.