1863 June 21 Discourse in Bountiful


1863 June 21 Discourse in Bountiful



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John V. Long

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By President Brigham Young, Delivered at Bountiful, Sunday Afternoon,
June 21, 1863..
Reported by By J. V. Long.

As we enjoy this privilege of meeting here for the purpose of speaking of those things that pertain to life and salvation, in order that we may prepare ourselves to enjoy that life in the future, I hope and trust that we as Latter-day Saints will take a wise course so that we may secure all the blessings that the Lord has in store for the faithful. It is a privilege to me to come here; it is a privilege to speak, it is a privilege to hear and it is a great privilege to believe the gospel, and no people in the world can enjoy and never did enjoy, neither can they enjoy more than we do by our faithful labor and adherance to the principles of life and salvation. All that others have and can possibly enjoy is within our reach, and we are called out from the inhabitants of the earth for the express purpose of building up the Zion of our God upon the earth. Our Mission is different from other people's, our calling is more than any other portion of the inhabitants of the earth, our labor is greater. We have a labor to perform, and I might almost say that it outstretches all the labor that has been upon the saints since the days of Adam. It is true our Father has laid the foundation for life and salvation, he has laid the foundation to bring the fulness of the kingdom of God upon the earth, but those who have gone before cannot be made perfect without us, nor we without them. There must be a beginning to every thing. It is with the kingdom of God as it is with this edifice; if the material had not been brought upon the ground we never should have seen this building in its present nicely finished condition. To speak comparatively they who have gone before have produced the material for the great edifice of the kingdom of God upon the earth. We have the privilege of building this edifice and of preparing for the coming of the Son of Man. The Apostles did not enjoy this inestimable privilege of gathering together, establishing the kingdom and enjoying the society of each other, being secluded from the society of those that hated God. Their duty, their path and calling was to mingle with the world, they had to sing with the common people, to travel and preach, to labor and toil, and sow the seed preparatory to the building up of the Kingdom of God upon the earth. Now instead of being in the wicked world we have the privilege of assembling ourselves together. This privilege was denied the apostles in their day. They believed, at least so it says in the New Testament, that the saints were to gather together and the end of all things was at hand, and they actually looked for the second appearance of the Son of Man in their day. In this they were disappointed, and they did not tarry together long. I don't know how long, but it was a very short time. I will venture to say. Then they met from house to house and break bread; they commenced selling their possessions, and laying their means at the apostles feet, but they soon found that this course of life would not long answer, and they learned that the people were not what they should be; they found that they but just entered the school and commenced learning, and they scattered and went preaching the gospel so that their enemies could not find them. They went forth according to the saying of the Savior to preach the gospel to the inhabitants of the earth, to every creature. They did not enjoy the privilege that you and I do. Do we realize this? Can we realize the labor that is upon the Latter Day Saints? I think we do not.
It was observed here this morning that the most of the teaching of late has been for the saints to prepare themselves for the building up of the kingdom of God upon the earth. I wish to say, my brethren and sisters, that this labor can never be performed until the spiritual is built up in the hearts of the saints, until they are willing to give all things for that kingdom. Shall we call the people together? Yes, this is our duty. The Latter Day Saints have proven that they are willing to submit to the gospel; they have received it in their hearts and in their faith; they have submitted and they have actually gathered themselves together, but they do this like children, not knowing what they are doing. For instance, can I find a single man in this congregation who cannot be moved by property? or by temporal comforts and advantages? Is there a man whose heart is perfectly weaned from the things of the world? Is there a man who is not now longing for property? Where is the man who does not get angry before his family and that pretty often? Is there a man here who does not love the riches of this world. (A voice: Yes.) Where is he? (An old gentleman on the north side of the house answered here I am.) Well, yes, O I see who it is. Now I can prove this right here. Bishop John, you try the old dad, and see if he will turn his property over and every thing that he has got upon this earth. Now it makes no difference where an act of this kind lands us, or where it places us, or what position and circumstances it surrounds us with, it is for the building up of the kingdom of God.
We received the gospel when it came to us and was presented to our understandings, but do you know that we never should have received it, though the Elders had produced all the proof in the world, unless that gospel had touched our hearts? I know how it was with me. I don't think it would have made any difference to me if I had seen the dead raised, unless that preaching which I heard had touched my heart. I can prove, according to the reading of the Bible that wicked persons had power to raise the dead, and that one of the wickedest women that ever lived, according to scripture reading, did raise Samuel the Prophet to gratify a wicked King. But all this is no proof to me; I want the proof that comes by the Spirit of God to touch the inner man in order that my feelings and affections may be converted, and that every sensibility within me may be converted to the doctrine, and also that I may know whether it will lead to truth and righteouness or whether it will shove us all into the heavens without us knowing anything about purity.
Now every man and woman that receives the gospel receives it in their Spirit first. Those who go to enquire may hear this one and that one speak in tongues, they may see the sick healed, but every one that is converted is first converted in spirit. As I have heard some say that "Mormonism" is a mathematical fact and that it can be proven to a certainty by rule. I have never seen such a person that would stay in the Church. If it can I do not know it. If I did not know from the heavens for myself that Mormonism was true, that the gospel of life and salvation is the power of God unto salvation to every true believer what would I care for the mathematical proof or the scientific deductions of learned men? I would say this is no proof to me. This was the case with me when I first embraced the gospel. Before we were gathered together we were convinced by the spirit of truth which entered into our hearts, and if it did not enter there we were not converted right. If we were converted in deed and of a truth the spirit of the Lord that accompanied the preaching bore witness that that was the truth, that the Lord had spoken from the heavens. Then we bowed to its ordinances, and the man who taught us the gospel said that baptism by water was the only way, and that this was the only way that the Lord had prepared for his children, -- to go down into the waters of baptism and be baptized for the remission of sins. We did not see any paticular signs, but the Spirit bore testimony, and we had just as much proof in the Bible before we hear the word as we had after, therefore it was not the Bible that convinced us, but the Spirit witnessed that baptism was the true order, and the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost. We also learned that after obedience to these ordinances come the blessings that are promised. We have now the right to claim faith, prophecy, the gifts of tongues, the gift of healing and all the gifts and graces of the gospel, then let us live for them and honor our high calling.
We may preach till our hairs are <gray> as white as wool, and unless the Spirit of the Lord bears testimony and <that> we <must> yield implicit obedience to the things that are required our words will be like sounding brass and tinkling cymbal. We have got to come to order, and we have got to be controlled in every temporal act of our lives just as we are in spiritual things