1863 October 25 Remarks in the Salt Lake Tabernacle

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1863 October 25 Remarks in the Salt Lake Tabernacle

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Sermons

Date (allowed formats: yyyy, yyyy/mm, yyyy/mm/dd)

1863/10/25

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George D. Watt

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REMARKS
Tabernacle
By President Brigham Young, Oct. 25, 1863,
<in the Tabernacle G. S. L. City>
Reported by G. D. Watt.


We have <all> duties <to perform> which will <should> occupy all <occupy the most> of our time while we live upon the earth, if they are properly performed, and they consist in duties which we owe to ourselves, <and> to our fellow beings, and to our God. We accknowledge that we <also> owe duties to God, and we feel that we are under certain obligations to him; indeed we owe our very existance to him, for we are his offspring, and without him we can do nothing; we cannot even make "one hair white or black" without our Father. We cannot, independant of God, make a single <spear> blade of grass <to> grow, nor produce one cernel of wheat or any other grain; in short we cannot perform anything to profit ourselves or our fellow creatures, without the Spirit of our Father and God, and without His smile and blessing. "When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? And when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only:" We possess no ability only that which is given us of God. He has endowed us with glorious faculties, with God like attributes, like those which are incorporated in his own nature, and He has placed us upon this earth to honor them, and to santify ourselves and the earth preparatory to enjoying it in its Celestial State. We are not in anything independant of God. We inherit what we possess from Him, and He inherits his faculties, attributes and powers from His Father. Yet it is so ordained, in the fathomless wisdom of God, that we should be agents to ourselves to choose the good or the evil, and thereby save and exalt our existance, or loose it.
It appears to be very hard for us to learn the attributes and powers which are encorperated in our own existance, and the principles and powers which are in universal nature arround us; we seem slow of heart to beleive, and are sluggish in our understandings. The religion of God embraces every fact that exists in all the wide arena of nature, while the religions of men consist of theory devoid of fact, or of any true principle of guidance, <and> hence the professing christain world are like a ship upon a boisterous ocean without rudder, <or> compass, or pilot, and are tossed hither and thi her by every wind of docterine. Those who have embraced the gospel of salvation have the witness within themselves of its truth. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God". But we often find persons among us who have bourn testemony of the truth of their religion by the Gift and power of the Holy Ghost, <and> who again fall backwards into darkness, by beginning to express doubts whether their religion be true or faulse; they begin to exchange the substance for the shadow -- the reality for a phantum. "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh"?
We understand but a very few of the simplest and most self-evident truths and principles which govern <us>, and sustain <me> us in existance as human beings, and all the rest which we have to learn is as great a mystery to us as <is> the most intricate and delicate peice of machinism is to the infant child. We need constant instruction, and our great heavenly Teacher requires of us to be diligent pupils in his school, that we may in time reach his glorified presence. If we will not lay to heart the rules of education which our Teacher gives us to study, and continue to advance from one branch of learning to another, we never can be scholars of the first class, and become endowed with the science, power, excellency, brighteness and glory of the heavenly hosts; and unless we are educated as they are, we cannot associate with them.
Brethren and sisters, are we preparing for the highest seat of knowledge and literture known to men on earth, and then to go on in advance of them by the means of that Spirit bestowed upon us <by means of> in the ordinances of our holy religion, which reveals all things, and thus become ourselves teachers, and expounders of the mysteries of the kingdom of God on earth and in heaven? Would not this be much better than to remain fixed with a very limited amount of knowledge, and, like a door upon its injes, move to<o> and fro from one year to another without any visible advancement or improvement, lusting after the groveling things of this life which perish with the handling? Let each one of us bring these matters home to ourselves.
It was said this morning that if we will do our duty God will make us rich. How? By opening a gold mines? No. If he makes us rich, he will make us rich, in the same way that he became rich, by faithful labor, ceaseless perseverance and constant exertion and industery. He labored faithfully for all He possesses, and he is willing that we should inherit all things with him, if we will persue the same course to obtain them that he persued.
Our lexicographers define riches to be opulence, the possession of landed estates, of Gold and Silver, etc., and the man that possesses the most of this kind of wealth is rich in comparrison with his neighbor. While> The riches of a kingdom or nation does not consist so much in the fullness of its treasury as in the fertility of its soil and the industery of its people. <This> The common definition may be termed the riches of this world, but <is it> are they the true riches? I say <it is> they are not, and you will probably agree with me in this I need not advance reasons to show you the <true> worthlessness of such kind of riches in the abscense of the common necessaries and comforts of life -- of those substances which satisfy the cravings of nature and prolong our existance here. Unless earthly riches are held for God, and used to advance righteousness, they are held only by a slender tenure.
Bro. John Taylor in his remarks refered to Nebuchadnezzar. It is said of him, "And the king spake, and said, is not this Great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; the kingdom is departed from thee." "The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was set with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagle's feathers, and his nails like bird's claws." And there the great king of Babalon remained, until he learned that All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing, <by the God of heaven> and He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" This Great king became satisfied that he could not possess power, wealth, majesty and earthly glory only as the king of kings gave it to him.
When God bestowes upon us power to command the elements --to speak, and the soil is formed and filled with fertility --to speak, and the rain decends upon it to moisten and germinate the seed that we have planted and to norish it until it ripens its golden fruit, then shall we possess true riches, and not until then. When we possess this power by the irrevocable decrees of heaven, we possess wealth that can not take the wings of the morning and leave us poor indeed. Can we live to learn some of these things?
We have in our mortal state the trial of our faith, and we are gathered together from the nations expressly to learn the character of our religion and its worth. We have come here to learn God and ourselves. Man is made in the image of God, but what do we know of him or of ourselves,? when we suffer ourselves to love and worship the God of this world, riches? Suppose all the people in these mountains who were in possession of all the riches they want, would it not becloud their minds and unfit them for usefullness in the great work of restitution in the last days? I heard a man say, <here a few days ago> not long since, while preaching, that if he knew where he could get a hat full of Gold, he thought he would try a hat full, and did not expect it would hurt him in the least. Let him get one hat full and he would want another, and another, and another, until he would become so attatched to it, and it would occupy so large a portion of his <heart> affections, <until> that he would prefer it to all he has ever learned of the kingdom of God. I would keep it from him and from any other man, and I do not want it myself, though <and> I think I know where I could go and get a hat full, and have known this ever since I have been in these vallies.
I want neither Gold nor silver, but I want to build <up> the temple and finish th<is>e new tabernacle, send the Gospel to the nations, and gather home the poor. "Do we not need gold for this?" Yes. "Then would it not benifit us to dig some out of the ground for this purpose?" The world is full of Gold, and we would do better to get some of that, in a lawful way, which is already made into coin, for it is easier handled than the gold dust, and better cleansed from particals of sand and other forign substances. If we possessed true knowledge and power with God, we should know how to get <it> gold in great abundance. The world is full of it, and they do not need but a little of it. We want riches, but we do not want them in the shape of gold, Many of us know exactly what we do want, and a great many do not know. I want to build that temple; I want to supply the wants of the poor; and I try my best, according to what judgement and influence I possess, to put every poor person in a way to make their own living.
We all wish to possess true riches; how shall we possess them? God has given to us our present existance, and endowed us with a vast variety of tastes, sensations and passions for pleasure and for pain, according to the manner in which we use and apply them; <and> he also gives us houses and lands, <glo> gold and silver, and an abundance of the comforts and necessaries of life. Are we seeking to honer God with all these precious gifts, or are we trying to esstablish interests seperate and apart from God and his kingdom, and thus waste the the ability and substance the Lord has given us with rioteous living and wanton prodigality? But few rich men have come into this Church who have not sought diligently to put their means into the hands of the devil. There are persons with us now who might have given their scores of thousands of pounds to this Church to spread the Gospel, build <up> the temple, and gather the poor saints, but no, they have sought and do and will seek diligently to place their means into the hands of the wicked, or situate it so that they may get it. I wish you to understand, however, that a man's giving his means to build up the kingdom of God is no proof to me that he is true in heart. I have long since learned that a person may give a gift with an impure design.
The Lord gives us possessions, and <all the accknowledgment> he requires of us <is> one tenth of the increase which we make by puting to good use the means he places in our hands. <the Lords money to usuary> I am sorry to see a disposition manifested in some to go off to distant parts <and> to trade, and build up themselves and make money, while the ability which God has given them is not consentrated in building up His kingdom, in gathering the house of Isreal, in redeeming and building up Zion, <and> in renovating the earth to <and> make it like the Garden of Eden, in overcoming sin in themselves, and in spreading righteousness throughout the land. We find what we have always found and shall continue to find, until the Lord Almighty seperates the sheep from the Goats, and when that will be I do not know.
As far as I am conserned I would like to see the people possess great wealth in this present state -- what is now called riches -- gold and silver, houses and lands, etc. <and> I would like to see it put to usury by building up the kingdom of God with it, and I would like to see men, women and children live only to do good. Shall we now seek to make ourselves wealthy in gold and silver, and <possessions> the possessions which the wicked love and worship, or shall we, <seek diligently, and> with all of our might, mind and strength, seek diligently first to build up the kingdom of God? Let us deside on this, and <be> do one thing or the other.
I have talked much, on previous occasions, on the law of tithing. I do not wish to say much about it now, and I would rather not say anything. <about it> <I wish, however, to> but I will give you a few facts. It is true we are continually gathering in new materials -- men and women with no experience; these are mixed <up> with those who <who> have been with us for years, and many of them have apparently, little or no capacity for improvement or advancement; they seem incapable of understanding things as they are; they are as they were, and I fear will remain so. They are first rate Methodists, and you know they are always the bigest when they are first born. <and> In all their after experience they refer to the time of their religious birth as the happiest moments they ever saw, and are constantly afterwards, as long as they live, praying for, and seeking with groans and tears their first love. Instead of this, if they were truly born <born> of God, their path would shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. We do not expect our newly arrived <imported> brethren and sisters to understand the ways of God, and of his faithful people in Zion, equeally with those who have been here for years,until they have had a sufficient oppertunity to <learn> practically learn what there is to be learned religiously, moraly, politically and every other way.
I think it was yesterday I saw a <a> man <came into the City> from Weber who said a merchant came into that region <Ogden city and wanted to buy up> and wanted to buy up all the grain, <and he wanted to buy it> at his own price <such and such prices>. When he found he could not buy it at his own price, he became disgusted and said "the people were a set of damned Brighamites." I took perticular pains to give him to understand that it was one of the greatest wishes of my heart that the people throughout the Territory would be Brighamites enough to know how to keep a little bread to feed themselves and their children.
We have been in these vallies fifteen years. Some thirteen years ago we built a tithing store and the adjoining buildings; from that day until this, with a few exceptions, <we have had> the grain bins in that tithing Office have been full of wheat, and we could feed the poor; <and> when the immigration came in, in the fall of the year, we could supply them with bread, and we had something to supply the families of the Elders that are abroad preaching, until now. I have more than once, told the people publicly that if they ever <they> saw the time when wheat would <fetch> bring money in this Territory, the tithing Office would be found empty; but you never heard me say that God was going to shut up the heavens and bring a famine upon us, though it has been reported that there will be a famine here. There will, and one that will pinch us harder than we have ever been pinched yet, if we do not do right, and try to avert it. The tithing Office is empty. and my office is thronged with hungery people asking for bread, and we have it <is> not <there> to give them. Where is it? It <is> has been grown; God has given it to us; it is in the hands of the professed people of God throughout this Territory, but it brings <fetches> money, and there seems to exist an unwillingness <to> to pay the Lord his due.
Hear it, O ye people of God, the Lord's house is empty, and the Lord's poor are pining for bread, and when their cries come up before him he will come out of his hiding place with a just rebuke, and a sharp chastisment, to be poured out upon the heads of the slothful and unfaithful of his peopl
If you bring in your tithes and your offerings to the store-house of the Lord, He will preserve <you> you from being overun and afflicted by your enemies; but if you refuse to do this, prepare for a gloomy and a dark day. We want something to feed the women and children whose husbands and fathers are in the silent grave. If we hold in fellowship <in fellowship> persons who will not render up that which belongs to the poor, we must receive the chastenings of the Almighty with them; they must either be cast out as salt that has lost it savor, or they must render up to God that which belongs to him, and aid in sustaing the preisthood of God upon the earth. <For> In a (1) behold it is written, "Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass, that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you. And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law santify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgements may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you; and this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion. Even so Amen." And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one tenth of all their interest anually, and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy preisthood, saith the Lord." Again. "Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my Gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment."
It may be supposed by some that the tithing is used <to> to sustain and feed the First Presidency and the Twelve; this is a faulse impression. I can say, without boasting, that there is not another man in this kingdom has done more <to build it up> in dollars and cents to build it up than I have, and yet I have not done a farthing's worth of myself, for the means I have handled God has given <it> to me; it is not mine, and if it ever is mine it will be when I have overcome and gained my exaltation, and received <a deed of> it from him who rightfully owns all things. If we have men in the First Presidency who are not capable of supporting themselves and their families, we shall help them to do so out of the tithing office. If any of the Twelve are not capable of supporting themselves, we shall help them; and it is our duty to do so, and it is the duty of the people to have it on hand to be applied in this and in every other way sugested in the law of God for the building up of Zion in the last days.
Men laboring as Missionaries, as teachers and preachers of the Gospel, in gathering <up> the poor saints, or <in laboring> in any way to benifit the general <whole> good of the saints upon the face of the whole earth, and to do good to mankind, must be sustained, and we wish the saints every where to impart of their substance, <according to the law of> that the preisthood may be sustained in fulfilling the Law of the Lord which reads as follows:-- "The word of the Lord, in addition to the Law which has been given, making known the duty of the bishop which has been ordained unto the Church in this part of the vinyard, which is verily this:-- to keep the Lord's Storehouse; to receive the funds of the Church in this part of the vinyard; to take an account of the Elders as before has been commanded; and to administer to their wants, who shall pay for that which they receive, inasmuch as they have wherewith to pay; that this also may be consecrated to the good of the Church, to the poor and needy; and he who hath not wherewith to pay, an account shall be taken and handed over to the bishop of Zion, who shall pay the debt out of that which the Lord shall put into his hands; and the labors of the faithful who labor in spiritual things, in administering the Gospel and the things of the kingdom unto the Church, and unto the World, shall answer the debt unto the Bishop in Zion," etc.
I am ancious for the people to understand these things, and act faithfuly in their callings. We cannot excuse ourselves from our duty. which is to build up the kingdom of God, for all of our time, all of our ability, and all of our means belongs to <God> Him. It is not the priviledge of any person to spend his <their> time in a way that does not good to himself nor to his <their> neighbors. <themselves or any body else>. Let mmechanics and every man that has capital create buisness, and give employment and means into the hands of laborers; build <fine> good and commodious houses, magnificent temples, spacious tabernacles, <and> lofty halls, and every other kind of structure that will give characture and grandure to our Cities, and create respect for our people. Let us make machanics of our <children> boys, and educate them in every useful branch of sciense, and in the history and laws of kingdoms and nations, that they may be fitted to fill any station in life, from a plowman to a philosoper. Is the general mind of this people bent upon supplying themselves with what they need in life, and thus become self-sustaing, or are they satisfied to be supplied from a distant market, and contented to spend their strength and their means <to epr> in buying ribbons and gewgaws which satisfies for the moment, but in the end bring<est> poverty and pinching want?
It is a fearful deception which all the world labors under, and many of this people too, who profess to be not of the world, that gold is wealth. <When> On the <was> bear report<ed> that Gold was discovered over in these west mountains, men left their thrashing machines, and their horses at large to eat up <thread> and trample down and distroy the precious bounties of the earth. They at once sacrifised all <to> at the glittering shrine of this popular idol, declaring they were now going to be rich, and they would raise wheat no more. Should this feeling become universal on the discovery of Gold mines in our immediate vicinity, nakedness, starvation, <and> utter destitution and anihilation would be the inevitable lot of this <whole> people. Instead of its bringing to us wealth and independance, it would weld upon our necks chains of slavery, and groveling dependance, and utter overthrow.
Can you not see that Gold and silver rank among the things that we are the least in want of? We want an abundance of wheat and fine flower, of wine, and oil, and of every choice fruit that will grow in our climate; we want silk, wool, cotton, <and> flax, and other textile substances of which cloth can be made; we want vegetables of various kinds to suite our constitutions and tastes, and the products of flocks and herds; we want the coal and the iron that <is> are consealed in these antient mountains, the lumber from our saw mills, and the rock from our quaries; these are some of the great stapels to which kingdoms owe their existance, continuance, wealth, magnificense, splendour, glory and power, in which gold <ser> and silver serve<s> as mere tinsil to give the finishing touch to all this greatness. The colossal wealth of the world is founded upon and sustained by these <and other> common staples of life. We are the founders of a one of the mightiest kingdoms that ever existed upon this earth, and what we do now should be done with reference to the future, and to those who shall follow after us.
In China the father lays up clay to be worked into pottery ware by his grandchildren. Who of us are planting out choice trees that <that> will serve for wagon a<n> and carriage timber and furniture for our children's children.
If we had <the whole of> all the Gold <that is> in these mountains run into ingots and piled up in one huge heap, what good would it do us now? None, and we cannot form any callculation as to the amount of harm it would do us.
It behoves us, brethren and sisters, to live near to God and honor our profession, rather than to become insane after gold and <sl> paper money; and to obtain faith to stop the ravages of the epidemic that is carrying our children off by scores. You may, perhaps, think I ought to rebuke it. If I can keep it out of my own house altogether, or partially so, I shall thank God and give him the glory. Behold the heavy hand of the Lord is upon us in this thing; let us repent, that this plague may be stayed in its desolating progress.
We sustain the preisthood in one very important way, by feeding the widow and the fatherless -- by aiding this or that poor widow to raise her sons to manhood, who may, very likely, go out into the ministry and bring home their tens of thousands to Zion.
Let us reflect and <find>asertain, if we can, in what channel our thoughts are dirrected, and what affect our doings produces for the advancement of the latter day work. Last April conference I gave some of the brethren a priviledge to furnish teams to work on this temple; how this priviledge has been apropriated by them they know best; this I will say, however, that we have advanced the work pretty well with the help we have had, which has been rather megre.
The people have acted magnanimously in the way they have sent for the poor this season, and the Lord is not ignorant of their generous endeavors, which will meet with a rich reward, where they have been made willingly and with a good heart. But where money, teams, <or> labor, <or> any other kind of means is supplied grudgingly, it will meet with no reward.
Our hearts should constantly be engaged in the work of God, and our greatest treasure should be our interest in his kingdom. After you have <sus> obtained a sufficiency of bread, etc. to sustain your own lives, then may you with propriety let the rest go to your neighbors; I care not what there pretentions are, let them have it and let them pay a fair price for it.
The Lord has blessed the people with bread, and many of them, instead of giving back to him a portion of it to be dealt out to the laboring poor and others who depend upon it for their subsistance, <they> are pedaling it away to the devil, to maake themselves rich, as they suppose. "Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgement, and of indignation -- the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved! Wo unto you poor men whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men's goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, who will not labor with your own hands. But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their diliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs."
There <is> lives but few men <on the earth> who cares for God and his kingdom on the earth or in heaven, in preference to earthly riches. For example, I heard <am> a man say, not long since, while he was examining a small peice of rock richly filled <supplied> with Gold, after a conversation relating to the present war, "If I had one rod square of such rock as this, the north and the south might all go to hell for ought I would care. This single case illusterates the feeling that is almost universal." I care for the North and the South; and if I had sufficient power with God, I would save every innocent man, woman and child from being slaughtered in this unnatural and almost universal<l> distruction of life and property. I pray that the Lord Almighty will so order it that all those who thirst for the blood of their fellow men may be found in the frunt ranks, that they may be cut off speedily and the war come to an end, that the innocent may escape. I care for the north and the south more than I do for gold, and I would do a great deal, if I had the power, to ameliorate the condition of suffering thousands. I care enough for them to pray that righteous men may hold the reins of government, and that wicked, tyranical despotism may be wiped away from the land; that God would raise up men to rule who have hearts in them, who care for the comfort and happiness of mankind, and let there be a reign of righteousness.
I pray for the Latterday Saints, for the prosperity of the Holy Preisthood in the land, and I pray that the minds of God's people may be opened to see and understand things are they are, that we may be able to disearn truth and righteousness from the vain <boubles> and delusive baubles of this world. Now if flower should rise to twenty dollars a hundered, which it is very likly to do <be> before next harvest, do not run crazy with speculation, but first quietly see