1864 October 8 General Conference Remarks


1864 October 8 General Conference Remarks



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George D. Watt

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By Pres. Brigham Young, G.S.L. City, Oct. 8, 1864.
Reported by G. D Watt

The text I have chosen upon which to found a few remarks you will find written in the book of man, <written> by the inspired pen of nature, and <which> reads as follows: "Fun and Frolic.'' I shall not pretend to discuss the various points pertaining to the disposition that dwells in mortal beings; but I will notice a few items relating to this subject as they shall be presented to me in the course of my remarks. The Latter-daysaints are, or should be, Christians in the strictest sense of the word. Our eyes have been opened to see, our ears to hear, and our hearts have been touched by the Spirit of inspiration to understand. The book of man presents to us <a> an extensive and very interesting history, and many things have been revealed from the heavens <to An> by the spirit of inspiration, to antient and to moderen prophets, relating to the organization of man, and his position upon the earth. If we understood the truth as it is, we <can> could behold in ourselves the germ of every attribute, passion, and sensibility that dwells in our Heavenly Father and in the holy Angels. So far as we have had revelation on the subject, It is clearly revealed to us that we are His sons and daughters-- his offspring. We must view man as he is -- a mortal being situated in a world of sin, darkness and error. He has not yet arrived at that state of perfection anticipated by us. Man in infancy is of all God's creatures the most helpless and dependant; yet beneath this utter helplessness and ignorance is concealed the germ from which will grow and mature, under proper care and training, the intellegence and power of a God. Divinity is implanted in the organism of man, which divinity is designed by the framer and upholder of all things to swallow up Mortality in immortality and eternal life, and, where ignorance and darkness held their sway in the mind, to esstablish, forever, illimitable (2) knowledge and eternal wisdom. I can read divinity in the faces of my fellow beings; I see the same trait in all, <through stamped upon their> appearing in eternal variety, <Also> in the <countenances, forms, dispositions fisi> physical formation and temperaments of the human family; Yet we are in <the> a world of sin, <or> vanity, darkness and ignorance. We are filled with <it> vanity; it lies thick upon our pathway, and forms an ruling element in our short mortal sojourn here. We are viewing <Let us notice> man as he is, <and> not as he wishes <be> to be, and as he will be. God has created man, and made himm Lord over all his creations here. He has plannted in <the organism of> man senses to receive impressions of pleasure and pain, and shall we say that <he> God has no right to demand of us strict obedience to all the laws of life which He has <es> instituted for the growth and perfection of His creature man? We find within us a disposition to "Fun and Frolic", which under certian conditions and circumstances becomes necessary to gratify in order to ensure the perfect health and harmonious working of the whole human organism. I like to laugh occasionally, and I have seldom seen a person <but what did> who does not like to laugh. Although in the course of my life I have come in contact with many <to> who have under the influence of fa<u>lse religious notions, tried to look grave and longfaced, and who, if nature should now and then exert <here> her prerogative over unnatural restrictions, and a smile should be the consequence, would spend days and weeks in mourning and praying for forgiveness. Now, this is a violationof one of the great laws of life; while, on the other hand, mirth and laughter, "Fun and Frolic," indulged in without <poper> just restrictions, and proper government, becomes a great evils in the phys<fis>isical economy of man. The Lord has said, through Joseph Smith, "Remember the great and last promise which I have made unto you; cast away your idle thoughts, and your excess of laughter far from you;" etc. We should encourage every practise, and allow every indulgence, which will enhance health and life, and lead the creature to virtue, holiness and the fear of God.
The intellegcnt parent and school teacher are not ignorant of the fact (3) that the body and mind of the child can be perfectly ruined by constant aplication to study and being denied the necessary <seasons of mental> leisure and amount for physical recreations, and fisical exercises, and thousands, through the same cause, have become confirmed lunatics. The mental and phys<fis>ical organisation of man are inseperably connected, and both need their proper and appropriate, norishment and recreation. The lungs <must> should be inflated with pure air, and the musels receive reasonable exercise to ensure a healthy circulation of the blood. Air is the first and foremost element<s> in the life of man, <that is curruptable>. and dwater is no less important, connected with many substances <of cor> which constitute corporeal food. These are of this world, and are orgonized to be disorganized, in order to attain ultimate sanctification and eternal duration.
Many people have thought that a saint should never laugh, but it is written "A time to weepp, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance", <Again, "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision."> Again, "Blessed are ye that weep now for ye shall laugh." And, "that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that reppenteth, more than over ninty and nine just persons which need no repentance." These, and <many more> simaler scripptures that might be quoted, show to the intellegent and enlightened reader that the inhabitants of the earth, and the inhabitants of the heavens, are of the same race --have sprung from the same source -- their only differences <existing> <consisting> having their origin in their relative stages of progression, and perfection, and in their different geographical conditions. They are all endowed with the same faculties, senses and powers, from which springs an endless and eternal variety of fisical form and expression, and as well as degrees of mental power and briliancy, giving to each his identity, place and influence among his fellows, whether in heaven or on earth, which identity remains after the children of God are santified, and every imperfection of mortality is overcome and every impurity cleansed by the power of the Gospel, and the efficasy of the Holy Preisthood through the resurrection of the dead.
Our Elders, in speaking, frequently quote the expression "Ye are not of the world; I have chosen ye out of the world." <Some of the brethren have said, during this Conference, that the saints are called out of the world> That expression <wants> needs explanation. When we say that we are not of tho world, we do not mean it to be understood that we are not of the world of mankind; for we are of the earth, earthy, and continue to eat, drink, wear clothing, and dwell in earthly habitations. We have seperated ourselves from the wickedness that is in the world -- from the practices of those who do not know God nor serve him. Jesus Christ possessed Great power in his mortal tabernacle. He could fast forty days, and feed thousands upon a few loaves and fishes. He had power to call from the elements the flesh of fish, and the bread to feed the multitude. We hae not yet attained to that perfection and power; we can fast but a <few hours> short time, and can only obtain our bread through the cultivation of the soil; yet we are trying to seperate ourselves from the influence of the wickedness that is in the world, to santify ourselves, and obtain faith in God sufficient to controle the elements as Jesus did, and learn to use <sub> the material necessay to the <extenuation of> extension and comfort of this mortal life to the glory of God, and our salvation and not abuse them to our distruction. Let us not forget our text: the Lord laughts, and so do <I> we; the Lord loves <loves> charming music, and so do we; He loves beautiful coulers, and so do we; all the capabilities, sensibilities, and powers of the human system are the gift of <God> our Father and God; For it is written, "He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? <He that formed the eye> He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen shall he not correct? He that teacheth man knowledge, shall he not know?" The body requires suitable food <and>, exercise and rest to make it healthy and <and> strong, and the mind requires study and relaxation to make it vigerous and powerful. The Lord wishes everything that pertains to life, to goodness, to holiness and to <the> comfort and happiness, to magnanimity and greatness, to nobility and to Godliness to be introduced among the Latterday Saints. (5) In short, there is nothing of greatness and goodness that the Lord has not designed for His saints. Everything that will enhance comfort, consolation and happiness in our associations with each other, <it> is ordained of God, <and> that we should have great <take> joy and peace in <the associations <with> of each other> our intercourse. The science of Music is the gift of God for our enjoyment; and our Heavenly Father has covered the face of the earth with an endless variety of couler on Mountain and plain for the comfort, <and> and admiration and joy of his children. The melody of the sweet singers in Isreal, and the players on wind and stringed instruments are designed of God for happiness and pleasure to his <saints> faithful childrcn. There is no attribute of body and mind, no facility of universal nature arronnd us but what is designed expressly to be used by us to His name's glory to prepare us for the enjoyment of the attributes of our nature in a state of perfection in His Celestial presence. Solomon says "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens". And, also, that "Every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor; it is the Gift of God." The Latterdaysaints desire to and should, have every decent amusement that skill and ingenuity can devise for <them> the enjoyment <and an> and recreation, instruction and satisfaction of the old, middle aged, and youth in our community. We have built a theatre in this City for that purpose, and about <this> which I wish now to say a few words.
It is my desire to have every performance that is introduced on the stage of that theatre, and every assembly that goes there to be as orderly, gentlemanly and saint-like as this congregation is at the present time. When the saints assemble in the ball room to go forth in the dance, or in the theatre to witness a performance, they are not obliged to take intoxicating liquors with them, and conduct themselves as the wicked world generally do, while engaged in such exercises; but when they have <lear> exercised themselves sufficiently and reasonably, then let them be content, go home at a seasonable hour, say their prayrs, and retire to rest. We are not obliged to conform (6) to <these> inconsistancies, and obscene representations in order to to make our parties and theatrical performances attractive and interesting. Children who follow their studies continuously at school, and clerks who are confined at the dcsk, require exercise in the open air, to strengthen their muscles, and give vitality and health to the fisical system. I do not know that it matters in what this exercise consists; <in> it may be in riding on horse back, pitching quoits, or cutting <cord> fire wood. The farmer and Machanic, and common laborer, whose employment altogether is manual <laborer> will be suited and rested to wittness, at proper intervals, <to witness> an instructive theatrical performance, partaking in its character largely of comedy. After I have sat in this Conference for four days, with my mind upon <a> the streatch, grasping in the affairs of the kingdom of God in all the world, and the unhappy condition of our nation, it requires relaxation and rest. To laugh at some witty and funny representation on the stage would change the exercises of the mind, bring rest and strength, and prepare it with fresh vigour to enter again upon its <harduous> arduous labors. The management of our theatre have done as well as they could under the circumstances. I have no fault to find with them; but I do think that the parents or gaurdians of children and young persons that go there ought to teach their children better than to disturb quiet persons who wish to enjoy the pieces presented for their amusement. I have often felt that I would order the curtain droped, and give a sharp reproof to those who scream, whistle, stamp, and indulge in many other <unwise> reprehensible demonstrations. We that have gathered together in these mountains have <got> to make our own amusement. We have our religion: God has given it to us, also the earth and its fullness is for us to enjoy; but we must learn to wisely classify and time our labors and our rest, our studies and our recreations that our whole lives may be filled up in doing good, and in bringing salvation temporaly and spiritually to ourselves, to (7) our friends, and <to the world at large, who> to all those who will listen to the words of life throughout the world. Parents should make the schooling of their children one of <their> important duties of their lives, and if there are persons in this Territory too poor to educate their children, still their children can be educated for there are provisions made to meet any deficiency of that kind; but I very much <think> doubt <that> there <is> being one family in this Territory that is too poor to educate their children. If there are any such, I think upon examination it will be found that they have not been sufficiently provident of the mercies <of> God has strewed arround them, and not made the education of their children <a> an important point in their domestic economy. Let <the> aged persons not suppose that they are useless, and wish they were dead, because their energies have failed them, and they cannot work as they once did. They are usefull, for they are experienced and should be wise and able to give good counsel to the young. The aged matron can teach the little girl to knit, darn stockings, sweep the floor, and help her mother in many little household duties. The aged grandfather can be equally useful in influencing thee boys to <be> industery, righteousness and goodness. Another word or two on the theatre. That theatre was built for the accomadation and amusement of the saints; <if there are others who wish to attend the performances they are welcome; but we respectfully wish them and others who wish to attend the performances, to behave themseles while they are there; and if they will not <do so> in the future, measures will be taken to have them do so, or remove them from the house. I <never want> do not wish to see any person perform on that Stage, <that w> who is not prepared, if necessary, to preach a funeral sermon, or pray if he is called upon to do so; and I never want to see a woman perform <on that> there that is not filled with truth and virtue.
Much has been said with regard to this kingdom being led by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. When I first commenced to preach this Gospel I was of the opinion, and (8) am of the same opinion now, that no man that has ever lived, or will live, can preach the Gospel of the Son of God without the power of God sent down from heaven. It is the privilege of every person in this Church to live so that they can know the mind and will of God <concerning the Latterday Saints> for themselves. Let every man live in the light of the Lord, and they will know the voice of the Good shepard. That is all I ask of the latterdaysaints. Brethren and Sisters, I anticipate <to> seeing the day <that> when a motion, an expression of the countenance will convey more to the minds of the Saints than language now can. Then our language will be perfect perhaps, and we shall be better able to convey our ideas as we wish; but, at present, we must be satisfied to improve upon what we have, and thank God for every blessing we enjoy and for every improvement we can make, being constantly humble to wait upon Him. May the Lord bless you Amen.