1865 March 26 Remarks in the Salt Lake Tabernacle

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1865 March 26 Remarks in the Salt Lake Tabernacle

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Sermons

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

1865/03/26

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George D. Watt

extracted text

REMARKS
by President Brigham Young, Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City,
March 26th, 1865.
Reported by Geo. D. Watt.

It is truly astonishing to the world when they think how the Latter-day Saints, <hang> cling together, and how they will be of one heart and of one mind. The world marvels at this, <for> it is so unlike the manner of the world; for in Christandom the order is Catholic against Catholic, Presbiterian against Presbiterian, Methodist against Methodest, Quaker against Quaker, and so on through all the ramifications of society in every nation and among every people except among the Latter-day Saints, and so it will be until war and dire distruction desolate<s> the land. <as is now the case in our own country, and> It is quite a marvel that these Latter-day Saints will not war against each other in political matters. <about which> They care but little about such things, and still, when the kingdom of God is perfectly set up upon the earth and holds universal dominion, <then> politics and religion will equally command their attention, until, finally, all politics will be swallowed up in religion, and there will be nothing but the religion of Jesus Christ.
We frequently hear people talking about treason; now, my idea about treason is that every body who <are> is against God and His laws commits treason against heaven, and, sooner or later, <they> such a person will be chastened for the same. I did not think of speaking one word, though, with regard to the right that Jesus has to reign on the earth; but I thought of telling you a little of my experience, and I thought I would take a text embrasing the idea I wished to communicate, <viz> namely, "Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Iord". This scripture will serve to illusterate the ideas I have accumalated from my experience. In a few days it will be thirty-three years since I was baptised into the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth, Previous to that time I had been a religionist, perhaps eight years. Before my espousing the cause of religion I was considered an infidel; and I was an infidel in many things, for I did not beleive in the practices of the sectarian world. I was <an> infidel <in> to the docterine that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass, and my mind is still unchanged upon that subject. I never could beleive that people will be lost let them do what they may to avoid it, and that others will be saved, no matter what crimes they may comait. Lorenzo Dow spoke the truth when he told a strong Presbiterian what his docterine was; said he: "your docterine is simply this, you can and you can't, You shall and you shan't, you will be damned if you do, and you will be damned if you dont." I was an infidel to this docterine then, and I am still; but I am not an infidel to the truth; I never was, and never expect to be while I live in the flesh, and never expect to be in eternity.
When I came into this Church, I had looked to the right and to the left, and had examined creeds and docterines, and had learned all I could with regard to their affects, which are the same <then> now as then. There is not a truly bible christian upon the face of the earth, in what is called the Christian world that we know anything of. If the people called Latter-day Saints are not bible christians, there is not one upon the face of the earth; and if there is a few bible christians among the people that is commonly called Mormons, thank God for it; I beleive there is a good many. I was an infidel to the idea that the life and character of a religious minister proved or disproved the <th> validity of his doctrine. The traditions of my fathers were upon me, and clung to me with <a> greater or less tanacity on different points of doctrine and beclouding my understanding to a degree.
Persecution, when continued against a people, will have the affect of making them humble. The reformers were persecuted and despised when they were weak and few in number, and their doctrines were discarded as hetrodox, but when they became numerous and popular, their doctrines also became popular, and were considered orthodox. I was governed more or less by this same unsound and traditional idea and viewed religion as the world did. <feelin conclusion> But still when I heard this Gospel preached, and by those too in whom I had but little confidence <in> as sound thinkers, and clear-sighted men,-- for they had previously embraced many errors which I had discarded, <errata> yet I would not have you think <however, construe this> that I had any fault to find with their moral characters, & <it was my misfortune, and in one sense I may say fortune to hear the gospel from the, and they had received it from Joseph Smith, This> it set me to thinking, and I was sensible that I must think and act for myself; for I felt that I was answerable to God for my actions and to no other being in heaven or on earth. It was my misfortune, and, in one sense, I may say my fortune to hear the gospel from them, and they had received it from Joseph Smith and <I had to I commenced> had to think for myself, and I came to the conclusion that I would examine the doctrine I had heard, and not the ministers that preached it; though moraly I had nothing against them, and could raise no objections whatever against them on that score. Whatever my objections might have been in regard to their being very liable to be lead away and deluded by religious wild fire -- <and I do not know but> for this is as good a name for it as can be applied to it,-- <as religionists I had no confidence in the, but I must> I saw that I had to look at the docterine for myself. I examined the revelations, and read the Book of Mormon, and judged of it by the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and by the spirit that was in me, even the light of Christ that lighteneth every man that cometh into the world. By these witnesses I judged, and embraced the doctrines prumulgated by Joseph Smith. When I first received the spirit of this religion, and mmy spirit became <partook> partially imbued with its pure, heavenly, and lofty sentiments I could not but beleive that every man and woman who came into this kingdom was as pure as an angel, but herein I was greatly decieved.
I sometimes hear people tell their experience, and speak of what they have passed through, what they have learned etc. <the> now, inquiries arises in my mind: Is my religion as good to-day as when I first embraced it? do I know as much about God as I did when I first embraced His doctrine? is the vision of my mind opened now as it was when I first felt the love of God shed abroad in my heart? do I love my brethren as I did formerly? I can sum these matters <up> up in a few words, and can say in truth, that the love of God, the fear of God, the knowledge of God, the God ness of God and my confidence in the attributes of God have increased in me; but my confidence in the people has not, except in a few with whom I am intimately associated. I would not wish you to understand that I would cast the people down in my estimation; but this lack of confidence in them is the result of receiving more light, which shows me the affects of the fall in myself and in others, and our liability <of committing> to err<ors, and to do<ing> that which is not right, and to treat<ing> lightly the sacred things of God, to committ<ing> a little dishonesty here and a little there, to deceive a little here and a little there, and to take advantage a little, and be coveteous a little, etc. There is no doubt a number of people in our community who are as honest as the Angel Gabriel, and there are others who are <just as comparatevely as> very <as the others are> dishonest. <but so that> When you look upon the great masses of the people there is little of true Godliness to be seen, and <little> confidence can with difficulty find a resting place. The masses of the people as they now exist upon the earth are very wicked; they have gone out of the way which leadeth unto life; as the prophet has said "They have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water," and they cling to their evil ways, with as great tenacity as the righteous cling to the truth; and I have frequently said that men will suffer as much for the maintainance of untrue principles as they will for the truth, and this they will do through their selfishness, their pride, and ignorance.-- <or> more perhapes through their ignorance than anything else.
I see the people as they are; they have the warefare within them. There is not a man that walks upon the earth but what has a warefare within him. When I say this I include all mankind. They have a spirit within them that guides and directs them, and this is so with the most ignorant person or persons; as the Apostle has said, "they that are without law are a law unto themselves." The Spirit of <the Lord> truth is continually guiding and directing and counseling the inhabitants of the Earth, and there exists no person without it. Although they never heard of the bible, and know nothing of Jesus Christ, and chrisianity, they still have the law of right near them, and it is so near them that they may readily know right from wrong, and when they do that which is wrong they are convicted of it, to the same extent as we are; <No, but to a certian extent> that is accord-ing to their intellegence and enlightenment Their traditions go a great way towards forming their conscienses, and their conscienses will be void of offence when they do a great many little wrongs; but every person has the good and the evil within them, and we see them inclined to give way to the evil in preference to the good, and we often see the same thing in the Elders of Isreal. They will get mad and swear a little, and then repent of it, and pray the Lord for forgivness, and the Lord is merciful. It is true <it is> a canyon life is a hard one, and hard fare as well may very likely cause some men to justify themselves in picking up an ax that another man has lost, and in swearing a little, etc. In consequence of these things, I say, my confidence is not so much increased in the masses of the people as in the providences of God.
When I came into this Church I had been <was> taught my my parents to beleive that the Old and New Testaments contained the words of the Lord, and I beleived all I coul in the Lord; but I would ask myself, who is the Lord, and where and how does He live? This I could not understand, But I began to understand more and more until I could see the handwork of God more plainly, and behold His footsteps among the people, and the <fruits> results of His works <are> made visible throughout the nations of the earth; and any persons who live their religion, and continues to be faithful to their God and to their religion and to their brethren, light and intellegence will continue to increase in them until the saying of the saviour will be fulfiled in them, "But the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." And the spriit of truth and knowledge and revelation will be as natural to them, and be constantly in them and arround about them so that their very nature will be to do right.
To overcome the evil that is within us is a warefare. We have to <to> strive constantly to overcome these evils; and when we are tempted and tried and buffeted by Satan, by vexacious feelings etc. we have the spirit <to> of Christ to cheer us, and we continue to conquor and overcome every feeling that gives sorrow and pain until the evil and its results lie at the feet of the people and they triumph over them in the spirit of truth. This is my experience. Some of the brethren know that I have my trials -- I have just as much to try me as any other man. I am neglected and my words are frequently set at naught, and I do not know that I hold any malice against any one, and do not feel cross at them. I chasten my family and my brethren and Sisters but I do not feel cross. If anger comes to my door, and <w> raps and undertakes to lift the latch, I hold it down, saying, You cannot come in, because you have made me trouble enough already in this world; I have fretted and greived and been angry and full of malice and revenge, and I will not again have <it> these feelings about me. <But> Now, who knows but that I may have these feelings before tomorow morning. If I do, I callculate that you shall know nothing about it nor find it out; and if I happen to leave the string out, and the old man --the old foe of the human race comes along and lifts the latch and steps in when I am off my watch, and we have a little contention, I lock up the door and see that he does not go out to disturb anybody else. This is my experience in my religion.
If you wish to learn Yourselves, learn the character of God our Father and Jesus our Elder brother --learn the character of those beings, and you will learn your own charactera. <in your weakness.> There are thousands of men who say they can tell you all about God and Angels, but not the first thing about themselves; they have not learned their first lesson in salvation. We should learn ourselves -- how to govern and controle ourselves; for <and> if we wish to learn the character of our Father and God, let us learn what his children are. According to the Scriptures here are the sons and daughters of the Almighty; and, they being <his children> true, do not you see that the earth is His and all its fullness; the Gold and the Silver, and the wheat and the fine flour, the Wine and the oil, and the cattle upon a thousand hills, and He allows us to possess a portion of all this fullness to see what disposition we shall make of it --to see whether we <shall> will use it for our benefit and for the building up of His kingdom and the extention of His laws.
Did any of you ever read one of the laws of God that was not worth our attention? Did you ever find a law of God that is a bad, <law and> unwholesome, <an> unbecoming, indiscreet and unjust law? Did you ever learn of one law of God hat is not perfectly pure and holy, and callculated, if obeyed, to exalt intellegent beings into His presence and prepare them to dwell forever and for ever there? No, you did not, and you never will; and, when rulers and law makers frame laws to distroy the law of God, they are persuing a course to distroy themselves. We have within us the power either to save or distroy ourselves, and there is not <an organized> nation upon the earth, orgonized by human wisdom, that does not carry within its own bosome the means of its own distruction. This is true of all nations and kingdoms of this world, except the kingdom of God. His kingdom has been upon the earth a number of times, and it is now upon the earth, with its laws and ordinances and offices and constitution complete, to purify every heart, and exalt every mind, and enlarge every capacity of every intellegent being who will be subjeft to its rule. The attributes which dwell in God our Father also dwell, <in His children> less perfectly developed in His children; and here is also the good and the evil.
How are we to judge as we shall have to judge hereafter? As we have had to judge heretofore -- as all intellegent beings judge; and we can learn facts and principles and doctrines, and obtain information upon the character of the good and of the evil by their oposites; and this is the reason why the Lord has permitted evil to come into the world, and no man can understand these two principles properly and know how to act in relation to them without understanding their opposites. It was not a mere freak of Mother Eve taking the for-biden fruit, and afterwards giving it Adam her husband. She knew before she came to this earth, as well as the Gods knew, that it was all planned beforehand that she was to eat the forbidden fruit; for without partaking of it, evil, the oposite of good, would not be introduced. It was designed by eternal wisdom that she should partake of it, and give it to her husband, that he might partake also, and herein we learn the wisdom of God, and the wisdom of <the> sending a saviour <and the capacity of man.> Jesus had to descend below all things to be exalted above all things, consequently he must know <kno> the good and the evil, and be tried and tempted in all things as we are. He did not give way to sin, although he was subject to all the evil and weakness that we are subject to. He had the divine power with him, and the Father preserved Him, and the Holy Angels were with Him all the time, and He, being composed of mortal flesh, and possessing divine power within Himself, he had power to resist temptation more than we have.
Many persons are naturally nervous and weak, and the power of the enemy <in a great many ways> in a great many ways, afflicts them and they feel that they cannot resist the tempter and overcome him like a healthy, strong nerved person can. It is useless for strong men to tell me that they are <can> not able to resist temptation; they are able to fight, and to swear, to climb mountains and rocks, and run foot races, and do two days work in one, and yet they say they are not able to resist the enemy. When you see the weak and nervous struggling along and beset with temptation have compassion upon them, and do not tell them they have devils in them etc.; they are subject to weakness, pain and distress, and the enemy has power over them, to afflict and irritate them. "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." Now brethren and sisters learn from these things.
My confidence increases in God, in His providences, in His revelations; but take the people in mass I have not the confidence in them that I <did> had before my mind became enlightened by the revelations of Jesus Christ. When I embraced the gospel, I callculated to live with the Church, and had not the least idea that debit and credit accounts would ever again be needed in this Church. I callculated that every man would do all that was necessary for his own subsistance and a little more, and hand it out to send the gospel into all the world, and gather up the saints and learn them how to get their living and maintain themselves, and that no man should say that ought which he possessed was his own. I found myself mistaken. In Jackson County a man with a wife and six or seven children with not a shoe to their feet or garment to cover them would <give you his labor> say<ing>: all I want is the common necessaries of life, <and> a good house to live in, and plenty of food and clothing all our <their> days. If you would thus furnish him all that he would want<s>, he would give you in return his idleness and shiftlessness, and make you welcome to it. I do not know but that some of them would be a little more honest than this picture would represent; but men will be dishonest, and the Lord has said that He would reveal the secrets of the hearts of the children of men, and I know of no circumstance like joining this Church and professing to be Latter-day Saints that will so well bring to light the hidden things of the heart of man. Old deacons <th> who have stolen all their live, and have hidden their evil deeds under the cloake of religion, and escaped detection, when they come into this Church the cloak is rent away, and we have found them to be theives. The Lord will bring us into circumstances to make us exhibit everything that is within us and tell to all the world who we are and what we are. I have occupied time enough. May the Lord bless you. Amen.