1873 May 18 Discourse in the Ogden Tabernacle

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1873 May 18 Discourse in the Ogden Tabernacle

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Sermons

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1873/05/18

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James Taylor

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DISCOURSE
by Pres. Brigham Yound delivered in the Tabernacle, Ogden,
Sunday Afternoon, May 18th, 1873.
Reported by James Taylor.

Teaching grown people is the same as teaching children. We commenced to receive impressions upon our minds when verry young; and as we grew up we received, one, two, three, four, five and so on. It is precisely so in teaching the Gospel to the people. And when we talk to persons, to congregations that have not heard the Gospel, we have got to reason with them upon the propriety of receiving the truth with the Latter day Saints, to whom I shall address myself, particularly this afternoon.
We have to talk to the Latter day saints, persuade them, reason with them, show them the necesity of this and that. When the Gospel is preached to the honest they hear it with open hearts, and receive it in their faith. But when they come to carry out the precepts of the Gospel it is a labour. It requires their time and attention, their faith and affection, and here many of them stop, and in their meditations they come to the same conclusion that they did in days of old. "I think I must be mistaken.
Now when we talk about unbelief, we have had it since we have known anything of the earth or the inhabitants of the earth. Did you ever read over the sayings of Moses in regard to our Mother. That was in the garden. She had heard the voice of the Lord, and understood it; and it was stated to her and her husband, Adam, that the might partake of all the fruit of the garden, with the exception of one tree. But when the husband withdrew to another part of the garden a certain character came along and comenced to reason with the woman: --"This is a fine tree, Beautifull fruit. How lovely." Says He "I understand that the Lord has told you not to partake of a certain tree. The fruit looks beautifull He has told you not to partake of it" "Yes," says the woman, "we are not to partake of this fruit, for in the day we eat thereof we shall most asuredly die." "But," says that character -- "It is not so. You must not believe every thing that is told you. You ought to reason for yourselves. You have judgment and reason of your own!! And after a long conversation, says He. "I will tell you somthing. If you will partake of the fruit of that tree your eyes will be opened, and you will see as the Gods see." Now it is verry natural, you know to comence to reason upon this subject. "Now, perhaps this is so. I will think about it," says Mother. And in the conversation plucks of a peach pear or any thing else, no matter plucks it of in the hands of Mother. "Eat of it, taste of it, You will like it if you will, and your eyes will be opened too, and you will not die. Now have reason and judgment of your own So Mother took the fruit and ate of it and she liked it so well, that she must naturaly offer it to her husband. "lt is delightfull, come husband you taste of it." "No," says he I will not do it." Just as it is in these days. The wife presides, and coaxes a little, and we eat the apple Now do you see this doubting?
When they were there pure and holy and spotless before their father, Satan steped in and urged upon them the necessity of exercising their reason. This we all claim as our right. We have to reason and reason with the Latter-day Saints. We have to reason out these things with the world of mankind. A declaratory statement of the things of God will sattisfy a person who is prepared to receive the revelations of God for himself, without this reasoning. But there are but few of this kind in the world. Some have pure minds, and the spirit of God can write upon them as a scribe can write upon a sheet of white paper. But they are scarce. This is the reason that The Lord had to take the verry character that he did to bring forth his work in these latter days. He had to hunt until he found a youth whose heart was pure, and which he could write upon without any arguments, or doubts or unbelief.
Now if we were to take the Latter-day Saints and talk to them, we could reason them into belief by showing them by good sound logic the necessity of people living and laboring together For instance a family. Here are the father and the boys, and if each one is for himself, and pulling from the father and the rest of the family, he weakens his own hands. It was explained by the old indian chief. When he was about to die, said he: "here my boys I want to teach you my last lesson with regard to the tribe." Said he "bring me a bundle of arrows. Break them. They tried to break them but they could not because they were all tied snugly together." "now" says he "untie them, take one see if you can break it. They broke it. Now this will give as good an idea as can be given that we, being bound together, and acting as a unit -- as one -- we are strong and powerfull. Whereas if we seperate and divide, our enemies can overcome us.
Now, talk of financial afairs, we can show out the truth of this statement "being bound together we are Strong. After a while these my Brethren and Sisters will become latterday Saints. We are now professedly so. We have the name. We hold ourselves as a body of people in fellowship, and are trying to be saints. If we will be saints acording to the best knowledge God has given us, and apply ourselves -- our lives-- to every good, and show that we are striving with our whole might to fulfill the requirements of Heaven, we are justified, whether we are purely and strictly, according to the strict sense of the term, a saint or nor. If we are doing the best we can we are justified.
We are now trying to build up Zion, and to establish this Zion upon the earth. To perfect ourselves, and to sanctify ourselves. This requires a great labour. If we improve every day we are justified. If we are taken from the earth we will still be justified. And if we continue to live we must continue to improve and increase in the things of God, or come short of our calling as Latter day Saints.
We need taking to, talk, talk, talk, all the time showing the necessity of observing the Ordinances, as the Lord reveals them unto us, and to our Generation. When the Lord first revealed to Joseph Smith that he could be baptized for the remission of sins, he did not go of with a tangent, and say, "I have got all I can get." No, he received this patiently, and then took his friends and baptized them for the remission of their sins. Then he was instructed in the organization of the Church. And when he had organized the Church, he then received the higher Priesthood, which is after the order of Melchizadeck. He then had the authority to confirm. Joseph then was set apart, and power was given him to lay on hands, upon those who were baptized, for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and to administer the Lord's Supper. By and by he received another commandment, a revelation, and there was another addition. The high priesthood was bestowed upon him, and he bestowed it upon others. Then he received other revelations and so on, Step by step, until he received the pattern for the building up of the Kingdom of God upon the earth preparatory to the coming of the son of man. And many of us who are now living heard him make this declaration -- "We have received a little here and a little there. We have added to our knowledge of this kingdom. And I do not know that there is anything that God has to reveal for the salvation of man that I have not received and bestowed upon you.
When the revelation came for baptism for the dead, It was a new thing. It did not take away one Iota of what he had received. Then the keys and powers of the Melchizedec Priesthood, and then the High Priesthood, until he received the last blessing he could receive and bestowed it upon the people.
Looking around I think I can see an improvement in the midst of the Latter day saints. But still I hear of contention, and discords. I hear of strife. I hear of brethren going to law with brethren. I hear of contention in this family or in this Neighborhood. If we learn to be meek and lowly as Jesus was so that we can receive the providences of God with that patience that we should receive them, there will be verry few of these things. We do not expect to see the time when the nature that is within us by the fall, that disposition which is contrary to the mind of Christ will be entirely subdued. But that, at times people will feel evil rising in their bosoms. But will they ever get an experience to overcome this, and be able to so give up all the world and the love of the world; The fashions of the world; The foolish customs of the world, and learn true principles. Instead of imbibing the follies of the world imbibe good, sound, Honest and wholesome principles, and teach them to our children.
Will we ever see that time? Certainly. This is what we are after. And the Latterday Saints must learn that they must be one in the Lord -- One in Christ. We say we are one. We believe in the ordinances of the House of God. In partaking of the sacrament alike. Whether wine or water it immaterial. We believe in the ordinances of baptism, The laying of hands ordaining to the priesthood. In the endowments, In baptism for the dead. Although, at first these things are a trial to the faith of some. Just as it was when the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith the great principle that the Lord would redeem all of the inhabitants of the earth. And that there was a kingdom, a place prepared for each and every one according to that which they had received upon the earth. According to the knowledge they had received, and their faithfullness in receiving good, and practising the truth.
When this revelation was received it was a great trial to many. And I will say that some, to my knowledge apostatized in consequence of the Lord's revealing the fact that he was not going to send to everlasting punishment the Heathen world-- The heathen Nations. That He was not going to send to everlasting punishment Infants. That He was not going to send to the lower regions virtuous and truthfull men and women, If they did not belong to any Church. But that He had a place prepared for them.
It was new. And it was adding faith to faith revelation to revelation commandment to commandment, Truth to truth. Ordinance to Ordinance until he received all that is nesesary for the whole of the Human family, that none need be lost. All the inhabitants of the earth are equal and are called upon to repent of their sins.
Now recolect that when I first came into the Church, it was one of the hard parts for me to think of. It was allmost a stumbling block -- "Repent of your sins." There is Elder such a one. I know the members of his Church, and they are just as good people as ever lived on the earth, as far as moral religion can go. "Repent of your sins." When I came to preach the Gospel to the people, I think this. If you have no sins to repent of repent of your religion. Get some thing better. The Christian world is bound up in the creeds of men, and in the ordinances of men and in the commandments of men instead of the will of God. Moraly they are good. But if we have nothing else to forsake or repent of, let us forsake this narrow minded and contracted religion that has planted the seeds of infidelity in the world. Forsake this that we have embibed as the most precious to our souls, and take hold of the things of God. It will do you good. "Well" says our minister, "Well," says our Deacon, "Well'' says the priest of this and that and every Church "we have lived according to the best light we could get or have received." I am thankfull to hear it. Are you still willing to live to the best light God will give you? Here is somthing more for you. You are not required to throw away any of your faith in God or Jesus Christ or anything else that is good. We say Amen to everything that is good and right. But here is somthing more. Will you receive it? Well, the world turns round and says we have enough. We do not want any of your Mormonism. Now you do. As I told a Gentleman, sometime ago, of one of the churches of New York. says he, "we have nothing to say about this religion. We shall differ materialy. Now," says I, we will not "Are you not for every good there is upon the earth? every truth and virtue and every word that the Lord shall speak? And are you not for truth? The whole truth, and nothng but the truth? "Yes it is true I am." So am I. How can we get up an argument? a discussion? He would not give me time. I was going to make a bargain with him as I have proffered to do with a great many. "I will compare my religion with yours." Here we start out, believing the Bible to begin with, saying nothing about any other book. But taking the Bible, and starting out on this we will compare religions, and see how they appear one with the other.
Taking the Bible for a Standard, that which the Bible justifies is the doctrine for you and for me. If I have an error I wish to part with it. If I have ten errors, I wish to part with them. If you have one truth that I have not got, I will give you ten errors for one truth."
Take this wicked world, who contend one with the other. Rulers who receive insults from Neighboring Nations, and murder their thousands. Those who wrong the poor, and despoil them. Bring them together and ask them this one fact. Hear every commandment of the Lord. The precepts of Jesus the requirements of Heaven Is there one Doctrine or principle that is taught in all the revelations that the Lord has given to the children of men, that will injure you, If you live to it? ls there a doctrine taught in all these revelations that would injure a family or Nation on the earth? All would join and say "Not one would injure us." But all would be ready to exclaim with one voice and heart. "If these principles are lived up to It will produce a better condition of society than there is at the present time.
No other books teach the same ammount of Morals. By and by these requirements of Heaven must be obeyed and adheared to, and lived to, in order to receive the blessings of God.
Take the whole world of mankind, Saint and Sinner, those who profess religion and those who do not. Take them to the standard that is laid down in the "Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and see if there is one doctrine there that is laid down and required to be observed by the people that would injure any individual upon the earth? It cannot be found
Now I will tell you what I want In the first place I will say to these few Iatter day Saints, that if we would and all the Iatter day Saints throughout the earth, receive the council of your presidents -- of those who are set to guide and direct and give council If the Latter day Saints would say in their hearts and carry it out in their lives that they would take the council of their Pres.-- Your Humble servant, which he deserves, and live their religion from this time henceforth and forever, all contention would cease. Stealing wronging each other. And the hand of mercy would be extended to the poor, to the widow and the fatherless. And you would never hear another jar in the midst of this people. I can say that I deserve more than I get, With regard to counciling this people can there a man or woman or child bring up the circumstance that they were counciled to do that that is wrong, and injure their neighbor or com-
munity and that which would stain the Kingdom of God on the Earth?
Now we say we take council. Why can we not be of one heart and mind? Why can we not consent in our hearts to live our religion. We see that my brethren on the right and on the left the least thing will stir up anger and strife in their hearts. Perhaps their neighbors cow has broken into their farm or field. Some little trifling thing occurs to stir up anger and strife in the heart of the Neighbor.
Now upon this here is a little Idea I wish to plant in your minds I want you to realize this--, when we do the best we can we are justified. But here are brethren and sisters right here that when a neighbor does another neighbor an injustice, and there is a mistake made by some overt act; and the heart of this Sister or Bro. is grieved -- "That man has done wrong, That deed is wicked. I cannot fellowship him."
Perhaps a Neighbor has borrowed something that he has not returned. This Bro. and this Sister set it down for a fact that that person is not a Saint. At the same time, perhaps if your faults were told you, you would see that you have as many faults as your neighbor, who you think can be a saint in all cases.
Where you think a sister or Bro has injured you, go straightway and learn the intent of the heart of the person that has performed this act. And if there is no evil intention in the heart, but a pure mistake, judge according to the heart, and not according to the outward appearances. This would save ourselves a vast amount of trouble.
I want to talk to the latter day Saints. Do you say your prayers? How many Houses could I steal into and find that there was no prayer in the House? They are too much in a hurry to ask a blessing. They do not kneel down before God, and ask the Lord to bless them, their wives and children, their flocks and herds. To bless their friends, and the good all over the earth. If I could go into their houses how many of the High Priests and Elders and Bishops would be found in this condition?
The Bishops should be a perfect example to their wards, and how many could I find who do not pray in their families?
I will not say too much on the subject of being honest in their deal. My experiance has been so much, that I will cease to talk about it. But, in all cases, deal justly eschew evil and delight yourselves in doing the will of the Lord.
Now I want to give you a little council, right here,-- feed nine unworthy persons rather than to turn away the worthy one who may be the tenth. Follow out this rule, and you will be apt to be found on the right side of doing good. It is better to do ten good acts to a unworthy person than to neglect one good act to the tenth person, or the Hundredth one, no matter.
Now here is somthing we want to urge upon the Saints, right here. How many have put in fifty cents to emigrate the poor? Did you get fifty cents or three Dollars to buy a ribbon, and pay for a whispe of hair to put on your head when you had plenty of your own? Take the brethren. Take all the money that they spend in tobacco and whiskey and cigars, and that they waste just to please and gratify an unhalowed apetite, and gather it together. And take the money laid out by the Sisters for tea and coffee, and bring this pile together, and how much would we get? Enough to send for the poor by scores of thousands. But we do not get it.
At our General Conference we got some four thousand Dollars. I put in a thousand Dol. and Bro. Hooper put in a Thousand Dol. Is not this a matter we should attend to? Are there not requirements upon us to assist our poor Brethren who are begging and praying to come; and would pledge themselves as slaves to come here. And I observed last year there were certain Elders that had been on their Missions preaching, and borrowed money of the poor, and had refused to pay it back. I gave council to cut such men off from the Church.
If we were to ask still further, How much tithing do you pay? But when I come to that, I am ashamed for the Christian world. I will take the liberty to say a few words on this. Compare the Latter day Saints with any other denomination that professes to be Christian. Can you go into a school house or Church, where the Minister gets up and talks to the people but what there is a plate or a hat stuck under the nose of every person in the place? Now compare this with the Latter day Saints. Show me an Elder that has done this, to ask alms of any person who comes into this House? We have sense enough to take care of ourselves, and provide our own bread and dinner. These persons will groan, and groan about the Latter-day Saints paying tithing. Latter day saints pay your tithing. One tenth of that that the Lord gives, should we not pay it as tithing? What for? To bring these poor home. Get them somthing to eat. Help that man and woman that cannot take care of themselves. We suport them to the tune of milions. And we have to work and beg. No we do not beg, for we do not ask any odds. Now do'nt your President get it all? He ought to have a thousand times more. Say this to the world and all urners that you owe your President one tenth of what you have got. And take the poor from under ground and bring them here. In a few years they are riding in their carriages. And see them riding in the streets, you would think the lords of the world were here. Tell urners to urne away. The Latter day Saints have not done anything more than they ought to have done. And when we come to paying tithing, and to coffers, Bro. Brigham has put ten dol. there when he has taken out one. You cannot find any ten men who have paid as much tithing as your humble servant. The widow ought to give one thenth of her chickens if she has to take ten out the next week. It produces a good feeling We do not say, take that that thou ownest and that which thou hast. It is all the Lord's. We are nothing but stuards over it.
Now the Latter day Saints want talking to, to show them the necessity of advancing their own interest. We talk about serving the Lord. And some say, "Now I think I will begin to serve myself." And they begin to serve the Devil. There are just two powers. The right and the wrong. There is the power of Christ on the earth and the power of the enemy, who is called the Devil. Now in serving God, I have only done my duty. He requires obedience to his law. Is this anything more than is right? I have done nothing more than I would do for the United States. I live under the law. You pay your taxes to this kingdom. Well, call it tithing. We have enlisted to serve this kingdom, And if we have enlisted to pay our taxes, we have enlisted to obey the King of Kings, and the Lord of lords. And in so doing we are not under the necessity of breaking any law of the land. "O yes" says one." What is it? "It our hobby that we ride upon." They have found out that we believe in a plurality of wives. And, "You are transgressors" Why did they not put in you shall not have a plurality of women? If it is legal you shall not have them. If it is illegal you shall have them. And then when you get through with them kick them out of doors. So much for the Glory of the world
We do not by observing the law of God transgress the law of the country. And if I have more wives than one, whom am I under obligations to? To my father in Heaven. If I make a bargain with an Individual, it is my business, and no ones else. So much in regard to the constitution, and the law of Heaven.
I want to persuade the latter day Saints to be latter day Saints indeed. Bro. Woodruff was talking about the customs and fashions of the people, and that we must learn to produce that that we consume. If we go on as