Past and Present History of the Church - Trust in the Lord and His Priesthood, Etc.
Remarks by Bishop Lorenzo D. Young, made in the Bowery,
Great Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, August 16, 1857.
Reported by J. V. Long.
Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 6:, p.235–237
It is with peculiar feelings, brethren and sisters, that I arise to speak a few moments; and I have as good a right to apologize for standing before you as any other man; but I have no apologies to make, for the simple reason that I am glad of an opportunity to express in public a few of my feelings.
I have not been with the people called Latter-day Saints as long as some of my brethren; but I have been with this people twenty-five years, and I have observed closely their meanderings, their toils, and their labours. I have seen them in prosperity, but it remained only for a short time; and I have seen them in adversity, suffering from nakedness and hunger; and last of all, I have seen them in these peaceful valleys, with none to harm them or make them afraid.
The ten years past have been a sabbatic year to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—a jubilee—a time of rest.
I will not go into the detail of all the scenes that the Latter-day Saints have passed through since the organization of this Church on the 6th of April, 1830, which most of you are acquainted with, either by experience or by reading the history of this people. Suffice it to say that, as a people, we have had more peace during our sojourn in these mountains, and we have enjoyed ourselves better than ever we did before. I believe, for one, that I have in some degree appreciated this day of rest which I have enjoyed with you, for I have felt in my spirit that it was a blessing to be here; and I believe that all the Saints of God have felt this, to a certain extent.
The Lord showed this place unto his servants, the First Presidency of this Church, and the few pioneers who accompanied them; and from that day to the present I have involuntarily felt like shouting, "Glory! Hallelujah!" Yes, I have felt this, and feel it now.
Is this because I am now more courageous than I was fifteen or twenty years ago? No. It is because, with you, I have prayed, hundreds of times, that we might enjoy the freedom of the sons of God; and I can now behold the faint glimmerings of the dawn of that day when the Saints will be free to serve their God and go forth untrammelled in the accomplishment of his purposes, in the building up of his kingdom, and in the establishment of righteousness in the earth.
Have we not great cause for rejoicing in the prospects before us? If we love truth more than error, virtue more than vice, honour and integrity more than baseness and degradation, then surely our hearts will be glad and our souls will rejoice in the God of our salvation, that we live and are engaged in a work which will result in the final extinction of wickedness and abomination from the earth.
Within the last twelve months I have seen this people become more humble and prayerful, and I have seen them renew their covenants; I have seen them make restoration and restitution, and give the pledge of their sincerity and integrity; and I have seen the Spirit of the Lord poured out upon them. This also gives me exceeding joy; it affords me comfort and sweet consolation.
Do I see this good spirit continue to manifest itself among the people? Yes, I do. We have wise men to stand at the head to lead and guide us. The Lord God of Abraham, by the revelation of his Holy Spirit, guides the ship in which we sail. "Is this true?" says one. Yes, it is. Does the Lord acknowledge us as his people? Yes, he does. How long will he continue to do so? Just so long as we continue to be his faithful children—just so long as we continue to fulfil our covenants with the Lord our God and to one another.
Should any man cherish the spirit of war and the spirit of revenge in his bosom, and feel that he wants to go out and fight and tear down everything before him? The man who feels this does not feel as I do. No: my feelings and the feelings of the people of God should always be calm—not irritable.
Our nerves should not be so unstrung at any time as Sidney Rigdon's were, when he picked up his spy-glass to look at General Clark's army, and could not hold the glass still enough to see anything. We must quiet our nerves and always be cool and deliberate.
Is there safety for us, unless we trust in the Lord? No. There is not other refuge. He is our only shield and protector. The Lord fought the battles of his people in ancient times, and he can do it again.
Is it the people in the Territory of Utah that our enemies are and have been contending with? No: they are contending against the Lord of Hosts—against the kingdom of God, the Priesthood of the Most High. Is it the United States alone that are arrayed against the kingdom of God and his Priesthood? No; but it is the whole empire of Satan's kingdom—even the whole world.
We do not go into the United States alone to preach the Gospel; but we go everywhere upon the face of the whole earth—to every continent and island—to every nation and tongue.
The confusion and wickedness of which we speak are not in the United States only; but they are in every place on the earth, excepting this, which is Zion, so far as we are the pure in heart.
We have not to go particularly to one place or nation to find opposition and the spirit to persecute and destroy this people. It is in every place; for this kingdom has to contend with the powers of earth and hell. Is the Lord able to bring his cause to a successful issue? He is, most assuredly.
I tell you, brethren and sisters, and I want to impress it on your minds, that the stay and the staff of Israel are in the holy Priesthood that is vested in the First Presidency and in the body of the people. We are not to trust in the arm of flesh, but we are to trust on the strength of Israel's God, and live so that our conduct will warrant us a confidential application to Him in the hour of danger.
Can we trust in the man whom God has ordained and appointed to lead his people? Yes, we can trust in him as God's agent and representative, through whom we may know his will concerning us; and by faithfully following his instructions, he will lead us in the way of everlasting life. If we do this, though we may suffer the loss of all that we possess on the earth, and even lay down our mortal bodies for the Gospel's sake, God will reward us in this world an hundredfold, and in that which is to come he will crown us with eternal lives.
Brethren, let us individually—yea, let every man and woman, every Bishop, every Elder, every High Priest, every Deacon, and every member of the Church of Jesus Christ stand firm for the cause of God in their place and station. Let every man who has a family preside over that family as a man of God; and if he has no more to preside over than old Henry Sherwood had, when Captain Clark asked him who he presided over, and he answered that he presided over himself and his wife,—let him do it in love and mercy and righteousness before God.
I was in Kirtland, I was in Far West, and in Davis County; and my feelings are just the same to-day as they were when brother Hyrum Smith announced that brother Joseph was in bonds, and that we were all prisoners, and required to give up our arms. I said that I would rather die a free man than submit to such tyranny. I am a valiant man, you know, when I am a long way from danger.
May God bless us, and bless all Israel in the tops of the mountains and everywhere else, and make them our friends, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Religion of the Saints and Its Rejection By the World - Training of Children - Home Manufactures
Remarks by Bishop Lorenzo D. Young, made in the Tabernacle,
Great Salt Lake City, December 13, 1857.
Reported by G. D. Watt.
Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 6:, p.211–14
I have tried to treasure up what I have heard to-day, and pray God to give me power to practise righteousness upon the earth. I am aware that the people that are denominated Latter-day Saints occupy a very conspicuous position before the nation in which we dwell, and also in the eyes of the intelligent nations of the earth.
There is something connected with our holy religion that has called forth the attention of the wise and learned of this generation. And they have used their talents and their wisdom in trying to destroy the vine that has been planted in the earth, or the Priesthood that has been revealed in these latter days for the benefit of the children of men, that they might be restored again into the presence of God their Father.
It would be superfluous for me to say that the revealed truth of God from heaven has not been received by the majority of the world in any generation; so it is no new thing under the sun if Joseph Smith's mission is rejected by them. The Lord's wisdom is not like the wisdom of man, neither are his ways like the ways of man.
The priests of the day, who professed to teach the way of Life and salvation to the people, looked with contempt upon Joseph Smith the Prophet, and sought by every means in their power to destroy him and the truth which he brought forth, that the kingdom and power of Babylon might, as it has done in days gone by, continue to prevail, unchecked by the influence of the kingdom of God.
Beloved Saints, we are now here in the valleys of the mountains, far separated from those who have sought and still seek our overthrow; and here we have the privilege of coming to meeting to hear from the servants of God, and there are none who dare molest or endeavour to deprive us of this dearly-bought privilege. This is a choice blessing, and one which we all should strive more fully to appreciate.
The false learning and wisdom of the world, concentrated, cannot compare with one principle of eternal truth revealed to this people through those whom God has sent to lead them. Are we worthy of the high and holy calling whereunto we have been called? Do we order our lives so before the Lord of Hosts that we are worthy of his confidence, worthy to walk in the light of his countenance from day to day?
If we live in such a manner as to receive nourishment from the true vine, into which we have been grafted, then we shall have power to overcome those sins that so easily beset us. There are a great many more things connected with our holy religion besides praying morning and evening, fasting, and paying tithing, as did the Jews. Our religion comprises the holy order of heaven revealed to man in the last days for the final establishment on earth of the kingdom of God, which will never be overthrown; but it will roll on and increase until the kingdoms of this world shall become subject to the law, government, and authority which rule in Zion.
It will not be long before this congregation of adults will pass from this stage of action, and their places will be filled by the rising generation. I was charmed by a remark which fell from brother Kimball this morning. He said, "There are little boys here that will live until they have power to bring the dead to life." It brought to my mind the great obligation which should prompt parents to bring up their children in the way they should go. Solomon said, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."
The words of the affectionate parent take deep root in the hearts of the tender offspring; and the impressions received in childhood remain with them during their lives. I well remember hearing the confession of two men that were executed in an eastern country a number of years ago. They gave a history of their early tuition. One of them regretted that he had not adhered to the teachings of his mother; for, if he had, he said, he would not have come to the gallows.
The children of the Latter-day Saints are different from the children of the world. We have heard to-day that those that were begotten under the order of the Priesthood were endowed with greater power, ability, and knowledge than those children born among the Gentiles. The spirit in our boys is uncontrollable but by the holy Priesthood. Why? Because the masterspirit is in them, and it grows up with them; and when our children become men and women, they will voluntarily adhere to the principles of eternal truth. They have not been under the influence of a sectarian education, and have not this to contend with as have their fathers. They are brought up as the children of the Most High, and they will walk in the path of their fathers and in the precepts of their mothers, and will magnify their high calling to a greater extent, and be far more exalted than them in the eyes of Heaven.
Will the daughters of Zion follow in the footsteps of their mothers? In some things I hope they may; in other things I hope they will not. When we attend to and fully live up to what the Lord has revealed unto us through the Prophet Joseph, as also those instructions which we continually receive from the servants of God, we shall be more like angels or heavenly beings. Our houses will be governed according to the order of God revealed to man. Just walk into President Young's house, and tell him you desire to walk through his house to see the order of it. Then walk through President Kimball's—I think neither of them will deny you the privilege—and see if there is not an order of things prevailing there that extends beyond your narrow comprehension.
I well recollect hearing the Prophet Joseph instruct the people, about twenty years ago, to make their own clothing, and to let the decoration of their bodies be the workmanship of their own hands. That revelation has not been much thought of by many. I referred to it in the old Bowery, and there was such a rebutting feeling in the spirit of the people, that it was with the greatest difficulty I could say anything.
It has been said, "Why does not President Young go to work and clothe his family with homespun, and set the example? Why does not President Kimball? Whey did not Presidents Richards and Grant and others do it. People with common sense can see the reason why. There is not a man in the Territory of Utah that can compete with them in this thing. They have done it all the day long, as far as their calling would admit. Are they still doing it? Yes.
I see men and women before me clothed in fine apparel. I am glad of it; but I should feel far better to see them clad in cloth of domestic manufacture—that is, in homespun.
The gold and silver that found its way here has gone. This community were not sufficiently wise to buy those articles only which were necessary to make them and their posterity comfortable, and lay a foundation to make themselves independent; but they squandered their means in purchasing fine goods to gratify the fancy of women, and their money passed swiftly through their hands to the merchants, who have taken it along with them to the States; and I am glad of it, because this people are destined to learn a lesson by it that they could not otherwise learn.
The gold is gone; the sheep and flax in sufficient numbers and quantity are not here, and our enemies are between us and the States. The prospect now is fair for our obeying the commandments of God that he gave through brother Joseph with respect to manufacturing our own clothing and the adorning of our own bodies. The people will profit by the lesson.
If we, as a people, will follow out the teaching the Lord has revealed to us through his servants, he will preserve us and be our great Benefactor in days to come as in days gone by, and we shall not be allowed to suffer more than we can bear.
Let me say to all of you, Just take care of what you have got and preserve it. I see the sisters passing along the streets, even in muddy weather, with their dresses of silk and satin dragging in the mud. They could cut off from four to six inches from the skirt, and make their children a dress of what they wear out and waste on the ground; and if they have no earthly use for it themselves, perhaps some of their neighbours would be glad of it.
It does not become me, however, to correct the errors of the people here. Brother Kimball says it is the Bishop's office. I thank him for this information, for I did not know it before. If you have good clothes, do not drag them in the mud, but save everything you have against a stormy day. Let this people make their own clothes and take care of what the Lord has put into our possession.
Instead of only eight thousand sheep, there ought to have been eight millions. If all men had used the exertion that some few have, there would have been sheep enough to have clothed this whole people from year to year, asking no odds of Uncle Sam or anybody else. Flax can be grown here. I have not raised any flax, but I expect to have some spun and wove.
Were it not for home manufactures, I should expect to go without clothing. President Kimball says there are now about three hundred bushels of flax-seed in the Tithing Store.
Prepare yourselves also to raise sugar-cane, and from that your sweetening, or make up your minds to go without; and if you have got a leaky roof, try to get it fixed.
If our enemies,—I do not mean those few out yonder—a swarm of longbilled mosquitoes could eat them up at a supper spell,—I mean the whole United States and the whole world,—if they should come upon us, they cannot prevail, for they are fighting against the kingdom of God and warring against the Saints of the Most High. The combined nations of the earth will try to destroy the man-child and obliterate the truth from the earth; but as the Lord of Hosts lives, they cannot do it; and the reason is because the Almighty stands at the helm, and he will guide the old ship Zion in a safe course, and all the powers of earth and hell cannot stop her progress.
May God bless you all. Amen.