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day Saints had heeded strictly the word of the Lord delivered to them through the Prophet Joseph Smith, they would now have been established in those eastern lands from which they were driven, and would be today the wealthiest community upon th earth. The Lord would have watched over and de livered them out of the hands of their enemies. It does not follow either that if they had been obedient to the com. mand of God they would not have been brought to this land. I believe they would have been directed to this favored spot, and also established here and blessed abundantly. No doubt some of the evils under which we are struggling at the present time are due in a measure to our disobedience, for we have been instructed that Zion might have been redeemed long ago if the Saints had been faithful.
We have strayed in a measure from the commandments of the Lord. Some of our people have put private interpretations upon the laws of God. Take the law of tithing for instance. It is very simple and easy to be understood. Very few words are employed by the Lord to set this law before his people. He says that He requires of his Saints one-tenth of their interest annually. It seems to me that every man, woman and child could easily determine what their interest is annually. It is not a command of man; it is a command of our Heavenly Father. I have no right to put a private interpretation upon it. or to vary from it, or to say that a man is entitled to figure out this that and the other until he has nothing to pay tithing on, and in some cases until the Lord himself is brought in debt to the individual. I take the law as it comes to us in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. I have had no trouble in determining just what my tithing is. I have had no trouble in paying my tithing when I have paid it as I went along. The only trouble I ever experienced was when I left it until the end of the year, and when I figured it up it was a source of anxiety to me as to whether I had paid my tithing or not. But if we pay it as we go along, it is a simple matter, and the probabilities are that we will be honest in it with the Lord. It is so with all of the commandments of God.
There is a blessing predicated upon the observance of every commandment. We cannot ignore it or depart from it or change it to suit our own notions and then expect to obtain the blessings. The Lord does His part, we must do ours. So I have rejoiced in contemplating this great and glorious principle of obedience. It has strengthened my faith. It has caused me to make new resolves. I have come to understand a little more than I understood last week or last month, the strictness of the Lord and how careful He is that his servants and people should obey Him, and what is meant when it is said that the Lord would choose a man after his own heart. It meant, I think. that He would choose a man who would obey his commandments. We know that the Savior was a man after the Lord's own heart. We are told that if we would have salvation we must follow the example of the Savior, and the great distinguishing quality of the Savior was his obedience. He came not to do His own will, but the will of the Father in all things. We too should feel that we are not here to do our own will, but the will of the Father. With respect to tithing? Yes. With respect to the Word of Wisdom? Yes. With respect to faith, repentance, baptism and the laying on of hands? Yes. With respect to all the great commandments which the Lord has delivered unto us? Yes. And not one more than another.
We do not single out the principle of tithing and say it is the greatest commandment God has given. We simply say, it is a commandment of God and we should obey it. We do not say that a man will be saved and exalted simply because he obeys the law of tithing. We must live by every word that proceedeth forth out of the mouth of the Lord, and one commandment is as sacred as another. They are all needful for the welfare of the Church and for the accomplishment of the purposes of God. We cannot pick and choose and say we will keep this commandment because it is pleasant to us and we will slight another because it is not agreeable.
I pray that we may be greatly blessed in our conference; that the spirit of the Lord may rest down mightily upon the President of the Church and upon the
brethren who shall be called to address the people, that we may be edified and strengthened, encouraged and renewed in our faith. I ask it in the name of Jesus. Amen.
ELDER ABRAHAM O. WOODRUFF.
Brethren and sisters, in standing before you this morning I assure you I feel very dependent upon the spirit of the Lord to give me utterance. Without that spirit I feel that it would be unprofitable for me and my brethren to occupy the short time allotted to us in conference, where there is so much to be spoken of and so much business to be transacted pertaining to this great people. Therefore I pray that the Lord may bring to my memory some things that I have had upon my mind, and which I desire to speak a few words upon. I will read a portion of the 58th section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants:
26. For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things, for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
27. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
"28. For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
29. But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned."
These are the words of the Lord unto this people through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and they are applicable to us at this time. As a people, I believe that when the prophet of God stands before us and says "thus saith the Lord," we all feel in our hearts that he is speaking the mind and will of God. However united we may be in this respect and in other duties that devolve upon us, we are not as united as we ought to be.
I hold that the Latter-day Saint who goes out from the crowded cities, takes up a portion of mother earth, and seeks to establish a home upon that piece of ground, is just as much engaged in the
of the Lord as they who go out into the
people will be the employed and not the employers. There should be a spirit instilled into the hearts of those who attend the Colleges of the Latter-day Saints, at any rate, to create employment, rather than to seek employment. We have learned by experience that it amounts to but very little to go out into the world and preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus to the people, and then bring them to these cities where they are not able to gain for themselves a livelihood. Very often bad results have arisen from this condition. There should be as great a desire to possess the earth and to become employers as there should be to go out and preach the Gospel. I do not know the reason of it, but it almost appears as if the young people of today abhorred the thought of using the hammer or the plane, or becoming connected with any business that entails hard work. The desire appears to be to make a living by the head, and not with the body and brain combined. I feel that this is wrong, for in time it will create a one-sided education. It seems to me that now is a good time to urge upon the fathers and mothers to teach their sons and daughters that farm
A great many of those who are em. ployed in this city at the present time are spending more than they are making. It may be partially on account of extravagant habits that we have acquired in the last few years. But it is nevertheless a very unsatisfactory situation. Where people are busily engaged and have plenty to do, they are generally contented. If we will labor each day so that at the end of the day we can feel that we have accomplished something, we are able to lie down at night and partake of the God-given rest that comes to a tired body. But, as I have stated, very often the desire is to avoid this kind of life, and to shun labor which would soil our hands. This is not the spirit of the latter-day work. If our people do not take advantage of the vast tracts of land that are around us, and make Latter-day Saint home thereon, we will ultimately find ourselves surrounded by a people not of us, who will possess the earth and take advantage of these opportunities that we are allowing to pass by, apparently unheeded. I believe that it is a righteous desire for a Latter-day Saint to wish to possess some of God's earth; and mothers and fathers can do much better with their children, so far as rearing them in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is concerned, upon the farm, where they can furnish them employment, than in the crowded cities, where they might have to walk the There are vast tracts of land which streets without employment and have I believe the God of Heaven has kept nothing to occupy their minds but evil. in reserve for this people. are They only There many young Latter-day wait the diversion of the streams from Saints today being led away in this their natural courses to transform them manner, and I believe that one cause of into thrifty farms and settlements. I this is the fact that we are neglecting believe that for a long time to come as a people to make use of the soil, the this country will furnish to our people streams of water, and the elements places where the climate is good, where which surround us. there is an abundance of water and land, where they can make good homes for themselves, and where, after a few years of hard labor, they will be able to give employment to others. They will not always have their "nose on the grindstone," nor will they be under the necessity of walking the streets and begging employment of other people. There is scarcely a day passes, when I am in the city, but some one comes to me who desires employment, or better employment than he already has.
life and the life of the col-
My brethren and sisters, these are things that it would be well for us to consider. I feel that the Latter-day Saints need more blacksmiths, more mechanics, more colonizers, more young men and young women who are not afraid to go out and battle with the elements, and take advantage of the opportunities which God has placed within our reach, as our fathers and mothers have done. It has made good men and good women of them. They engaged in occupations that today
considered undesirable, but they better men and women than we are. We ought to desire to build up the material Zion; and while we may not be commanded in these things, we should, as the revelation which I have read says, be willing to do many things of our own free will and choice.
Where our people have gone forth in organized bodies, in accordance with counsel, to settle up new countries, they have been able to accomplish much. But where they have gone without the advice of their Bishop, or without the knowledge of the President of their Stake, they have contended one with another, have been disunited, and in almost every instance have made a failure of their canals and their colonization in general. Where, however, they have followed the counsels of the servants of the Lord they have been prospered, they have become a wealthy and industrious people, and their sons and daughters have become men and women of muscle and brain.
May God grant that we may improve in respect to some of these things; that we may be a people who will keep constantly in view the necessity of union; that we may seek to support one another materially as well as spiritually; that we may desire to build up one another and thus build up the kingdom of God; that we may eliminate the spirit of selfishness from our hearts, and that we may grow and increase in the knowledge of God and his purposes. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.
ELDER MATTHIAS F. COWLEY. Importance of General Conferences-The Sphere and Regulation of Temporal Affairs-Need for Efficient Elders in the Missionary Field.
My brethren and sisters, I am gratified for the privilege of being with you at this conference, and especially for the opportunity of being instructed by my brethren. I recognize the fact that I am always in need of instruction and admonition. I believe that this is the case with all the Latter-day Saints. That we may be fed with the bread of life, particularly with that portion of it which is adapted to the immediate wants of the Saints, is the object of this general conference. The Church is sixty-nine and a half years of age
today; and while the congregation does not entirely fill this tabernacle, it is very large compared with the membership of the Church on the 6th day of April, 1830. Soon after the organization of the Church, we are informed, by the Doctrine and Covenants, conferences were inaugurated and it was enjoined by revelation that the various branches of the Church should send representative men to the conference, that they might, if called upon, represent the condition of the work of the Lord in their respective branches, and also that they might partake of the spirit which actuated the Prophet of the Lord and his associates.
The importance of these conferences should be impressed upon the Latterday Saints throughout the Stakes of Zion; and I believe that the spirit of them is extended to the various nations of the earth. I know that when I have been abroad preaching the Gospel, and a conference has occurred during my absence, I have felt the spirit of the occasion. Though I have been absent in body, I have been present in spirit. I have rejoiced in occasions of this character, though thousands of miles away from them.
When Brother Rudger Clawson read from the scriptures this morning, I was reminded of a statement made in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which I will read. It is in Section 59:
"Behold, blessed, saith the Lord. are they who have come up unto this land with an eye single to my glory, according to my commandments."
This was revealed to the Prophet Joseph at the time the Saints were assembled in Jackson County, Missouri, that land having been designated by the Lord as the great central gathering place of the Saints of God in this dispensation; and the expression in this paragraph: "Blessed saith the Lord are they that have come up unto this land with an eye single to my glory," is very indicative. The importance of it is demonstrated in subsequent history of the efforts of the Saints of God to establish Zion in Jackson County; for in the inception of this work the Lord communicated to the Prophet Joseph Smith all the keys and authority and every essential for the complete establishment and accomplishment of the
work of God in the last days, and this included the principle of union. Brother Woodruff has been speaking to us this morning relative to the necessity of our having material interest in the work of God. I believe, indeed, I know, that if we confined our worship to the mere singing of hymns and the delivering of religious sermons, the Saints of God would die temporally; and if it were all temporal, they would die spiritually. That which is esteemed temporal and which is deprecated in the estimation of the religious world is sanctioned in the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the fact that all things are spiritual with God. We read in the revelations of God, to the Prophet Joseph, this saying of the Lord:
"Wherefore, verily I say unto you, that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which is temporal."
In the establishment of this work the Lord designed to communicate to the Latter-day Saints those principles which should control and govern them in all the temporal transactions of life. Every Latter-day Saint who has the spirit of the Gospel can understand the necessity of this. I maintain that it is an impossibility for men to be engaged for six days in the week in the business transactions of life and to be controlled by the principles which obtain in the world, and enjoy the spirit of the Gospel upon the Sabbath day and to worship Almighty God acceptably. The trouble with us is to a certain extent, we are Latter-day Saints religiously, but Gentiles financially. We are not controlled in the business affairs of life by that spirit of the Gospel which blesses and sanctifies all temporal transactions and makes them spiritual in the sight of God. In my travels among the people I have felt that the Sermon on the Mount, delivered by the Messiah, was the choicest sermon that ever fell from the lips of any earthly being. It is found in the 5th, 6th and 7th chapters of Matthew and also in the third book of Nephi. The injunctions He there gave are practical, essential, and adapted to the wants of the people of God, in every dispensation and in every part of the earth. The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith the principles upon which the Zion of God could be
established and perpetuated. He made known unto him that there should be a common interest in the things of God; that every talent should be blessed and sanctified to the establishment of the work of God upon the earth; that no matter what might be the peculiar gifts bestowed upon the individual, they should all be used in the accomplishment of the purposes of God. As a people we are diversely gifted.
I remember reading a revelation in this book of Doctrine and Covenants. wherein the Lord says that He would not make the Prophet Joseph mighty in temporal things, because his work was in another direction. He was entrusted with the keys and the revelations of God, many of which had been kept hid from the foundation of the world, and He laid the foundation of this work and gave revelations which would enable his successors and the people of God for many years to build upon it. The Lord revealed to him what we call the United Order, by which all the time and all the talents of all the Saints of God should be employed for the general benefit of the cause. I remember reading in this book of a branch of the Church that had come up from Colesville, in the State of New York, and they had made a solemn covenant with the Lord that they would consecrate their property to His cause, but they broke that covenant, and it was a very serious sin in the sight of God. They had broken a solemn pledge, and they were made to realize the fulfillment of the saying that God would not be mocked, although it may not bave been so serious and swift a judgment as that pronounced upon Ananias and Sapphira in the days of the Apostles. The effort was made then to establsh the United Order. Jesus sought to establish the work of God more fully than the house of Judah would accept it. You remember that He said to them:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.
"38. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
"39. For I say unto you, ye shall not me henceforth. till Ye shall say.