Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

through the Presidents, the Bishops, and the Apostles, and see to it that all who have been entrusted with the authority and power of God, shall come to the mark and do their duties faithfully and well, that they with their families may be saved. We want you to be saved; but if you do not want the salvation that is offered through the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, why make the profession that you do? There is no salvation in professions alone, or in promises and covenants, nor is there any salvation in the blessings that are put upon us under the hands of the servants of God, unless we do the will of God. I want to bear that testimony to this people, and ask that from this time forward we serve the Lord with all our hearts, so that when the Son of Man appears upon the earth, we will be numbered among the wise virgins of my text-which I have not read; you can hunt it for yourselves.

We feel encouraged in our labors, although we are all the time trying to stir the people up. Yet in our councils the Lord has manifested to us that the Latter-day Saints are improving, that they are gaining strength and power, increasing in num、 bers, spreading abroad and becoming more firmly established on the earth, and that prosperity and success are attending upon them. The best days that we have ever had are the days in which we live now. The kingdom is the Lord's and He will take care of it. It is our business, my brethren and sisters, to see that we take care of ourselves. The

Lord will take care of the Kingdom, and no power on earth can prevail against it. As suggested this morning, if it was secure when it was organized seventy years ago, with only six members, what shall we say of it when it numbers over a quarter of a million? We certainly feel encouraged. We feel as though we were on the Lord's side, and that the Lord is on our side. We know He is, for He talks to us and directs us in all things pertaining to this Kingdom. He sustains His servant the Prophet, and magnifies him in the eyes of the people. The will of God is known, and the keys and authority of God are always present. The Lord has established His work, and

He will preserve it.. God bless you, my brethren and sisters, and may His Spirit fill our hearts, that we may rejoice exceedingly in this conference, is my prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

The choir sang the anthem:

"Jesus, I my cross have taken." Benediction by Elder Seymour B.

Young.

AFTERNOON SESSION.

The choir and congregation sang the hymn which begins:

We thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet

To guide us in these latter days; We thank Thee for sending the Gospel, To lighten our minds with its rays. Opening prayer by Elder George Reynolds.

The choir sang the hymn which begins:

High on the mountain top A banner is unfurled;

Ye nations now look up, It waves to all the world.

PRESIDENT GEORGE Q. CANNON,

Why the Saints are interested in current eventsTheir gathering a phenomenal movementReverence for the authority of God.

The presence of such a large congregation makes one feel the necessity of having some aid other than human to enable the speaker to instruct and edify so many souls. I have that feeling this afternoon. It is an impressive sight to look from this stand on this large body of people, all gathered here for the purpose of being fed and instructed in the ways of the Lord, many having left their homes probably hundreds of miles distant to come to this conference, and in so doing having the right to expect. that they will receive something from the Lord to compensate them for the time and labor which they have expended, in the journey. This being the case. I for one am deeply impressed with the importance of saying something, by the help of the Lord, that will be a benefit to all of us. Without the spirit of God, I know it is useless to attempt to speak to the people; but we are promised that if we come together as we have done today, in faith, the Lord will give us that which shall be profitable. Every conference that we

we

hold in this house seems more important
than the preceding one. Our circum-
stances are constantly changing;
are passing through different scenes,
and the events which take place shape
themselves in such a manner as to call
forth deep reflections on our part.

own

I suppose there is no community upon the face of the earth that is so interested in that which is taking place in the world as the Latter-day Saints are. All the people take great interest in that which transpires in our nation and in foreign nations. We are interested spectators of public events. The wars, the commotions, the revolutions among the inhabitants of the earth, and also the elemental disturbances that occur, are all noticed by us, because in our minds they have a bearing on the great future that lies before the earth and the inhabitants thereof. If there is an earthquake, if there is a famine, if there is a wave sweeping over some portion of the earth, if there are cyclones and disturbances in the atmosphere, if there are pestilences and plagues, if there are wars and contentions, they all attract our attention, because we are expecting calamities of this character. We have been gathered together from the nations of the earth, and for a definite purpose. The men and women who have left their native land and come to these mountains have not made the journey in vain. They would be very much surprised if there were not occurrences which would in their estimation justify them in having taken this journey. So far they have not been disappointed. There are very few Latter-day Saints who regret the step they took in leaving their native land. They see ample justification for their action. If they are true to their religion especially, they feel that they have been amply repaid for coming here by the blessings which they have received. No doubt this will be the case more and more, because Zion is to be a place of safety. The words of the prophets concerning Zion and the last days will be literally fulfilled, and all that has prompted this mighty movement among the different nations of the earth will be made plain. I think it one of the greatest phenome

na that has ever been witnessed among mankind, the gathering together of these hundreds of thousands of people from the far distant lands where they lived. It is unprecedented in history; it is marvelous in its execution, and it is one of the world's great movements. In years to come it will be regarded as one of the phenomenal movements of the inhabitants of the earth.

We have come to this conference for the purpose of hearing the word of the Lord. I believe before we separate we shall be abundantly satisfied, and feel that the Lord has been with us. There are a great many subjects that may be talked about. The field is vast, because the instructions that we receive here are intended to cover the whole life of the Latter-day Saint.

We have heard this morning a good many instructions that have been valuable, and I can bear testimony to the truth of them. This is a mighty work, and it is achieving mighty results. The brethren spoke this morning about our union, and praised it. Well, we are very united in some things; but in my opinion we are far from being the united people we should be. My mind of late has dwelt considerably upon the want of reverence there is among us for the Priesthood of the Son of God. Now, I may say some things in this connection that may not be suitable in the opinion of some; but I have strong feelings on this subject. I have felt that too much reverence can not be shown to the Priesthood of the Son of God. I think it has been a characteristic of my life to entertain extreme reverence for the men who bear the Priesthood. I had this feeling when a boy, in the days of Joseph. To me Joseph was perfect. I could not see, and I did not hear anything that ever made any impression upon me to the contrary. It was so with my feeling for President Young. I was intimately associated with him the last twelve years of his life. I saw him in private and in public. I saw him when he laid aside, it might be said, his reserve and would unbend and talk with familiarity. There was one feature in his character that won my admiration, and I have not lost it to this day-I never heard President Young utter an expression that would weaken

anybody's respect for the Prophet Joseph. He admired him; he looked upon him as the Prophet of God, as he was. I do not think that anyone else ever heard an expresssion from him that would tend in any manner to weaken respect, or reverence, or love for the Prophet Joseph Smith. I admired that in his character. And though I was closely associated with him, I never saw a fault in Brigham Young. I expect many would think this very foolish in me, and that I must have been very blind. Perhaps I was; at any rate, I wanted to be. I never wanted to see his faults. I think it was Pope who said:

down their lives at any time for the truth.

"Be to her faults a little blind, And to her virtues over kind."

men.

This is my testimony concerning these We have probably heard all sorts of stories about them during their lifetime, particularly about President Young. In his lifetime he was maligned, and perhaps many of the Latter-day Saints believed the malicious and malignant stories that were told concerning him; but this is my testimony this day in the presence of these assembled thousands, that a more perfect man than President Young I never knew. So I may say of his two successors.

I

That was the feeling I had concerning President Young. I wanted to be blind to the faults of the man of God. knew he was a fallible man, a human being; but I did not want to sit in judgment upon him, nor to criticise his words and acts. To me he was God's servant. God had chosen him out of all the men on earth to hold the keysthat power, awful in some ets, which God commits to one man on earth at a time. He had chosen him, and who was I that I should sit in judgment upon him and criticise him? I never felt as though I dared do it. I never had the disposition to do it.

Now we have a man who has taken the same place, by selection and appointment of the Almighty-President Lorenzo Snow. He is a man who has proved himself through long years of fidelity to the work of God. He stands here in our midst as the Prophet of God, the man holding the keys, the man who can bind on earth and it will be bound in heaven, the man who can loose on earth and it will be loosed in heaven, the man who has the power (which, however, he exercises very rarely, if at all) to forgive sins, to curse and they shall be cursed, to bless and they shall be blessed. I have said it is an awful power. It is; and it ought to be and is exercised with the greatest care and discrimination. God has chosThe Lord took him, and He gave us en this man; He has delivered him another man to hold the same authorifrom perils and from death, and has ty, to occupy the same position, to exbrought him at his present age to be ercise the same powers; and I felt tothe President of His Church. Had He wards him as I did towards Brother a purpose in this? Undoubtedly He had. Brigham. I knew him intimately al- God foreknew who should hold the so; had known him, I may say, all my keys after Wilford Woodruff passed life; but during his presidency over the away, and he selected this man-as perChurch we were thrown very closely fect a man, as far as we know, as far together, because we both had to go in as fidelity to the truth and willingness to exile. I might repeat the same in to submit to anything, even to death regard to Wilford Woodruff, who suc- if necessary for the truth-to hold the ceeded President Taylor. I knew these same posiion and to exercise the same men as intimately as one man could authority. Are we as bearers of the know another, and I can only say this: holy Priesthood and as members of the more angelic characters, men of sweet- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day er dispositions, I do not believe ever Saints aware of this? Are we conlived. They were men who were as scious that God has chosen this man to perfect as human beings could be. They be His mouth-piece unto us, and to loved God supremely. They loved their stand in the stead of the Lord Jesus to Priesthood and the cause of God with His Church upon the earth? Do we all their hearts. They would have take this into consideration? I am been willing. if necessary to have laid sorry to say that I do not believe many

of the Elders do this. I judge this by their conduct, by their want of reverence and respect, by their lack of obedience, and by an absence of a disposition to ask for and to be governed by the counsel of God.

I leave you my brethren and sisters to judge whether I am too severe in my expressions upon this point. I tell you that there never was in this Church, within my recollection, such an absence of respect and reverence for the authority of God as there is now among this people. I believe I am justified in saying this by the facts, and that the proof of this statement is within reach. Why is it? Many men seem to think that their way is better than any one's else; and though we believe and testify that God has a Prophet in our midst, through whom we can get the word of the Lord, we despise that word, so much so at least that we will not ask for it, for fear we should be told something that does not agree with our feelings and with that which we desire to accomplish. I tell you, as sure as God lives, there will have to be a change in this respect, or some men will go to hell. God will not put up with it.

We have come here today to hear the word of God, and I am going to tell you what I think, if I do offend you. As a servant of God, I want to warn you of the danger you are in and of the consequences of the spirit that is being yielded to. I would no more dare to do anything of an important character without consulting the man of God than I would think of putting my hand in the fire, especially to do something that I knew he felt differently about to what I did. As I have said, God has chosen him to stand where de does-not you or me; and He knows every secret thought of men's hearts. His allpiercing eye has penetrated the innermost recesses of his heart, and he has seen all there is about him, inside and out. He knows him thoroughly, because he created him. He knew his past history, he knows his present history, He knows his future history. And knowing this, he has chosen him. What can we do better than to show respect to our God by listening to His servant, cating him with reverence. asking

[ocr errors]

his counsel and seeking for his guidance? I know we pray to God for him, that he may be inspired from on high. Do you believe your prayers? Do you believe that God will and does inspire him? I hope you do; and I hope that having this feeling. you will be prompted to different action. Men may talk as they please about one man power, and they may fight us and seek to destroy us because we listen to the man of God, but the fact still remains that this whole people are dependent for guidance, when they are guided aright, upon the man who holds the keys. Our settlement in these valleys was due to the recognition of that authority; the building of these settlements throughout these valleys is due to that. And shall we say that in some things we are willing to be guided; we think it right to be guided in matters of doctrine, etc.; but in other matters, just as important and necessary for the salvation and preservation of this people, we are not willing? Latter-day Saints, you cannot do it. You cannot get away from this authority and remain Latterday Saints, for you sever yourselves from the Church of God, because everything you have is based on the recognition of this authority.

I want to see us as a people open our eyes to behold our true position before God, and the relationship that we bear to the Priesthood of the Son of God. I Have no doubt that you all can see the spirit growing in the many quarters to draw off and to say-thev may not say it in these words, because Lorenzo Snow is an exceedingly modest man and does not assume anything, and therefore fault cannot justly be found with him; but it is tantamount to saying "we do not believe that you, Lorenzo Snow, have any right to talk to us or to guide or counsel us in these matters. We think that we have a perfect right to do as we please."

Well, no one will ever question that. Brother Brigham Young spoke this morning about our free agency. Every But man and woman enjoys this gift. we have a right to exercise our free agency in doing right, in being obelient, in listening to counsel and in doing that which God wants. I think that I as much of a free agent when I

am

obey God as I would be in rebelling against Him and obeying Satan.

I feel that this people should cultivate more reverence for the authority of the Priesthood-that authority which has proved so great a blessing to them. I would like to see them do it, and that is the burden of my remarks on this occasion. I do plead with you most earnestly to cultivate this feeling of reverence for the Priesthood of the Son of God. You cannot show reverence to the Priesthood without showing it to the men who bear it. Let us teach our children the same feeling, that they may have reverence and respect for the Priesthood, and be willing to obey, and not have a spirit of fault-finding, carping, and pointing out defects of character. You who have been in sacred places know one thing, that you cannot speak evil of the Lord's anointed and be justified, and if you break your covenants in that respect, you are of course incurring severe condemnation.

I pray God that during the remainder of this Conference we may be filled with His Holy Spirit, and that His power may be in our midst, resting upon all who speak unto us, and that we may go away enlightened and benefited by our services here during the three days we shall be together, which I humbly ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.

ELDER JOHN HENRY SMITH. Character of the Men who carry on the work of God -Condemnation will rest upon those who op pose it-Importance of family responsibilities -Value of the counsels of the wise.

It gives me joy to have the privilege of meeting with you in conference and in listening to the brethren who have spoken unto us. I trust that during the time that I may occupy I may enjoy your faith and good feelings, that the promptings of the Holy Spirit may attend the remarks that I may make.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints is seventy years of age today. President Snow this morning in his remarks dwelt upon the fact that we had passed our infancy, our boyhood, our young manhood, and had had a taste at least of that age which in the olden times was fixed upon as the allotted age of man. In my reflections on his re

marks I was led to wonder whether it could be possible that in the reaching of that mature age there would anything occur which should cause weakness to appear in connection with the further development and accomplishment of the work assigned to men in this dispensation. Our experience has developed that man sometimes works with very great devotion for a period of his life in the accomplishment of some specific purpose, and he sometimes reaches a condition of mind when he doubts the efficacy of his efforts to accomplish the purpose he has had in view. Others do not become impregnated with the Spirit that actuates him. They look in coldness upon the suggestions which he makes. They regard his efforts as visionary, and that the results of his struggles cannot in any sense be what he himself would anticipate; and after continued effort and perhaps failure sometimes, he stops and becomes seemingly discouraged and unwilling to proceed further. It is true, there have been some men whose hearts, in the midst of sunshine or storm, success or failure, have never cooled, and whose minds have never become disturbed under any circumstance. It is after this type that I believe the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ should be made. That no matter what the conditions and circumstances are, no matter what the temptations may be, or what barriers may present themselves in the way of the accomplishment of a specific purpose, success must come.

There is no such word as fail in connection with this work. Failure was not designed of the Father when he visited this earth in person, with His Son, and laid upon that child. Joseph Smith, the obligation to teach the truth among the children of men. He gave him to understand that while discouragements might come in the way, while brethren might be false, while men and women might violate the ordinances of God's house and trample beneath their feet the requirements of heaven, there would be found a body of men in connection with this work and its development who never would sacrifice to Baal, but would stand in the midst of every storm and in every place where God Almighter nogu

« AnteriorContinua »