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I know as well as I see you that Satan is abroad and his ministers are in the land by the thousands. They are perhaps in this tabernacle. At any rate, they are in our midst, and they are prompting individuals unknown to them, in the morning, at mid-day and in the evening, and trying to divert their minds from the truth and from the work of the Lord. They are trying to stir up division and discord among the Saints, and they succeed in a measure. We feel sometimes that it is doing no particular wrong if we associate ourselves with secret societies. But it is drawing us away from the work of the Lord and from the Priesthood. People who join these organizations will argue that it is important for them; it is a sort of insurance for their families; and they are not bad things because there is nothing bad done there. Of course I do not know anything about that personally. I speak simply upon principle, and from that standpoint I know they are not productive of good to any Latter-day Saint. These secret organizations are what broke up the Nephite nation, and there is one society after another being organized in the midst of the Latter-day Saints. And whose work is it? Do the leaders of the Church advise it? Do they countenance it? I do not know that they do. I know that I do not personally endorse any of these things, because I do not think they are productive of good. On the contrary, they will result in those who hold the Priesthood losing the spirit of that Priesthood and going into darkness. The Lord has given us the most complete organization there is in the world. You cannot find anything like it anywhere. It is safe-guard and to an insurance the people. Who among all the Latterday Saints is allowed to suffer. If the husband should be taken away, if any of the family should be taken away, are those remaining not provided for? Why, tens of thousands of dollars of your tithes and offerings go to provide for the needy. Hence in the Church of God there is no necessity for any of its members being associated with secret societies. There are people, of course, who do not belong to the Church living in our midst; they may
associate with any society they please. But for Elders of Israel, some of whom have traversed the earth in preaching the Gospel, to lay down their Priesthood and join secret societies, it is different. Are there any cases of this kind in the midst of the people? I hope not, but I fear that there are such cases. Hence I warn my brethren and sisters, especially the young, that these organizations are not for the Latter-day Saints. They belong to the world and I warn you against them. I would warn you mothers to teach your sons to live the Gospel and its principles and to identify themselves with the organizations of the Church. We have organizations that take in all the people, from the child to those who are a hundred years old, and in them we have all that we can possibly attend to. Some of the brethren spoke yesterday about people being away so much from their families. Well, I do not know, but if all our organizations were attended to properly, it would take the fathers away a great deal. However, as Solomon said, there is a time for all things. There is time to instruct our children and to associate with our families, if we would divide our labors properly, and not waste any of our time in associating ourselves with organizations wherein there is no profit.
There are a great many amusements introduced among the Latter-day Saints wherein there is no profit. People get together and indulge in card playing. I do not know personally that there is any particular wrong in playing cards, but it is the example and the fascination about it which leads to gambling, and this has ruined many men and families. It leads to drink and to many other evils. Hence, when I see published in the paper what a nice time so-and-so had at high five, or some other game, I wonder if there was any profit in the game to those peo. ple who assembled. I believe in social gatherings, such as family gatherings, and gatherings of the Saints, where they meet together and talk good things and rejoice together in the truth. I believe such gatherings are profitable; but when the table is set with intoxicants, I do not think they result in good. We should not encourage our
families to engage in these things, because they lead to evil and away from the Lord and the influence of His Spirit. There are plenty of good and profitable things to engage in; and these things that are not profitable, let us not participate in them. When we are invited here and there to sociables and gatherings, we ought to consider, is there going to be any profit in this for me. Oh, yes; it's going to be a grand thing; we are going to have a nice program. Well, I have thought sometimes that we are getting so much program that everything will be run by program by and by, if the Presidency of the Church will only sanction it. I heard not long ago of Relief Society meetings having programs. I asked them what they had a program for. "Oh, we have a program so as to make it interesting." "You leave the Lord out, then; you have everything cut and dried, learned by heart, and you do not depend upon the Spirit of the Lord." I do not believe in too many programs. In some cases we might have programs, which would be very nice and profitable. But to carry this to the extreme, like we have our politics, I think will work an injury. I heard of a ward once where they were going to introduce programs into their ward meetings. I do not believe in that. I think we can have a ward meeting without a program, and we will depend upon the Spirit of the Lord to direct what shall be said and done.
My brethren and sisters, there are many, things that we can improve in. We can improve in our tithes and our offerings. Who is there in all Israel that cannot improve a little in this direction? Peradventure there may be a few that observe the law of the Lord strictly; but I tell you the large majority of the Latter-day Saints do not, although there has been great improvement made among the people. Further improvement is in order, and it will be well for us to do a little better this year than we did last year. If we cannot do any more ourselves, we might convert others to pay their tithing, if we will take pains to reason with them, that they might not be burned in the day of the Lord Almighty. It is said that they that are tithed shall not be burned, inferring that they that are not
a law of the Lord. It was not instituted by man. President Snow did not inaugurate this principle. The Lord revealed it to the Prophet Joseph and it is expected that all Latter-day Saints will observe this law of the Lord. I want to bear testimony that you who observe this law strictly will be blessed of the Lord. He will multiply you and your means shall be increased unto you, because you have obeyed the law of the Lord and you are entitled to have the windows of heaven opened unto you and blessings poured out upon you. But do not become faint-hearted or discouraged because you do not receive everything today that you expect; but trust in the Lord, and so sure as you continue to trust in the Lord the way will be opened up from time to time and means will be multiplied upon you. Above all things, my brethren and sisters, let us resolve in our hearts that from this time forward we will observe the law of the Lord, we will be consistent in our lives as Latter-day Saints, and we will try to educate ourselves to love one another, to love the work of God, to love His Priesthood, to reverence and obey them, and to walk in the light that God may sustain us and give us the victory, which He will do, if we will only do these things.
How many of you Latter-day Saints neglect your prayers? How many fail to call your families together in the morning and in the evening, or have you so much to do that you cannot attend to it? Do you have to go to some secret organization, and you have not time for family prayers? I want to advise you personally to drop all these organizations wherein there is no profit; associate yourselves with things wherein there is profit, wherein you may have more influence with your households, in persuading them to obey the laws of the Lord. There are a great many things for Latter-day Saints to do, and we know what is best to be done if we will only sit down and think about it. Let us consider our condition before the Lord and place ourselves in the position of the Prophet who said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way
that sentiment? If we will do so, and observe these things, we will be glad of it by and by. When we get through with this short career of ours, and we look back upon our lives, if we have kept the commandments of God, what joy and satisfaction it will be to us. We shall go in peace and associate with the just behind the veil.
Brethren and sisters, attend to the duties that pertain to your calling in the ministry, and let everything else take care of itself. God bless you, and lead us all in the paths of life, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
The choir sang:
Let the mountains shout for joy, and the congregation joined in singing the Doxology. Benediction by Patriarch John Smith.
The choir and congregation sang the hymn: Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!
Prayer by Elder B. H. Roberts.
The choir sang the hymn: Great God attend while Zion sings.
ELDER ANTHON H. LUND. Spiritual gifts must exist in the Church of ChristTheir absence an indication of unbelief.
I hope, while I shall address you, that the same good spirit may guide me as has assisted my brethren who have already spoken in the different meetings of this conference. I have enjoyed their remarks very much, and I believe all who have been present have felt to rejoice in the good teachings that have been given us.
This morning, when Brother John W. Taylor read the testimony of the Prophet Moroni to us, I was much struck with some of the words he read. We were told there that the spiritual gifts should always be found in the Church, and that if there ever came a time when these gifts were not in the Church it would be on account of unbelief; and a woe was pronounced upon the inhabitants of the earth if such should be the case. I thought how clear the Prophet Moroni made this; that the Church whenever it is upon the earth
must have the Holy Spirit within it; the members of the Chuch must have this Spirit, and the spiritual gifts must be manifested; otherwise it would be a dead church. These words are recorded in the Book of Mormon-this wonderful book that has been brought forth by the power of God in our age. This book was printed before there was a church organized, and yet we find these remarkable words in it, which at once furnish the world with a test whereby they can judge if this is the Church of Christ or not. It says that in the Church there must be found these gifts. Now, if Joseph Smith had not been an inspired man; if the Book of Mormon was not the word of God, but written by man, how careful such a man would have been not to furnish the world with a test like this whereby they could at once detect whether it was the Church of Christ or not. A man who should fraudulently give himself out to be an inspired man, would be careful that such words should not be given to the world. But these were not the words of Joseph; they were the words of a prophet that lived some fourteen hundred years before, and one who understood the Church of Christ.
When we look back upon the history of the Church we find that the spiritual gifts were very abundant in the original Church, and that whenever the Saints met they were much blessed with the power of the spirit. They were so eager to attend their meetings and to speak, prophesy. and talk in tongues, that the Apostle Paul had to regulate their meetings and give them counsel in regard to the manner of conducting them, that order might prevail. The Saints were abundantly blessed with these manifestations of the spirit. But when the apostasy took place, the spirit of the Lord departed, its manifestations were fewer, and at last they were not known in the Church. Then it was very convenient to teach the people that revelations were no longer needed, that prophets were not needed; that these spiritual gifts were given only in the beginning of the Church, to convert men; but that they were not to continue with the members of the Church, and therefore they were done
ever so gifted. He would be detected in some fault or other.
The book has been given unto us by the Lord, and we find in it prophesies concerning our time and prophecies concerning the time that is already past, which have been fulfilled, proving the book to be an inspired one. These gifts which the book mentions should be found in the Church; my testimony to you is that they are found in the Church. Talking in tongues has been very common in the Church. Nearly all the members have at some time or another heard this gift, as well as the interpretation of tongues. Some may say, But how can we judge whether this is a true tongue or not? You can judge by the Holy Spirit whether it is prompted by that Spirit or not. There have been times when the proof of the tongue
After the Book of Mormon was published, the Church was organized, and then men could read the book and test the words, and judge whether or not the Church that was afterwards organized corresponded with what the Prophet had said the Church should be.
spoken has been overwhelming. When President Peterson of the Sanpete Stake was a young man he attended a meeting in Illinois. There were many present, and the spirit of the Lord was recently poured out upon the Saints in a great
It was but a few days after the Church was organized before the spirit uttered itself in power, and spiritual manifestations were given and miracles performed, showing that the Church which had been organized was not tion, but that it Church itself, containing the same power and spiritual blessings. In fact, this wonderful book itself was translated by the power of God. Joseph Smith was an unlearned man; he had not studied at colleges; he was not much of a writer at that time, but had to employ others to write for him, and those who wrote for him wrote as he dictated. Now, you who have tried to dictate to a person know how hard it is to dictate, and to continue to do this, without altering or without having the last sentence repeated; but Joseph dictated to these men, and was not under the necessity of asking them where they had left off, because he translated by the power of God. The Urim and Thummim was in his possession, and with this instrument he was able to translate the characters that were engraven upon the plates. This was a miracle in itself, and these men who wrote for him would soon have been able to detect whether he was inspired in the translation, or whether it was his own brain that furnished them the material to write. And let me say that no man could write such a work, if he were
measure. He felt urged by the spirit to talk in tongues, and when he sat down a young girl arose and interpreted it. She was but seventeen years of age, perhaps younger, and she interpreted what Brother Peterson had spoken. Some of the brethren there, then in good standing but who afterwards left the Church, were told that if they did not take heed they would apostatize, and that the balance of the branch should emigrate to the West and travel in wagons like houses, across large plains. This was the interpretation of the tongue. They did not then know that there would come a time when they should travel in covered wagons and go to the west. But a remarkable thing happened at that meeting. Two young girls that had been stolen while children, by the Indians, and been brought back by the government, were present. They heard Brother Peterson speak in tongues, and they declared that he spoke in an Indian tongue, which they had heard before, and they understood most of it, though they said he spoke it better than they ever heard the chiefs speak it, and the young girl, they said, had translated what they understood correctly. This is a great tes
timony of the truth of that gift, and many other instances could be mentioned, showing that this gift is in the Church. The gift of prophecy we know is in the Church. How many of the prophecies of Our beloved Prophet Joseph Smith have not been fulfilled to the very letter? You take the book of Doctrine and Covenants, and you will find there many prophecies that have been fulfilled already, and many relating to time yet to come, which we believe will be fulfilled just as literally as have those that have already been fulfilled. Let me read a few words of a revelation given March, 1831, some eleven months after the Church was organized. In talking about what should come to pass, Lord revealed to Joseph:
"But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.
"Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed."
This was many years before the Latter-day Saints were driven from the States, and it talks in such plain terms concerning the gathering. The gathering is a unique principle in this Church, one that is not found in other churches. It is referred to in the Book of Mormon, and in the early revelations to the Church it is given to the people in great plainness. We are told in some of the revelations that the people should be gathered from all nations unto this land, which should be the land of Zion. When we now read about this, it may not seem so remarkable. But let us put ourselves back to the time when the Church numbered but a few members and was hardly known outside of a few counties, and remember that then the Lord told the Prophet that the work should be known in other lands and that the people should be gathered from all nations, and it becomes, indeed, marvelous unto us. Gradually our missionaries are reaching the different nations of the earth, and we have people here from every part of the earth, if not yet from every nation. Our missionaries are going in faith, proclaiming the truth. They are ching one people after another.
Nearly every nation in Europe has had the Gospel offered to them. I was reading a letter last night which Brother Hintze had received from Athens, Greece, a country where we have not yet done much missionary labor. Brother Hintze went there and preached the Gospel and the seed sown is germinating, and they want to be informed concerning the truth. Certain principles have struck them as true: others they do not understand yet. In the Donaw principalities we have a man la boring, who has already baptized several persons, and it will not be long before it can be said that all nations in Europe have been informed concerning the Gospel. And the myriads in Asia and Africa will yet have to hear the Gospel. The Lord is in His marvelous way preparing the way for the Gospel to be taught to men. I rejoice in contemplating the dealings of the Lord with this work of His, and my testimony to you is that God has established this work, and that He will see that it shall triumph in the earth. God bless you all, amen.
ELDER M. F. COWLEY.
The Church built on the foundation of Continuous Revelation- Each member entitled to an individual testimony of the truth.
My brethren and sisters, I am pleased to have the privilege of meeting with you at this Conference. I desire in the performance of my duty the kind assistance of your prayers of faith. I have been edified through the instructions of my brethren. They have encouraged me and also corrected me, for I find in them instructions which will enable me to improve wherein I lack, and encourage me in the enjoyment of the blessings resulting from the duties which perhaps I have performed more faithfully than others. In contemplating the character of these instructions, it is a solemn testimony to me of the truth of which my brethren have spoken, that the Church is guided by the spirit of revelation. But we are not guided by the spirit of revelation as much as we ought to be. I think sometimes that we have not fully divested ourselves of the elements of sectarianism which some of us may have brought from the world and which others have imbibed because of their