Imatges de pÓgina

weaknesses. Our Elders, in preaching the Gospel in the various nations of the earth, call attention to the fact that it has always been a characteristic of humanity to profess a belief in the revelations and the remarkable manifestations of the power of God which have been exhibited before their day. But when confronted with the opportunity or necessity of exercising the same faith, and enjoying immediate revelation, they have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. The Church of Christ never did exist on the earth, only as it existed by the spirit of revelation from God. The Jews, when the Gospel was presented to them by John the Baptist and also by the Savior, had just the same opportunities that the Christian world of today have, that is, of reading from the Scripture, which had been made by the Prophets preceding them, and receiving instructions from the doctors of the law and those whose pretended business it was to expound the Scriptures. But when one came to them and said that the kingdom of God was nigh at hand, they were not prepared to receive it. The Gospel then as now was a test to all institutions. John the Baptist said "The ax is laid unto the root of the tree, therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire." Jesus was desiring to bring to the attention of His disciples the necessity of being built upon a solid foundation, and propounded a question unto them as recorded in Matthew, 16th chapter. He said: "Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" And His disciples said, "Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremiah or one of the Prophets." Thus we see that it was all guess work with them, so far as the general public were concerned. He turned to the Apostles and said: "But whom say ye that I am?" In response there came an emphatic testimony, not from a doctor of the law, not from an educated man. who had built his faith upon a mere reading of the ancient scripture, but from a poor, unlettered man, who had been called by the voice of the Son of God from the fisherman's net, when

the Messiah had said to him and his brother Andrew "Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men." From Peter the testimony came in no uncertain tones, saying, "Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to Peter: "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven."

I wish to bear my testimony that flesh and blood never did, because it never could, reveal unto man the identity of the Son of God, or make plain to the understanding of the children of men the things of God in any respect; and if it required a revelation for the Apostle Peter to bear witness that Jesus was the Christ, it will require revelation for every man and woman in every dispensation of the Gospel, to bear the same testimony. Indeed, the Son of God enunciated this fact as an eternal doctrine, when he sent the Seventies out to declare the Gospel. He had commanded them to go without purse or scrip, just as the servants of God have been commanded in this dispensation, that the world may be tested and that the disciples of the Son of God may act upon the principle of faith and trust in God to provide for them the necessities and comforts of life. When the Seventy returned to the Savior with the report of their mission, they said that they lacked nothing:

"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.

"All things are delivered to me of my Father; and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him."

This is a plain and simple doctrine, and whatever may be the attainments of mankind, based upon the opportunities of the age in which we live, augmented by the experience and the learning of the preceding generations, they cannot understand the things of God, without the spirit of revelation.

I wish to bear my testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded upon the principl

of revelation, and that it has been guided and controlled by the spirit of revelation from its inception to the present time. God designed to guide this Church by the voice of revelation. When I see any lack of confidence on the part of our people in the wisdom of the Prophet of God and his associates, I am impressed with the fact that we are lacking in that faith which belongs to the work of God. When the Prophet Joseph Smith was instrumental in establishing this work, he made certain promises, such as have been alluded to by my brethren today. These promises have been fulfilled to the very letter. They not only extended to the remarkable manifestation of the gifts and powers of the Holy Ghost, but they extended to a promise that every man and every woman in the Church should have a substantial testimony concerning the propriety of every movement made by the Prophet of God, in advancing the interests of the work of God upon the earth. And it can be pointed out on the pages of history that neither the Prophet Joseph Smith nor any of his successors ever gave counsel unto the Saints of God that was not attended with blessings and prosperity to those who heeded and acted upon it. Moreover, it cannot be found upon the pages of history where any man has risen up in opposition to that counsel and has stretched forth his hand to steady the ark of God, but what that man has come to disappointment and his folly has been made manifest in the midst of the people of God. I can bear my testimony that these evidences, which have been recorded as a result of the experience of this Church, will continue down to the latest period of time. God has established this work; He has maintained it; He has prospered it in the earth, and He will continue to do so from this time henceforth and forever. God bless you, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

ELDER A. O. WOODRUFF. Room for improvement among the PriesthoodThe great distinction between the true Church and other religious bodies--A difference in spirit-Every part of the body necessary to its healthful existence-Warning against a hide

ous evil.

My brothers and sisters, I trust that I may have your support and the bless

ings of God to guide me in my utterances here this afternoon. I have no other desire in standing before you than to give you that which the Lord may reveal unto me, and I desire to so live that whenever I am called upon to occupy a position of this kind, the Lord may be pleased to favor me with His Holy Spirit, that I may not be left to depend upon the wisdom of man.

I have a desire this afternoon to say some words that may be stimulating and encouraging to those who hold the Priesthood, especially to those who are acting in the Lesser Priesthood. President Snow has gone among the people and discharged the duties which our Heavenly Father has given him to perform, and after doing so, he unloads a great degree of this responsibility upon the shoulders of the Priesthood in all its organizations. I know there is not that activity among many quorums of the Priesthood that there ought to be; and while it is true the Latter-day Saints during the past year have done exceedingly well in the payment of their tithes, they have not done as well as they would have done had the Teachers, and Priests and the Elders in Israel performed their duties as faithfully as President Snow has discharge his. True, most men who hold these positions are younger men than President Snow, but I regret to have to acknowledge that they have not been as diligent throughout the different Stakes and wards of Zion in regard to this message, which the Prophet of the Lord has given to the people, as they should have been. While visiting a Stake a short time ago, I learned by questioning the High Council, that some of them had not been visited by their Teachers for years; and while that Stake had increased about fifty per cent in the payment of their tithes during the past year, I thought to myself, what a showing they might have made, if the Priesthood in all its departments had been active and faith


In order that I might bring before you what I desire. I will read a portion of the 12th chapter of First Corinthians.

"For by one spirit we are all baptized

unto one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have all been made to drink into

one spirit;

"For the body is not one member but many.

"If the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body

"And if the ear shall say, because I am not the eye I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

"If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

"But now hath the Lord set thee members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased Him.

"And if they were all one member, where were the body?

"And now are they many members, yet but one body,

"And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

tablished by man, for there are many forms of religion, some patterning closely after the one founded by our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. And I have thought, is it not because these different bodies have not the Spirit? I compared this spirit to the Priesthood of the Son of God, and concluded in my own mind that this was the greatest cause of the difference which exists between the Church which Christ has established and the churches which have been established by man. When the Prophet Joseph inquired of the Lord regarding the divinity of the different denominations that then existed upon the earth, and many of which exist today, he was told that they had a form of godliness, but denied the power thereof; that they drew near unto the Lord with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him. I thought to myself what a comparison there was between the true Church of God, with the Priesthood and Spirit to enliven it, and the dead forms of religion, as they have been instituted by men. We might carry this comparison a little farther, and take the skeleton of this body, the organization of the Church of Christ, animated by the Spirit and Priesthood of God, and in connection with this skeleton we have the sinews, the helps in government, the muscles, the nerve system and the circulation of the blood from the heart into all parts of the body. And just as it is impossible for a human body to exist without the spirit, so is it impossible for the Church of Christ to exist without the Priesthood of the Son of God. Just as it is imposible for a body to be complete without the brain, the heart and the other organs of the system, so would it be impossible for the Church of Christ to exist in perfection without the Presidency, the Apostles, the Seventies, the High Priests, the Elders, the Priests, Teachers and Deacons. All of them have their special work to perform, just as the organs of the human system have their particu

The Church of Christ was referred to here yesterday and compared to a man seventy years of age, The Apostle Paul also in his beautiful figure compared the Church of Christ to the body of a lar part to do. I compared I wish to say a few words re- the circulation of the blood garding this figure which has been used, in the body to the active Priesthood, I have asked myself, what is the great- which goes about the whole body of est cause for the difference between the Church, imparting life and vigor the Church of Christ and the and setting in order all of the parts


of plago


"Nay, much more, those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary;

"And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comliness.

"For our comely parts have no need; but God hath tempered the body together, having give more abundant honor to that part which lacked.

"That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

"And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.

"Now ve are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

"And God hath set some in the Church: first. Apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers; after that miracles; then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

"Are all Apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

"Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

"But covet earnestly the best gifts; and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way."

a member becomes injured, the blood assists in building it up. So with the workings of the Priesthood of the Son of God, in the great body which Christ has established.

I believe that every organization of the Priesthood is just as important and vital to the Church of Christ as every organ is to the human system; and in Stakes or wards where the Deacons, the Teachers, the Priests and the Elders have nothing to do, there will be a stagnation of blood. Our people have suffered the malady in neglecting to pay their tithes, but now this Priesthood is getting to work, this blood is circulating more freely, and directing its attention especially in the direction of curing the body of this particular malady. The Priesthood has labored energetically, but not as much So as we should have done. There are many Teachers and Priests that have not labored as faithfully as they should have done. Think of what a beautiful body this would be if every quorum was active; if the blood circulated through every part of the system and if every part was renovated and cleansed, so that it might be in a perfect state of health. God help us that we may be able to get this body, the Church of Christ, into this desirable condition; that the list containing thousands of names of persons who ought to be tithe-payers and are not, may be wiped out. I believe that one of the most practical ways of bringing about this condition is for the Presidents of Stakes, Bishops of wards and the Presidents of quorums to see to it that they discharge their part of this responsibility. It is not expected that President Snow will be able to reach all parts of the body and be able personally to regulate and renovate the body of Christ, but there are members of the body that have been chosen to do this work, and if they do not do it, that condition which we desire will not exist.

I hope, my brethren and sisters, that President Snow shall live to see the desires of his heart granted unto him. I pray for this and labor for it among the brethren in the Stakes where I go, so that confidence in the Church of Christ in regard to financial affairs may

be maintained. The Church is now upon a good financial basis; but we ought not to cease our labors as soon as we hear good news. We ought not to run well for awhile, and then tire out just when our assistance is most needed. It has taken considerable labor on the part of the Priesthood to stir the people up to a realization of their condition and their negligence in regard to the payment of tithing, and it will take a continual labor on our part to keep the people awakened to these things. Strange that we always have to be labored with in order to get us to do right; nevertheless we have to be labored with and we have to labor with each other that we may keep alive in the Church of Christ. If we are not brought in contact with this Priesthood and its workings we soon die out, just like a member of the human body would die out if the blood did not circulate to that part. Thus it is very necessary that the brethren who hold the Priesthood and the sisters who are engaged in the different organizations of this Church should carry their responsibility and feel that there is an individual responsibility connected with this work which rests upon them, and that God will not justify them if they do not discharge their duties in their separate callings.

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This, my brethren and sisters, may be applied to those of us who have received the Priesthood of the Son of God. We have not received it through man. The leaders of this dispensation received it from Peter, James and John and John the Baptist, the men who held the keys of this Priesthood and who received it from the Son of God Himself. Therefore, the responsibility that we are under has not been placed upon us by man; it has come to us from God; and when the head shall say to us, Do this, or that. we are under obligations to do it. We are under obligations to see that there is no stagnation in our part of the body; that there is no negligence in the payment of tithes or in the keeping of any of the commandments in our Stake or ward or association. It is my duty at the head of any association, ward or Stake to see that the people are doing their duty. If they are entirely negligent to the teachings of God that come to us through His mouthpiece, I want to tell you, my brethren and sisters, that those who stand at the head of these organizations will come under condemnation. The Presidency, the Twelve, or the Seventy cannot be in all the wards; but there are men placed there with equal responsibility in their callings, and they have to discharge these duties or the Lord will not hold them guiltless. He will not excuse them if they do not labor diligently and delve into the dark corners and see that there are no cobwebs in their Stake or ward, but that everything is working should do; that there clog in the machinery of this great body of Christ, but that each is doing his part. If we will do this we will gain salvation and we will enter into the presence of God and hear the welcome plaudit, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." If we do not, we cannot expect, because the Priesthood has been conferred upon us, that we will inherit the celestial kingdom of our God. The Lord will not reward the drone, nor the slothful; He will not reward the unjust steward, the one who has not taken advantage of the opportunities God has placed within his grasp. If our talents are great, we have that


it no


much more need to use them than those who are not so greatly blessed.

Before taking my seat there is another matter that occurs to me which I wish to speak upon. I have noticed that there is a spirit creeping in among a certain class of the Latter-day Saints which is not of God, but of the world. It has been popular, ever since Mormonism was established, to have large families; for we understand that there are hundreds of thousands of spirits in the other world anxious to be tabernacled by good fathers and mothers, that they may pass through this state of probation. But there is a certain class of Latter-day Saints that has come to think as the Gentile world does that it is not stylish, not nice to have large families; and therefore we find, much to our sorrow, that in some instances steps are taken to prevent these spirits being tabernacled by them. I want to say that every Latter-day Saint ought to feel that they are not justified before God their Father in pursuing a course of this kind. We want, so far as God will favor us, the privilege and blessing of posterity. And those who employ means to prevent this will find in the spirit world that they have lost the stars in their crown and have shut out a means of exaltation; that they have done a grievcus wrong which they may not be able to repair for many ages, if at all. Those who fought the system of plural marriage in years gone by were people who were, as a rule, opposed to the large families of the Latter-day Saints, and took steps themselves to prevent spirits coming to them to be tabernacled, in some cases going so far as to be guilty of murdering the unborn innocents. Upon such the curse of God will rest. greatly desire that this practice shall not creep in among the Latter-day Saints. I have prayed that the Spirit of this subject might be given to some of the older members of this quorum, or to the Presidency, that they might dwell upon it, because I know, from what I have heard from reliable sources, that this spirit which I have spoken of is in a slight degree at any rate creeping in among the Latter-day Saints. Thank God for posterity. Thank God for the large families of the

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