« AnteriorContinua »
We send out many Elders into the missionary field and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to carry the Gospel abroad. Is it not just as important that these quorums of the Priesthood should be active and alive to their duty, and that the members of those quorums should prize the office they hold sufficiently to keep the commandments which God has given them, in order that their example may be good before the people? We find Stake officers and ward officers who do not observe the Word of Wisdom. They have their cup of tea or their cup of coffee, or they are given to smoking, and perhaps in some instances to drinking, and yet they are tolerated.
My brethren and sisters, in speaking this way I do so with the feeling that I would expect to be dealt with if I did not honor the Priesthood that God has conferred upon me sufficiently to let tobacco, whisky and other things that God has forbidden alone. I feel that any officer in this Church who will persist in indulging in these things and setting a bad example before the people ought to have at least sufficient interest in the work of the Lord to give up his position to some one who will prize and magnify the position that God has called him to. I do not believe that men who are living in open violation of the commandments of God prize their calling. They may think they do; they may think that they love the work of the Lord; but their very acts show that they do not. When it comes to laying aside their little cup of tea as Relief Society workers or as other workers in the Stakes of Zion, some cannot do it, not even for the sake of the example.
I feel, my brethren and sisters, that this is an important matter. Every Deacon, every Teacher and every Priest ought to ask himself the question whether or not he is magnifying the Priesthood that God has honored him with. For it is an honor to be a Deacon in the Church of Christ. It is a greater honor than any that can be conferred upon men in the political world, because this work that we are engaged in is God's work, not the work of man, and God will honor those who honor the positions that are given to them in His Church. Now, where
Teachers are not doing their duty, shall the President of the Church be held responsible? Would it be manly for the Bishop of a Ward to say that the President of the Church is responsible because his ward is not up to the mark in fulfilling the obligations that the Lord has placed upon them? It appears to me that this is not the spirit of the Gospel. The spirit of the Gospel is for every man to do his duty and not try to shift any responsibility onto somebody else. We are told that we are agents unto ourselves, and that we ought to be engaged in bringing to pass much righteousness. When we are placed to preside over a Ward it is not necessary to go to the President of the Church to ask about every little matter, but we are entitled to the spirit of God and to the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ in our calling. If we are energetic and are working in the calling whereunto the Lord has called us, he will reveal many great and important things unto us, and he will bring to our minds many suggestions and ideas with regard to the government of our Ward. So with presidents of Stakes and High Councils and other officers of the Church.
I am interested in the work of the Lord. I would like to see these quorums of the Lesser Priesthood in a good active condition. It is thought by some that we have concentrated our energies too much upon Sunday school work or upon Mutual Improvement work, and we have not given that attention which we ought to do to the quorums of the Priesthood. If we have erred in this direction, we ought to correct it and labor diligently to see that every quorum is in good live condition. No
Stake of Zion can be up to
the mark whose quorums of the Priesthood are inactive. Inactivity is death, and there are too many dead members in the Priesthood. The man who will grow in this Priesthood and come to the front is the man who labors. And as with the man, so with the quorum. The Stake President who will develop himself and his Stake is the one who is actively engaged in his calling. If he is not thus engaged, instead of growing he will wither up, and his Stake will suffer. Now it appears
to me that the progress of the work of God in the wards and in the Stakes is of greater importance than the feeling of any man or woman; and it would seem to me that Latter-day Saints who actually believe that this is the work of the Lord, when they know that changes can be made which will benefit the work of God, they will not feel hurt or that an injustice is being done by such changes. I believe that some censure has been merited by some Stake officers for not making changes that ought to have been made. I believe that if they had made these changes manfully and under the influence of the spirit of God, and explained to those affected why they were necessary, the brethren would not have felt half as bad as it has been supposed they would.
I thank the Lord for his goodness and for the blessings which this people are enjoying at the present time. The thing for us to do is to hold on to the end; not simply to go part of the way, but to go all the way, doing the will of our Father from day to day so far as it is made clear to us.
Our labor for salvation reminds me very much of an experience that was brought to my attention this season by a colony of our people going into Wyoming. I heard of one or two of them who became discouraged before they got to the Summit in Parley's canyon, and one or two more became discouraged when they got to some other summit; while others turned back as they were going or after they got there. Now those people did not receive any reward. Their time was thrown away. Others, after they got there and engaged in the toil which was necessary to settle up any new country, became discouraged and they also left. And others will leave. This has been the history of the settlement of all our new countries. I am told that at least onehalf of the people that went to Cache Valley in early days returned because they did not think they could there. In listening to Brother Judd Brother Ricks, Brother Card and other brethren who are having experience in this same line, I can sympathize with them, for our experience is similar to theirs. There are some people who turn back all along the way. So it is on our journey and search for salva
tion. Some are afraid of the water; they dare not go into the water to be baptized. Then there are others who after they are baptized are afraid of something else. They cannot make the sacrifice, as they consider it, of paying their tithing. They cannot keep the Word of Wisdom. They cannot be honest, or virtuous, or truthful. The result is, we find one turning off here, and another there, and leaving the ship Zion. Now, only those are benefitted who continue in their search for salvation, and in their journey toward eternal life. Only those receive a reward who pass through the hardships and the discouraging conditions and continue in the way of life unto the end. If we turn back any time before then, our labors have been in vain and we will not receive the reward. are told that blessed is the man who endureth temptation, for he shall receive a crown of life which the Lord has promised.
My brethern and sisters, whatever position we have been called to occupy in this Church, or whatever quorum of Priesthood we are members of, the only way we can receive the promised reward is to labor constantly and to keep the Spirit of God. If we will do this, we will love the work of God more every day of our lives. I thank God that this has been my experience. I have felt better every day in the labors which the Lord has called me to perform, and my pleasure in them increases. I know this is the case with all men and women that work to bring about righteousness. Those who endure trials and temptations, those who are full of zeal and of the Spirit of God from morn until night, you will always know just where to find them. Great and glorious will be their ward.
I thank the Lord for the testimony I have that this is his work. I receive new testimonies every day of my life. I know that God is with this people, and I know that He will bless everything that is undertaken as indicated through the Pronhat of God. It is enough for us to know that the Lord has indicated through His mouthpiece what should be done, and it is for unto us to give heed it. May God
grant that we may have His Spirit in all our labors; that we may be true to the testimonies we have received; that we may love the work of the Lord, and not be jealous of any department that is thriving; but that we may desire, as Bishops and Stake Presidents, to concentrate our efforts upon the part of the work which is a little delinquent, and see to it that it is brought to the front, in order that every department of the Priesthood may be united. If it is possible for the Presidency of this Church and the Apostles to be united to a man, that the president of the quorum of the Apostles can say to the Presidency of the Church that nothing in righteousness can be required of these men that will not be done, so it is possible for this to be said of the Seventies, and of the High Priests, and of the Elders, and of every department of the Priesthood, if all men will labor to bring this result about. God grant that this may be the case; that we may be encouraged, and that the blessings of God may attend every effort which we put forth toward the upbuilding of His kingdom. I ask it in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"The Holy City" was sung by Horace S. Ensign.
ELDER M. F. COWLEY.
Patrick Henry's eloquent plea for freedom-Regard of the Saints for the Constitution-Work of the Adversary-How to obtain the mind and will of the Lord-The duty to sustain the Government The redemption of Zion-Striking experience at Galveston. My brethren and sisters, I feel grateful for another conference, and for the opportunity of being associated with you. It is our duty to obtain the word of the Lord, and it does not depend solely upon the authority of the Church. There is a responsibility, as stated by Elder Woodruff, resting upon every member. It is not confined to those who bear the respective offices in the Priesthood, but it extends to all Saints, male and female. As I view it, there ought to be some advancement on the part of the Latter-day Saints as a whole, and on the part of the Priesthood, during the time that intervenes between our general conferences. I always feel impressed when listening to my brethren,
no matter what the subject may be which suggests itself to their minds. The one thing that is always obligatory upon every Saint is to do the duty that devolves upon him at the moment. We have heard Brother Ensign sing about Jerusalem, the beautiful city. We sometimes read in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, 84th section, a beautiful song which the Lord said should be sung in the last days. He says:
"For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness:
"And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work which shall be cut short in righteousness,
"Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye."
President Snow, Elder Smoot and Elder Clawson testified this morning that the the Presidency of the Church and Twelve Apostles and see are united "eye to eye." I wish to say that this ought to be the status of the Presiding Council of Seventies, and I presume it is. It ought to be the condition of every council of Seventies throughout the Church. It ought to be the condition of the Presiding Bishopric of this Church, and I suppose it is. It ought to be the condition of the presiding authorities of every quorum in the Holy Priesthood down to the presidency of the last quorum of Deacons, which has been established in the Church. It ought to be the condition of every Stake presidency, of every High Council, of every Bishopric, of the presiding authority of every branch, of every Elder, of the presidency of every mission, of every conference president and of every Elder in every mission on the face of the earth. There should be an absolute unity throughout the Church. And this unity can only be brought about by a common enjoyment of the Holy Ghost. It is the only thing on this earth or in the heavens that will bring people to a unity of the faith. It was this spirit which led us in the first place to embrace the Gospel, and when we were baptized we received a title to the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and we were promised that he should guide us into all truth.
I would like to impress upon the Latto be ter-day Saints that we ought guided by the Spirit of the Lord in eveverything that affects the welfare of this people. No Latter-day Saint bearing the Holy Priesthood ought to go to any place without the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I do not care whether it is a dance, to enjoy a little innocent recreation, or whether it is a political meeting, to consider the great questions of the day, he ought to take the Priesthood of God with him and enjoy the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in what he says and does. By that I do not mean that we ought to use our Priesthood in any manner that is not justifiable, but I do mean to say that we ought always to remember that we are Latter-day Saints, and that there is no consideration affecting the welfare of this people in which we are justified in separating ourselves from the thought that we are Latter-day Saints, and that the highest responsibility that rests upon this people is to establish the Church and Kingdom of God upon the earth. I feel that we have broken away to a great extent from the old fashioned spirit of the Gospel, if you will allow me to use that expression. I think sometimes that we have not so much faith in God as had the patriots who founded this country. When they prepared the Declaration of Independence they invoked the inspiration of the supreme God to guide them in the framing of that document. And they secured that inspiration. It was guided by the Spirit of the Lord, and the Lord had a hand in it. You remember, perhaps, reading what purports to be speech delivered by Patrick Henry in the Congress at Philadelphia, at a time when men were afraid to stand up for what they considered to be the rights of the colonists of this country and to establish upon this land a government that should be free from allegiance to every other government. In that memorable address he made this statement:
"It is not given to our poor human intellect to climb the skies, to pierce the councils of the Almighty One. But methinks I stand among the awful clouds which veil the brightness of Jehovah's throne. Methinks I see the
Recording Angel-pale as angel is pale, weeping as an angel can weep-come trembling up to the throne, and speaking his dread message:
"Father! The Old World is baptized in blood. Father! It is drenched with the blood of millions, butchered in war in persecution, in slow and grinding oppression. Father, look! With one glance of Thine eternal eye, look over Europe, Asia, Africa, and behold everywhere a terrible sight-men trodden down beneath the oppressor's feet, nations lost in blood, murder and perstition walking hand in hand the graves of their victims, and not a single voice to whisper hope to man.'
"He stands there (the angel), his hand trembling with the black record of human guilt. But hark! The voice of Jehovah speaks out from the awful cloud: Let there be light again. Let there be a New World. Tell my people, the poor, downtrodden millions, to Tell them go out from the Old World. to go out from wrong, oppression and blood. Tell them to go out from the Old World, to build my altar in the New."
In the closing words of the speech, he made this significant remark:
"As God lives, my friends, I believe that to be His voice. Yes, were my soul trembling on the wing of eternity, were this hand freezing in death, were my voice choking with the last struggle, I would still, with the last gasp of that voice, implore you to remember the truth God has given America to be free."
This was the spirit of Nephi. Nephi declared in the name of the Lord that God had decreed that this land should be a land of liberty, and that there should not occupy it any people that would hold in servitude any other class of people. So that when in the history of this great country the question arose regarding the slavery of the black race, it was a foregone conclusion that that section of the nation which espoused their freedom, would gain the victory over those who sought to maintain slavery, because God had decreed that the people of this land should be free.
What I desire to call your attention to is the fact that the hand of Almighty God is in all these things, and when I see Latter-day Saints breaking away and feeling that they ought to be free from any considerations that would benefit the work, I feel that they are not true to the history of the country in which we dwell and to that pa
triotism which God decreed the Latterday Saints should exhibit. For I say that in this land there are no people that have so great a respect for the Constitution of the United States as have the Latter-day Saints. There are no people that can have the respect for it that they can. I do not wish to impeach the respect of other people for that glorious instrument, but the depth of the respect that is entertained by the Latter-day Saints is based upon their knowledge of the purposes of God concerning this land and the institutions which God inspired the people to found. The Roman empire prior to the coming of the Savior tolerated all classes of religions, no what dogmas they taught, and this policy was maintained until the Son of God came and established His Church. His Church, however, came in contact with the institutions of men, but it did not seek to injure any of these men. It was established for the salvation of the human family, to lift them upon a higher plane, and to point them the way to eternal life. It was the only plan of salvation, devised in the heavens above. Because of the freedom granted to all religions by the Roman empire, Jesus was enabled to establish His Church upon the earth. So in these last days God inspired the founders of this country for the same purpose. They sought the inspiration of the Almighty when they framed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. We read in the book of Doctrine and Covenants that God raised up men and inspired them to frame the constitution of this land, and many of these men laid down their lives in defense of human liberty and to lay the foundation of a government upon this land which should be a palladium of human rights, unequalled by any other civil government upon the face of the earth. God says He inspired the Constitution; and every law made in pursuance thereto He declares to be a righteous law, and every law not in pursuance thereto an unrighteous law: "And whatsoever is more or less than these cometh of evil." He further states that the Saints of God are justified in upholding the institutions of this coun
try; and in those days when the Constitution had not been infringed and trampled upon by ungodly men, he said that no man had occasion to break the laws of the land in keeping the laws of God. He also said that righteous men should be selected to administer the affairs of government, men who would uphold the Constitution of the country and who would maintain the rights of the people in every State.
I want to tell you, Latter-day Saints, that we have not got out of the woods yet. No circumstances will arise in this country that will affect the welfare of this people, either from a religious, a political, a financial, a social, business, scientific, or any other standpoint, but what Almighty God is bound to havesomething to say in regard to them. He may not come out and through the voice of the Prophet of God; but it is expected that every Latter-day Saint is a prophet of God, and! that he will get the will of the Lord to Guide him in all these matters. What did Moses say to those who sought his rebuke of some persons that had prophesied in Israel? Why, said he, “I would to God that all the Lord's people were prophets." We ought to be prophets, and we ought to seek the mind and will of the Lord on every subject that arises. If we will do this, we shall know for ourselves. Unless we feel this way I believe I am justified in saying that it will be a long time before we shall be able to sing this song contained in the 84th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. In all affairs, in whatever arises, we ought to seek the mind and will of God thereon, and try to understand what will be for the best interests of the Latter-day Saints. We are justified in so doing. There is not one principle of the Gospel that will lead me to entrench upon the right of a Methodist, a Baptist, a Catholic, an infidel or any other man, no matter what his religion or his politics may be. There is not one covenant of the Holy Priesthood that will lead me to do this. have read the secret oaths and covenants of some of the combinations that exist in this land, and I want to raise my voice against the Latter-day Saints identifying themselves with these "tares," which are being bound in bun