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blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
The day is coming when they will be willing to accept the principle of gathering which they then rejected. But, as I have said, the effort was made to establish the principles of the United Order subsequent to the ascension of Jesus. They had, it is said, all things in common. On one occasion Ananias came to the Apostle Peter ostensibly to consecrate all that he had received under the blessings of the Almighty. The scriptures inform us that he and his wife had sold a possession and he brought a certain part of it and laid it at the feet of the Apostle Peter, who was the Presiding Apostle of the Church and who had received the keys not only to baptize for the remission of sins, to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost and to administer the sacrament of the Lord's supper, but also to administer in those things that pertain to the celestial kingdom here upon this earth. Now Peter, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, discerned that the man was not honest in his offering, and he said unto him:
"Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
"While it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
"And Ananias, hearing these words, fell down, and gave up the Ghost."
Shortly afterwards his wife came in, and she also lied in relation to this business. These are principles my brethren and sisters, that are attended by the power of God, if they are observed. But they are attended by the judgments of God if they are violated. These principles were carried out in the City of Enoch until the city was translated. They were carried out for a few generations upon this continent by the Nephites, and the Book of Mormon tells us that not one of that generation was lost, because they were equal before the Lord and labored for the same end. The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph the same principles. The Saints of God failed to carry them out because of selfishness. The Lord revealed that Zion never could be redeemed, only by the law of consecration.
Because the people were not prepared to receive and obey it, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery besought the Lord to know what He required at their hands as a tithing. As a result of that condition, He gave the law of tithing wherein is required a tenth of all the interest of the people annually. The Lord specified what the tithing should be used for, and that it should be disbursed under the direction of the Presidency of the Church.
Now, my brethren and sisters, the people who came to Zion without having an eye single to the glory of God lost their right to an inheritance. When they came up with sinister motives, and their hearts were not devoted to the work of God, they suffered the disapproval of the Almighty. The same statement will apply to us in these valleys of the mountains. We have been led here by the inspiration of the Almighty. The same inspiration has controlled and guided the Presidency of the Church in locating these Stakes of Zion, these cities and towns, throughout the length and breadth of this inter-mountain country.
God has blessed us with abundance. The great majority of the Latter-day Saints own their own homes. If you were to ask them how many of them owned their own homes in their native lands, possibly four-fifths of them would say that they did not. If you were to ask them how many of them conducted a profitable business of their own before they came here, four-fifths would perhaps have to give the same answer. Yet in the prosperity that has attended us in the establishment of our cities, towns and in the building up of the Stakes of Zion in this country, we have not manifested the gratitude to God for his choice blessings which we ought to have done. We have an abundance of blessings, especially of a temporal character, and we ought to be willing to comply with the requirements that are made of us, and honestly and completely pay our tithing and our offerings.
I rejoice in this work. I rejoice in bearing testimony to the truth of the Gospel and that we have a Prophet of God standing at our head today-President Lorenzo Snow-who enjoys the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and whose
counsel to the Latter-day Saints comes from the Lord. May God help us to carry it out, and to exemplify in our lives the principles which we testify God has restored to the earth in these last days. I wish to urge the Latterday Saints to teach their sons and their daughters the principles of the everlasting Gospel. There is a great necessity today, in the various missions abroad, for efficient men to preach the Gospel and to represent the people of God. Many of the young men that go from our Stakes of Zion to preach the Gospel have not studied it. They have not taken advantage of the opportunities afforded them in the Mutual Improvement Association, in the Sunday school and in other organizations. am sorry to say that some of them have been grossly neglected by their parents. I have found Elders who did not believe in some of the principles of the Gospel. They said they had not been taught to them and they had been neglected by their parents. They had been engaged in herding sheep and other avocations, and had not taken pains to prepare themselves. The result was there was one principle of the Gospel, at least, that they did not understand, and consequently they did not teach or defend it. To my mind this was a very sorrowful condition, and it cast reflection upon the parents and teachers of those Elders. I do not suppose that there is a mission upon the earth that would not desire to have more Elders than they now have, especially Elders who are better qualified and more thoroughly indoctrinated in the principles of the Gospel and more thoroughly imbued with the inspiration of the Holy Ghost before they leave their homes and shoulder the responsibility of carrying the message of eternal life to the nations of the earth. I know this is the case in the United States. I have recently had the privilege of visiting with President Kelch the conferences of the Northern States Mission, and I found the Elders laboring earnestly to spread the Gospel among the people of that region.
Brethren and sisters, let us heed the instructions that are given to us at this conference and endeavor to apply them to our lives, that we may profit thereby.
I hope I shall be able to make myself heard by this vast congregation. I was very much interested in the remarks of our brethren this forenoon, and the subjects they touched upon are of great value and importance to us as a people. When Brother Cowley spoke he alluded to the blessings we have received in having the living word of God in our midst and the Prophet of God to lead us. It made me think, do we really appreciate this great blessing of having inspired men in our midst to lead us? Do we give heed to their counsel and advice? The brethren have dwelt upon the importance of paying heed unto the Lord's commandments to His people. When He commands, He desires His children to obey. Obedience to the Father's will is a principle that we must all learn. He has not left us in the dark in regard to what He wants us to do. I believe the Latterday Saints have more faith and a stronger testimony than any other people. They received this strong testimony when the hands of the servants of God were laid upon their heads. They received the Holy Ghost, which leads into all truth and makes known the Father's will. So that, while we have inspired men in our midst to give us the word of the Lord, we are not de
pendent upon that alone. The Lord has given unto us His Holy Spirit to witness unto our spirits whether that which is given us is right or not. The Latter-day Saints who perform their duty are not in the dark in regard to the counsel which they receive. When it comes from the servants of God unto them the Holy Spirit gives them a testimony that it is true.
Lehi of old had a beautiful dream. He saw the world spread before him. He stood by a tree-the tree of lifeenjoyed its precious fruit and saw how multitudes were hurrying to get to that tree. He saw that there was a mist came down that obscured the tree of life from the view of the multitude. They wanted to reach it, but this darkness or mist prevented them from seeing it. The Lord, however, had provided means whereby they could reach it. There was a path leading to the tree and at the side of it a rod of iron. By taking hold of this and following it, although they were not able to see the tree, but believing what had been told them, that this rod led to the tree of life, many found it. But many would not take hold of the iron rod, and they went astray and did not reach the tree with its precious fruit. Lehi saw also how that the greater number were walking on the other side of a river, which divided them from the tree of life. They went to a spacious building. He saw his own children, Laman and Lemuel, and He feared for them when he saw that they did not come where he was. His wife and his other children, shared with him the blessing of partaking of the fruit of the tree of life. This iron rod, it was explained, is the word of God. By taking hold of that we need not go astray. Although we may have to look forward with the eye of faith, holding to the iron rod we will be just as safe as if there were no mist.
We are blessed, brethren and sisters, in having the word of God in our midst; not only the written word, but also the living word of God. We are thankful that we have so much of the written word of God in our midst. While we do not look upon the Bible as many Protestants do, still we have just as great reverence for it as they have. We have just as great a testimony,
and greater, that it contains the word of God. We revere its contents, and we are trying to carry them out in our lives. We have testimony of the truth of the Bible from other sources, which the world do not accept, however. But the book itself proves to us that it is genuine. Its own prophecies, fulfilled since it was written, prove to us that it is a book containing the word of God. Look at Daniel's prophecy. In what a nutshell is the history of the future portrayed there? We could not any better describe it today, after we have followed history down for more than two thousand years. Daniel's prophecies are like history written beforehand, showing that they were inspired. The words of Jesus have been fulfilled since they were written and given to the world. In Matthew we have a clear prophecy concerning the Temple and the City of Jerusalem. How deeply I felt impressed when I sat on Mount Olivet and looked down upon the Temple ground. I thought of the prediction that not one stone of that building should be left upon another. This was uttered when Jerusalem was flourishing. It seemed an impossibility that such a phophecy could be fulfilled, but within forty years it came to pass. The Temple, built of large masses of rock, was entirely destroyed, the stones carried away and the Temple ground plowed, so as to obliterate any trace of the Temple. It was considered policy by a Roman emperor to do this, but it was the fulfillment of a prophecy of Jesus. We look upon the Bible as containing the word of God written to those of old, but much of it in a general way applies to us.
We also believe the Book of Mormon to contain the word of God. We look at its contents and we find that it contains internal, evidences of its truth, that it sets forth, which also show that it is a divinely inspired book. Take the tenth chapter of second Nephi, and you will find that in that book, which was published to the world some months before the Church of Jesus Christ was organized, prophecies concerning our time. It alludes to this land; it designates it as the land of Zion and tells how the Gentiles shall come and enjoy liberty here; that there shall be no king here, and that those
who fight against Zion shall not succeed. The prediction that there shall be no kings upon the land has been fulfilled even in our day. When I read of Dom Pedro of Brazil having been dethroned, and the report went forth that being so popular he might again take the reigns of government over that state, I said that I did not believe that he would do so. I believed that the words uttered by Nephi, six hundred years before Christ, would be fulfilled, and that the time was hastening when there should not be any kings upon this land. When Louis Napoleon tried to establish an empire in Mexico he miserably failed, and the man who tried to become king there lost his life.
But I specially want to draw your attention to the allusion to this being a land of Zion. It here gives us an intimation of the gathering; that people should come from other nations, gather to this land, establish a Zion and that the Lord should protect them so that the enemies of Zion should not have power over her. This was years before emigration to this country took place, but the prophecy has been fulfilled. We look upon this as the land of Zion, and the principle of gathering, though a unique one, has been one that has pervaded the teachings and belief of the Latter-day Saints from the beginning. Even before the Elders in their missionary labors have said anything about a Zion, the spirit of God has witnessed to the spirits of those who have received the Gospel that there would be a gathering, but that God would have a people of His own and that they would be gathered to one place. From the very beginning of the Gospel being sent to England we have evidence to prove this. I have seen in my administrations how quickly this spirit has taken possession of the Saints. And while we do not urge gathering today, feeling that the work will be strengthened by most of the Saints remaining in the branches for a time and helping the Elders carry the warning message of the Gospel, yet the principle of gathering is just as true today as ever it has been. We feel, however, that it is better for those who receive the Gospel abroad to become well grounded in the faith before they make the sacrifice of leav
ing their homes and their, relatives, and when they are well grounded in the faith and have helped to build up the Church where they have received the Gospel, we want them to gather with us and to make a part of the great united Church of God.
We have also the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which contains numerous prophecies that have already been fulfilled. Take the 45th Section and that alludes to the gathering. The first year after the Church was organized this revelation was given and it plainly tells us that the people should gather from all the nations to this land, and that no weapon formed against Zion should prosper. Take the 49th Section, and what a plain prophecy it contains! So early in our history we are told that Jacob should flourish on the mountains-alluding to the people coming to the mountains and becoming a strong people here, as the Prophet Joseph prophesied twelve years after the organization of the Church.
These books we look upon as containing the word of God to us. But further, we believe that God has living witnesses upon the earth; that He has a mouth-piece upon the earth to give forth His words. Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. His teachings prove that what he taught was divinely inspired. Some of his prophecies have been fulfilled, and others remain to be fulfilled. His predictions have not been guesswork. In 1832 he looked down and saw the fate of the nation. Earlier than that he told us the fate of the Church. Now it is reasonable to suppose that if the Lord raised up a Prophet, that Prophet would say something in regard to these two important thingsthe nation and the Church, and he did. He told how the Church would be persecuted and driven, and that even the blood of some should be spilt and should cry unto Heaven against those who had shed it. He prophesied that the Church should go to the Rocky Mountains, and he was so much impressed with the spirit of this that he appointed a committee to go and search for a place to locate the Saints. He did not live to see this accomplished, but we have seen this prophecy fulfilled. In regard to the nation he plainly foretold where the Rebellion should
begin and what its results should be. Every one can see plainly that part of that revelation has been fulfilled and the other part remains to be fulfilled. Take the successors of the Prophet Joseph, and they have been inspired of the Lord to give His word unto the people, and we have known that it has been the word of the Lord.
Today, brethren and sisters, the word of the Lord to us through His Prophet is that we should remember the law of tithing. It has been preached to you in many of your Stakes, and I am very happy to see the response that you have made to the call of the servants of the Lord. I hope that this will not be a temporary effect, but that you will all see and appreciate the importance of continually obeying the word of the Lord. Today we are walking in faith; that mist which Nephi saw lies around us, but we are shown the iron rod. Let us not let go of it and think that we can follow in another direction and that we will get through any way. If you and I shall obtain the privilege of eating of that precious fruit of the tree of life, we must hold to the iron rod. When the servants of God give us His word, let us cling to it; let us obey His will, and we will have no cause for regrets. In the book of Doctrine and Covenants we are taught that no religion has salvation in it that does not ask for sacrifice. It should not be a great sacrifice to us to pay our tithing. Great blessings have been promised those who will obey this law. The experience of the Saints has been that the Lord has fulfilled His promise in this regard. Before I close I wish to say to all: if you want your faith strengthened, if you want your testimony made clearer, pay your tithing and the Lord through His spirit will witness His approbation of your work. God bless you all. Amen.
ELDER MARRINER W. MERRILL. What the Word of the Lord Means to the Saints
None are Exempt from the Law -The Bondage of Debt should be Avoided-The Burdens of the Church should be Decrea ed-Prosperity can be Secured.
This is a very solemn assembly, a very important meeting, and one where we may consider our standing and fellowship with each other and with the Lord and sit in judgment upon ourselves. A passage of scripture comes
to my mind. It is a saying of one of the prophets, written in the Bible, and it reads like this:
"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 everlasting."
This is a very important saying, and we may find profit in it by making it applicable to ourselves. No doubt many of this congregation have had testimonies of this work. They have seen the power of God made manifest. The gifts and blessings of the Gospel which we have embraced have not passed away from the Church. There is in the Church all the gifts, blessings and graces of the Gospel, and they are made manifest in many instances among the Saints, and would be more so had we more faith and exercised more diligence in serving the Lord. Every speaker doubtless that you will hear during this conference will have something to say different from former speakers. There are a variety of subjects in the Gospel that are of vast interest to us, and we come to Conference from far and near to consider that which may be presented to us for our guidance, for our profit, and for our instruction in the future. Hence the speakers do not confine themselves entirely to the written word, but speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. While listening to my brethren I have thought what an important position it is for one to occupy to stand before so many people and have their time and attention. Surely we ought to be inspired of the Lord, that our words may be instructive and interesting to the people. We are here from different parts of the land, agreeable to the appointment of our conference, and we are here to listen, to make notes and to write down what may be said that is applicable to our case.
The brethren who are our leaders, you have known for so many years that no doubt you have implicit confidence in them. We all have implicit confidence in the Presidency. We have known them for a great many years. We knew our beloved President before he was drowned in the Pacific ocean. President Snow was drowned once; at least after he was taken out of the water, he was pronounced dead; but