Kingdom of God Will Revolutionize the World
If we live up to our profession, to our religion, and we will take a course to be subject to the government of God and to him and those that are appointed to lead this people, you need not never be troubled with frost, cold weather, and with the changes that are common to this country, and in every other country I ever was in, because I know the faith, the virtue, the integrity, and the course that this people will take; to be true to their integrity, to their God, and true to him that they have acknowledged to be their head, their governor, their president, their prophet, their priest, and their king. If you will take this course, it will change the elements. It will change the nature of things, not only here in this valley, but among all nations of the earth, and it will revolutionize the world. This I know well. Perhaps some of you don’t believe it, but I do.
Hold to Covenants Even When Others Do Not
What have I seen in my experience since I have been in this church? I have seen a great deal of murmuring [and] complaining, a great many tears, [a] great deal of sorrow and lamentation and thousands upon thousands turn away from the faith. Brethren and sisters that I love as I love my own family, they have turned away from the faith, perhaps because somebody took advantage of them. . . . Suppose you should all turn away from [the] faith. What has that to do with me? Suppose you should all act like devils. What is that to me? What has that to do with my religion? I am to serve God and keep his commandments perfectly independent, that is from the acts of any other person in God’s world. It has nothing to do with me one way nor the other, but it is for me to serve God and keep his commandments, to fulfill my covenants. When I went into the water [of] baptism I made [a] covenant I would forsake the world with all [that] pertains to it, and cleave unto the Lord God with all my heart all my days. This is the covenant that I made, to turn away from the world. That is the covenant you made, or the one you should have made. Now, will you fulfill it?
Travails of First Pioneer Company
You think you have sorrow and trouble. Many of you [are] living in wagons; [you] just came in here and [are] living in your wagons [with] not much of anything to eat [or] of [the] comforts of life. I have been in here with President Young, with a 140 others, and we was in our wagons, and [had] . . . nothing in [the] country to eat, without it was crickets. When we got to Green River, making our way to this land, breaking our road, [there was] not a track [or] trace for 700 miles in wild country. [We were] strangers and it [was] full of Indians, and when we got to [the] Platte River, one half of our men [were] out of food. They had no provisions at all. [There was] no one in [the] valley to bring out flour to us, [and] teams and wagons and potatoes and cucumbers and [the] comforts of life. We had no person to extend a hand [of] benevolence, of kindness to us. [Yet] we [didn’t] murmur. [I] never saw a man cry once in the whole camp. We had one man that was appointed “General Murmurer” and there was no man allowed to murmur, only that one person. You would think you had awful trials if you could not all have [the] chance to murmur. We placed it all upon one man, and we concluded that [if] there was two that murmured, we appointed [the] greatest murmurer to be [the] boss. That is recorded and will come in [to the] history by and by.
Mormonism the Pride of His Heart
I am myself comfortable since [the] Lord made me live in this valley. [I] had the privilege . . . last year of eating from my own tree, [a tree of my own planting]. . . . [I] never had the privilege of sitting at any kind of tree and eating [the] fruit of it in my life until I came to this valley. I have got a plum. There [are] two plums I have taken from my trees. . . . Others [have] got peaches so that they begin to tithe on their fruit. I have eat[en] grapes larger than this this year. Have I not reason to rejoice?
I tell you brethren . . . I would like to live in this valley so long as I could see you live, or until the time that the Lord should say to us, “Go back to headquarters or to Jackson County.” This is headquarters until we go there. [Anyway,] I would like to live here. Can I do so? Yes. I can on certain conditions, and that is if you will do right and listen to the counsel of Brother Brigham and his brethren and his associates that God has given to you to be your servants. He has given these men to you as your servants and leaders. If you don’t believe it go and read it in [the] Doctrine [and] Covenants. Can we tell you how to be saved [and] lead you into paradise in celestial [worlds]? Yes, every one of you, but you can’t go there without you do as you are told; without you learn to be one, and then is there any power that can affect us? No. The devil [will have] nothing to do with us. I have turned away from him; left his country, and I joined myself to the kingdom of God and acknowledged him to be my Father and my God, and his Son Jesus Christ to be my Savior. Well, he is my God, he is my Lawgiver, and I listen to the man that he has appointed to lead us here in the flesh. We have got to learn to listen to his counsel and [the] counsel of those appointed and delegated by him, and transact the matters and business pertaining to this people not only here in [the] valleys of [the] mountains but throughout the world.
This people are the pride of my heart. Mormonism is [the] pride of my heart. It is my love, my jewel. My darling is this people and this gospel, and the plan of salvation. My heart is on that, and on him and those that are delegated by the Almighty to roll on this work. As for your troubles, trials and [the] cross you have to carry every day, I suppose you have to say, “Well, I have to take up my cross and travel on.”
Hardships Faced When Leaving Family for a Mission
[I] have lived twenty years among this people and been through the earth with Brother Brigham, and we preached the gospel [and] opened [the] door of salvation. Did we go as elders go now? No. They go upon beds of flowery ease and go to [the] nations and preach the gospel. . . . When we went without purse or scrip . . . [we went] hungry and [were] turned out of door and [have] been [so] sick that we could not sit up. [The] last time [we] went to England . . . I never saw a sick person in this valley looked as feeble as either of us. We [were] feeble and naked and destitute of [the] comforts of life. Here is Brother Taylor and many of [the] old Twelve [who] traveled barefooted [with] nothing to eat, destitute of [the] comforts of life. [We] traveled 40 miles [a] day with [a] valise on [our] backs, our feet all bloody . . . [and those] passing along [could] hear blood squishing in [our] boots and shoes. This is the way Brother Joseph traveled, [and] Brigham, [and] Heber, [and] Parley, [and] thousands of others. Now [the] brethren [that] go to [the] nations [are] gallanted from city to city. The one time I ever rode in [a] coach [was] from Liverpool to Preston. We used to travel it on foot.
A great many of them have wonderful sorrow [that] their families [are] not provided for when they are gone. When was the time our families [were] provided for? . . . Brother Brigham left his family sick. Not one of them could help themselves. A good brother took his one cow as quick [as] he left it, and took our clothes and never provided one dime for our families. When we were sick [and] afflicted, did we take money from home? No, [we] didn’t, neither [did we take] clothes, [for we] had none to cover us. When Brother Brigham and I left family, we left them sick, shaking with ague. [It was] as much as we could do [to] put a little trunk in [the] wagons and start off sick to go to the old world.
Have you come under these circumstances? Many of you [that] didn’t, you have got to see it yet or else I shall be mistaken. You [will] never know how to sit down and meditate upon these things with us and [with the] old apostles and prophets without you passing through something [of the same kind]. . . . Was it any sacrifice? No, not at all. When I left my family [I] was the last one. Brother Brigham lived right on [the] river. [All the] brethren [were] sick and dying and [there was] nobody to bury the dead. His wife came up to my house. He fainted by the way and fell down by the side of a tree. His wife came up to take care of him until we got ready. [We] got into [the] wagon [and] bid farewell to our families. I felt so bad I didn’t know what to do. My heart melted within me, but says I, “Tears, stay where you belong.” Says I, “Brother Brigham, this [is] too hard.” [I] took off [my] hat [and] shouted Vilate to [the] door and shouted, “Hurrah!” and she laughed and felt sick at [the] same time. . . . That is some of joys and travails [and] pleasures at [the] commencement of this work. I am only telling a small portion of it. And you [expect to] pass through [on] the flower beds of ease!
We Are as Clay in the Hands of the Potter
You have got to be so [subject to the Master Potter as to be put upon]* the wheel and be turned into a vessel. . . . “But well,” says you, “I am willing to be handled by God but not you, bless your soul!” I am [a] potter. Brother Brigham [is a] potter, and we understand the business. . . . [He is the] master, and I am one of his brethren, [a] servant potter. [We] mold vessels as he tells us. I do my best, but if [they] become snappish [and] mar in my hands . . . all I have to do [is] cut them off the wheel, turn them back, [and] grind [them] until they become passive. You have to be just as passive as clay in [the] hands of [a] potter if you wish [to gain] eternal life. . . . [A potter] may take ten thousand balls and he may make vessels all alike and make them to perfection if [the] clay be passive. If [the] clay [is] not passive he can’t bring them into shape. Can Brother Brigham bring this people into shape accord[ing] to [the] order of God if they will not listen to his counsel? It is impossible. You know it as well as I do. Reflect upon it and go to now and do all you can for the cause of God.
Contribute to the Perpetual Emigration Fund
Throw in your money, stock, clothing and this, that and the other for to gather the poor from the nations of the earth. Don’t wait until your heart[s] get [closed] up. Always bend to [the] first impression. . . . You go home to get that thing and bring it right here. If you don’t, tomorrow you won’t do it. You must do it now. Let’s lay hold and be of one heart and mind in these things.
This Perpetual Emigration Fund [is certainly] one of [the] greatest [things] that God ever instituted to gather Israel, and it will do it, but you have got to help, every one of you, with your substance: [your] gold and silver and those things you have not immediately use for. As for getting rich, good heavens! What you call the riches of this world [are] no riches to me. [The] more you have of it, [the] more you have got of [trial]. [Riches are] a perfect perplexity to man, I mean [the] things of this earth [have] got to turn back to its mother earth.
Now, brethren, whether my remarks are good remarks, [they] are [with a] good intention. [They] are good to me. [My] remarks [are] intended for good and for you to receive them and treasure them up in [your] hearts. As for trials, as Brother Brigham says, you shall have all you want until you are satisfied; and as for sacrifice, I know nothing about them. Yet you ain’t walked along in [the] days we walked, when we walked by [the] side of [the] Prophet Joseph. When we heard [the] prophet[’s] voice, we obeyed. We never tarried for wives, brethren, fathers, mothers, houses, lands, [or] anything else. [We] left [our] families where they were and away we went. This is the way Brother Brigham, myself and many others have done. We never hesitated for [a] moment. . . . My prayer is [that] I may be true to my brethren, and [my] brethren [be] true to [the] cause, [to the] church [and] kingdom, true to God, true to themselves, true to his angels; that they can be my associates [by night and by]* day; that when I called upon his name he may hear me and answer me before I get off my knees.
Brethren, would you not love to enjoy [them] blessings? [There is] not one of you but what can be reforming and taking a new start; reforming in all things what you are required to do, and may God bless you, [and be with] you, [and] prosper you in righteousness and in truth forever and ever, amen.
Bracketed insertions in this sermon marked with an asterisk [*] are based on a longhand transcript George D. Watt produced but did not publish in the Journal of Discourses. The full transcription of this sermon is available to read via the Church History Catalog. Learn more about our Lost Sermons editorial method.