Essential Brigham Young
Foreword by Eugene E. Campbell
“I have a Few Times in My Life Undertaken to Preach to a Traveling Congregation, but My Sermons have been Very Short, and Far Between” A Sermon Delivered on 7 October 1866
(from Brigham Young Addresses, 1865-1869, A Chronological Compilation of Known Addresses
of the Prophet Brigham Young, Vol. 5, [Salt Lake City: Elden J. Watson, 1982])
[p.179]I have a few times in my life undertaken to preach to a traveling congregation, but my sermons have been very short, and far between. If a portion of this congregation have to do walking, I will wait until they get through with their pedestrian exercises, and then I will commence my remarks.
I have a few things to lay before this congregation that I think is worthy of my attention and the attention of the Latter-day Saints everywhere, and that are worthy of the attention of those who do not believe as the Saints do. I shall have a few words for the different classes of people who are assembled here today, if I can elevate my voice so as to be heard. We have had the privilege of meeting together many times in this capacity; the Saints enjoy privileges that no other Christian community enjoy. These blessings and privileges have been enumerated in part before this conference. We have heard the testimony of several of the Apostles this conference, and I hope that we shall have time to hear from the rest of them who are present.
The testimony that has been borne by the Elders in this meeting is verily true. There is no person, who has received the spirit of the Gospel, but what would delight to tell his neighbors, his friends, his relatives, and those with whom he associates, the things of God which he has experienced and witnessed himself. There are but few who have the privilege of coming into this stand to tell the congregations of the Saints their experience; but they can sit down with their friends by their firesides, and talk over their history and experience in this Church and Kingdom.
Most of the civilized nations have had the Gospel preached to them, and many of the barbarous nations. You have heard the brethren testify of what they received when they believed and obeyed the Gospel. It is very true that the Christian world is seeking to know the Lord and to [p.180]understand His ways; but they do not seek Him in a way to find Him, and to know His will. For revelation from Him they have substituted the wisdom of men, and by this they never can find out God. There are but few individuals who, when they hear the Gospel preached, are willing to humble themselves, and to seek unto the Lord in the name of Jesus for the testimony of the Holy Spirit to bear witness with their spirit in regard to the truth of what they have heard. In this way, and in this way alone, is the Lord to be found. Men can never search out the mysteries of godliness by the wisdom and learning of this world.
We heard a very strong testimony yesterday from Elder Taylor concerning receiving the Gospel. When I first heard the Gospel, I heard it from the most illiterate men that I knew. I cannot say that they were possessed of much more natural or acquired ability than I possessed myself. I heard them in my simplicity with plainness, in the few words which they could use in the English language, the doctrine which they taught to me, and the testimony which they bore concerning the New Testament—the testimony of the Apostles concerning Jesus, and the sayings of the Saviour, and the signs that followed through obedience, I found to be true. I also found that the teachings of the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be a precise pattern of the ancient Gospel taught by Jesus Christ and His Apostles.
There were a great many witnesses in the days of Jesus and the Apostles, and for many years after they had ceased their ministry on earth. We have no history from gentile historians that contradicts the testimony of Jesus and the Apostles. Although we have only the testimonies of eight men left on record that we consider authentic who have testified to the mission of the Saviour. You will find the names of these eight men written in the New Testament. But in the testimony of the Gospel of the Son of God delivered in this our day, not only twelve men have testified, but scores and hundreds and thousands. I think I can safely say, before Elder Taylor heard the Gospel, these were all testifying that they knew by the power of God that Joseph Smith had a divine mission, and that the Gospel and priesthood he had received were true. I was a witness of these things at that time, and shall I pretend to say that I would put up my judgment and sincerity against the decision of the New Testament and the Book of Mormon—and [then] there were Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris and other witnesses—in the face of all this testimony? I thought it was too much for me to set up myself against it.
I rejoice exceedingly in the effusion of the Spirit of the Lord through our Elders. It is the sweetest music I ever heard. My testimony of the Gospel of the Son of God, as it is revealed in this our day, has gone forth [p.181]to the world. Brother Woodruff,, in his remarks this morning, referred to the first blessings of the endowment in the temple at Kirtland, and took into consideration the importance of the mission of an Elder of Israel. In that endowment brother Joseph, The Prophet, explained one saying in the scripture with regard to the washing of the feet of the Apostles. Jesus washed their feet before His death, and pronounced them clean; Joseph Smith washed the feet of the Elders, or assisted therein; and pronounced them clean if they had done their duty. He told the brethren that the garments of many of them were clean from the blood of this generation.
When I heard the Gospel proclaimed I was diligent to learn whether it was true or false. I had, previous to hearing it, examined every tenet, and every creed of all the Christian denominations I could become acquainted with in my young days; and, in my judgment, pronounced them all to be folly and entirely unlike the system established by Jesus Christ and His Apostles. I was a firm believer in the Old and New Testaments, in Jesus Christ and in the system of salvation which He introduced in His day, and which He told His disciples to go and preach in all the world. When I read the New Testament, and compared the systems held forth in Christiandom I came to the conclusion that there was no such being living upon the earth as a Bible Christian. I was pronounced an infidel by professors of religion; yet the most wicked class I ever saw in my life. I would have been willing, if an highway had been cast up, to have walked on my knees around the world, if, by doing so, I could have found a man who would have told me the things of God. As for the men who stand in the pulpits teaching the people I looked upon them as blind leaders of the blind, knowing nothing of the things of God.
There are a great many smart men living upon the earth, talented theologians, who have taken pains to inform themselves on the subject of Christianity as far as study and learning would aid them. I was acquainted with several learned theologians. One of them had so thoroughly studied the Bible, he said, that if every Bible in the world were destroyed, he could write another one, and not miss or misspell a word, or make a mistake in the pointing of a single sentence. I heard one of those very learned gentlemen preach at a quarterly conference of the Methodist persuasion. He labored over two hours to define the soul of man. This was an item I wanted to learn something about. I could read the Bible with regard to the spirits of men, and the salvation of man, and concerning God and angels, and devils, and good men and bad men; but when the learned preacher took his text to preach upon the soul of man, I was rejoiced, and expected to be informed and edified upon that subject; and when this talented man, this great scriptorian had exhausted two [p.182]hours, he wound up the whole with one grand, crowning declaration—that the soul of man is an immaterial substance. I was disappointed, and concluded that he was not an ignorant sectarian priest; but a fool. I was very young at that time, and durst not say a word, for I was only a boy. This preacher left us more ignorant upon the subject of the soul of man than when he found us. If there was a fog over it when he commenced, it was much thicker when he left off than when he began.
Men graduate from institutions of learning to be ministers of the gospel; they study and pray all their lives; and after all their piety, and penance, religion and learning, eloquence and noise on the subject of godliness, they generally come to the conclusion that, “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.” It is certainly a mystery to them, and as Jesus said to His disciples, “it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” When I heard the Gospel, it commended itself to my understanding, and I learned this one fact—it is the only true philosophy in existence. It was so understood by the ancient Apostles and servants of God; for they took pains to warn the Saints to “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Man’s philosophy is full of ignorance; it is like the bedstead the prophet Isaiah refers to: it “is shorter than a man can stretch himself on it; and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.” We testify to all, both Saints and sinners, that this Gospel will be preached to all nations, and then the end will come, which means the end of the reign of the ungodly upon the earth, and not the end of the earth as some have supposed; but all unrighteousness will cease, and God and His people will bold the reins of government upon all the face of this earth, and that is sufficient for us to know.
This kingdom will not be overthrown. When the wicked lay a trap for the overthrow of this Church and Kingdom, and spring it, they always have found themselves taken in their own snares. This has been the case from the first organization of this Church to this time. They have succeeded in slaying the Prophet, and his martyrdom brings his testimony in force, and the inhabitants of the earth are culpable if they refuse to receive it. The testament is not in force until after the testator is dead.
We are now partaking of the emblems of the body and blood of Christ. And we do this to show unto our Father in heaven, to Jesus our Saviour, to the angels of the earth, that we remember Jesus in His death and sufferings and the atonement which He has made for the sins of the world, and that through Him we get salvation after we have submitted to the requirements of His gospel, and endured in faithfulness to the end [p.183]to every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. It is customary in the world to have sermons preached on the occasion of the sacrament; but I will let these few words on that subject suffice for the present; I will, however, add, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God as I am the son of my father, and was born of the virgin Mary. On this all Christians have stumbled and fallen in ignorance, and they will remain until they are willing to admit the truth. In Jesus Christ we have God manifest in the flesh, He was the only one begotten of the Father (in the flesh) full of grace and truth; was born in humble circumstances, placed in a manger, grew up to manhood, preached the Gospel, established His Church, suffered martyrdom and went back to the Father.
I will now commence my remarks on a few temporal matters which I desire to notice before I take my seat. There is a vast concourse of people here to attend this conference which gives me a fitting opportunity to notice matters which concern us all. Here are those who first made their advent into this valley in 1847, and broke the ground, planted the first potatoes, raised the first corn, sowed the first wheat, set out the first orchards, subdued the country and made it what it is, by means of hard and continued toil. Others have come here who have done nothing to improve the country; but they are here as our visitors and our neighbors, and fellow travelers. My remarks now will be directed more particularly to my brethren and sisters of the same faith with myself. I shall address myself to good, wholesome citizens of this City, and the regions round about. And if any present should happen to be disappointed with regard to the course that I shall pursue in my remarks, try and be as satisfied as you can, and hear what I shall say.
I came into this valley in the year 1847, with others of my brethren and sisters, and we commenced to build a fort, and at the same time we broke a little ground, planted our beans and peas, and potatoes, and cucumbers and squashes, we also planted a little corn, and sowed a little buckwheat. We found a few Indians here, almost, if not quite, in a state of nudity; we also found great numbers of wolves, and hosts of crickets. These were the sole inhabitants of these valleys when the pioneers of 1847 entered them. We commenced to feed the Indians, and as quick as we could, we commenced to give them some clothing. In a few years we commenced to have fruit; we got grape cuttings from California, and I think in ’50 the vines began to bear fruit; in ’51 I think, we had a few peaches. We kept improving, and pleading with the people to improve the country by engaging in the different branches of agricultural and horticultural pursuits, and by this means to make this country our future home. From 1847 to 1850 we were here almost entirely by ourselves. In 1849 and 1850 the emigration to the Pacific began to start across the country via Salt Lake, in search of gold. In 1850, 1851, and 1852 the [p.184]great gold excitement and rash across the country occurred. At that time among the thousands who passed through our settlements there were but few but what were kind, and affable, and ready to observe the laws of this Territory or the laws which governed us as settlers here. We had no territorial or state government, but we were actually a republic by ourselves. Sometimes strangers would land among us who had difficulty with each other on the road. They would call upon me as a general thing to do something for them. I would call upon the high council of the Church to adjust their difficulties, and they would always be satisfied with their decisions. We commenced to elect some officers for the City and for precincts. After that, when difficulties were referred to me, I recommended them to those officers, and they came as nigh satisfying both parties as any courts that were ever held on this earth.
At this stage of our history our sisters could travel round and visit the sick with perfect safety by day or by night; and in case of being afraid to pass a house for fear of a dog, a sister would have no hesitation in requesting the protection of the first man who might be passing by, who would kindly see her safely out of danger. This state of things continued for years after our settlement here. Do we see the same safety for females here today? We do not. Can our sisters walk the streets of the City now without being insulted? Seldom, and yet we have not much cause to complain, for there is much more safety here for females than in other cities of the United States. Are men as secure here now as they were then? No. Are our wives and children as secure? No. But there is a class of men here, who have been termed regenerators, who are trying to introduce civilization among us. I am coming to this point in my remarks directly. There are many in our city and country who do not profess to be of our faith, yet who are good and wholesome citizens, and who, by their example and influence, seek to establish and maintain peace and harmony, decorum and every principle of virtue in the community. They call themselves gentiles; we call them so; yet we are all gentiles in a national capacity. Right or wrong, hit or miss, I am going to ask this vast congregation if we shall continue to submit to have gambling halls and drinking saloons in this our city? I wish this vast concourse of people to express themselves upon this matter. If it be the mind of this congregation that we no longer submit to the continuance of such houses, let them raise their hands. (all hands were raised and shouts of “No, we will not submit to it!”) We will blot them out, they shall not contaminate our society.
You must learn this one fact, that in republican governments, the people are supreme; where they decree this or that shall be done, that decree is supreme, and legislators, governors, and judges and expounders of the law are mere subordinates all the time and in every case on a [p.185]republican government. The people are king and the supreme power. (The President now called for a contrary vote, but not a single hand was raised.) When by the authority of the City Council such places are put a stop to, who have the supporters of such establishments got to quarrel with? With the whole people. Let a judge pass a decree that a grog shope, or a gambling saloon shall be established in our City, and we will give him the privilege to get out of the City as quickly as he can. We will observe every wholesome law; but the man who issues an injunction to the authorities of this City to try to compel them to let gambling and drinking halls be kept open, the scarcer he is in this community the better it will be for him. We will observe the law; and uphold and defend the adjudicators of all wholesome laws; but suppose this vast concourse of people here assembled today should pass judgment upon a criminal charged with murder, and should with one voice condemn him to be hanged, who can say a word about it? Not anybody. It is done by the unanimous voice of the people, and who can help it? Not anybody. The voice of the people is supreme, and they will sustain the City Council in breaking up every hell hole there is in this City. I am but one, and I wanted to know what the minds of the people would be on this subject. Enough on this subject.
There is another temporal matter I wish to say a few words upon. I refer to claim-jumping. There has been a few men jumping claims on our parade ground and on the land on the other side of Jordan. Those lands we have fenced two or three times. And then again there are our cow pastures; we want those gentlemen-claim-jumpers to keep off them, and to keep out of our meadows and gardens. Understand me, my friends—(I have a good many friends who do not belong to the Church in this City and throughout the United States, men who are gentlemen of heart and honor; it is not this class of my friends which I am now talking to; but I am talking to a class of men who are searching through the world for chances to get their living out of the labors of others)—Wherever you see a business man who is willing to work his way through this world and do business upon honorable principles to sustain himself and his family, you will see a man who will never do a dishonest action. I am referring to marauders, men who have no conscience, no principle, who are devoid of all honor and respect for other men’s rights and property, and they are here, not for the purpose of developing the country, and making themselves industrious and profitable members of society; but they are transient, they care not how quickly they leave here, and they would as lief stay here as anywhere else. It is to this class of men I address myself, and I warn you to keep off our meadows and pasture grounds.
Those lands which I refer to on the other side of Jordan have been [p.186]fenced at the cost of some $8000.00. The last time the land was enclosed it was fenced with poles. King James Buchanan, who then presided over the United States, sent an army here. They went into that pasture by my permission, and by their delegate, agreed to pay me so much for the use of it. They burnt up the fence, broke through into a neighboring man’s meadow, burnt up his fence and used up his meadow. After they had made their encampment at Camp Floyd, they swore that they never was in the pasture. The very men who sent an agent, and who hired the pasture in my office, gave their oath that the pasture referred to was four miles from their encampment. I did not care anything about it; I knew they could not burn up the land, and I also knew that they would have a happy time of it to get the land without obtaining it legally. Let these regenerators who have no father, nor mother, nor possession, nor whereabouts go and take up land that nobody has fenced and laid claim to; go and build a city where you can gamble. Go to Stockton; nobody will hinder you from gambling there, and set up your houses of ill-fame, and grog shops and gambling halls. Take up land there, and make a city and a community to suit yourselves; but if you jump my pasture—well, all I have to say is, get out of it as fast as you can. But, you sware you won’t; then I will give you a presumption right that will last you to the last resurrection. I have said enough on this subject.
There are a few men in our government—and I say they are very few, who are determined to destroy us, and break us up. Is there one-third of the inhabitants of the United States who would do this? No. Take away the priests and their influence and you will not find one man to 500 who would want to break us up. The Scribes and Pharasees were the Saviour’s greatest enemies. They stirred up the minds of the people. The whole multitude of the Scribes and Chief Priests accused Jesus Christ before Pilate, “saying, we found this fellow perverting the nation.” And again: “If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.” They were afraid that Jesus and His party would become the dominant party in a political point of view. So they say of the Mormons. “If the Mormons are let alone, they will become the dominant party.” That will as surely come to pass as the Lord lives; the Saints will ultimately rule and reign upon the earth, and this is as sure as the Lord has spoken it. That party which oppress people, and do wrong, will not continue to be the dominant party. They are now, but they will not be when the power of the wicked is broken by the advancing strides of light and truth. “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” We have a time of mourning in our nation, and the end is not yet, the chastening hand of the Almighty has not yet completed its work.
[p.187]I think these regenerators, as they are called, are simply bummers. There are two classes of bummers, one of our writers says, one class who have nothing and don’t know where they got it; another class who have something, and other folks don’t know where they got it. These bummers want our houses and gardens, and wives, and they will not get any of them. Mark it. The Mormons have made all the improvements in this inland country, and have established themselves by their industry and courage, and they now feed their thousands of strangers that stay with them and that are passing through our country. They have made this country a half-way house, as it were, between the Missouri River and the Pacific shore. The strangers who have lived here all agree that this people are the most industrious people upon the earth, and this is the most industrious people in the world, but that they are the most civil community they ever visited; yet there are a few, and but a few, whom we are making rich and who are continually trying to destroy us. I say to such persons—go where there is plenty of land, and open farms and build up cities, and make your grog houses if you wish to, and not seek to introduce institutions among us which are contrary to the genius of our moral, religious and civil organization; we will not have them here, we will spew them out, and cleanse the platter.
You say: “We must do something or go hungry.” We have plenty for you to eat, “But have we not got to do something for it?” Yes, go to work at some productive employment, and cease gambling and drunkenness, for it does you no good, but a great deal of harm. We want to hire a few thousand men now, there is plenty of work to be had in the country. We want them on our streets and on our farms; we want them to build our houses and our stores—our private and our public buildings—we want them to build up our cities and our country, and not be continually trying to destroy it. It takes a wise man to build up a city, and any poor drunken, useless, renegade can apply the torch and destroy that which has cost years of toil, and countless treasure to create. That which has taken a life time for a man to accumulate, a child can destroy in a few minutes. Instead of seeking constantly to destroy that which this poor outcast people have accumulated, follow their noble example; build upon the unoccupied lands, and thereby increase the wealth and importance of the American nation and thus prove yourselves gentlemen and loyal citizens as well by works as land swelling professions. In this way you will win the respect of all honorable high-minded, loyal men. I respect you more today than you respect one another, and would do more for you, if you were destitute, than any one of your own class would, for you do not respect yourselves nor one another.
I will now speak upon a subject which I think ought to notice for the benefit of a few who are inclined to be giddy-headed, unstable in [p.188]their ways, and enthusiastic about something which they do not understand. You are already apprized of the fact that a son of Joseph Smith the Prophet was here in our City not long since. Joseph Smith’s first son only lived a few hours; then Joseph Smith, commonly called Young Joseph, was born; then Frederic, and then Alexander; it was Alexander who was in our City lately. The people have not heard me say anything about him one way or the other. I will relate a few facts. The sympathies of the Latter-day Saints are with the family of the martyred prophet. I never saw a day in the world that I would not almost worship that woman, Emma Smith, if she would be a saint instead of being a devil. I feel so today. There is no good thing in a temporal point of view that I would withhold from her; anything that is in my power to do for her, I would willingly do with all my heart, and with an open hand.
There are a few here that knew Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and some of them are apostatizing from the work, which the Lord commanded him to found, to run after Young Joseph Smith, the second son of the Prophet, who has no more authority to set himself up as a president and teacher of a people than any other man has in the sectarian world who possessed nothing of the priesthood of the Most High. Young Joseph Smith does not possess one particle of this priesthood. The Twelve Apostles and the other authorities of this Church would have been exceeding glad if the Prophet’s family had come with us when we left Nauvoo for the valleys of these mountains. We would have made cradles for them if they had required them, and would have fed them on milk and honey. Emma is naturally a very smart woman; she is subtle and ingenious, and she has made all her children believe that myself, brother Kimball, and the other members of the Twelve laid the plot which terminated in the death of the Prophet. This charge is especially laid to myself. At the time that Joseph was killed I was in the city of Boston, a number of hundred miles away from the scene of the martyrdom. She has made her children inherit lies. To my certain knowledge Emma Smith is one of the damdest liars I know of on this earth; yet there is no good thing I would refuse to do for her, if she would only be a righteous woman; but she will continue in her wickedness.
Not six months before the death of Joseph, he called his wife Emma into a secret council, and there he told her the truth, and called upon her to deny it if she could. He told her that the judgments of God would come upon her forthwith if she did not repent. He told her of the time she undertook to poison him, and he told her that she was a child of hell, and literally the most wicked woman on this earth, that there was not one more wicked then she. He told her where she got the poison, and how she put it in a cup of coffee; said he, “You got that poison so and so, and I drank it, but you could not kill me.” When it entered his stomach [p.189]he went to the door and threw it off. He spoke to her in that council in a very severe manner, and she never said one word in reply. I have witnesses of this scene all around, who can testify that I am now telling the truth. Twice she undertook to kill him.
From a dream that I had while on my visit to Logan a short time since, I know that spiritualism is the head and front, and the arm and breast and brain, and the eyes and the whole body of Young Joseph’s profession and operations. In my dream I saw the Prophet Joseph, and he tried for awhile to sustain the old dwelling, and meditated building around it; but he finally concluded to discard it, and swept the ground clean where it stood to put up an entirely new building. Although this is a matter I have not thought of, yet the dream is true, and expresses the true state of the case.
When Alexander Smith came here, we treated him kindly, and I plead with him to accompany us on our visit north. George A. Smith, his cousin, plead with him to accompany us, but to no purpose. Finally, Joseph F. Smith, who was from home, came back, and saw him, and met him in public in this city. Many of this congregation are acquainted with that circumstance. It was asked him what he thought of the endowment. He replied, “I do not mention it, for I do not wish to hear anything about the endowment.” “What do you think of the doctrine of polygamy?” It is his business to preach against polygamy, and his brother Joseph said that his father never introduced it. Several of the sisters testified to him that they were sealed to his father. Well, said he, “if he did have any such revelation, or teach any such doctrine, or practice it, he must have got out of the way,” or, in other words he must have been a fallen prophet, if he ever was a true prophet. That is the conclusion they come to when hard pressed with stern facts. Joseph Smith the Prophet taught the gathering; but this new sect deny the gathering.
If there are any Latter-day Saints who wish to be destroyed, run after that family, and I will promise you in the name of the God of Israel that you will be damned. Any person who will follow this man or that man who is wrong, and refuses to submit himself to the ordinances of the house of God and to serve Him and keep His commandments, will perish; all that walk in that path will go to a sure and swift destruction. Young David Smith seems to be the pet of the company, he is heart and hand with his brother Joseph, and with a hundred others who are apostates from the true faith of the Gospel, and who were one with the mob who persecuted and slew the Prophet. When Joseph the Prophet was killed his wife Emma was pregnant. Joseph said, previous to his death, “She shall have a son, and his name shall be called David, and unto him the Lord will look.” I am looking for the time when the Lord will speak to David, but let him pursue the course he is now pursuing, and he will [p.190]never preside over the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in time nor in eternity. He has got to repent of his sins, and turn away from his iniquity, to cease to do evil, and learn to do well, embrace the Gospel of life and salvation, and be an obedient son of God, or he never can walk up to possess his right. It would be his right to preside over this Church, if he would only walk in the true path of duty. I hope and pray that he and the whole family will repent, and be a holy family.
Now, you old Mormons, stop your talking about Young Joseph, and about David going to preside over the Church by and by! I wish he was prepared for it, would repent of his sins, and come in at the door, and be one with us, and walk up to the Twelve and the First Presidency, saying, I am one with you, and am your servant. When Sidney Rigdon swelled up and thought he was the most important man in the Kingdom, I told him where his place was, and that the Twelve Apostles would build up the Kingdom. Joseph more than one score of times told them both in private and in public, that he rolled the Kingdom on to their shoulders, and said I to Sidney, we will build it up, and bear it off, and not follow you one inch. What has he come to? He sits in the midst of the woods East mumbling to himself; but scarcely able to speak an intelligent word; he is almost a lunatic. And where has the rest of the apostates gone? And where has the rest of the apostates gone? And where will they go? Every one of them, bogus Joseph not excepted, will go to destruction, and the Kingdom of God will continue to flourish and spread abroad.
Alexander stated when here, that the Twelve robbed his mother of “the last second shirt to her back.” Now, I want to tell this congregation what we did for his mother, and there are sitting round me numbers who can bear witness of the truth of the statement I am about to make. After Joseph’s death, when the Twelve arrived home, they selected Newel K. Whitney and George Miller as Trustees-in-Trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When the Twelve came home, after the death of Joseph, Emma talked poor, poor. In our absence brother Kimball had collected in Willington $1300.00 in gold to pay some debts. He got this money from bro. E. M. Saunders who now lives at St. George. The question arose in council whether Emma should have that money or not. Brother William Clayton knows all about this circumstance, for he was Joseph’s clerk, and he knew where the money was to be paid. Brother Kimball said, “I want to pay Emma this money, and let her do as she pleased with it.” So he paid it over to her. Whether she paid the debt with it or not I am not prepared to say; but brother William Clayton can tell; but I think we had to pay the debt. This is according to my recollection.
Instead of Emma being robbed by the Twelve, a few days after the death of Joseph she went over to Hyrum’s house. Hyrum had a large [p.191]ring which he wore, and Joseph had one, and Don Carlos had one, these three rings were all alike. She asked Hyrum’s wife to let her see that ring. Hyrum’s widow brought her the ring, she took it and put it in her pocket. She went over to Don Carlos’ widow and wanted to see that ring; she took that also and put it in her pocket, and I think she also took the portrait of Hyrum. Instead of the Twelve robbing her she goes and takes these things from her sisters. She was not satisfied yet. She wanted the Cleveland farm, situated about four miles from Quincy. She thought if she had that farm she could live.
Newel K. Whitney had bought an old Bible; Joseph had run through it and made a good many marks in it for the new translation. This book belonged to Newel K. Whitney. Emma had it in her possession. She wished to exchange this book for the Cleveland farm. She got the deed for the farm; but she was not ready yet to give up the Bible. She complained about her poor, little, fatherless children, and she kept up this whine until she got the farms she wanted, and besides these farms she owned city property worth fifty thousand dollars. We gave her deeds for the farm at Quincy and for the farm on the prairie by the burning ground. We gave her all she asked for. She has made her children inherit lies. Alexander Smith was a little boy when these circumstances transpired, and he believes what his mother has told him. We gave her those farms, and this does not look like robbing her.
I wanted to mention these things, because there are a great many of this people who are ignorant of these circumstances. She got the last acre of land that was in the hands of the Trustee-in-Trust; it all went to Emma for her benefit. When we left Nauvoo my wife carried her crockery to Emma, and I am sure that others did the same. We gave her everything we could not carry away, and let her do as she pleased with them. I recollect very well that I had a nice carriage built in 1845. About the time it was done, Mother Smith said, “How rejoiced I am that that carriage which Joseph promised to me is done.” I sent her the carriage, and I do not know but that I would have taken off my shirt and given it to any of the Smith family and run the risk of getting another. Now, you who have got but little sense wait until you get a little more and stop talking and speculating about Young Joseph or anybody else. God is the captain of this company, the general of this army of Saints, and the President of this Church, its ruler and dictator. If I am the instrument which He chooses to use in the prosecution of His great work, it is all right. I am just as willing as any other man to be used.
I told you in the first place that Mormonism is true. There are some other little items that should be mentioned; but I have already spoken at length and I will postpone mentioning them until another time. When we shall adjourn the Conference I am unable to say. We will continue [p.192]our services until the Spirit of the Lord shall signify to us when to bring our Conference to a close. Let the people feel satisfied and contented to spend a few days to worship the Lord, and let not their earthly affairs give them trouble; for the heavens are full of days and nights and we shall live to enjoy them. May God bless you. Amen.