The Bible and the Book of Mormon

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Leaders testimonies

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Hyrum Smith
David Whitmer
Brigham Young
John Taylor
Wilford Woodruff
Lorenzo Snow
Joseph F.Smith
Heber J. Grant
Heber C. Kimball
Willard Richards
Gearge Q. Cannon
John R. Winder
Anthon H. Lund
John Henry Smith
Orson Hyde
Parley P. Pratt
Orson Pratt
Orson Withney
David O. Mc Kay

Hyrum Smith

Having given my testimony to the world of the truth of the Book of Mormon, the renewal of the everlasting covenant, and the establishment of the kingdom of heaven, in these last days; and having been brought into great afflictions and distresses for the same, I thought that it might be strengthening to my beloved brethren, to give them a short account of my sufferings, for the truth's sake, and the state of my mind and feelings, while under circumstances of the most trying and afflicting nature. I had been abused, thrust into a dungeon, and confined for months on account of my faith, and the testimony of Jesus Christ. However, I thank God that I felt a determination to die, rather than deny the things which my eyes had seen, which my hands had handled, and which I had borne testimony to (all in plain allusion to his testimony to the existence of the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated) wherever my lot had been cast; and I can assure my beloved brethren that I was enabled to bear as strong a testimony, when nothing but death presented itself, as ever I did in my life. My confidence in God was likewise unshaken. I knew that He who suffered me, along with my brethren, to be thus tried, that He could and that He would deliver us out of the hands of our enemies; and in His own due time He did so, for which I desire to bless and praise His holy name.

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Every word of God is of importance, whether it be the word  contained in the Bible, in the Book of Mormon, or in the Doctrine and Covenants, for "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God." The principles that are taught in the Bible are pure, and ought to be adhered to, and if people adhere to that teaching, it will prove their salvation. The principles that are taught in the Book of Mormon are also pure, and holy and righteous, and will, if followed, lead men to God. And the principles that are taught in the book of Doctrine and Covenants are from God, they are principles of righteousness, they are given for a blessing to the human family, and the salvation, temporal and spiritual, of his saints; and that man who wantonly departs from any of the revelations of Jehovah, and treats lightly the word of God, whether contained in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, the Book of Mormon, or the Bible, is void of understanding; he is not wise concerning the doings of the Lord, the plan of salvation, the past dealings, present designs, or future purposes of the Almi

The God of the armies of Israel is a wise God, He comprehended the end from the beginning, and adapted his plans, his designs and teachings to the peculiar wants, the local situation, the exigencies of mankind, and the present and future good of the human family; and everything that He has designed to notice by way of instruction to the children of men is given by infinite wisdom—by the intelligence of Jehovah, and if obeyed, when his designs shall be fully unravelled, it will be seen that there was wisdom in it beyond the comprehension of man in his present state.

The Lord has in his wise designs revealed to us His will. He has made known to us his future purposes. He has told as did His ancient prophets that the earth shall be redeemed—that the curse shall be removed from it—that the wolf and the lamb shall lie down together—that the lion shall eat straw like an ox;—and that they shall not hurt or destroy—that the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea—that man's days shall be as the days of a tree; that he shall live one thousand years on the earth. This is the time of the  restoration of all things, and it has got to be brought about by the wisdom and power of God, and the wisdom, obedience and faith of man combined.

Everything has become degenerated from what it was in its primitive state. God made man pure, but he has found out many inventions: his vices have become innumerable and his diseases have multiplied. His taste has become vitiated and his judgment impaired. He has fallen—fallen—fallen from the dignified state that he once occupied on the earth, and it needs a restorative that man has not in his possession, wisdom which is beyond the reach of human intellect, the power which human philosophy, talent and ingenuity cannot control. God only is acquainted with the action and the mainsprings of human events. He knows where disease is seated and what is the cause of it. He is also acquainted with the springs of health, the balm of Gilead—of life. He knows what course to pursue to restore man to his pristine excellency and primitive vigor and health. He has appointed the Word of Wisdom as one of the engines to bring about this thing, to remove the beastly appetites, the murderous dispositions, and the vitiated taste of man; to restore his body to health and vigor, and promote peace between him and the brute creation. It is one of the little wheels in God's designs, to help to regulate the great machinery, which shall eventually revolutionize the earth and bring about the restoration of all things, and when they are restored He will plant the tree of life whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations.

Let these things be adhered to; let the saints be wise; let us lay aside our folly and abide by the commandments of God; so shall we be blessed of the great Jehovah in time and in eternity. We shall be healthy, strong and vigorous. We shall be enabled to resist disease, and wisdom will crown our councils;our progeny will become mighty, and will rise up and call us blessed. The daughters of Zion will be beautiful, and her sons the joy of the whole earth. We shall prepare ourselves for the purposes of Jehovah, for the kingdom of God, for the appearance of Jesus in His glory; out of Zion shall come the perfection of beauty. God will shine; Zion will be exalted and become the praise of the whole earth.


David Whitmer

Unto all Nations, Kindreds, Tongues and People, unto whom these presents shall come:

It having been represented by one John Murphy, of Polo, Caldwell county, Missouri, that I, in a conversation with him last summer, denied my testimony as one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon,

To the end, therefore, that he may understand me now, if he did not then; and that the world may know the truth, I wish now, standing as it were, in the very sunset of life, and in the fear of God, once for all to make this public statement:

That I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof, which has so long since been published with that book, as one of the Three Witnesses. Those who know me best well know that I have always adhered to that testimony. And that no man may be misled or doubt my present views in regard to the same, I do again affirm the truth of all my statements as then made and published.

He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear; it was no delusion; what is written is written, and he that readeth, let him understand.…

And if any man doubt, should he not carefully and honestly read and understand the same before presuming to sit in judgment and condemning the light, which shineth in darkness, and showeth the way of eternal life as pointed out by the unerring hand of God?

In the spirit of Christ, who hath said: "Follow thou me, for I am the life, the light and the way," I submit this statement to the world; God in whom I trust being my judge as to the sincerity of my motives and the faith and hope that is in me of eternal life.

My sincere desire is that the world may be benefited by this plain and simple statement of the truth.

And all the honor to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen!

Brigham Young

Permit me, my hearers, brethren and strangers, to say to you, there is not that man that hears the sound of my voice this day, that can say that Jesus lives, whether he professes to be His disciple or not; and can say at the same time, that Joseph Smith was not a Prophet of the Lord.

There is not that being that ever had the privilege of hearing the way of life and salvation set before him as it is written in the New Testament, and in the Book of Mormon, and in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, by a Latter-day Saint, that can say that Jesus lives, that His Gospel is true; and at the same time say that Joseph Smith was not a Prophet of God. That is strong testimony, but it is true. No man can say that this book (laying his hand on the Bible)is true, is the word of the Lord, is the way, is the guide-board in the path, and a charter by which we may learn the will of God; and at the same time say, that the Book of Mormon is untrue; if he has had the privilege of reading it, or of hearing it read, and learning its doctrines. There is not that person on the face of the earth who has had the privilege of learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ from these two books, that can say that one is true, and the other is false. No Latter-day Saint, no man or woman, can say the Book of Mormon is true, and at the same time say that the Bible is untrue. If one be true, both are; and if one be false, both are false. If Jesus lives, and is the Savior of the world, Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God, and lives in the bosom of his father Abraham.  Though they have killed his body, yet he lives and beholds the face of his Father in heaven; and his garments are pure as the angels that surround the throne of God; and no man on the earth can say that Jesus lives, and deny at the same time my assertion about the Prophet Joseph. This is my testimony and it is strong.
Permit me to say that I am proud of my religion. It is the only thing I pride myself in, on the earth. I may heap up gold and silver like the mountains; I may gather around me property, goods, and chattels, but I could have no glory in that, compared with my religion; it is the fountain of light and intelligence; it swallows up the truth contained in all the philosophy of the world, both heathen and Christian; it circumscribes the wisdom of man; it circumscribes all the wisdom and power of the world; it reaches to that within the veil. Its bounds, its circumference, its end, its height, and depth, are beyond the comprehension of mortals.

I wish to bear my testimony, before this congregation, to the religion which is called "Mormonism," and preached by the Elders of the same profession in all the world; and that, we believe, is the Gospel of salvation, and calculated to save all the honest in heart who wish to be saved.

This is my testimony concerning it—It is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe and obey it.

I bear my testimony that the Gospel you have embraced is the way of life and salvation to every one that believes it, and then obeys it with an honest intent. The inquiry may arise in the minds of some, as to how far they shall obey it. Every son and daughter of God is expected to obey with a willing heart every word which the Lord has spoken, and which He will in the future speak to us. It is expected that we hearken to the revelations of His will, and adhere to them, cleave to them with all our might; for this is salvation, and anything short of this clips the salvation and the glory of the Saints.

John Taylor

If it were not for the religion I profess, which gives me to know something about the matter, by revelation for myself, I would not have anything to do with religion at all. I would worship God the best way I knew how, and act justly and honorably with my neighbor; which I believe thousands of that class of men called infidels do at the present day. But I never would submit to be gulled with the nonsense that exists in the world, under the name of religion.

We believe in the restoration of all things. We believe that God has spoken from the heavens. If I did not believe He had, I would not be here. We believe that angels have appeared, that the heavens have been opened. We believe in eternal principles, in an eternal Gospel, an eternal Priesthood, in eternal communications and associations. Everything associated with the Gospel that we believe in is eternal. If it were not so, I would want nothing to do with it. I do not want to make a profession, and worship a God because this one, that one, or the other one does it, and I not know whether I am right, and those whom I imitate not know, any more than myself, whether they are right or wrong.

I profess to know for myself, and if I did not know for myself. I would have nothing to do with it. Acting upon this principle, I associated myself with the Latter-day Saints. I preach that doctrine which I verily believe with my whole soul. I believe in its principles, because there is something intelligent about it. For instance—if I am an eternal being, I want something that is calculated to satisfy the capacious desires of that eternal mind.

If I am a being that came into the world yesterday, and will leave it again tomorrow, I might as well have one religion as another, or none at all; let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die. If I am an eternal being, I want to know something about that eternity with which I am associated.

If there is a God, I want a religion that supplies some means of certain and tangible communication with Him. If there is a heaven, I want to know what sort of a place it is. If there are angels, I want to know their nature, and their occupation, and of what they are composed. If I am an eternal being, I want to know what I am to do when I get through with time.

I believe that we as "Mormons" have the truth, and for this reason I have traveled extensively in most of the States of the Union, and in Canada; also in England, Ireland and Scotland; in the Isle of Man, Jersey, and other islands of the sea; in France, Germany, Belgium, and other parts of the earth; and I have not yet seen a man that could find one error in doctrine or principle connected with the religion of the Latter-day Saints.

Then if you have a thing that nobody can overturn, but can be sustained everywhere; that defies the wisdom and intelligence of the world to find one fault in it, you must say it is right, until it is proven to be wrong.

We believe that God has set His hand in these last days to accomplish His purposes, to gather together His elect from the four winds, even to fulfill the words which He has spoken by all the holy Prophets, to redeem the earth from the power of the curse, to save the human family from the ruins of the fall, and to place mankind in that position which God designed them to occupy before this world came into existence, or the morning stars sang together for joy. We believe in and realize these things; we feel them, we appreciate them, and therefore are we thus assembled together.

God has told me to preach the Gospel to every creature, saying, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned." He has told me to do this.

We must spread forth the light of the Gospel, because God has communicated a system of religion which is calculated to ennoble and exalt the human family.

Wilford Woodruff

I have been acquainted long enough with this work to know its truth; I have had sufficient experience in it to see and to know that the hand of God is in it, and that it is controlled and guided by the spirit of the Almighty and the revelations of Heaven; to know that from the commencement of it, it has been the design of the God of Heaven to establish His Kingdom upon the earth, to be thrown down no more forever.

Those who have been acquainted with the Prophet Joseph, who laid the foundation of this Church and Kingdom, who was an instrument in the hand of God in bringing to light the Gospel in this last dispensation, know well that every feeling of his soul, every sentiment of his mind, and every act of his life proved that he was determined to maintain the principle of truth even to the sacrificing of his life. His soul swelled wide as eternity for the welfare of the human family.

The Gospel has gone forth in our day in its true glory, power, order and light, as it always did when God had a people among men that He acknowledged. That same organization and Gospel that Christ died for, and the apostles spilled their blood to vindicate, is again established in this generation. How did it come? By the ministering of an Holy Angel of God out of heaven, who held converse with man and revealed unto him the darkness that enveloped the world, and unfolded unto him the gross darkness that surrounded the nations, those scenes that should take place in this generation, and would follow each other in quick succession, even unto the coming of the Messiah.

The Angel taught Joseph Smith those principles which are necessary for the salvation of the world; and the Lord gave him commandments and sealed upon him the Priesthood, and gave him power to administer the ordinances of the house of the Lord. He told him the Gospel was not among men and that there was not a true organization of His kingdom in the world, that the people had turned away from His true order, changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant, and inherited lies and things wherein there was no profit.

He told him the time had come to lay the foundation for the establishment of the Kingdom of God among men for the last time, preparatory to the winding up scene. Joseph was strengthened by the Spirit and power of God, and was enabled to listen to the teachings of the Angel. He told him he should be made an instrument in the hands of the Lord, if he kept His commandments, in doing a good work upon the earth; that his name should be held in honor by the honest in heart, and in dishonor throughout the nations by the wicked. He told him he should be an instrument in laying the foundation of a work that should gather tens of thousands of the children of men, in the generation in which he lived, from every nation under heaven, who should hear the sound of it through his instrumentality. He told him the nations were wrapped in wickedness and abominations, and that the judgments of God were ready to be poured out upon them in their fullness; that the angels were holding the vials of His wrath in readiness; but the decree is, that they shall not be poured out until the nations are warned, that they may be left without an excuse.

The Latter-day Saint in the vision of his mind sees displayed on the great panorama of the world all the scenes that are to transpire in the present day, while the wicked are ignorant of what is about to transpire; they do not know what is the matter; while there are cholera, whirlwinds, storms, thunder and lightning, and earthquakes in divers places, and kingdom isrising against kingdom in battle array, they are ignorant of  what will be the end of these matters and the cause of their existence, because the things of God are not before their eyes. They see naturally but do not understand. They read the scriptures, but do not look for the fulfilment of the words of the prophets, and they do not understand what those things mean when they are fulfilled before their eyes. Did they understand the scriptures they could see and understand what is the matter in the world.

But this is only the beginning of sorrow and trouble; the heavens are full of great judgments, which are about to be poured out on the world. The words of the prophets cannot have their fulfilment unless these things take place.

One reason why the Lord will pour out His judgments upon the nations is the blasphemous spirit of wickedness and corruption that reigns among men. This is only a synopsis of the vision of the things that present themselves to our minds, while we sit and meditate upon the scenes that present themselves to our view. No man can contemplate the truth concerning the nations of the earth without sorrow, when he sees the wailing, the mourning, and death that will come in consequence of judgments, plagues and war. It has already begun and it will continue to multiply and increase until the scene is ended and wound up.

It is the decree of the Almighty God that the Kingdom of Heaven shall be established and shall never again be overthrown, that judgments shall lay waste the nations, enough at least to give that kingdom room to grow and spread and prosper. This is the truth and you will find it so. Those judgments have begun that will never leave the earth until it is swept as with the besom of destruction, until thrones are cast down and kingdoms overthrown, until each man draws his sword against his neighbor, and every nation and kingdom that exists will be at war with each other, except the inhabitants of Zion. The Lord has spoken it and it will come to pass.

Lorenzo Snow

I testify before this assembly, as I have testified before the people throughout the different states of the union, and throughout England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy, Switzerland and France, that God Almighty, through my obedience to the Gospel of Jesus, has revealed to me tangibly that this is the work of God, that this is His Gospel, and that this is His Kingdom which Daniel prophesied should be set up in the last days. I prophesy that any man who will be humble before the Lord—any man who will, with child-like simplicity, be baptized for the remission of his sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost, which shall lead him into all truth, and show him things to come; he shall receive a knowledge from God that His Kingdom has been established in these latter days, and that it shall never be thrown down, or be left to another people.

In saying this, I say no more than every man could say, and has said, who had a dispensation of the Gospel. I would not have traveled over the face of the earth as I have for the last thirty-five years unless God had revealed this unto me. I have already said nothing but absolute duty ever prompted me to travel and preach this Gospel; but I received a dispensation from the Most High, and I could say, and do say now, as the Apostle Paul said, "I received not this Gospel from man, but I received it by revelation from God." I say that any man who will humble himself before God, and be immersed in water (after repentance ) for the remission of his sins, shall receive, through the laying on of  hands, the Holy Ghost. Can I give him this? No. I, as a messenger of the Lord, to whom authority has been delegated, administer immersion for the remission of sins. I simply immerse him in water, having authority to do so. I simply lay my hands upon him for the reception of the Holy Ghost; then God, from His holy presence, acknowledges my authority—acknowledges that I am His messenger, and confers the Holy Ghost upon the individual. This is the Gospel; this is what constitutes a man a savor of life unto life, as Jesus told His disciples they were.

Talk about this kingdom being destroyed! Talk about, reason upon, lay plans here and there, by the combined wisdom of governments, to destroy the kingdom of God! Why, you might as Well try to pluck the stars from the firmament, or the moon and the sun from their orbits! It can never be accomplished, for it is the work of the great I AM. I advise every man who has a disposition to put forth his hand against this work to hold on and consider. Take the advice of Gamaliel, the lawyer. Said he: "Refrain from these men, and let them alone, for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to naught: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."

Joseph F.Smith

I bear my testimony to you, that I have received an assurance which has taken possession of my whole being. It has sunk deep into my heart; it fills every fibre of my soul; so that I say before this people, and would be pleased to have the privilege of saying it before the whole world, that God has revealed unto me that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Redeemer of the world; that Joseph Smith is, was, and always will be a prophet of God, ordained and chosen to stand at the head of the dispensation of the fulness of times, the keys of which were given to him, and he will hold them until the winding-up scene—keys which will unlock the door into the kingdom of God to every man who is worthy to enter, and which will close that door against every soul that will not obey the law of God. I know, as I live, that this is true, and I bear my testimony to its truth. If it were the last words I should ever say on earth, I would glory before God my Father that I possess this knowledge in my soul, which I declare unto you as I would the simplest truths of heaven. I know that this is the kingdom of God, and that God is at the helm. He presides over His people. He presides over the President of this Church and has done from the Prophet Joseph down to the Prophet Lorenzo; and He will continue to preside over the leaders of this Church until the winding-up scene. He will not suffer it to be given to another people, nor to be left to men. He will hold the reins in his own hands: for He has stretched out His arm to do His work, and

He will do it, and have the honor of it. At the same time God will honor and magnify His servants in the sight of the people. He will sustain them in righteousness; he will lift them on high, exalt them into His presence, and they will partake of His glory forever and ever. It is the Lord's work, and I plead with you not to forget it. I implore you not to disbelieve it, for it is true. All that the Lord has said concerning this latter-day work will come to pass. The world cannot prevent it. The blind that will not see, the deaf that will not hear, cannot prevent the work from going on. They may throw blocks before the wheels, they may ridicule, they may malign, they may stir up the spirit of persecution and bitterness against the Saints, they may do all in their power to deceive the people and lead them astray; but God is at the helm, and He will lead His people to victory. Men and women may be deceived by the craftiness of the adversary and by the spirit of darkness that is in the world, but the elect of God shall see and know the truth. They will not be blind, because they will see; they will not be deaf, because they will hear; and they will walk in the light, as God is in the light, that they may have fellowship with Jesus Christ, and that His blood may cleanse them from all their sins.

I bear testimony to you and to the world, that Joseph Smith was raised up by the power of God to lay the foundations of this great Latter-day work; to reveal the fulness of the Gospel to the world in this dispensation; to restore the Priesthood of God to the world, by which men may act in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and it will be accepted of God; it will be by His authority. I bear testimony to it; I know that it is true.

I bear my testimony to the divine authority of those who have succeeded the Prophet Joseph Smith in the presidency of this Church. They were men of God. I knew them; I was intimately associated with them; and as one man may know another, through the intimate knowledge that he possesses of him, so I can bear testimony to the integrity, to the honor, to the purity of life, to the intelligence, and to the divinity of the mission and calling of Brigham, of John, of Wilford, and of Lorenzo. They were inspired of God to fill the mission to which  they were called, and I know it. I thank God for that

testimony and for the spirit that prompts me and impels me towards these men, toward their mission, toward this people, toward my God and my Redeemer. I thank the Lord for it, and I pray earnestly that it may never depart from me.

The following authoritative declaration was made by President Smith in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 6, 1918, on the 88th anniversary of the organization of the Church:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is no partisan Church. It is not a sect. It is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the only one today existing in the world that can and does legitimately bear the name of Jesus Christ and his divine authority. I make this declaration in all simplicity and honesty before you and before all the world, bitter as the truth may seem to those who are opposed and who have no reason for that opposition. It is nevertheless true and will remain true until He who has a right to rule among the nations of the earth and among the individual children of God throughout the world shall come and take the reins of government and receive the bride that shall be prepared for the coming of the Bridegroom.

Many of our great writers have recently been querying and wondering where the divine authority exists today to command in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, so that it will be in effect and acceptable at the throne of the Eternal Father. I will announce here and now, presumptuous as it may seem to be to those who know not the truth, that the divine authority of Almighty God, to speak in the name of the Father and the Son, is here in the midst of these everlasting hills, in the midst of this intermountain region, and it will abide and will continue, for God is its source, and God is the power by which it has been maintained against all opposition in the world up to the present, and by which it will continue to progress and grow and increase on the earth until it shall cover the earth from sea to sea. This is my testimony to you, my brethren and sisters, and I have a fulness of joy and satisfaction in being able to declare this without regard to, or fear of, all the adversaries of the truth.

Heber J. Grant

I realize the beauties of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I rejoice exceedingly in a knowledge of the divinity of the work in which we are engaged. I rejoice in knowing that all the gifts and graces and every power, privilege and blessing which has ever been enjoyed by the Saints of God in any dispensation of the Gospel upon the earth, are enjoyed today by the Latter-day Saints. I rejoice in knowing that the things which should be enjoyed, the blessings, the healing power of Almighty God, the inspiration of His Spirit whereby men and women have manifestations from Him, the inspiration of the Spirit of God, whereby people speak with new tongues, and have the interpretation thereof, and each and every grace and gift, are enjoyed today by the Latter-day Saints.

I know that God lives, I know that Jesus is the Christ, I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, I know that the Gospel tree is alive, that it is growing, that the fruits of the Gospel growing upon the tree are good. I have reached out my hand, I have plucked the fruits of the Gospel, I have eaten of them and they are sweet, yea, above all that is sweet. That is the inspiration that comes to every Latter-day Saint who realizes the force of this Gospel that we have espoused. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the plan of life and salvation. God lives; Jesus is the Christ, and He is the chief corner stone of this great work—He is directing it, and He will continue to direct it. He chose His prophet, and He gave him instructions and authority to establish this work; and the power and the  influence of Joseph Smith are now being felt as the Angel promised. His name is known for good or for evil all over the world; but it is not known for evil except by those who malign him. Those who know him, those who know of his teachings, know that his life was pure and that his teachings were, in very deed, God's law.

We have the plan of life and salvation; we have the ordinances of the Gospel not only for the living but for the dead. We have all that is necessary, not only for our own salvation, but that we may be in very deed "Saviors upon Mount Zion," and enter into the temples of our God and save our ancestors who have died without a knowledge of the Gospel.

There is no other people who love the Lord their God as do the Latter-day Saints—who give such absolute evidence of their love of God by their acts, by the sacrifices they make, by the labors they perform, by the diligence with which they strive to serve God and keep His commandments. There is no other people to be found where there is as much of brotherly love, of real harmony and good will, and a desire to bless their fellows, as can be found among the Latter-day Saints. There are over two thousand men, in nearly all parts of the world, proclaiming this Gospel of Jesus Christ; they are neglecting their business, they are separated from their families, from their friends, from their loved ones, from all that is near and dear to the natural heart of man, and the labor which they are performing is a labor of love, without hope of reward whatever in this life.

I want to bear witness that no man or woman ever lived, who kept the commandments of God and lived according to the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whose example was not worthy of the imitation of all men and all women, in any land, and in any clime. This Gospel of Jesus Christ, which I have embraced, is in very deed the plan of life and salvation. It is in very deed the Gospel revealed again to the earth. It is the same Gospel that was proclaimed by our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ; and He gave His life in testimony of the same. And the lives of our Prophet and Patriarch were given as a witness to the divinity of the work in which we are engaged. For a hundred years this Gospel has been proclaimed to the world without money, without price. Freely we have received, and freely we have given to the world.

Heber C. Kimball

I can say truly that I have heard the Gospel presented before us this morning as it is recorded in the New Testament.
You know that it is generally understood, and perhaps by many of the strangers who are present today, that we do not believe the Bible. That is a great mistake: we do believe it. I can say, as one of the Apostles of old said, and it is my advice and instruction to you—prove all things and try all things, and hold fast to that which is good. As he exhorted you to prove these things, to investigate them, and reflect upon them, and prove the truth of that which is called "Mormonism," let me tell you the day will come, if you don't do it, you will be sorry. Why? Because there is a future day that will determine these things.

This is the Gospel which has been taught to us today, in a plain and simple manner and in that simplicity that it was taught by Jesus Christ and his Apostles, and by many others who were ordained by them. The people profess to believe the Bible; the whole Christian world profess to believe that book—to believe that it is the Bible, but do they believe what is in that Bible? If they do, they don't practice it. How many of you, my brethren and fellow travelers to eternity, how many times have you said in your day, and in your generation, and in your family circles, "If I could see one man practice that religion that was taught by Jesus and his Apostles, I would be a Saint." I said it many  times before I ever heard of "Mormonism," and sought for these things, and wished for them, and prayed for them according to the knowledge I then had. But what did I know about God, or about the Gospel, by what I heard from the pulpits of the day?

God has one mode of saving men and women, and you cannot be saved upon any other principle than that which Jesus Christ taught, and I know it. I can say to this congregation, and to every other, which thing I have said in the United States and in Great Britain—except you receive the words of Jesus Christ, and those that are ordained and sent forth by Him, you are just as sure of damnation as you are sure of dying, and I know it. These things are plain, and the Gospel that has been spoken of has been revealed in these last times. That light that was once extinguished by wickedness has been lit up again. The ancient Gospel is again revealed, and the Priesthood of the Son of God, and the Latter-day Saints have this power, and you cannot help yourselves. That is why we are here today, that is the reason why I am here today.

Joseph Smith and his brother were killed in Carthage jail. Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and I know it. I am not testifying to this because I have believed it so long, but I knew it twenty years ago, just as well as I do now, and have testified of it to the nations of the earth. And what will be the consequences of this testimony? They that believe and are baptized shall be saved, and they shall receive the Holy Ghost under the hands of those who have due authority to confer that blessing; and if they go forward and are baptized with full purpose of heart, believing with all their soul, obeying the Gospel, being buried with Christ in baptism, they shall obtain the Holy Ghost.

I rejoice that I live in this day and age of the world; I rejoice that I have passed through what I have for the Gospel's sake; but will it compare with what men passed through in the days of Jesus, who was hung upon a cross for His religion? He expired upon Calvary for His religion; they killed Him as a false prophet, and even those of His own household did not believe in Him; they also slew His Apostles, and those who believed in them. Don't you suppose it was as degrading to them to  believe in Jesus Christ as for us to believe that Joseph Smith was a Prophet? He was a Prophet, and Jesus was the Son of God; and Hyrum Smith was a Patriarch, and I bear witness of it unto all men.

I have told you the truth, and you shall know that "Mormonism" is true, and what I and my brethren have told you this day is the Gospel of salvation.

Willard Richards

Willard Richards was the son of Joseph and Rhoda Richards, and was born June 24, 1804, at Hopkinton, Middlesex county, Mass.; and from the religious teachings of his parents, he was the subject of religious impressions from his early childhood. At the age of ten years he removed with his father's family to Richmond, Mass., where he witnessed several sectarian "revivals." A more thorough investigation of the principles of religion, convinced him that the sects were all wrong and that God had no Church on the earth, but that He would soon have a church whose creed would be the truth, and nothing but the truth. From that time he kept himself aloof from sectarian influence, boldly declaring his belief to all who wished to learn his views, until the summer of 1835, when, while in the practice of medicine, near Boston, the Book of Mormon, which President Brigham Young had left with his cousin Lucius Porker, at Southborough, accidentally or providentially fell in his way. This was the first he had seen or heard of the Latter-day Saints, except the scurrilous records of the public prints, which amounted to nothing more than that "a boy named Joe Smith, somewhere out west, had found a Gold Bible." He opened the book, without regard to place, and totally ignorant of its design or contents, and before reading half a page, declared that, "God or the devil has had a hand in that book, for man never wrote it." He read it twice through in about ten days; and so firm was his conviction of the truth, that he immediately commenced settling his accounts, selling his medicine, and freeing himself from every encumbrance, that he [p.69] might go to Kirtland, Ohio, seven hundred miles west, the nearest point he could hear of a Saint, and give the work a thorough investigation; firmly believing that if the doctrine was true, God had some greater work for him to do than peddle pills. But no sooner did he commence a settlement, than he was smitten with the palsy, from which he suffered exceedingly, and was prevented executing his design, until October, 1836, when he arrived at Kirtland, in company with his brother (Doctor Levi Richards, who attended him as physician ), where he was most cordially and hospitably received and entertained by his cousin, Brigham Young, with whom he tarried, and gave the work an unceasing and untiring investigation, until December 81, 1886, when he was baptized by Brigham Young, at Kirtland. He was ordained an elder by Alva Beeman March 6, 1837. A few days later he left Kirtland on a mission to the Eastern States, from which he returned June 11th. On the day following he was blessed and set apart by the Prophet Joseph to accompany Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde and others on a mission to England. Having arrived safely in England, and the Gospel door having been successfully opened in Preston, Doctor Richards was sent to Bedford, and the surrounding country, where he labored with much success, notwithstanding the bitter opposition. He returned to Preston in February, 1838, and on April 1st attended a general conference, where he was ordained a high priest and appointed first counselor to Joseph Fielding, who was appointed to preside over the mission after Elders Kimball and Hyde returned to America. He married Jennetta Richards, daughter of the Rev. John Richards, Sept. 24, 1838. During the following year he continued his missionary labors in Manchester, Bolton, Salford, Burslem, Preston and other places. After the arrival of the Apostles from America, Doctor Richards was ordained one of the Twelve Apostles April 14, 1840, to which high and holy position he had been called by direct revelation, and after the publication of the "Millennial Star" was commenced, he assisted Parley P. Pratt in its editorial department, and also performed the general duties of presiding over the mission. In February, 1841, he removed his family from Preston to Manchester, and in the following April left England with others of  the Twelve to return to Nauvoo, where he arrived August 16th. Agreeable to the Council of the Twelve, he located at Warsaw, Hancock county, Ill., for a short time. He was elected a member of the city council of Nauvoo October 30, 1841, and removed to that city in December following. Two days later (Dec. 13th) he was appointed recorder for the Temple, private secretary to Joseph Smith and general Church clerk. He commenced his labors in Joseph's new office, in the brick store. From the time he entered Joseph's office, with the exception of a short mission to the East after his family, he was with Joseph until the Prophet's death, continually at work with his pen, while he was able to sit up. He was recorder of the city council and clerk of the municipal court, and kept Joseph's private journals, making an entry only a few minutes previous to the awful tragedy at Carthage. And in the face of a hundred muskets, in the hands of infuriated mobbers, he thrust his head out of the window to catch a glimpse of his dying president, and there remained gazing intently upon the mangled body until he was satisfied that the innocent spirit had fled. His "Two Minutes in Jail" is one of the most thrilling documents ever written, and his parrying muskets with a walking stick is one of the most unequal contests on record. God preserved him without the loss of a drop of blood, and without a "hole in his robe." During the catastrophe of Joseph and Hyrum's death, and the emergency into which the Church was suddenly thrown, Doctor Richards felt the burden of giving directions to the affairs of the Church in Hancock county, in consequence of the absence of the Twelve Apostles. Though standing in the midst of the murderous mob at Carthage, with the mangled bodies of his martyred friends, and that of Elder Taylor, under his charge, his letters and counsels at that time indicated great self-command and judgment. His ability was happily commensurate with such an occasion. At the time of the expulsion from Nauvoo, he acted as Church Historian, having been appointed to that position as early as December, 1842. In the spring of 1847 he was enrolled in the memorable band of Pioneers, under President Young, that first marked out a highway for the immigrating Saints to Great Salt Lake valley. After his return to Winter Quarters he was elected second counselor to President Young, in which capacity he continued to act until his death. In the fall of 1848 he arrived in the valley a second time, as captain of a large company of Saints. As a civil officer, he served as secretary to the government of the State of Deseret, and did the greatest share of the business of the secretary of the Territory of Utah, after its organization as a Territory, and presided over the council of the legislative assembly for about the same period. He was also postmaster of Great Salt Lake City up to the time of his death, and enjoyed the full confidence of the Postmaster-General, who respected his judgment touching postal arrangements throughout the mountain territory. He was an efficient member of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund company, whose duties affected the interest and gathering of tens of thousands. In the quorum of the First Presidency, he magnified his high calling to the day of his death, ever shedding light and consolation, in this sphere, upon the minds of thousands and tens of thousands to whom he ministered. He was the editor and proprietor of the "Deseret News;" also General Historian of the whole Church, and Church Recorder, for which offices he was eminently gifted. He chronicled events, dates, circumstances, and incidents, with rare accuracy of judgment and great tenacity of memory. The number of offices which he held at the time of his death indicate the confidence which the Church reposed in his great integrity and varied abilities. That ardent love of truth, and intuitive perception of the same, which impelled him to investigate the claims of the everlasting Gospel in the beginning, grew with his passing years, and became more and more manifest by his unwavering and unflinching adherence to it, in the most perilous and troublesome times of the Church's history in after life. He possessed a calm and even mind, and yet was rather reserved, and naturally diffident of his own superior ability. This diffidence may have caused the early part of his ministry to be undervalued. On great and rare occasions, however, his masterly energies came forth like a well disciplined and invincible troop, that knew their place and prerogative to act in defense of the truth. Beloved and respected by all who knew him, Dr. Willard Richards died in Salt Lake City, March 11, 1854.

Gearge Q. Cannon

When Joseph Smith, the Prophet, was taken, were the people left without some man or men to stand up in their midst to declare to them the counsel of their Almighty Father? No; the Lord did not leave His people without a shepherd. He had anticipated the dreadful tragedy which would rob us of His anointed one; rob us, the Church of Christ, of our Prophet and Patriarch. Previous to this horrid tragedy, He inspired His servant Joseph to call other men, upon whom he bestowed all the keys, all the authority, all the blessings, all the knowledge so far as endowments were concerned, so far as the power to go unto God and ask Him in the name of Jesus, and obtain His mind and will, was concerned. He bestowed upon these men the same gifts, and blessings, and graces, he had received; so that there was a body of men with all the authority, a body of prophets with all the gifts of seers and revelators—a body of men left instead of one man—a body of men were endowed with this power when Joseph was taken, and the earth was not robbed of that Priesthood which God had sent His angels from heaven to restore once more to the children of men, and to act on the earth in the plenitude of its power. There was no more need, therefore, for angelic visitation to restore it. It was not taken back to God by the slaying of the Prophet and Patriarch, but remained with mortal man here on the earth. And, then, when the question arose as to who should lead Israel, notwithstanding Sidney Rigdon  stood up in the congregation of the Saints, and pled for the leadership of the people, the Spirit and power of the Almighty descended upon the man whom God had chosen to hold the keys. In the midst of all Israel, in the face of the entire congregation of believers and unbelievers, God clothed His servant with such power and in such a manner that every man that had the least portion of the Spirit of God, and every woman, knew by the manifestation of that Spirit, and by the outpouring of the gift of God upon that man, that he was the chosen one, and that upon him rested the authority, and power, and the gifts that had been borne by the Prophet Joseph during his lifetime. No more plainly was the power of God manifested in behalf of Elisha, after the taking away of Elijah, than it was manifested in behalf of President Brigham Young, the Prophet, when Joseph was taken from the earth, and from that day, while he lived on the earth until he died, the Lord magnified him in the eyes of the people and blessed those who listened to his counsel.

When he departed there was no contention, there was no strife as to who should be the leader. The men of God had learned by experience concerning the Priesthood, and as to who should bear the keys. There was, therefore, no contention among the leaders or among the people. There was no special necessity for any particular manifestation. Has not God accompanied the President of His Church who succeeded Brigham Young, has He not accompanied him, has He not accompanied his acts, his counsels and his leadership of the people by every sign, by every blessing, by every manifestation of power necessary to confirm in the hearts of Israel the truth that he is indeed the man whom God had designated, whom God had chosen, and whom God desired to lead His people Israel? I have no doubt of it, never had any. I knew it before anything was heard or anything was said. I knew it by the revelations of Almighty God to me, that God had chosen His servant John Taylor to preside over this Church. I know it today. I rejoice in this knowledge, and I rejoice that God still continues to manifest His power through His anointed one, and through the channel of the Holy Priesthood, having but one man at a time on the earth unto whom He gives the [p.87] keys to preside over the Church, and give revelations to the entire Church, as a Church and as a people. He has chosen him from among the prophets, apostles, seers and revelators, to bear the keys of the everlasting Priesthood upon the earth in the flesh, he having the power and authority to act for the entire people, and to receive the mind and will of God for the entire people. And thus God up to the present time has confirmed His work by the signs following; every man in his place, enjoying the Spirit of God and the gifts of his office.

God in His marvelous kindness and mercy has organized His Church in perfection, and has given to every man that bears a portion of the Holy Priesthood, if he will magnify the same, the gifts and graces necessary thereto; given to every woman and to every child who is faithful in the Church of God, the spirit that belongs to the position of each, according to the faith and necessities of each. And thus it is that heaven is moved in our behalf; thus it is that the power of God is manifested from time to time; thus it is that the people are led and guided as they are and as they have been from the beginning until the present time; and thus it will be until the end, until the Church shall be as a bride prepared for the coming of the Bridegroom, for the coming of the Lord Jesus, who is our Head, and who will preside over us and over the Church and Kingdom that will be organized upon the earth.

I know that this is the work of God. I know that God lives. I know that Jesus lives; for I have seen Him. I know that this is the Church of God, and that it is founded on Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.

I testify to you of these things as one who knows—as one of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ that can bear witness to you today in the presence of the Lord that He lives and that He will live, and come to reign on the earth, to sway an undisputed sceptre.

John R. Winder

I scarcely know how to express my gratitude to God, our Eternal Father, for this privilege that I have of once more meeting with you, my brethren and sisters, in general conference. As I looked over this congregation this morning, I thought of the time when I first heard the Gospel in a far off land, from an elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was convinced of the truth when I first heard it, and I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I am thankful to say, this morning, that faith has grown and increased with me as the years have passed along. My mind goes back to the day when the boy Joseph Smith, 14 years of age, went into the woods to pray to the Father, and when the Father and the Son appeared to him and gave him some instructions as to how he should proceed. The thought comes to me that no sooner did he make known what had taken place than persecution commenced. From that hour his life was sought. In every way the effort was made to destroy him and his influence. Seventy-five years ago today he was enabled to organize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with very few members. Persecution did not cease then. On the contrary, it continued from year to year. Then when I think of the trying circumstances in which he was placed, the wonderful work that he accomplished during the few years he was permitted to live upon the earth, the translation of the Book of Mormon and the presenting of it to the people and to the world; also the production of the Doctrine  and Covenants, and the announcement of many glorious principles introduced for the salvation of the living and the redemption of the dead, I marvel at the great work that he accomplished in the short space of 14 years. Then I thought of the time when the people were compelled to leave Nauvoo and come to this country, the hardships they had to endure, the travels across the plains, the many difficulties they had to encounter, and after they had arrived here the energies they put forth to establish industries for the good and benefit of the people.The Lord has preserved and protected His people, notwithstanding the fact that, at many times, they have been menaced by opposition, all things have been overruled for the good and benefit of the work of the Lord, and for the advancement of His work upon the earth. I do not know of any time when my heart has felt to rejoice more than at the present, in the extent of the work of the Lord and the progress that it is making upon the face of the earth.

Every day of my life I see new evidences of the truth of the everlasting Gospel, and of the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith. There is one thing that I would like to mention, and that is in relation to the salvation of the dead. You will all remember the great anxiety of the Prophet Joseph Smith in regard to this subject. On more than one occasion he said that he was very much concerned about this matter, and desired to bring it before the people.

This is a duty that is laid upon the Saints; the Lord requires that they shall minister in behalf of the dead, and it is astonishing sometimes to see the interest that is taken in regard to this matter. There has been a wonderful increase in the interest manifested in this work. The Temple, the House of the Lord, has been crowded. The Latter-day Saints come here from all parts of the country, from Old Mexico, New Mexico, Arizona, and all the settlements in the south, as well as from Canada, from Idaho, and all the settlements in the north. They flock here by the thousands. This is one of the evidences, to me, that the people are fulfilling the promises that have been made by the  prophets of old, that the hearts of the fathers would turn to the children, and the hearts of the children would turn to the fathers. There is a greater interest in this direction than I have ever seen before.
I never saw a brighter day than this for the Latter-day Saints. Everything that I see around me and everything that I hear causes me to rejoice. We have eighteen hundred missionaries in the world preaching the Gospel of life and salvation—"Peace on earth, good will to men." That is the message they go abroad to deliver, and it is left optional with every person to accept or reject it. If they accept it, it is life and salvation; if they reject it, it may be their condemnation.

I testify to you that I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I am thankful that this testimony has never left me since I first heard the Gospel, more than sixty years ago.

Anthon H. Lund

My testimony is that this is the work of God, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord, raised up to usher in this last dispensation. He was called to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to bring again unto man the Gospel which had been taken from the earth. He performed his mission well; he was faithful and true; and he was willing even to give his life for the truth. Joseph Smith knew for himself that this was the work of God; and he often told others that they could know it also through the Spirit of God. He was willing to go, as he said himself, "like a lamb to the slaughter." He understood what was coming; but he submitted willingly. He did not shrink, he did not leave his people and try to save his own life, but he sealed his testimony with his blood. And so did his brother Hyrum, the Patriarch. Their integrity, love and devotion come to us as their testament. To us is also given the great boon of having an assurance of the truth, a knowledge for ourselves that this is the work of God.

I bear my testimony unto this congregation that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord, that he proved himself worthy of the name he was called to bear; and that he not only taught the principles of the Gospel, but, as a prophet, was able to tell the Saints what should come to pass, to warn them against  certain courses, to tell them what the future had in store for them, and also to prophesy what should befall this nation. Read the 87th section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and his history, and you will see that as a prophet he foresaw the future both of the nation and of the Saints. The Lord did not leave him nor the Saints in the dark concerning these things. And we have seen his prophecies fulfilled.

This work has been established by our Heavenly Father, and no opposition can stop it. When there were only six or ten members in the Church, it might have been thought that the adversary could have stopped it, but not even then. It has grown. The influence of the Gospel, as brought forth by the Prophet Joseph Smith, is making its way and is being felt throughout all nations; the truths revealed through him will yet be accepted by the world.

I rejoice in the fact that the work of God is growing in the earth, and that He has been with His servants in their labors to promulgate the glad tidings of salvation unto men. Our missionaries have gone to nearly all lands, and are proclaiming the will of our Heavenly Father and telling men that the time is quickly approaching when Christ will come the second time. When He came the first time He descended below all things that He might redeem mankind, but He will come in glory to the earth, with His holy angels, to meet His Saints. That time is approaching. Much will have to be done, no doubt, before Christ will come to reign upon the earth. How long it will be we do not know, but we know this: the work in which we are engaged is the preparatory work for His coming. We call upon the whole world to repent, to turn unto God, to have faith in Him, to keep His commandments, and do the things which He has ordained for salvation; then lead such lives that they can say in truth that they have taken upon them the name of Christ.

The Gospel of Christ as revealed unto us is the same as formerly. When John was shown that an angel should come with the Gospel, he was not told that it should be a new Gospel; but it was the "everlasting" Gospel—always new, and yet everlasting; the same Gospel, with no change in it. The Latter-day  Saints are a God-fearing people, a duty-fulfilling people, a people who have joined together in covenants to serve the Lord and to work out the salvation of their souls, in fear and trembling before God. They are not a people sunken in vice and iniquity.

John Henry Smith

Standing before you, my brethren and sisters, as one of the witnesses of the mission of the Redeemer of the world, and of the restored truths of the Gospel given in the day and age in which we live, I bear this record in your presence today. I have grown from childhood to manhood in connection with these leading men of the Church of Christ. I knew Brigham Young as intimately as a boy could know his father. I knew John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow in like manner. I have been as intimate with President Joseph F. Smith as kinsman could be. Standing here as a witness before God today, I solemnly declare that I have never received one item of instruction from these men and from the Council of Apostles that did not breathe words of life, words of encouragement, words of loyalty and devotion to every element of true manhood.

The Gospel is true. The angel of God spoken of by the prophet of old has flown through the midst of heaven, "having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell upon the earth, to every nation, kindred, tongue and people." Upon the head of this man (pointing to President Joseph F. Smith ) and his associates today lies the responsibility of seeing to it that every child of our Father within reach shall hear that witness and accept or reject it. My witness before you is that God has spoken, that His truth is established, and that His Church is in the world. God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, have spoken to man in this dispensation. The key has been turned and the work is in motion.

The Gospel we have embraced is the truth. It came from the Master. It has been sent to renovate the world, to re-establish among mankind the living faith which had so largely departed from the breasts of the human family, and to bring them to a comprehension of the responsibilities they owe to the Divine Master. Nothing can stay its progress. You and I may fall by the wayside; we may lack the fortitude and faith to endure and fulfil our part; but the work itself has gone on from the day the announcement was made of the administration of heavenly beings, and it will continue in its onward march until every nation, kindred, tongue, and people throughout the universe shall hear the glad tidings of great joy, and have the privilege of accepting or rejecting the same in the exercise of the agency our Father has given to them.

I bear you my testimony to the truth of the Gospel, and the mission of Joseph Smith; to the mission of his associates that stood around him and were true to him; to the mission of Brigham Young, who was faithful, earnest, devoted and of a heroic mould, and who, had he not been of such type, would have failed in the great mission that was given him; honoring and esteeming in his life's ministry that heroic man whose blood mingled with the Prophet's in Carthage jail, John Taylor; true to that humble and earnest advocate of the principles of the Gospel, one of the most successful that ever preached it in the world, Wilford Woodruff; and to that upright man of the Lord, Lorenzo Snow, who presided in righteousness over this people. And I will not in any degree slacken in my allegiance and respect for the man (President Joseph F. Smith) who stands at our head today. No truer man ever breathed the breath of life. No man has ever been more willing to stand up for the principles of justice and mercy. No man has been more loyal in preaching the principles of his faith. No man is more ready today to discharge that high responsibility and fulfil every obligation. I bear witness to this work. I know that it is from the Lord, that it has come to stay, that it will continue to spread and increase in the world, and that it will become the joy of the whole earth.

Orson Hyde

I cannot but express my gratitude to God that I am a member of that Church which is everywhere spoken against, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am thankful to God, my Heavenly Father, that He has revealed the everlasting Gospel in its fulness, and made me, as well as many of you, the honored instruments to proclaim it to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, wherever our lots may be cast.

Of all people upon the face of the whole earth, none have so great reason to be thankful as we. We are brought into the school of Christ to be instructed in the laws, spirit, and policy of His kingdom.

Many of you will bear in mind that at our last Conference, six months ago, many of the speakers bore powerful testimony to the truth and certainty of the cause in which we are engaged; and you will also recollect that I told you then that that testimony would seriously affect all nations and people—that it would be felt throughout the entire world—that it would be borne by an invisible hand, and its influence, like the frosts of autumn, blight the growing and flourishing prospects of all political and worldly schemes and enterprises. Contemplate now, through the glass of the public newspapers and journals, the condition of the nations of Europe, of Asia, and of America! Our own favored land is in commotion. The political elements are heavily charged with electricity, and the lowering storm-clouds are gathering in our horizon, threatening to avenge  the blood of martyred Prophets and Apostles, and the inhumanity and cruelty practiced upon the Saints of God. None of those things are forgotten. They are written with imperishable characters in the memory of this people, and their cries and their prayers have transmitted them to the sacred records above, to be answered in their behalf by storms, by tempests, by whirlwinds, by earthquakes, by famines, by the sword, and also by flames of devouring fire. The testimony of the servants of God forcibly reminds me of a certain class of men spoken of in the Revelation of St. John, who overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. When our testimony goes forth we cannot always tell exactly where it may take effect; but we know that it will not return void. It must fall somewhere. It is like the seeds plants and flowers, which are often carried high in the air and wafted on the breeze to a remote distance; yet the laws of gravity will ultimately compel them to a resting place, where their effects may be seen.

For me to testify to you that "Mormonism" is true—to declare destiny and final triumph—would be like telling you that the sun shines. It is something that you see, and consequently know; yet it is not at all likely that the sun now shines in the eyes of all people. Hence I volunteer my testimony. You may regard it in the light of a ship-of-war taking in her shot and shells at a home port, that are designed to batter down an enemy's wall on a foreign shore.
What is called "Mormonism" by the world is the fulness of the everlasting Gospel—the truth of God—the only way of salvation for all people to whom it is made known or in any way declared. Hear it, all ye people! "Mormonism" will win its way through the world, and triumph in the face of any and all opposition. There is a God that never sleeps, an eye that never slumbers, and an arm that never becomes feeble. This God is our God, and through our agency He has decreed the triumph of His cause. "Fear not, little flock; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." There is no man on earth, no people on earth, no nation on earth, no kindred or  tongue on earth, or the whole combined, that raises the hand or voice against the kingdom of God or its policy as now established, but that will be rejected of God, dishonored of men, and go to ruin with the wrath of Heaven upon them.

Having the spirit of our calling, we wax bold in our testimony. When a few more Conferences shall have been held by this people, compare the coming history of nations with this my testimony, and you will be satisfied that I now tell you the truth. First and foremost, I will briefly allude to some aspirants to office and honors in the Church of which we are members. There have been aspirants to the Presidency of this Church ever since the death of Joseph Smith, and even before. I have read the writings of every aspirant to the presiding Priesthood in this Church since the days of Joseph the Prophet. I have marked their cold, dry, technical, husky and spiritless reasonings from the Book of Mormon, from the Doctrine and Covenants, Bible, etc. I have never discovered one burst of the Spirit of God in all their claims or publications.

Who ever read Brigham Young's writings in which he has to establish his right and claim to the Presidency of the Church? No one. God pleads His own cause through Brigham Young, because he obeys Him; but man has to plead the cause of man who is sordid, illiberal, murmuring, and corrupt.

Speaking of the return journey to Winter Quarters from the Salt Lake Valley, during which the Apostles conversed on the subject of reorganizing the First Presidency, and of the meeting of the Council held December 5, 1847, at which Brigham Young was unanimously sustained as President of the Church, Elder Hyde says:

We were in prayer and council, communing together; and what took place on that occasion? The voice of God came from on high, and spake to the Council. Every latent feeling was aroused, and every heart melted. What did it say unto us? "Let my servant Brigham step forth and receive the full power of the Presiding Priesthood in my Church and kingdom." This was the voice of the Almighty unto us at Council Bluffs, before I removed to what was called Kanesville. It has been said  by some that Brigham Young was appointed by the people, and not by the voice of God. I do not know that this testimony has often, if ever, been given to the masses of the people before; but I am one that was present, and there are others here that were also present on that occasion, and did hear and feel the voice from heaven, and we were filled with the power of God. This is my testimony; these are my declarations unto the Saints—unto the members of the kingdom of God in the last days, and to all people.

We said nothing about the matter in those times, but men, women, and children came running together where we were, and asked what was the matter. They said that their houses shook, and the ground trembled and they did not know but that there was an earthquake. We told them that there was nothing the matter—not to be alarmed; the Lord was only whispering to us a little, and that He was probably not very far off. We felt no shaking of the earth or of the house, but we were filled with the exceeding power and goodness of God. We knew and realized that we had the testimony of God within us.

A general Conference of the Church on the Missouri was held December 24 to 27, 1847, on the Iowa side of the Missouri River. On the last day of this Conference the First Presidency—Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards—chosen by the Apostles on the fifth of the month, were unanimously sustained by the vote of the Saints.

(That is Vox Dei, vox populi.) Yes, the voice of God was the voice of the people. Brigham Young went right ahead, silently to do the work of the Lord, and to feed His sheep, and take care of them like a faithful shepherd, leaving all vain aspirants to quarrel and contend about lineal descent, right, power, and authority. I bear testimony unto you that the priesthood has been given to man, that "whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." I rejoice in the truth, and I bear my testimony that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of the true and living God. I bear my testimony that Brigham Young, the President of the Church, is a man of God, and that he is carrying on the work that Joseph Smith   began. I know that the Gospel which we have received and which is called "Mormonism" is the truth of God; He has spoken and I know it, because I have heard His voice, and know the voice of the Good Shepherd, and am thankful that I have felt His power. Hear it, ye people! Hear it, ye that mock at the authority of God, and remember that I have declared and borne testimony that the kingdom of God has come nigh unto you.

Parley P. Pratt

Twenty-six years ago, the coming summer, mine eyes glanced over the Book of Mormon, and I afterwards heard the voice of the servant of the Lord and enjoyed the smiles and the blessings of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum, and received under their hands and those of Oliver Cowdery the Priesthood, or a portion of it, and the keys and powers of the same, they having received it by the ministering of angels, to be carried to all the people of the earth; and at that time all the people in this Church, upon the face of the earth, could have been assembled in the vestry of the Tabernacle without being much crowded.

Nor have I been disappointed in my hopes since I embraced the Gospel. After twenty-six years of progress—progressive fulfilment of the things spoken by the Redeemer to the Nephites, and the things written by his commandment and brought forth unto us, I not only believe but I realize and know by the Spirit of the Lord as well as a man knows anything that he sees or hears, and better too, for a man might be deceived in seeing or in hearing, but I know these things by the light that reflects on the understanding, and in which there is no mistake, nor deception; by that I know that the work is true and that Joseph Smith, the translator, and the restorer of the Priesthood upon the earth, was a Prophet and an Apostle of Jesus Christ—a restorer, raised up according to that which is written, to bring back and commit unto the person appointed, those covenants, those keys, those ordinances, that Gospel and plan of salvation which were had in old times, but   which had been suspended and lost from the enjoyment of the people; I say that he was such, I had a knowledge and an understanding.

He was only about twenty-four or twenty-five years old when I first met him, and I became intimately acquainted with him and his brothers, and with his father's house, and I remained so, as far as I was not separated by foreign mission, until his death; and I do know and bear testimony that he lived and that he died an Apostle and Prophet of Jesus Christ? And from the day of his death, or long before that until the present, I have been intimately acquainted and associated with the Apostles of this Church and Kingdom under all circumstances, whether in sickness or in health, whether in the midst of life or in death, whether in prosperity or adversity, whether abounding or suffering want; whether by sea or land; whether in the midst of peace or mobs and oppression. And do I not know that President Young and his Counselors and the other Apostles associated with him in the Church, hold the keys of salvation? That they hold that authority which administers life and salvation to the obedient and the humble, and which to reject is condemnation, wherever it exists, to every soul of man upon the earth? Yes, I do know it, and I do this day bear testimony of it, and of that glorious Gospel in its fulness which was restored to the earth twenty-six years ago, that filled my heart with joy and charity and love for my fellow-men, and with a desire to do good, and to impart the truth as it is revealed.

I bear testimony that Joseph Smith and the witnesses of the Book of Mormon were, and, as far as they held out faithful, are men of God, holding the keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which is calculated to lead the people out from the iniquity and abominations of this lower world; and that their successors, the Apostles, your President and his Counselors, received the keys under the hands of the Prophet Joseph and holding the keys of a dispensation which will never come to an end, for although all other institutions on the earth will come to an end, this will stand forever.

Orson Pratt

A message of simple truth, when sent from God—when published by divine authority, through divinely inspired men—penetrates the mind like a sharp two-edged sword, and cuts asunder the deeply-rooted prejudices, the iron-bound sinews of ancient error and tradition, made sacred by age and rendered popular by human wisdom. It severs with undeviating exactness between truth and falsehood—between the doctrines of Christ and the doctrines of men; it levels with the most perfect ease every argument that human learning may array against it. Opinions, creeds invented by uninspired men, and doctrines originated in schools of divinity, all vanish like the morning dew—all sink into insignificance when compared with a message direct from heaven. Such a message shines upon the understanding like the splendors of the noon-day sun; it whispers in the ears of mortals, saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it." Certainty and assurance are its constant companions; it is entirely unlike all plans or systems ever invented by human authority, it has no alliance, connection, or fellowship with any of them; it speaks with divine authority, and all nations, without exception, are required to obey. He that receives the message and endures to the end will be saved; but he that rejects it will be damned. It matters not what his former righteousness may have been—none can be excused.
Oh, what a wide and marked difference between the religion of Joseph Smith and that of the Protestant and Catholic religions—between his authority and that of the sectarian divines!

Joseph Smith's doctrine is reasonable, scriptural, perfect and infallible in all its precepts, commands, ordinances, promises, blessings, and gifts. In his organization of the church, no officer mentioned in the New Testament organization is omitted. Inspired apostles and prophets are considered as necessary as pastors, teachers, or any other officer.

Joseph Smith's account of the restoration of the Gospel by an angel—of his taking out of the ground the sacred records of the tribe of Joseph—of their subsequent translation by the gift of God—and of the great western continent's being given to a remnant of Joseph, where they have grown into a multitude of nations, are all events clearly predicted by the ancient Jewish apostles and prophets, together with the minute circumstances connected therewith. The times and seasons in which these events should transpire, and the purpose which they should accomplish are also plainly foretold. Joseph Smith presents the world with the fulfilment at the predicted time—in the predicted manner—and for the predicted purpose as anciently specified.

Joseph Smith incorporates in his mission the gathering of the Saints out of Babylon, and every other predicted event that was to characterize the great preparatory dispensation for the second advent of our Lord.

The revelation of the Book of Mormon, pointed out the location of many ancient cities, the ruins of which were subsequently discovered by Catherwood and Stephens—the direct and palpable fulfilment of many of the prophecies of Joseph Smith, which no human sagacity could have foreseen, all natural appearances and circumstances being entirely against their expected fulfilment—the raising up of numerous other witnesses who also testify to the ministering of angels and the manifestations of the power of God confirmatory of this message—the performance of many splendid miracles by Joseph Smith and his followers, and the bold unequivocal promise of the miraculous gifts to all who should believe and embrace this message, are all evidences such as no impostor ever has given, or ever can give; they are evidences such as will prove the salvation of every creature that receives the message, and the damnation of every one that rejects it.

And I now bear testimony to all, both small and great, that the Lord of Hosts has sent us with a message of glad tidings—the everlasting Gospel, to cry repentance to the nations, and prepare the way of His second coming.

Orson Withney

"Mormonism" is no mere nineteenth century religion; it is not merely a religion of time. It is the religion of the eternities, and has come down from the presence of Jehovah, as the preordained plan for the salvation of the children of men. It has been upon the earth many times in a series of dispensations, and this great and crowning Gospel dispensation has been introduced for the purpose of binding together all the dispensations, welding the present and the past, and preparing the world for still greater things in the future.

When and where did the Gospel originate? I know of no better explanation than that given by the Prophet Joseph Smith, who said:

"In the beginning, God finding Himself in the midst of spirits and glory, because He was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest might advance like Himself."

We learn from this, that the Gospel—now called Mormonism—which comprises and codifies those laws that were instituted of God in the beginning, was framed before the world was created; that it is the means of man's progression, both in time and in eternity—the ladder up which all must climb who attain to exaltation. Adam's fall was a step downward, but it was also a step forward—a step in the eternal march of human progress; and it is by means of this everlasting Gospel, and our own individual efforts in making use of the powers that God has given us, that we lay hold upon eternal life, and go on to perfection.

This being true, is it reasonable to suppose that God would  wait six thousand years before revealing to His children for the first time the plan of salvation? Is it reasonable that He would wait four thousand years, or even two thousand years, before He gave to man a knowledge of the Redeemer who was to come? Would it not be a waste of time? Why not let Father Adam and Mother Eve know? Why not give them the joy of knowing that a Savior had been provided, in anticipation of their fall, and that they and their posterity were heirs to salvation, through the atonement of Jesus Christ?

"Mormonism" declares that this was done; that Adam and Eve had the Gospel revealed to them before the coming of Christ; that they were baptized for the remission of their sins, and received the Holy Ghost. By their faith in the Redeemer, whose coming Adam symbolized by erecting an altar and offering a lamb thereon—by virtue of Christ's atonement, and their obedience to the principles of faith, repentance, baptism and all other things that God required of them, they were redeemed from the fall. They had to wait for the resurrection of their bodies, but did not have to wait for some one to be baptized for them. They were baptized in person, not vicariously. There will be enough of that kind of work, without the elect being added to the list. It will take a thousand years to redeem the dead for whom we build temples and officiate. But some men and women, all down the ages, have had the Gospel, and have been redeemed by their obedience to it here, in this life. They do not need the vicarious work that will have to be done for perhaps millions of our race who never heard the name of Jesus Christ. Mormonism tells us that Adam, bowed with age, blessed his posterity, and predicted what should befall them to the latest generation. The relationship between that first and this last Gospel dispensation is shown in the fact that Adam is to come again, as the Ancient of Days; that he will call his children before him, and perform a great part in the winding up scene, in binding his dispensation to this dispensation, which is destined to swallow up the others, even as the ocean swallows up the rivers and the streams.

After Adam's day, when the world had departed from God, a dispensation of the Gospel was given to Enoch. He built a city called Zion, which was redeemed and sanctified by principles that we, as a Church, have received, but to the perfect practice of which we have not yet attained. We falter, some of us, in the presence of the law of tithing. What shall we do when the greater law comes—the law of consecration, when our all will be required for the building up of the Zion of God, of which the City of Enoch was but a type, a symbol, a foreshadowing, the lesser coming before the greater, pointing out and preparing the way?

To Noah, also, came a dispensation of the Gospel. In his day the earth was baptized with water, prefiguring the baptism of fire, which our planet is destined to undergo, prior to its glorification. "For as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man."

Abraham also had the Gospel revealed to him; and what was the part he played? What is the relationship between his dispensation and our dispensation? God said to him, "In thee and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." That promise was fulfilled in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ through the lineage of Abraham; but it was also fulfilled in the scattering among all nations of the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, preparatory to the great gathering in the latter days, when they are to be brought from the four parts of the earth, to build up Zion, and make ready for the second coming of the Messiah.

Next came Moses, standing at the head of a Gospel dispensation, holding the keys to the gathering of Israel. He bestows those keys upon the Prophet Joseph Smith, in order that he may begin the work of the gathering, bringing to God all who will come: the Jew, the Gentile, and the Israelite from among the Gentiles. All who will do the works of Abraham are counted with the children of Abraham, justified by their faith and obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the meridian of time the Savior made His mortal advent, choosing twelve Apostles to preach the Gospel upon the eastern hemisphere, and after His resurrection, appearing to the Nephites in America, and choosing twelve among them to preach the Gospel to this part of the world.

Eighteen hundred years later dawns the great and last dispensation, the dispensation of the fulness of times. "Mormonism," with the Bible in one hand and the Book of Mormon in the other, is reaping the results of all the work done by servants of God in past ages. It avails itself of all the good that has been accumulated by the human race, not only by prophets and apostles, but by poets, philosophers, inventors, discoverers—all the good and wise teachers of Christendom and heathendom. It seeks after and makes use of all that is pure, wise, virtuous, and praiseworthy; and by the learning of the past, and the revelations of the present, proposes to erect a monument to the honor and glory of God that shall endure throughout the endless ages of the future.
The Gospel designs to save all men, but it will save them upon the principles of eternal justice, every man according to his works. There is a glory of the sun, a glory of the moon, and a glory of the stars, and even as the stars differ in magnitude, so will it be in the resurrection of the dead. The only class of human beings who need fear that there is no salvation for them, are those who have received the Gospel in its fulness, who have been given every key and passport to eternal glory—the power to be exalted to the highest estate of which intelligence is capable, and then have thrown it all away, trampling it under foot as a thing of naught and denying what they know to be true. All others can be saved, because all others can repent. Men can be forgiven as long as they have the power to repent.

But some will not repent until they pass into another world, where those spirits went whose bodies were drowned by the deluge in the days of Noah. In these days, a great principle, that of salvation for the dead, has been revealed. This is the welding link that will bind together the dispensations—the child to the parents—the present to the past. Can you think of anything that would turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, or the hearts of the children to the fathers, more effectually than a principle of this kind. "Mormonism" deals with the past, the  present, and the future. It proposes to save all who are willing to be saved. It will save even the damned, after they have paid their eternal debt; but these cannot be saved with the fulness of God's glory.

"Mormonism" is not an enemy to the human race; it is not an enemy to the Gentiles. We do not recognize the word "Gentile" as an opprobrious term, though some of our outside friends take umbrage at it, as if we were trying to fling at them an unsavory epithet. What is the meaning of "Gentile"? The word springs from "gentills," which means of a clan, a family, a race, a nation. In the days of the Jewish commonwealth, Gentile simply meant one who was not a Jew; in the early ages of the Christian Church, it meant one who was not a Christian, and in these times it designates one who is not a Latter-day Saint.

The Gentiles are the children of Japheth, while the Israelites are descended from Shem, through Abraham. Ephraim, from whom most of us claim lineal descent, has been mixed with the Gentiles, and is now being gathered out from the midst of them. The Gospel, when the Jews rejected it, went to the Gentiles; God wanted to save them. Cornelius, a righteous man, was a Gentile, and upon him and other Gentiles the Holy Ghost was poured out, even before baptism. The Gentiles of today are the nations of modern Europe, and this great nation of which we form a part. Columbus was a Gentile, moved upon by the Spirit of God to discover America—the land of Zion; Washington was a Gentile, who carved out with the sword of patriotism our independence. They were Gentiles who founded this government, the mightiest and most beneficent upon which the sun shines. God tells us in the Book of Mormon that the Gentile nations shall be mighty in His eyes in carrying forth the children of Israel to the lands of their inheritance. He declares further that if the Gentiles will, they shall come into the Church, partake of the blessings of the Gospel, and help the House of Israel to build the New Jerusalem, preparatory to the glorious coming of the Son of God. The blessing of Noah upon Japheth was, "God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem." We are not the enemies of the Gentiles, we are not the foes of the human race; our mission is friendship, peace, and good-will; our work is to preserve and bind together all that is good, both past and present, and to labor for the consummation of Christ's work in the great and wonderful future. May God speed His cause, keep us steadfast in the truth, in lifting up an ensign of peace to the nations, and in preaching to all the world the Gospel of salvation, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

David O. Mc Kay

Just above the pulpit in the meeting house where, as a boy, I attended Sunday services, there hung for many years a large photograph of the late President John Taylor, and under it, in what I thought were gold letters, this phrase, "The Kingdom of God or Nothing." The sentiment impressed me as a mere child years before I understood its real significance. I seemed to realize at that early date that there is no other Church or organization that approaches the perfection or possesses the Divinity that characterizes the Church of Jesus Christ. As a child, I felt this intuitively; in youth, I became thoroughly convinced of it; and today I treasure it as a firm conviction of my soul.

Another truth that I have cherished from childhood is that God is a personal Being, and is, indeed, our Father whom we can approach in prayer, and receive answers thereto. I cherish as one of the dearest experiences in life the knowledge that God hears the prayer of faith. It is true that the answer may not come as direct and at the time or in the manner we anticipate; but it comes, and at a time and in a manner best for the interests of him who offers the supplication. On more than one occasion, I have received direct and immediate assurances that my petition was granted. At one time, particularly, the answer came as distinctly as though my Father stood by my side and spoke the words. These experiences are part of my being and must remain so as long as memory and intelligence last. They have taught me that "Heaven is never deaf but when man's heart is dumb."

Just as real and just as close to me seems the Savior of the world. He is God made manifest in the flesh; and I know that "There is no other name given under heaven whereby mankind may be saved."

I have an abiding testimony that the Father and the Son appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and revealed through him the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is indeed "The power of God unto salvation." I know, too, that a knowledge of the truth of the Gospel may be obtained only through obedience to the principles thereof. In other words, the best way to know the truth of any principle is to live it. Such is the way marked out by the Savior when He said, "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself."

The divinity of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is shown in its organization as well as in its teachings. Godhood, Brotherhood, Service—these three guiding principles in the Christ life permeate all our Church activity.

I love the work. I love the brethren who preside over it; for they are faithful and true men, performing their many duties under the inspiration of the Almighty.

In conclusion, I desire to testify to another thing, viz.: The Lord is not only guiding His Church, but overruling the destiny of nations, preparatory to the preaching of the Gospel to every "nation, kindred, tongue and people." Dreadful as are the perilous conditions in war-torn countries to-day, we may rest assured that out of it all will come better opportunities for the honest men and women of the world to hear the "Glad tidings of great joy" as heralded again in this the last and greatest of all dispensations. Out of the darkness now brooding over the nations, made more gloomy and terrible by the thunderings and tempests of war and bloodshed, will come the dawn of that long expected day, when "peace and good will" will reign over all the earth.

Upon the Latter-day Saints rests the responsibility of preaching the true Gospel of peace to mankind. O may we be equal to this responsibility!

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 May 2010 19:17  

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