Trust in the Living GodBy President John Taylor President of the Church General Conference – October, 1884
If the congregation will endeavor to preserve as much order as possible, and prevent the crying and disturbance of children, I will try and address you for a short time. Last evening I made quite a lengthy address in this hall; but we had very good order. There was no whispering, no talking, nor disturbance of any kind. It requires, in a large congregation like this, quite an exertion to speak so as to make the people hear. I am told that the people could not hear half of what was said by several of the brethren yesterday. It is wrong for us to have disorder in the house of God, a place where we meet for instruction.
DESIGN OF GOD IN RELATION TO THE EARTH AND ITS INHABITANTS
Last evening I talked of some matters of considerable importance to the Priesthood, of which there was an immense number present; they nearly filled this hall. I wish to continue some of these remarks; for it is necessary that all of us should be instructed in the great principles which God has revealed for the guidance, salvation and exaltation of the Saints of God, and also for the benefit of the world wherein we live. There were very many promises made to eminent men in generations long since past; but these generally had reference more particularly to the benefit of the world of mankind than to individuals.
There were certain great principles involved in the organization of this earth, and one was that there might be a place provided whereon the children of our Heavenly Father could live and propagate their species, and have bodies formed for the spirits to inhabit who were the children of God; for we are told that He is the God and Father of the spirits of all flesh. It was requisite, therefore, that an earth should be organized; it was requisite that man should be placed upon it; it was requisite that bodies should be prepared for those spirits to inhabit, in order that the purposes of God pertaining to His progeny might be accomplished, and that those spirits might be enabled, through the medium of the everlasting Gospel, to return unto the presence of their Heavenly Father, as Gods among the Gods.
POWER OF SATAN
There have been different agencies at work throughout this world’s history. Lucifer has been and is one of these agencies. There was a garden planted, and Adam and Eve were placed in it, and there they had communion with God. There was another being whose name was Lucifer, who is called in some places, “the son of the morning.” Job speaks of a time at the creation of this earth when “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy,” (Job xxxviii, 7). As it was necessary that there should be a God, a man, an earth and a heaven, it was also necessary that there should be a devil, that man might be tried, and by trial be instructed. Indeed, in the economy of God, it was not only necessary that man, but the Savior also should be perfected by suffering. It is written: “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews, ii, 10.) It was further necessary that there should be a Redeemer according to the plan which was devised from before the foundation of the world, and also that man might be a free agent to act and operate for himself, to receive the good and reject the evil, or reject the good and be governed by the evil. And there were certain rewards promised to those who would obey the laws of God, and keep his commandments, and certain punishments inflicted upon those who would not. Satan has made very great ravages among the human family in trying to accomplish his purposes; for he has been the enemy of God, and the enemy of man, and in ages past he wrought upon mankind until after a certain period he had contrived to get the great majority of them on his side.
Nevertheless, they had the Priesthood among them in those early days as we have among us to-day. After Adam there were Seth, Enos, Mahalaleel, Methusaleh, Lamech, and a great many others until we arrive at Enoch and Noah, who operated especially in behalf of the interest of the human family. They preached the Gospel as we preach it, and taught the same principles that we teach. They gathered the people to a Zion as we gather them, and when they had been gathered together, they had enemies as we have, who arrayed themselves against them. But Enoch was clothed upon with the power of God. He walked with God for 365 years, and, we are told, “he was not, for God took him.” That is about all that is said about him in the Bible; but we have other information. Many others walked with God, and there was a city that the people were gathered to–a Zion. They walked with God and they were instructed of the Lord; but it took at any rate, 365 years to accomplish this object.
THE TWO ZIONS
Furthermore, in the latter days there is to be a Zion built up: but in these days we are told that the Lord will cut His work short in righteousness. Enoch, in his day, had his messengers go forth among the people, and when they gathered, it induced the rage of man, and great armies assembled against the Saints, but Enoch prophesied by the power of God, and the earth shook and the mountains trembled, and the enemies of the Saints in fear fled afar off. By and by when the time came for the accomplishment of the purposes of God, and before the destruction of the wicked, Enoch was caught up to heaven and his Zion with him. And we are told in latter revelation in relation to these matters that a Zion will be built up in our day; that great trouble will overtake the inhabitants of the earth; and that when the time arrives, the Zion that was caught up will descend, and the Zion that will be organized here will ascend, both possessed of the same spirit, their peoples having been preserved by the power of God according to His purposes and as His children, to take part in the events of the latter days. We are told that when the people of these two Zions meet, they will fall on each other’s necks, and embrace and kiss each other.
As they in that day were placed under the guidance of the Almighty, so are we. As they had a work to perform associated with the welfare of the human family, so have we. As they had the Gospel to preach, so have we. As they had a Zion to build up, so have we. As they needed the support of the Great Jehovah, so do we. As they were dependent upon Him in all their movements, whether in relation to earth or heaven, so are we. The work in which we are engaged is one that has been introduced by the Great Eloheim, the God and Father of the human family, in the interests of His children. And wherever and whenever these principles have existed, this same being that was in the garden with our first parents still goes forth and has gone forth as a raging lion, seeking whom he may deceive, seeking whom he may devour, seeking whom he may lead down to death.
WHAT IS REQUIRED OF THE SAINTS
And in these latter days God has introduced these same principles with the same object in view. He has revealed the same principles of heaven, and as heretofore, in the interest of humanity. Who was Enoch? Was he a man of God? Yes. Who were the Elders with him, were they men of God? Yes; and they received their instructions in that Zion that was then built up, and more or less directly from God; for Enoch walked with God. Whom was Enoch operating for? For God his heavenly Father. He was there, as Jesus was on the earth in his time, as he said, not to do His own will, but the will of his Father who sent him. And whom did those people operate for? They operated for the welfare of the human family who would receive the truth and be governed by it. And whom did Jesus and His Apostles in their day operate for? For the benefit of all the world. Jesus Himself appeared as the Redeemer of the world, and He commissioned His Apostles 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.”
What is this salvation and condemnation? That would take a long time to tell. Suffice it to say that there are bodies celestial, bodies terrestrial, and bodies telestial; one glory of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars; but straight was the gate and narrow was the way that led unto the lives, and few there were at that time and few there have always been who have gone in thereat. And what was it that they sought? It was the Celestial Kingdom of our God, that they might come forth in the first resurrection and be one with the Father and one with Jesus, and belong to the Church of the First Born whose names are written in heaven, and become Gods among the Gods, and participate in all the glory of the Celestial Kingdom. But few there were who found the narrow path. It is so to day.
Were the Apostles of Jesus commanded to preach the Gospel? Yes. Are we commanded as they were? Yes. What was the position of the Apostles? They were simply messengers of life and salvation to a fallen world. What are the First Presidency, the Twelve, the High Priests, the Seventies, and the Elders to day? What are they? Bearers of life and salvation to a fallen world, the messengers of God to men, the legatees of the skies commissioned by the Great Jehovah to introduce the principles of eternal life, and gather in his elect from the four quarters of the earth, and to prepare them for an exaltation in the celestial kingdom of God. And what becomes of those who choose the other path? They are still God’s children, and He feels interested in them. What will He do with them? They will be judged according to the deeds done in the body, and according to the light and intelligence which God communicates to them.
Then there is another glory a telestial glory. Those who enter into that glory will also be judged according to their deeds and be rewarded according to their acts. We are told of others who will suffer the wrath of God, and in the revelations given to us we learn that eternal punishment is God’s punishment, that everlasting punishment is God’s punishment, for He is eternal, and He is everlasting. We are informed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah suffered the vengeance of eternal fire. We are told, too, that the inhabitants of the antediluvian world who were destroyed because of their wickedness, were shut up in prison and they remained there for a long, long time. How long? We read that Jesus, who was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, went and preached to the Spirits in prison which were sometime disobedient when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah. How long had these people been there? At a rough guess about 2,400 years. It was quite a painful ordeal to go through. It is one that none of us would like very much. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God–a fearful thing to violate His laws.
We have gathered here that we may learn those laws, the laws of God, the laws of life, and prepare ourselves under His guidance for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God. But are all the Latter-day Saints going into that kingdom? No. How is that? It is just as Jesus declared. “It is not every one that sayeth Lord, Lord, that will enter into the Kingdom of God, but he that doeth the will of the Father who is in heaven.” Did Jesus come to do the will of His Father in heaven? He did, and He expects all who aim at Celestial glory to do the same, and if they do not they will not get there. He says, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?” And He will say unto them, “Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, I know you not, you have not lived as becometh Saints.” Oh, say some, that don’t mean the Saints. No, it don’t, but it means many who profess to be Saints. Do the world profess to cast out devils, to heal the sick and to do many mighty works? They do not. Do the world prophesy in His name? No. Do the world preach in the name of God? They preach in His name, many of them, without having the authority, as we have heard at this conference; but they do not propose to do many mighty works in His name, but many of our Elders do–Elders who magnify their calling and honor their God. On the other hand there are Elders who are careless, wayward and rebellious against God and His laws–who seek to trample under foot the principles that He has revealed–who seek to set themselves up to guide, direct, and manipulate the affairs of the Church and Kingdom of God, and yet these same persons know nothing but what they know naturally, as do the brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed; and we none of us know anything only as God instructs us. We are indebted to Him for the introduction of this work, and for all the information pertaining thereto. It has been from no man nor set of men, nor organizations of a professed spiritual or temporal nature, that we have received intelligence pertaining to the things of God, the Church of God, or the Kingdom of God. It has come directly from the Lord, through the Gospel of the Son of God, which brings life and immortality to light; and if men think–and we every once in a while meet with such characters–they know better than the Lord how to manipulate affairs they will find out their mistake. The Lord will say to them, “Depart from me, I never knew you;” for it is not every one that sayeth Lord, Lord, that shall enter into the Kingdom of God, but He that doeth the will of our Father in Heaven.
Hence there is a great work for us to do. There is something comprehensive in it. It is indeed the dispensation of the fullness of times spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world was. It relates to the interests of men that now live: it relates to the interests of men who have lived, and it relates to things that are yet in the future. It is a thing in which the Gods in the eternal worlds are interested, and all the ancient Patriarch and Prophets that have lived upon the earth are all interested in the work in which we are engaged.
A PRIESTHOOD IN THE HEAVENS, AS WELL AS ON THE EARTH
There is a Priesthood in the heavens, and we have the same Priesthood on the earth, but there should be a closer communion between the Priesthood on the earth and the Priesthood in the heavens; it is desirable that we should be brought into closer proximity, we want to be advancing as Enoch advanced. After the appearance of Jesus upon the earth, there was to be a certain power who would make war with the Saints and prevail against them; and it is said, “they shall be given into His hands until a time and times and the dividing of time:” (Daniel vii, 25:) but in this day we are told that “the Saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever,” (18 verse). You and I may violate our covenants; you and I may trample upon the principles of the Gospel, and violate the order of the Priesthood and the commands of God; but among the hosts of Israel there will be thousands and tens of thousands who will be true to the principles of truth, and God in the heavens, the holy angels and the ancient Priesthood that now live where God lives are all united together, for the accomplishment of this purpose. The Lord will roll forth His purposes in His own way and in His own time. And having thus organized, as I before stated, it is not for us to act as we may think individually, but as God shall dictate.
DUTIES OF THE PRIESTHOOD
We have a regular order in the Church. You brethren, who hold the holy Priesthood, understand these things. Has God not given to every man a portion of His Spirit to profit withal? Yes. Has He not done more than this to the saints who are true and faithful? Has He not given to them the gift of the Holy Ghost? He has, and they know it and realize it. They are brought into communion with each other, and into communion with God and the heavenly hosts. But having this Spirit do we need others to guide us? Yes, all the time. Why? Because of the powers of darkness, the influence of Satan and the weakness of human nature. We need watchmen upon the towers of Zion, who are on the alert to look after the interests of Israel, and see that God’s people do not go astray. Hence it becomes the duty of the Teachers to look after the people, to see that there is no hard feeling, no covetousness, no fraud, no adultery, no iniquity of any kind; but that purity, holiness and righteousness prevail among those that they preside over.
And how far does this extend? To every place where there is a ward or a portion of a ward–to the utmost extremity. It may be compared unto the body–from the head to the feet, from the toes to the fingers, and to every other part. All the officers necessary for the work of the ministry are to be found in the Church, and everything has been organized according to the order of God. Are any of these men who are called to presiding positions autocrats–men who exercise undue authority over the feelings and associations of their fellow man? No. Have any of them the right to disregard the feelings of their brethren, trample them under foot, and act as tyrants? No. Have the Apostles, or High Priests, or Seventies, or Elders, any such right? No.
Brother Cannon will read an extract from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, on this question.
(President George Q. Cannon then read as follows from Section 121, of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants–)
“Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
“Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson–
“That the rights of the Priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principle of righteousness.
“That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control, or dominion, or compulsion, upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the Priesthood, or the authority of that man.
“Behold! ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks; to persecute the Saints, and to fight against God.
“We have learned, by sad experience, that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
“Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the Priesthood, only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness, and meekness, and by love unfeigned.
“By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.
“Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy.
“That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
“Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly, then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God, and the doctrine of the Priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy sceptre an unchanging sceptre of righteousness and truth, and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee for ever and ever.”
(President Taylor continuing his remarks said:)
We have many specimens of the characters referred to in this revelation read by Brother Cannon. These things continue to exist more or less. Some people are very desirous sometimes to instruct me about how I ought to manipulate and manage affairs. Well, if they were set as my instructors I should be much pleased to get all the information I could from them, and I would be pleased to get information from the humblest person in existence–if it was information. Among other things I find that a good many begin to think that we are very much persecuted and proscribed in our marital relations, according to the revelations which God has given us, and there is sometimes a little trembling in the knees. I am pleased there is not much of it, but there is a little once in a while. Sometimes I get advice from outsiders, from the newspapers, etc., and sometimes from some of our brethren, (but from very few of our brethren) in relation to these matters.
God has given us a revelation in regard to celestial marriage. I did not make it. He has told us certain things pertaining to this matter, and they would like us to tone that principle down and change it and make it applicable to the views of the day. This we cannot do; nor can we interfere with any of the commands of God to meet the persuasions or behests of men. I cannot do it, and will not do it.
I find some men try to twist round the principle in any way and every way they can. They want to sneak out of it in some way. Now God don’t want any kind of sycophancy like that. He expects that we will be true to Him, and to the principles He has developed, and to feel as Job did–“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” Though other folks would slay us, yet we will trust in the living God and be true to our covenants and to our God. These are my feelings in relation to that matter. We have also been told that “it is not mete that men who will not abide my law shall preside over my Priesthood,” and yet some people would like very much to do it. Well, they cannot do it; because if we are here, as I said before, to do the will of our Father who sent us, and He has told us what to do, we will do it, in the name of Israel’s God–and all who sanction it say Amen–[the vast congregation responded with a loud “Amen.”]–and those that don’t may say what they please. [Laughter.] If God has introduced something for our glory and exaltation, we are not going to have that kicked over by any improper influence, either inside or outside of the Church of the living God. We will stand by the principles of eternal truth; living we will proclaim them, and dying we will be true to them, and after death will live again in their enjoyment in the eternal worlds.
That is my feeling; so I don’t feel very trembly in the knees, and I do not think you do, generally. I see sometimes a disposition to try to ignore some of the laws which God has introduced, and this is one of them. People want to slip round a corner, or creep out in some way. There is something very creepy about it. There was a man in former times we are told, came to Jesus by night. His name was Nicodemus. He was one of those persons who did not like the daylight. I have known some people who would want to be baptized in the evening, or get into some corner that they might not be seen. Well, there is not much to such folks. Jesus was very unpopular, quite as unpopular as we are, in His day. Nicodemus was a prominent man among the Jews, and he thought it might injure his reputation if he was seen visiting that Nazarene, to get instruction from Him, so he crawled in at night. Jesus talked quite plainly to him, as you can read for yourselves; but we find some folks of a similar kind now creeping around. They have not the manhood to stand true to their colors and to their God.
Some folks think that we polygamists are very much indebted to our brethren who are monogamists to help to steady the ark, (God save the mark!)–(Laughter.)–to help to save us, and that we need such men in the Legislature, etc., and to fill our various offices. Well, I won’t tell you all I think about some of these things, but I do think we are all of us dependent upon God our Heavenly Father, and if He don’t take care of us we shall not be taken care of; if His arm is not extended in our behalf we shall have a poor showing; but if God is with us, we ask no odds of the world, for He governs the destinies of the human family. He puts down one man and exalts another. He dethrones one king or president as the case may be, and sets up another, and He rules as He pleases among the nations of the earth and all the children of men, although they don’t know it. We live in Him, we move in Him, we have our being from Him. We are not dependent very much upon the monogamists about any of these things. You need not plume yourselves very much in these matters; and I will tell you, if you want to get along smoothly, you had better find among your various neighbors, when you have some matter of difficulty to settle, some of these polygamists and ask a little counsel at their hands. They will be able to advise you about many things, especially if they are men of God, humble men, living their religion and keeping the commandments of God.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN POLYGAMY AND PROSTITUTION
There are some few things I have been reflecting about, and have noted them down, and I think I shall read them now.
The distinction being made between Polygamy and Prostitution:
1st. Congress made a law which would affect both; and cohabitation with more than one woman was made a crime whether in polygamy or out of polygamy.
2nd. The Governor turned legislator, added to this law, and inserted in a test oath to officials, the following words regarding cohabitation, “in the marriage relation;” thus plainly and definitely sanctioning prostitution, without any law of the United States, or any authority.
3rd. The United States Commissioners, also, without legislation, adopted the action of the Governor, and still insisted on this interpolation, in the test oath in election matters, and placed all polygamists under this unconstitutional oath, and released prostitutes and their paramours from the obligations placed upon others.
4th. The Prosecuting Attorney has sanctioned these things, and pursued a similar course; and while he has asked all the “Mormon” jurors certain questions pertaining to their religious faith in the doctrines of the “Mormon” Church, and challenged them if they answered affirmatively as to their belief in polygamy, he has declined to ask other jurors whether they believed in prostitution, or whether they believed in cohabiting with more than one woman or not.
5th. Chief Justice Zane when appealed to on this question refused to interfere, or give any other ruling, and thus aided in packing the jury.
Thus a law was first passed by Congress, which has been perverted by the administration, by all its officers who have officiated in this Territory, and made to subserve the interests of a party who have placed in their political platform an Anti-Mormon plank; and have clearly proven that there is a combination in all the officers of State, officiating in this Territory, to back up this political intrigue in the interest of party, and at the sacrifice of law, equity, jurisprudence and all the safeguards that are provided by the Constitution for the protection of human rights.
GOVERNMENT OFFICERS DISCRIMINATING IN FAVOR OF THE LATTER [Prostitution]
These (continued President Taylor) are some points that are of considerable importance. Similar things have been exhibited in former times–an animus, a united operation against justice, equity and law, and, in our case, against the Constitution of the United States, and the rights and privileges and immunities of the Latter-day Saints. A law was framed professedly in the interest of purity and virtue. When it got here it was perverted and made to subserve the interest of prostitution and prostitutes; and the lowest class of men, who violate their marital relations, and trample under foot all principles of virtue and integrity, can go on our juries, can vote at the polls, through the intrigues of corrupt men; and they thus try to shackle a free people, bring them into bondage, and make slaves of them, unless they will bow to their infernal behests, and in the name of Israel’s God we will not do it. [The congregation responded with a loud Amen.] We are not going to elevate prostitutes and men who violate their marital relations above men and women who are virtuous, honorable and upright. These are my feelings, and I am not afraid to proclaim them to the world. So much for these things.
Do we want a class of men along with us that will submit to these kind of things, and are we to share in this hypocrisy, this infamy and degradation? What mean these dens in our city that are introduced by our Christian friends–dens of infamy, dens of prostitution, gambling holes, houses of assignation, dram-shops, etc? They are to cater to the virtuous (?) feelings of these honorable, high-minded, pure reformers that have come among us–(Laughter)–or what are they for? They are sanctioned, I am ashamed to say by the officers of government, and protected in their libidinous and degrading pursuits. How was it some time ago when the Edmunds law was first introduced? A son of Mayor Little was one of the election registrars. His father some years ago had had two wives–I am sorry to say he has not got them now, they are dead–and because some years before any law of this kind was in operation in the United States he had practiced plural marriage, his son was obliged to tell his father that he could not register. Shortly afterwards a notorious courtesan known as Kate Flint, with some of the inmates of her bagnio, drove up and requested to be registered. “Why, of course.” And this same gentleman that could not register his honorable father, who had never violated any law of the United States, had to endure the mortification of taking the names of these others and placing them on the list as respectable voters in our midst! About this time another non-Mormon came along to one of the other registration officers, and on partly reading the oath–this test oath that had been prescribed–said, “I am afraid I can’t take that?” “Why can’t you take it?” Well, he was an honest man among the Gentiles; he did not like to foreswear himself; so he said, “I have a wife, and then I keep a mistress.” “Oh, well,” says the man, “read on a little further.” He read on until he came to the words, “in the marriage relation.” “Oh, well, yes, I can take that,” he said, and registered. These are facts that are stuck before our noses here in the City of Salt Lake by the officials sent among us, and who are instructed particularly to look after our morals.
UNCHASTITY NOT TO BE TOLERATED IN THE CHURCH
So much, then, for such affairs. Now, do we want affiliation or association with such practices and principles as these? God forbid. And we want no falterers in our ranks. What shall we do? Live our religion, be true to our covenants, and keep the commandments of God. What shall the Presidents of Stakes do? Look after our Stakes, and if you find adulterers or adulteresses among you, don’t permit them to go into the temples of God; for we won’t have such people; they cannot be sanctioned by us, nor have our fellowship. We will not have them; the world may take the strumpets; they may wallow in their filth, but we will not have our holy places polluted by people calling themselves Latter-day Saints, who indulge in these abominable practices; we will not have them; and anybody who permits them to go into these holy places will have to be responsible for it. Many Bishops do it, they will be held responsible. Therefore, be careful, you Presidents of Stakes and you Bishops, how you act, and look well after your people, for be it understood that before our Lord Jesus Christ shall come, “righteousness shall go before Him and shall set us in the way of his steps.” (Psalms lxxxv, 13.) We are preparing ourselves to build up a Zion of God, and these people, whoremasters and whores, liars and hypocrites, will never get into the city of the living God, they will be found outside the gates.
Now, have I any ill feelings towards these people that persecute and proscribe us? No. I would do them good for evil, give blessings for curses; I would treat them well, treat them honorably. Let us be men of truth, honor and integrity; men that will swear to our own hurt and change not; men whose word will be our everlasting bond. If you see men hungry, feed them, no matter who they are: white, black, or red, Jew, Gentile or Mormon, or anybody else–feed them. If you see men naked, clothe them. If you see men sick, administer to them, and learn to be kind to all men; but partake not of their evil practices. “O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united.” We are trying to raise up a people that shall be men of God, men of truth, men of integrity, men of virtue, men who will be fit to associate with the Gods in the eternal worlds.
CLASS OF PEOPLE WHO ACCUSE THE SAINTS OF CRIME
We are accused on being corrupt, degraded, low and debauched. Who by? By people, as I will show who are ten times as degraded, ten times as debauched, ten times as low and guilty of ten-fold more crime than we are. These are our professed reformers. I speak of these things therefore in our defence, and were we not accused by men void of honor and principle, I never would broach such a subject; for, I do not delight to dwell on the infamies, the corruptions and abominations of the world. I would rather speak of their good qualities and honorable principles, and I am thankful to say that there are thousands and tens of thousands and millions in these United States and in other nations who look with contempt upon all the chicanery, deception and fraud, whether of a moral, social, political, legislative, or judicial character; thousands and millions of men; I see many of them, very many of them, who pass through here, men of note, of position in society from the United States, and from the different nations who call upon me from time to time, and express their sentiments pertaining to these matters. In order to sustain what I say, I will have Brother Cannon read over some statistics in regard to crime. We are, as I have said, represented as a very bad people, and I want to show a comparison between us and our reformers, or those that profess to be our reformers in relation to these matters.
(President Cannon then read the following, being the criminal statistics for the year 1883.)
“The population of Utah may be estimated at 160,000 in 1883.
“Of these say 130,000 were Mormons, and 30,000 Gentiles, a very liberal estimate of the latter.
“In this year there were 46 persons sent to the Penitentiary convicted of crime. Of these 33 were non-Mormons, and 13 reputed Mormons.
“At the above estimate of population the ratio or percentage would be one prisoner to every 10,000 Mormons, or one hundredth of one per cent, and of the Gentiles one convict in every 909, or about one ninth of one per cent. So that the actual proportion of criminals is more than ten times greater among the Gentiles of Utah, with the above very liberal estimate, than among the Mormons.
“It is urged that these non-Mormon prisoners are not a fair representation of the average of crime throughout the country, but are the result of the flow of the desperate classes westward to the borders of civilization; with greater truth we reply that the Mormon prisoners are not representatives of Mormonism, nor the results of Mormonism, but of the consequences of a departure from Mormon principles; and of the 13 prisoners classed as “Mormons,” the greater portion were only so by family connection or association:
Arrests in Salt Lake City, 1883:
Mormons, ………. 150
Non-Mormons, …… 1,559
or more than ten times the number of Mormon arrests.
“Again, it is estimated that there are 6,000 non-Mormons, and 19,000 Mormons in Salt Lake City, which shows of Mormon one arrest in 126 2-3.
“Non-Mormons one arrest in a fraction less than every four, or rather more than twenty-five per cent.”
(continued President Taylor,)
As I have said before, if we were not on the defensive in this case, I would say nothing about these things; but it ill becomes men who have got ten criminals to our one to come here as our reformers, and try to disfranchise men who are ten times as good as they are. These are facts that are not of my getting up.
They come from the public records and can be verified by the prison and other statistics. And the question is, how much of that rule do we want here?
The questionable honor is reserved to these advocates of “advanced high moral ideas” to trample upon all judicial precedents. It was not enough that an insignificant minority should have more than an equal showing with the majority, being equal in numbers in the drawing to make up a venire. It was not enough that every Mormon was questioned as to his religious faith, and that no Gentile was. It was not enough that all “Mormons” were excluded from this so-called “impartial grand jury,” and that their avowed enemies were to be their judges. It is not enough that our people must be tried by men whose average record shows them to be ten times their inferiors as law abiding citizens; but not having enough men to pack this “impartial grand jury” according to the provisions of law, under the guise of virtue, and in the name of morality and justice, edicts are issued to the officers to go into the purlieus of the city and gather up ad libitum from among the gutter snipes creatures to form “a jury of the peers” of the accused with which to persecute and prosecute honorable men and women.
These are things we object to, and I wish our brethren and sisters to be informed in regard to these matters, that they may have a correct estimate of the position that we occupy pertaining thereto. We cannot respect and esteem such operations, and while we are desirous to place ourselves in conformity with all law, all order and all correct principle, yet we despise in our hearts this chicanery, hypocrisy, fraud and deception. But do we expect to see such things? Yes. Are we surprised at it? No. Why? Because we have been told over and over again, and the Elders have preached over and over again, and the Prophets have prophesied of it over and over again, that the world will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Who is it that embarks in these things? It is the corrupt, the ungodly, the debauchee, the adulterer, the liar, the men who violate every principle of honor, truth and integrity, and who are enemies to this nation, and the same class of people are enemies to any nation. They are laying the axe at the root of the tree of liberty, and trying to overturn the freedom of man, and to place free men in bondage, a thing no honorable man would condescend to for a moment. And there are many in this city who despise these things as they do the gates of hell, who are not associated with us in a religious capacity, many honorable men who have feelings of this kind, and then there are tens of thousands in the United States who possess the same feelings and the same abhorrence of this corruption, degradation and infamy that is sought to be palmed upon us.
But while we can estimate these things at their worth, we can also estimate the actions of honorable men who are not of us at their true worth. Because a man is not a believer in our doctrines, that is no reason why he should not be an honorable man, for there are thousands and millions of them: it would be a pity if they were in the same condition as the others. But we as a people have to defend ourselves against the aggressions of an unscrupulous enemy who is instigated by the power of the adversary to overturn and destroy the truth to-day as he has done in other ages, in other nations and among other peoples. Therefore it becomes us to look well after our affairs, and protect ourselves as best we may from the calumnies, the reproach, and the infamies that are sought to be foisted upon us by an ungodly, hypocritical and corrupt people.
HORRIFYING STATEMENT OF CRIME IN THE EASTERN STATES
Now, having got through with this, I want to refer to something else. It has been stated that the reason why we have so many of these criminals is because that the scum of society from the eastern States floats out here, and that therefore a rough, uncouth, lawless class finds its way into this community. Now, I want something read to you about some of these so called virtuous people in the east.
(President Cannon again read as follows:)
“Dr. Gnathion Allen, of Li’l, has declared in a paper read before a late meeting of the American Social Science Association, that “nowhere in the history of the world was the practice of abortion so common as in this country; and he gave expression to the opinion that, in New England alone, many thousands of abortions are procured annually.”
“Dr. Ready, of the Ohio State Medical Society, says: “From a very large verbal and written correspondence in this and other States, together with personal investigation and facts accumulated * * that we have become a nation of murderers.”
The Rev. Dr. Eddy writes to the Christian Advocate regarding one little village of 1,000 inhabitants: “Yet here, and elsewhere, 15 per cent of wives have the criminal hardihood to practice this black art, there is a still large and additional per cent who endorse and defend it. * * Among married persons, so extensive has this practice become, that people of high repute not only commit this crime, but do not shun to speak boastingly among their intimates of the deed and the means of accomplishing it.”
“Dr. Allen further states: “Examining the number of deaths, we find that there are absolutely more deaths than births among the strictly American children, so that aside from immigration and births of children of foreign parentage, the population of Massachusetts is rapidly decreasing. * * The birth rate in the State of New York, shows the same fact, that American families do not increase at all, and inspection of the registration in other States shows the same remark applies to all.”
“Bishop Coxe, of the Protestant Episcopal Church of New York, in a pastoral letter to his people, writes: “I have heretofore warned my flock against the blood guiltiness of ante natal infanticide. If any doubts existed heretofore as to the propriety of my warnings on this subject, they must now disappear before the fact that the world itself is beginning to be horrified by the practical results of the sacrifices to Moloch which defile our land. Again I warn you that they who do such things cannot inherit eternal life. If there be a special damnation for those who shed innocent blood, what must be the portion of those who have no mercy upon their own flesh.”
“Dr. Cowan, M. D., writing on what he styles “The Murder of the Unborn,” says: “That this crime is not only wide spread on this great continent, but is rapidly on the increase, we have the testimony of physicians, whose investigations have been thorough, and whose social standing and sincerity cannot be questioned.”
President Taylor continuing said: These are the people that are coming here to reform us, and are so disgusted with our corruptions. Yet I am pleased to find that there are, once in a while, men who have the courage to speak against these damning evils. Bishop Coxe, of the Episcopal Church, is one of these men, and I honor such men whenever I hear of them, and should be glad at all times to extend to them all courtesies possible. Dr. Allen and Dr. Ready are inspired, it seems, by the same detestation of these hellish, these fiendish, these outrageous acts. Yet from these people come our reformers, who are so horrified at the evils they see in Utah. But fortunately, the bed is too short, they cannot stretch themselves on it; and the covering is too narrow and to contracted, it will not cover them, and their evils and abominations crop out on every side, and they become their own accusers.
It is their own statements that I have had read to you this morning. I am sorry to know that these things are as they are; but these are facts, and we do not feel very much honored with the association of such people. We do feel honored always to associate with honorable men and women; but with the seducer, with harlots, with thieves, with murderers of the innocents, no! never! no never! We want no association with them. As it is stated here by one of these reverend gentlemen in the East, speaking of these things, no murderer hath eternal life in him, nor no murderesses have eternal life in them.
WARNING TO THE SAINTS
I have had these things read to you for two reasons: First, to show the corruption that exists among these so-called virtuous people, honorable people, pure people, who are so shocked at the atrocities that take place in Utah. Another reason is that I want to warn our brethren and sisters against these infamies, and against permitting these filthy wretches to come into their houses. They are too low, too debased, too corrupt; and I speak of it because I know what I am talking about; there are some of these people crawling around us like so many vipers, and insinuating their hellish, murderous practices into the families of some who call themselves Latter-day Saints. Woe! to such Saints. You cannot have a place among us. No woman murderer, no man murderer can have a place among the Latter-day Saints, and I speak of it that the Presidents of Stakes and the Bishops may be apprised of these things. And some of these people would try to pass by the Bishops, and then by the Presidents of Stakes, and then by the President of the Church, and crawl with all their slime and damnable hypocrisy into the Temples of the living God. They may pass by these, but they will have to pass by the angels and the Gods, before they get through, and they will never inherit the Kingdom of God.
Hear it you sisters! Hear it you brethren! Hear it you Bishops, and you Presidents of Stakes? Watch well and know well what you are doing, when you sign recommends for doubtful characters to go into these holy places. We do not want them there. It is not their place, and you will have to account for your acts if you permit these things knowingly. It is necessary that you should be particular about these matters, for you will have to answer for your doings as I have for mine. We cannot, because of relationship, because somebody is a cousin, or an uncle, or an aunt, or a brother, or a sister, or a son or a daughter, or a father or a mother–we cannot admit and will not admit them to any of these holy places unless they are worthy. I call upon you if you know of adulterers or adulteresses, or people that practice these unnatural infamies, to sever them from the Church; they shall not have a place in the Church and Kingdom of God. Mr. Murray here, and others, may make laws and test oaths, with provisions in them to screen the adulterer, the whoremonger, and the seducer; but we will tear that away from our people, and all such shall have no place with Israel, and all who are in favor of it, signify it by saying “Aye.” (The congregation responded with a loud “Aye.”] These are our feelings, and it is some of these things which has led me to talk as plainly as I have done in regard to some of these other matters. I wanted to present the contrast so plainly before you that he that runneth might read. Enough of this, however, for the present.