Wednesday, July 30, 2014

General Conference Highlights: April 1880

Taking a break from the 1970's to bring you this. Checked out this LDS General Conference Report from the library, then I learned it was available online. Under Brigham Young's day, in the Journal of Discourses, the transcribing/recording of talks wasn't quite up to what it had become by 1880. Now Brigham Young had died in 1877, but it wasn't until October 1880 that John Taylor was named the third President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

APRIL 1880

First Presidency

Quorum of the 12 Apostles
JOHN TAYLOR - President
-Orson Pratt
-Charles C. Rich
-Erastus Snow
-Franklin D. Richards
-George Q. Cannon
-Brigham Young Jr.
-Albert Carrington
-Moses Thatcher

Daniel H. Wells and John Willard Young were ordained Apostles and had been Counselors to Brigham Young in the First Presidency, but they were not added to the Quorum upon Young's death. They were considered Counselors to the Apostles until their deaths. Lorenzo Snow was serving a mission and therefore could not attend the Conference.

Before the General Conference commenced on April 6th, they had what they called the Two Days' Meeting, which was held on April 4-5, 1880. They served as preface meetings and addresses before the actual Conference would begin.

Pres. JOHN TAYLOR - "April 4th"

On the 6th day of April the church will have been organized fifty years, and we might with very good propriety call it a year of jubilee, or rather the close of the year of jubilee. And while we are assembled together, either in our meeting prior to the Conference or afterwards in the Conference, it becomes us, when we reflect upon the kindness and mercy which God has vouch-safed to us during the last fifty years, to renew our covenants before him, and feel in our hearts that we are his people and that he is our God. His mercy and salvation will still be extended to us, if we will only obey his laws, keep his commandments, and pursue that course that is proper and acceptable in his sight.

JT - "April 6th"

We as a people believe in paying our tithes and offerings to the Lord — and when I get through I want Brother Hardy to get up and talk on tithing; he is quite a hand to talk on this subject. We believe it is proper for us to pay one-tenth of our increase, or one-tenth of our time, as the case may be, to the Lord regularly. And a great many men do this, and do it very promptly;. but a great many more do not do it, only a very little — about that much sometimes [measuring the end of the finger. Laughter.] I think it will be a tight squeeze for some of them to dig through. I am not talking about this because I care anything about it personally; but because of the interest of those who ought to do it, but do not. There are a great many who have neglected the payment of these things partly through carelessness, partly through poverty and a variety of circumstances, and it begins to feel oppressive to them. Now, we want to break off this yoke too, that is, off those who are worthy; the others we do not care much about — that is unless they turn about and reform
and take another course, live their religion and act as Latter-day Saints...

Now, we are going to come to our sisters. Some people think that the sisters cannot do anything; I will show you what they can do. President Young re-organized the Relief Society — it having been organized by the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo— and inasmuch as the brethren had been careless and slow to heed the counsel of President Young in relation to storing away wheat, he requested the sisters to do it, and some of we "lords of creation" thought it was a very little thing for our sisters to be engaged in. But we find now they are of some use, and that the "ladies of creation" can do something as well as the "lords." I spoke to Sister Eliza R. Snow, who is the president of the Relief Society, and asked what her feelings would be, and that of her sisters, in relation to the distribution of their wheat, for those who are in need of seed, letting the people have it as a loan, for which the bishops should become responsible and see that it is returned after harvest. She replied that it would meet her entire approbation. The sisters have not had the opportunity to meet yet to get an expression of their minds in relation to it; but I will guarantee that they will do what they are requested to do, for they have already been doing something in that line, as I understand it. Is not that so Brother Hunter ? [Bishop Hunter: "Yes, sir."] Now, we want to show you, what the sisters can do. I will guarantee that they will do it, and that we will have a report from them before we get through. They have 34,761 bushels of wheat. Who of you men can raise that much ? Where's your wheat ? [Laughter.] Now, those 34,761 bushels of wheat will be of considerable importance judiciously managed, and loaned out to some of our poor brethren. It will furnish seed wheat, and after harvest they can return it again. We do not want any more harsh talk about the woman question after this. [A voice: "May they vote now?"] O yes, they may vote now if they choose to; everybody is willing that they should vote now. [Laughter.] That is, they are willing the sisters shall vote on the wheat question. [Renewed laughter.] We may as well call a vote on this question now, our sisters are present whom we will ask to vote. All you sisters who are in favor of carrying out this request, hold up your right hand. [A forest of hands went up.] There they go, you see. [Laughter.] I think that is the most hearty vote yet. I knew they would do it.

JT - "April 7th"

In regard to the work we are engaged in, it is one of very great importance; it is one on which God and angels, apostles, prophets, patriarchs and men of God who have lived in the different ages of the world, have felt interested about; and do to-day. And about these little matters of dollars and cents we do not care so much about them or ought not to ; although we have to attend to all these matters — matters temporal, matters spiritual, things pertaining to time and things pertaining to eternity. It is expected of us that we act wisely, prudently and understandingly in all of our doings...

Jesus said, "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail they may receive you into everlasting habitations." Then let us feel after the welfare of our brethren, and we will not dwell much upon one another's weaknesses, for God knows that all of us have enough of them, at least, I feel I have, and I think my brethren feel that they have, and I do not think that many of you are very much better than we are. But I tell you what we desire to do and to see carried out. We wish correct principles to be carried out, and while we are sending the gospel to the nations afar off, we want to see the pure principles of the gospel lived up to at home. We do not want to be influenced by the corruptions that float upon us here. While we respect proper authority and pay proper deference to all honorable men in all positions in our country, we do not want to copy after the devices of this corrupt generation, we want them to keep them to themselves if they admire them. We neither want drunkenness nor whoredom nor infanticide nor foeticide* nor any of the corruptions that abound throughout the world, or of this nation, of which every honorable man ought to and does feel ashamed...

We want among ourselves to learn strictly the principles of honesty, to have and maintain honest dealing one with another and be true to our word, and to let our word be our bond. And never mind so much about litigation. I do not know that I ever sued a man in my life, and I do not think that I ever shall. I am not fond enough of law, or money either, to do it. And God will help us and protect us in our rights, if we will only do right. And then we Latter-day Saints, we elders of Israel
and we sisters of Israel, we ought to be ladies and gentlemen, we ought to treat one another with courtesy and kindness, and true politeness.


JT - "April 7th, 2nd talk"

Reference was made by one of the speakers to a revelation contained in the Doctrine and Covenants, in which we are given to understand that the priesthood is given unto us, not for our own aggrandizement, nor to advance our own interests, but to build up the Church and Kingdom of God upon the earth, acting upon the principles of justice, equity and righteousness, as you are yourselves willing to be judged — and will be judged, before the Great I AM, when the time comes that we shall have to give an account of our stewardship. We want no favoritism shown to any man, or to any woman, or to any set of men, but in the administration of justice to do it as in the sight of God, with integrity of heart and uprightness; anything different from this cannot receive the approbation of God. And furthermore, this priesthood is not conferred upon men to exercise any degree of unrighteousness or tyranny, or to in any way oppress or injure anybody; but if any man use his priesthood to subserve any such purpose, God will take hold of him, as the Priesthood above him will take hold of him, and he will be removed out of his place except he repent...

Again, in regard to the Relief Societies. They are doing a great deal of good, and I say, God bless the sisters, and let all the congregation say Amen. [The vast congregation said, Amen.] Sisters, continue your labors of love, and continue to propagate good, virtuous and holy principles; teach your daughters, and also your sons, principles of holiness and purity; and seek out the poor and distressed and minister to them, and God will bless you in your labors...

I will speak a little in regard to our government. We complain a good deal about the way we have been treated. Well, we have been treated very scurvily, it is true — everybody will admit that — but we must consider the circumstances : they are not of our faith, they do not believe as we do, they have their ideas, and theories, and notions, and so have other nations as well as this. Well, what shall we do? We will do the very best we can. Do you think you could improve your condition in any other nation or under any other government, or receive any better treatment than you do in this? I tell you no, you could not. We here, at least, have the form and — I was going to say, the guarantee of liberty; that is, the promise of the guarantee. We have the form, but it is like a religion without the power. What shall we do ? Consign everybody to damnation and destruction? No. Who are they? They are God's children. Would he like to see them reform? He would; and he has told us to try to do it. If we had children that had gone astray, would we not
like to see them reform? Yes, we would, and if our children do anything wrong we tell them of it, and we try to reform them. We will therefore continue to go to this nation as we have done, as saviors, with the message of life and salvation, and we will pray for the honest, the upright and virtuous, and those who love righteousness, and those who are willing to accord to men equal rights, and a great many who are not; and we will do them all the good we can. We will sustain the government in its administration, and be true to it, and maintain this position right along. And when division, strife, trouble and contention arise, we will try to still the troubled waters, and act in all honesty as true friends to the government; and when war shall exist among them, and there is no one found to sustain the remnants of liberty that may be left, the Elders of Israel will rally round the standard of freedom and proclaim liberty to all the world. These things will assuredly take place, and when they do our motto will be as it now is, "Peace on earth and good will to men."


Fifty years have passed and gone, or nearly so, since the organization of this church and kingdom on the earth. Whatever the feelings of the world may be with regard to the Latter-day Saints, with regard to their lives, their history, their organization, their persecutions, and their drivings until the present day, whether they believe or disbelieve, it matters not to the purposes of God, who stands at the head, even our Heavenly Father. This is the church and kingdom of God; it is the church of Christ; it is the organization of the kingdom of God, that has been spoken of by all the prophets since the world began; it is the Zion of God that Isaiah and Jeremiah and many of the other prophets saw by vision and revelation in their day and generation...

I have sometimes feared in my own mind concerning ourselves, that we are not living as near to the Lord as we ought to do ; we do not always comprehend the responsibilities which we are under to God our Heavenly Father. When I reflect, my brethren and sisters, that the Lord has ordained the establishment of Zion, upon the responsibility that rests upon us in warning the generation in which we live that they may be left without excuse in fulfilment of the revelations contained in this volume (the Book of Mormon) — when I reflect that we are called as the servants of the Lord to perform this work, I feel within my own mind as the Lord has said now nearly fifty years ago, that if we believe the words of the Lord we will labor while it is called to-day. The Lord looks to nobody else, he expects nothing from anybody else, as far as the fulfilling of the revelations in the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants are concerned ; he looks to no other nation, kindred, tongue, or people henceforth to go and perform this work, but the Saints of the living God. If the Lord has any friends on the earth they are the Saints of God, and if the Saints of God have any friends anywhere, they consist of the God of Israel and the heavenly hosts, and the spirits of just men made perfect...

Sometimes when I look around and contemplate on the past, I at times feel lonesome. I look back to the days of Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and to the patriarchs, prophets and apostles that lived in that day, and I find that a great share of them are in the spirit world. There are but very few left now who were alive at the organization of this church upon the earth. I believe that Brother Orson Pratt is the only man who dwells in the flesh, who is in the church, who was organized in the first Quorum of the Twelve. Brother Taylor and myself remain of those who were organized in the second organization. But Brother Taylor and myself and Brother Pratt and a good many others will not tarry a great while here. We shall pass on to the other side of the veil, and join those who have gone before, as will many who are in this congregation...

The eyes of the heavenly hosts are over us; the eyes of God himself and his Son Jesus Christ; the eyes of all the prophets and Apostles who have dwelt in the flesh; they are watching our works. I have spent more time lately with those who are in the spirit world, in my night seasons, than in all the rest of my life together. On one occasion I thought in my dream that Presidents Young, Kimball, George A. Smith, and many others, attended one of our Conferences. When Brother Young was asked to preach he said: " No, I have done my preaching, I have done my instructions in the flesh; I have come to hear you talk, I have come to look at you, I have come to watch over you, I wish to see what this people are doing." This has been the answer and these are thoughts I believe in. I believe we are not shut out from God, we are not shut out from our brethren, though the vail is between us. They understand our works, our condition, our position, and I feel a desire myself, what little time I have to spend in the flesh, to make my time useful...

I made my home in Sunset when I was not traveling. The people there are living in the United Order, as also in Brigham City and St. Joseph, and while I was in those settlements I never
heard an oath, I never saw a quarrel, I never saw any man or boy smoke a cigarette, or use an ounce of tobacco, or drink whiskey, or drink a cup of coffee or tea, except what I drank myself. The idea of drinking coffee where nobody else was drinking it was a very poor example, I thought, for an Apostle; I therefore took, instead of coffee, water and milk, and have felt a great deal better. The promise is that those who keep the Word of Wisdom "shall run and not be weary, shall walk and not faint," and I can say I have enjoyed much better health than before.

WW - "April 7th"

"A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time." This is the word of the Lord through the Prophet Isaiah. Fifty years has made this little one not only a thousand, but more than one hundred thousand, and I do not think it will take half of fifty years more to make a strong nation: and if it were not for offending the ears of the Christian world, I would quote a word or two from the Prophet Daniel, where he says : "Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out of the mountains without hands, which smote the image upon his feet, that were of iron and clay, and break them to pieces...And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth... And it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." I know it becomes offensive sometimes to the Christian world to quote the Bible, therefore I think I will not quote much more of it...

The coming of the Son of Man is near. The signs of heaven and earth have indicated this for many years; that is about where I am today; as an Elder of Israel, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I can see no road before me unless I am looking for the judgment of God to be poured out upon the wicked, and the judgments will begin at the House of God, and it will go forth from them to the world...

I know this is the Kingdom of God. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and he sealed his testimony with his blood. That testimony is in force upon all the world, and it will cost this generation just as much to shed the blood of the Lord's anointed today as it has cost the Jews for shedding the blood of Jesus Christ eighteen hundred years ago. The Jews have been scattered, they have been under the bondage of the Gentiles for all these years, and they have until recently been denied all political rights. But the Lord is about to restore them. This is the Kingdom of God. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The heavenly hosts are preparing themselves to help the fulfilment of the revelations that are recorded in these records.

JOSEPH F. SMITH - "April 4th"

The Lord keeps pleading with us; he has to forbear with us, to extend mercy, kindness and forgiveness day after day. For we are very forgetful, careless, indifferent and thoughtless of our duties. It is only when the Spirit of the Lord is upon us that we can really sense the responsibilities that we are under to God and to each other...

It was said by our Savior, to those who professed to be his disciples, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Now, when I see a Latter-day Saint, or, rather, a person who professes to be a Latter-day Saint, guilty of drunkenness, of profanity, of dishonesty, or cheating his neighbor, or of bearing false witness against his brother, I say in my heart that that man is two-fold more a child of hell than as though he had never been baptized; for "to him thatknoweth how to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin," saith the Apostle James. And verily it is true in relation to those who profess to be Latter-day Saints, who should know to do good, for they have covenanted to do that which is right and forsake that which is evil.

JFS - "April 7th"

As a servant of the Lord I have received a testimony in relation to these things, and in connection with my brethren I am thankful to have the privilege of bearing that testimony, which I do in all solemnity before God and man, and am willing and ready to meet the consequences, If I continue faithful, at the bar of final judgment. And I further testify, that unless the Latter-day Saints will live their religion, keep their covenants with God and their brethren, honor the priesthood which they bear, and try faithfully to bring themselves into subjection to the laws of God, they will be the first to fall beneath the judgments of the Almighty, for his judgments will begin at his own house.' Therefore, those who have made a covenant with the Lord by baptism, and have broken that covenant, who profess to be saints and are not, but are sinners, and covenant-breakers, and partakers of the sins of Babylon, most assuredly will "receive of her plagues," for it is written that the righteous will barely escape. This is my testimony in relation to these matters.

No comments:

Post a Comment