I feel like offering a few of my reflections in connection with those
remarks we have heard this morning from Elder Hyde. I feel that they
are timely and good for the congregation of the Saints to reflect upon
and treasure up. I would not say anything to draw the minds and
reflections of the people from those sentiments which have been
presented by Elder Hyde this morning, but rather to enforce and
impress them upon the minds of the congregation, that every person
capable of understanding may be able to treasure them up, that these
principles may abide in our hearts; for, says the Savior, "If you
abide in me, and my words abide in you, they shall be in you as living
water, and ye shall bear much fruit."
Now, this people are not perishing for lack of knowledge: they have
not a lack of the words of the Lord. But if this people perish for
lack of knowledge at all, it is because they do not retain the word of
the Lord which is delivered to them: it is not because it is not
planted in our hearts, but because our ground is not properly broken
up. The ground of our hearts is not prepared, that the word that is
sown may bring forth fruit. This is the trouble and the reason why we
do not advance and bring forth more fruit, and grow more thrifty in
the work of the Lord our God, and increase in faith, in power with
God, in unison with him and with those whom he has set over us, and
with one another.
The trouble is not in our God, neither is it in our
fellowservants—those whom he has set to be our leaders, our teachers; for
God is with them, and he would be with them much more abundantly, if
we as a people were more ready to listen to them, and there was place
found in us for their words, and their words take effect in our
hearts. Then his Spirit and power would increase upon us, and there
would be no lack. The lack is in us—in the people, and always has
been, and is not in our God. He is waiting and anxious to pour out
blessings, and glory, and honor, and exaltation upon his people, far
more than we have ever received, and far more than we are capable of
receiving; and the only reason we have not received it long ago is
because there was no place found for it.
The great labor of the Lord and of all his servants is to prepare the
hearts of the people, to concentrate the feeling of the people, to
concentrate their faith, and to make them one, and to prepare their
hearts to bring forth the fruits of the kingdom of God. This is the
labor of preaching and praying, of exhorting, inviting, and
beseeching all the time—to move upon the hearts of the people and
convince them of the necessity of union—to impress it upon them, that
they may remember all those principles which alone can exalt them.
And, as was said by Elder Hyde, the responsibility of our conduct
rests upon ourselves, and not upon our leaders. The
responsibility that is resting upon our leaders is alone the
responsibility of doing what the Lord wants them to.
The responsibility of what befalls this people is no more upon brother
Brigham than it is upon me, and no more upon me than it is upon you;
and every individual soul in all Israel has his own responsibility to
bear, and he cannot throw it off. Whether it be good or evil—whether
it be joy or sorrow—whether it be affliction or blessings, the
responsibility thereof rests upon us individually.
Brothers Brigham, Heber, and Daniel, who are they but our
fellowservants—those that the Lord has given us to be our leaders and
the mouthpieces of the Lord unto this people—the legitimate channel
through which to lead, govern, and control this people? But are they
responsible any more than you or I? No, not one whit. When they have
discharged their duties, they are as free from responsibility as you
or I. When they have done what lies in their power to do, they are
exonerated before their God, although they feel as no other men on
earth can feel, because there are no others placed in their condition;
and it is impossible for any others to feel as they feel and have the
same interest they have for the welfare of this people.
It is God who rules and leads; it is God who controls the destinies of
all men. Every man is in his hands, to be used as he will.
Whithersoever this people are led, they will be led through that
channel he has intended; and whether they go to the east, west, north,
or south—whether they burn their dwellings and flee to the mountains,
or remain here—whether they fight the Gentiles, or turn their backs
upon them—whatsoever they have to do, it will be the Lord Almighty
that does it; but he will do it through the channel he has appointed.
But will the responsibility of thousands be upon those men that are
set over us to lead us? No, it will not. I am well aware that there
are a great many people who in their childish simplicity feel that any
act that they do is nothing to them.
So far as taking thought or having trouble in our spirits about what
is to come or what will be the result of things, it is well that we
should set our hearts at rest and be at ease and feel quiet, and our
spirits calm as a summer's morning and resigned, and our feelings
prayerful and peaceful. But as far as feeling indifferent and like
throwing off the responsibility from our shoulders upon our leaders,
this should not be; neither should we claim exemption from the
responsibility of anything in Israel. Everyone should have a share of
that responsibility, and they cannot throw that responsibility off;
for upon my head devolves the responsibility of directing my hands and
my feet and other members of my body in their exercises. It is
equally the duty of every other member of the body to administer to
the head. The hands have to feel the head, and the head has to be
properly guarded and shielded, that it may be active and the brain
vigorous, that every movement may be wisely directed and every energy
of the body directed in proper channels.
Our God deals with us as a people. He does not deal with brother
Brigham, brother Heber, or brother Daniel separately and distinctly
from this people, or the people distinct from them. We cannot be
separated; we are one. We are the Twelve Apostles, the High Priests,
the Seventies, the Elders, the Priests, the Teachers, the Deacons, the
Bishops. Every quorum of the Priesthood, every man in Israel, and
every woman in Israel are members of the same body—branches of the same vine, and partake of the same spirit, unless they are
branches that are withered and dried up. God will deal with us as a
whole all the time.
How was it with Israel of old, as has been referred to by Elder Hyde?
They were led by the hand of God all through the wilderness. God led
Moses. Sometimes they were led in one direction, and sometimes in
another. They were brought up against the Red Sea; and did not they,
in their blindness, chide with Moses because he had led them thus?
Looking at things naturally, they could say, "You might have gone
round and avoided this snare: we might have taken another road,
instead of running right into this canyon, between these two
mountains, and against the Red Sea, where there is no chance to dodge;
and so we are to perish by the armies of Egypt close in our rear and
the sea before us." These were the feelings of a great many weak in
faith and ignorant people among them; and they were ready to pick up
stones to stone Moses because he had done it.
There are a great many instances of the same kind during their forty
years' sojourning in the wilderness. Sometimes they were led into the
wilderness when they might have followed some streams of water, had
the Lord have led them in that channel. And when they were led into
different circumstances there were always some who complained and
threw the responsibility upon Moses, exonerating themselves.
Some wished to turn back unto Egypt, and a great many plans were in
view to extricate themselves from difficulties; except fleeing to the
Almighty, who had led them into those difficulties; and time and again
the Lord rebuked them and manifested his power to deliver them. But
who led them? Did Moses lead them? No. The Almighty led them. Moses
was his servant, and led them as the Almighty directed him.
Why did not the Almighty direct him to lead them round the Red Sea
instead of through it? And why did he not lead them to follow the
streams, instead of taking them across the desert? Why did he not lead
them a straight course from Egypt to Canaan, instead of keeping them
forty years in the wilderness? Who was most to blame for it? Was the
responsibility upon him, or was it upon the people? Why was it upon
the people? Because they were a stiffnecked people, a hardhearted
people, and an ignorant people.
We read in the Scriptures that they were so stiffnecked as to provoke
the Lord, and he came out upon them in his wrath and consumed them
from his presence—sometimes by fire that came forth from his
presence, at other times by causing the earth to open and swallow them
up by thousands, at other times by pestilence, and at other times by
fiery flying serpents which came among them and bit them that they
Why was the anger of the Lord kindled against them? Because of the
hardness of their hearts and the stiffness of their necks. It was not
because of Moses. Only in one instance did Moses offend. That was not
in any of his movements in leading and controlling Israel, but because
he did not sanctify the Lord God of Israel before their eyes when he
smote the rock of Horeb. This was the only instance in which the Lord
condemned Moses; but he directed Moses how to lead Israel, and Moses
led them in the way he was directed; and they were tried forty years
in the wilderness, until most of them were worn out and perished.
Were they a wicked people above all other people, that their carcasses
should thus fall in the wilderness? What think you, brethren
and sisters—ye that are called Latter-day Saints, were they, as a
people, more wicked than the rest of mankind, that God should have
dealt with them thus? I answer, No. But of a truth they were the best
people upon the face of the earth, and the only people that had the
Priesthood of God among them.
They were the people whom God had delivered from Egyptian bondage with
an outstretched arm; and by his power, they were the only people God
could make use of. They had faith sufficient that he could govern and
control them; and so far from being the worst, they were the best
people upon the earth; but upon them rested the responsibility, and
they did not improve upon their privileges and appreciate their
blessings as they ought to have done; and for this reason were they
set forth as examples to all who should live after; and the
responsibility of their carcasses falling in the wilderness, the
responsibility of their being led into the desert, the responsibility
of all their trials and troubles was not upon Moses and their leaders,
nor upon their God, but upon themselves; for, had they been pliable,
submissive, willing, and obedient, and had their spirits been pliable
before the Lord, willing to be molded and fashioned, they could have
been led forth conquering and to conquer, and been planted in Canaan
just as well in two years as in forty. And if this people were capable
of receiving it, the Lord could as well give them the kingdom today
as forty years hence. And if the people of the United States would
have hearkened to the voice of the Lord, given through the Prophet
Joseph, they might have been a more prosperous and powerful nation
The history of all religious generations and dispensations is similar,
and shows this fact to us, that human nature is the same in every age
of the country, and among every country, and among every people—that
all men are subject to like weaknesses and have to be taught
Children grow from infancy to manhood; and whether God leads our
footsteps in correct paths or not, he is only leading us to school: he
is only directing our course in a round of experience by which he
trains us, and makes us one, cements our hearts together, and rids our
spirits of iniquity and abomination. He wants to teach men and women
how to walk together in union and be great—to teach this people how to
be bound to him and to those that he sets over them, and to teach his
Saints how to reign in the house of Israel as his servants.
I do feel conscious that if the men of Israel do their duty and live
their religion, reformation will go forth from them through their
families, and it cannot be stayed; and every branch of every family in
Israel will feel the effects of that reformation: every woman and all
her children will feel it.
If a man of God lives his religion and is controlled only by the
Spirit of Zion in his family, and if he has a turbulent, disobedient
spirit in his family, that spirit will be subject or that individual
will be separated from his family, upon the same principle that
turbulent persons that repent not are severed from this Church by the
vote of this people; and when that turbulent person is severed, he
will dry up and wither, and will be gathered and burned with the
It may be that heretofore the fanning-mill has blown out more of the
men than it has of the women; but if it has done this, it is because
the sieve is not quite fine enough. But as the work of reformation
goes forward, it will sift to the very bottom; and every member of
every family in Israel will feel the effects of the driving
element that will sanctify them for the Lord Almighty or separate them
from this people.
Every man in Israel is responsible in a certain degree for the conduct
of his wives and children. He has covenanted that he will assume that
responsibility; that is, he will assume the responsibility of the sins
of his wives, if he fails to discharge his duties towards them in
teaching and leading them in the ways of life and salvation.
I assume the responsibility of the acts of my wives and children so
far as they are obedient to me; and when I discharge my duties to
them, reprove them in their transgression, set a godly example before
them, live my religion, and show forth the spirit thereof in my course
with my family, and they will not drink into the same spirit and
receive good at my hands, those consequences shall roll from me upon
them; and it becomes my duty to separate myself from those sins and
from the rebellious members of my family, that we may not all be
cursed because of the transgression of one or two individuals.
But if I do not discharge my duties towards them, admonish them when
they are out of the way, instruct them in their duties, and walk as a
man of God before them, the consequences and responsibility of every
individual's transgressions, even those of every wife and every child
I have, and of every evil that is done in my house, shall rest upon
me. God has laid it upon me.
Sometimes we may err by being remiss in duty—too lenient in our
families, and some of us may be under condemnation by being too
careless about transgressors in our families; for if we hold
fellowship with transgressors and spirits that are in rebellion
against God and that will not repent and humble themselves—if we
close our ears to it and go to sleep while wickedness is stalking
unrebuked through our habitations, we become partakers in that
transgression, and the consequences thereof will stick to us.
But if the head of a family reproves iniquity and seeks to purge it
from his presence—from his family, then his hands are free from stain
of guilt; he is not a partaker in the transgression, and by his doings
he says he will no longer hug to his bosom that individual—he will no
longer eat and drink with him or her as a member of the body of
Christ—he will no longer be held responsible for their sins.
So should every man and every family rid themselves of evil and
transgressors in their midst; for God deals with every family as a
whole, as he deals with this people as a whole; and every man in
Israel is responsible, and that responsibility he assumes when he
assumes the responsibility of a family.
If there is no sieve fine enough yet to separate the dross from the
wheat of the female portion of this community, I tell you, in the name
of Israel's God, there is a fine one preparing, and it will separate
the chaff from the wheat from every family in Israel, as sure as there
is a God in Israel, until the families of Israel shall be sanctified
before the Lord—until they shall be one, even all the families in
Israel, that the Lord God shall accept and not be ashamed of them.
There are many ways by which this may be accomplished; but the Lord in
his own due time will bring it to pass. We naturally cling to our
families, loving and cherishing them; so does every man that feels the
weight of his responsibility—that is set over this people to
administer in any department thereof: he feels his heart full of
compassion, and he desires the salvation of every member thereof. So does our Father desire the salvation of every member of
Many among us, in their ignorance, manifest a weakness of soul in
training up their offspring. Their weakness is such that they cannot
administer chastisement unto their children; but they love them with a
foolish, blind, ignorant love, that gratifies every desire and allows
them to have their own way and pursue the channel of their own
inclinations unrebuked, unchastened, until they grow up wild, as it
were, without any proper impulse being given to their minds. If I feel
satisfied in thus allowing my offspring to follow the bent of their
own inclinations, God will hold me responsible for their evil acts.
If any man have members in his family whom he cannot control by the
principles of the Gospel, far better were it for him, if they want to
go to the States or to any other country, to give them a good outfit
and send them off, get them out of the way, and let them go their own
way: far better this than to harbor them where they were like a viper
in his bosom, corrupting and corroding in the midst of his family.
The female portion of this community have to bear their share of this
responsibility; and we know they are the best set of women that exist
upon the earth; and that all the world will bear witness to, when they
talk about plurality.
Men of some discretion in the Gentile world ask questions about the
operations of the plurality of wives among us. "How many wives live in
each house? How do they get along in their associations? Are they all
the time quarrelling and fighting?" A man said to me once, "My wife
would not stand it five minutes, if I should bring a woman into my
house to have a share of my company and my affections: I should have a
hell upon earth, and no house that I could build would be big enough
to hold my wife. It is marvelous to me how you can live, and how it
is you are not killed."
They cannot understand it, because they are governed by their
passions, and not by principles; and it is the hardest thing in the
world for them to be convinced that this people are governed by
principle. This is the doctrine we have been preaching abroad, and it
is the very thing the Gentiles will not receive; and they marvel and
wonder that we do not tear each other's eyes out. They say this would
be the case with them: in a little while they would be bald and blind
and full of wounds, bruises, and putrifying sores; or, like the
Kilkenny cats, use each other up all but the tails, and then the tails
would jump at each other. So it would be among them indeed; for there
is no law of the Lord that would keep the people together a minute in
the peace and order that exist here.
Existence among this people is of itself one of the greatest
privileges. The world of mankind may soon know that God is with us,
and that he is at the helm, that he is the founder of this work, and
that the women as well as the men are the best upon the earth, and
that we are determined to live and be governed by principle and not
Have we all learned to be altogether thus governed? No, we have not.
But we are learning it: the men and women of Israel are learning it;
but some of them are very dull scholars, and would a great deal rather
go off and play than take a lesson; and they whine and cry over it,
and sit on the dunce block rather than study and learn their lessons;
and they will be dunces, because nothing but foolishness is bound up
in their hearts. But many of us are learning to be governed by
principle, not passion, and learning that we must become
one—that there is somebody else that has feelings besides them—that
there is somebody else worthy of respect and love besides them—that
there are some good qualifications in some other being—and some other
woman's children have some claims as well as mine; they are learning
to let principle rule them.
Well, go on: let the good work continue. This is my prayer all the
time. Are all the families of Israel and every woman striving herself
to play well her part and reverence her husband as her lord; for he is
her lord. Will she ever have another? No, never; and if she ever
expects to have another, she has not learned "Mormonism" aright. She
may tear herself loose from him and attach another, but she may have a
worse one: she ought to have a worse one. If she cannot learn to
honor him, the next one she gets, if she is permitted to have
another, ought to be a worse one. How shall women honor their
husbands? Just as we honor brother Brigham in his place, and the
authorities of the Wards in their places; because upon him is laid the
responsibility of that family, and he cannot get rid of it. He is in
duty bound to purge them of their follies, and they are in duty bound
to listen to his reproofs and honor him and pray for him, that he may
be led aright.
Do the women, when they pray, remember their husbands? Do you pray for
brother Brigham? Yes, you should always pray for him. But when you
pray for him, do you pray also for your own husband, that he may have
the inspiration of the Almighty to lead and govern his family as the
lord? Do you uphold your husband before God as your lord? "What! My
husband to be my lord?" I ask, Can you get into the celestial kingdom
without him? Have any of you been there? You will remember that you
never got into the celestial kingdom without the aid of your husband.
If you did, it was because your husband was away, and someone had to
act proxy for him. No woman will get into the celestial kingdom,
except her husband receives her, if she is worthy to have a husband;
and if not, somebody will receive her as a servant.
We have one God, the Father of us all, who is graciously kind to us;
and those who call upon his name receive his Spirit; but the spirit we
have got to be in is for every woman to be one with her husband, and
every man to be one with those that are set over him in the Lord. Thus
we become as branches of one vine, partaking of the same spirit.
Does every woman pray for her children and with her children? Does she
teach them to reverence their father and honor him ? If she does not
teach them thus to honor him in her own words and examples, her
children learn disobedience from her. Show me disobedient children,
and I will show you disobedient parents, the world over.
Where there are disobedient and rebellious children in the midst of
Israel, tell me who their father and mother are, and I will point out
to you disobedient, rebellious, disaffected parents; and if there is a
woman in any family whose children dishonor their father, I will show
you a woman that dishonors her husband and shows him disrespect, from
which the children take their example.
We do not want such women in Israel: we do not want their offspring,
nor anything that pertains to them, except they repent. If they will
have their children learn righteousness, let them seek it themselves,
and pray to God in their apartments for their little ones. It is the
mothers in Israel that have the charge of chil dren; the men of
Israel are abroad among the nations of the earth to preach the Gospel
and fight the battles of Zion, to go abroad and return once in a few
years, perhaps, to visit their family and become acquainted with their
children. God wishes the mothers in Israel to assume that
responsibility, and assume it by the Holy Ghost, that there may be a
generation raised up that shall be fit for the Lord to use.
Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, ye mothers in Israel, and fast,
and hunger and thirst after righteousness. Pray for and with your
little children in your apartments. Is it enough for a father to
gather together his wives and children when he is at home, and pray
with them? That is his duty; and every mother should take pattern by
his example, and with their own offspring follow his example and call
down the blessings of heaven upon them, and they will learn from her.
While they listen to her prayers, they will learn to lisp from her
mouth the words of prayer and thanksgiving to God; and faith will rest
upon them, and the Holy Ghost will rest upon them, and they will be
inspired with faith and power, and draw down blessings upon her and
upon their father; and the blessings of God will rest upon them from
their mother's womb, if they pursue this course.
May the God of heaven help us to pursue this course, one and all, is
my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.