Brigham Young's Sermon on Universal Salvation - 4/6/1860 


Remarks by President Brigham Young, made in the Tabernacle,

Great Salt Lake City, April 6, 1860.

Reported by G. D. Watt

(critique notes follows the sermon)


Yesterday we had the pleasure of attending a meeting here, which, to me, was filled with riches – with treasures of good. To-day we have met in the capacity of a General Conference - the Thirty-first Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thirty years ago to-day, the Church was organized with six members. And we will occupy this day in serving the Lord by instructing and encouraging each other, and by testifying of the things the Lord has revealed to us. (1)

Some may suppose that I have the business of the Conference prearranged, but such is not the case. I seldom take thought for to-morrow upon such subjects. When morning comes, I try and be prepared for the business the Lord manifests should be done. I came here in that mind this morning, and knew no more about the manner in which this Conference will be conducted, with regard to its details, than you do, until I came here. Since I came into the house, my feelings and the circumstances have prompted me to say that we will hear further testimony from the brethren. Yesterday, several in the body of the house had the privilege of speaking; and this forenoon I wish to have the Twelve, the Seventies, and the High Priests give us five or ten minutes' sermons from the stand. (2)

I can testify to you, as I have to many congregations of Saints and sinners, that the Lord has revealed his will from the heavens, bestowed the holy Priesthood upon the children of men, and made us the happy partakers thereof. (3) Most, if not all, assembled here this morning have felt the Divine influence of the Holy Ghost shed forth in their hearts; it has awakened them out of their sleep and out of their ignorance, and begun to teach them eternal things. (4) This work is true. The Lord has bestowed the holy Priesthood upon the children of men, by which alone they can be prepared to enter into the celestial kingdom of our God. (5)

How many Gods there are, and how many places there are in their kingdoms, is not for me to say; (6) but I can say this, which is a source of much comfort, consolation, and gratification to me: Behold the goodness, the long-suffering, the kindness, and the strong parental feeling of our Father and God in preparing the way and providing the means to save the children of men, - not alone the Latter-day Saints - not those alone who have the privilege of the first principles of the celestial law, but to save all. (7) It is a universal salvation – a universal redemption. Do not conclude that I am a Universalist, as the term is generally understood, although that doctrine is true in part, like the doctrines or professions of all professing Christians. As was stated yesterday, by one of those who spoke, when he was a Methodist, he enjoyed a portion of the Spirit of the Lord. Hundreds of those now present have had a like experience in a greater or less degree, before they joined this Church. Then, when we inquire who will be saved, I answer, All will be saved, as Jesus said, when speaking to the Apostles, except the sons of perdition. They will be saved through the atonement and their own good works, according to the law that is given to them. (8) Will the heathen be saved? Yes, so far as they have lived according to the best light and intelligence they had; but not in the celestial kingdom. Who will not be saved? (9) Those who have received the truth, or had the privilege of receiving it, and then rejected it. They are the only ones who will become the sons of perdition, go into everlasting punishment, and become angels to the Devil. (10)

The Priesthood of the Lord has again bestowed upon those who will receive it, is for the express purpose of preparing them to become proficient in the principles pertaining to the law of the celestial kingdom. If we obey this law, preserve it inviolate, live according to it, we shall be prepared to enjoy the blessings of a celestial kingdom. (11) Will any others? Yes, thousands and millions of the inhabitants of the earth who would have received and obeyed the law that we preach, if they had had the privilege. (12) When the Lord shall bring again Zion, and the watchmen shall see eye to eye, and Zion shall be established, saviours will come upon Mount Zion and save all the sons and daughters of Adam that are capable of being saved, by administering for them. Is not this pleasing? Is it not gratifying? Is it not a consoling feeling and influence upon the mind of every intelligent being? Our former views were that the majority of the inhabitants of the earth would not be saved in any kind of kingdom of glory, but would inherit a kingdom of damnation. Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions. If it were no so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am ye may be also." In other words, "I go to prepare a place for you who have received and obeyed the celestial law, which I have committed to you." The celestial is the highest of all. The telestial and terrestrial are also spoken of; and how many more kingdoms of glory there are is not for me to say. I do not know that they are not innumerable. This is source of great joy to me. (13)

One of the brethren, yesterday, felt so rejected, under like reflections, that he said he could pray for the devils in hell, if it would do any good. It is not for us to pray for them, because they have become the sons of perdition. You may pray for your persecutors - for those who hate you, and revile you, and speak all manner of evil of you, if they do it ignorantly; but if they do it understandingly, justice must take its course in regard to them; and except they repent, they will become the sons of perdition. This is my testimony. (14)

The vision given to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon is the greatest vision I ever knew given to the children of men, incorporating more in a few pages than any other revelation I have any knowledge of. (15) "This is the Gospel - the glad tidings which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us," state Joseph and Sidney, "that he came into the world, and to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness; that through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him, who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him; wherefore he saves all except them: they shall go away into everlasting punishment." (16)

Will the Methodists be saved? Yes. Will other sects? Yes. I think you could not now find an Elder in this Church who would rise up in a congregation and tell you that John Wesley is weltering in hell. Have the Elders ever preached such a doctrine? Yes, some of them have preached that all the Reformers, from the days of Christ and the Apostles until Joseph Smith received the Priesthood, must be damned. I do not think that you could now hear such doctrine from any of them. (17)

There is a chance for those who have lived and for those who now live. The Gospel has come. Truth and light and righteousness are sent forth into the world, and those who receive them will be saved in the celestial kingdom of God. And many of those who, through ignorance, through tradition, superstition, and the erroneous precepts of the fathers, do not receive them, will yet inherit a good and glorious kingdom, and will enjoy more and receive more than ever entered into the heart of man to conceive, unless he has had a revelation. (18)

My heart is comforted. I behold the people of God, that they have been hunted, cast out, driven from the face of men. The powers of earth and hell have striven to destroy this kingdom from the earth. (19) The wicked have succeeded in doing so in former ages; but this kingdom they cannot destroy, because it is the last dispensation - because it is the fulness of times. It is the dispensation of all dispensations, and will excel in magnificence and glory every dispensation that has ever been committed to the children of men upon this earth. (20) The Lord will bring again Zion, redeem his Israel, plant his standard upon the earth, and establish the laws of his kingdom, and those laws of his kingdom, and those laws will prevail. No law can issue from man or from anybody of men to govern and control in eternal things; consequently, those laws must come from heaven to govern and control both Saint and sinner, believer and unbeliever, and every character upon the earth; and they will be issued according to the capacity, knowledge, and mode of life of the people to whom they are promulgated. (21)

I will now call upon the brethren in the stand to speak, and let you have our testimony, strength, and faith, as we have received yours yesterday. (22)

God bless you! Amen. (23)

Critique notes of sermon delivered by Brigham Young on April 6, 1860.

1) Christians will have a testimony of Jesus Christ.
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:4-8.

2) Christians will have a testimony of Jesus Christ.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 2 Timothy 1:8-11.

3) The will of God for people is faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

4) The Holy Spirit will cause Christians to have a testimony of Jesus Christ.
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.  And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” John 15:26-27.

5) Entry into the kingdom of God is via Jesus Christ not a bogus priesthood.
So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. Acts 28:23.

6) No speculation is needed for there being one true God and many false Mormon gods.
“You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.” Isaiah 43:10.

7) Do not be deceived by Mormon universal salvation that is non-Christian.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

8) Christian salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ not your good works.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9.

9) Pagans will be without excuse for eternal salvation.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:20-21. 

10) Do not exchange the truth of Jesus Christ for a bogus Mormon priesthood.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6. 

11) The kingdom of God concerns Jesus Christ not the Mormon priesthood.
Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him. Acts 28:30-31. 

12) Christian preaching involves Jesus Christ not the bogus Mormon priesthood.
For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:22-24. 

13) Christian preaching involves Jesus Christ not Mormon kingdoms.
Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. Acts 8:4-5. 

14) Christians will have a testimony of Jesus Christ not of non-Mormons being sons of perditions.
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:11-13. 

15) The greatest revelation is that of Jesus Christ.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Revelation 1:1-2. 

16) The Christian Gospel is only about Jesus Christ.
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 1 Corinthians 15:1-5. 

17) Mormon doctrine is not of God.
Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John 1:9-11 

18) Mormon doctrine is not of God.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18. 

19) The kingdom of God is not the Mormon church.
Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. Romans 14:16-18. 

20) Dispensationalism must be rooted in Jesus Christ to be of God.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:7-12. 

21) The kingdom of God has nothing to do with Mormon law and regulations.
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21. 

22) Christians will have a testimony of Jesus Christ.
I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:9. 

23) Non-Christians will not be blessed of God.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” Matthew 5:3-11