John Taylor's sermon on Mormon doctrines - February 1, 1874
I have had a note forwarded to me since I came here, by a party who is a stranger to me, requesting that I would speak on our leading doctrines. There are so many great principles developed in the eternal truths of God that we believe in, that it is a somewhat difficult task to attempt, in so short a time, any adequate exposition thereof, and if I touch upon any of these principles, it must be very lightly. The request reminds me of an anecdote which I read a short time ago. A lady met with a gentleman who had traveled very extensively over the world. He was a statesman, a philosopher, and quite a celebrity. He and the lady were going to take dinner together, and some ten or fifteen minutes before dinner was served, the lady said to him - "Mr. - - - , I am very happy to have the privilege of seeing and speaking with you, and now while they are preparing dinner, we shall have ten or fifteen minutes, will you please tell me all you know and 'have seen in your travels?'" (1)
In regard to our religion, I will say that it embraces every principle of truth and intelligence pertaining to us as moral, intellectual, mortal and immortal beings, pertaining to this world and the world that is to come. We are open to truth of every kind, no matter whence it comes, where it originates, or who believes in it. Truth, when preceded by the little word "all," comprises everything that has ever existed or that ever will exist and be known by and among men in time and through the endless ages of eternity; and it is the duty of all intelligent beings who are responsible and amenable to God for their acts, to search after truth, and to permit it to influence them and their acts and general course in life, independent of all bias or pre-conceived notions, however specious and plausible they may be. (2)
We, as Latter-day Saints, believe, first, in the Gospel, and that is a great deal to say, for the Gospel embraces principles that dive deeper, spread wider, and extend further than anything else that we can conceive. The Gospel teaches us in regard to the being and attributes of God; it also teaches us our relationship to that God and the various responsibilities we are under to him as his offspring; it teaches us the various duties and responsibilities that we are under to our families and friends, to the community, to the living and the dead; it unfolds to us principles pertaining to futurity; in fact, according to the saying of one of the old disciples, it "brings life and immortality to light," brings us into relationship with God, and prepares us for an exaltation in the eternal world. There is something grand, profound and intellectual associated with the principles of the Gospel as it stands connected with the salvation and exaltation of man. A man in search of truth has no peculiar system to sustain, no peculiar dogma to defend or theory to uphold; he embraces all truth, and that truth, like the sun in the firmament, shines forth and spreads its effulgent rays over all creation, and if men will divest themselves of bias and prejudice, and prayerfully and conscientiously search after truth, they will find it wherever they turn their attention. But in regard to the leading principles of the Gospel, there are some distinctive features connected therewith, which, like all the laws of nature and of nature's God, require implicit obedience and compliance therewith in order to insure a realization of the results which flow therefrom. The earth on which we live, the matter of which it is composed, the elements with which we are surrounded, as well as the planetary system, have certain inscrutable, eternal, unchangeable laws connected with them that cannot be departed from. (3)
We talk sometimes about the great discoveries men have made connected with electricity, steam, light and its properties, and a variety of other principles that exist in nature; all these principles are governed by certain specific laws, which are immutable and unchangeable; and all of the great discoveries which men have made, have only developed certain properties that have always existed. They have not created anything, and their discoveries are nothing particularly worth boasting of. A child, in its infancy, possesses certain reasoning faculties, but they are only developed by a long course of training and experience. It possesses arms, legs, feet, a head and body, eyes, ears, nose, &c., but it is unconscious of this; by and by, when its reasoning faculties begin to be developed, it discovers that it has hands. It had them before, but it did not know it. It is a good deal so with us and the generations which have preceded us - we live, and have lived in a world in which from the beginning there have existed principles, organisms and system, - all that are now known or that ever will be discovered, but we have been ignorant of the, and only become aware of their existence by what is called the progress of science and the discoveries of scientific and ingenious men. And as earthly things are governed and controlled by unchanging laws, so it is with heavenly things. In optics certain lenses are needed for the reception and refraction of light; in chemistry a certain combination of elements is necessary to produce magnetism or electricity, and you may have these elements ever so perfect, and without the wire you cannot use them to convey intelligence; and you may have the wire without the necessary combination of chemical elements, and the result is the same. I have a watch; if I wind it up it will tell the time, if I neglect to do that it will stop. You have your steam engine, if you shut up the valve you turn off the steam, and it ceases to move. You have a water wheel possessing certain power, but turn off the water from that wheel and its power ceases. It is just so in regard to all the operations of nature - they are governed by certain laws which are understood by those who study them. (4)
There are laws pertaining to eternal things - the things of God - that are just as immutable and unchangeable as those of which I have been speaking, and to realize the results they are calculated to produce, you must submit to and obey them. God has distinctly told us in his revelations that "no man knows the things of God but by the Spirit of God, even as no man knows the things of man but by the spirit of man that is within him" then how can men obtain a knowledge of the things of God except they first take the course which he has pointed out? They cannot do it. If the laws which govern terrestrial things are immutable, the laws which govern celestial things are certainly not less so, and this brings me to the consideration of some of the first principles of the Gospel which we as a people believe in. (5)
We believe that it is necessary for man to be placed in communication with God; that he should have revelation from Him, and that unless he is placed under the influence of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he can know nothing about the things of God. I do not care how learned a man may be, or how extensively he may have traveled; I do not care what his talent, intellect or genius may be, at what college he may have studied, how comprehensive his views or what his judgment may be on other matters, he cannot understand certain things without the Spirit of God, and that necessarily introduces the principle I before referred to – the necessity of revelation. Not revelation in former times, but present and immediate revelation, which shall lead and guide those who possess it in all the paths of life here, and to eternal life hereafter. A good many people, and those professing Christians, will sneer a good deal at the idea of present revelation. Whoever heard of true religion without communication with God? To me the thing is the most absurd that the human mind could conceive of. I do not wonder, when the people generally reject the principle of present revelation, that skepticism and infidelity prevail to such an alarming extent. I do not wonder that so many men treat religion with contempt, and regard it as something not worth the attention of intelligent beings, for without revelation religion is a mockery and a farce. If I cannot have a religion that will lead me to God, and place me en rapport with him, and unfold to my mind the principles of immortality and eternal life, I want nothing to do with it. (6)
The principle of present revelation, then, is the very foundation of our religion. The Christian world reject that, and say the Bible is all-sufficient. I can remember in my younger days searching its contents very diligently. It is a glorious book to study, and I earnestly recommend it to the attention of our young men and young women, and of our old men and old women. "Search the Scriptures," was the command of Jesus, "for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they that testify of me." I would not only search the Scriptures that we now have, but I would search also every revelation that God has given, does give, or will give for the guidance and direction of his people, and then I would reverence the Giver, and those also whom he makes use of as his honored instruments to promulgate and make known those principles; and I would seek to be governed by the principles that are contained in that sacred word. Now then let me look back a little, and examine things as they have existed. What kind of a Gospel was it that Jesus introduced? We are told that it was the Gospel; but what sort of an organization did his Church have? Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers and Evangelists - inspired men - men who had the ministering of angels, the spirit of prophecy, and the principle of revelation; men who had the heavens opened to them, so that they could contemplate the purposes of God as they should roll along throughout every subsequent period of time until the winding up scene. Whence did they obtain this knowledge? They obtained it through obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and hence it is very properly said that "life and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel." (7)
Well, who were the ancient Apostles? They were men chosen and selected by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Who were these Prophets? Men who were in possession of the spirit of prophecy; and you show me a man who is called and inspired of God to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I will show you a Prophet, for we are told that "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy;" and if a man has not the spirit of prophecy and revelation he is not the man to teach the things of God, for that is the principle by which all God's chosen and authorized ministers in every age have been inspired, and by which they have taught the things of eternal life to the children of men. (8)
How was it with Jesus? He said that "he came not to do his own will; but the will of the father who sent him;" and said he - "The words that I speak I speak not of myself; but the Father which dwelleth in me, he doeth the work." When the disciples went forth to preach the Gospel, Jesus told them to go without purse and scrip, trusting in him; and he told them that when they were brought before kings, rulers and governors, they were not to think beforehand what they should say, for it should be given to them in the self-same hour that they needed it. Paul said that the Gospel that he preached "he received not of man, neither by man;" but he received it of God, and the words that he spake were not his own, for he told the people definitely and distinctly that their words came to them "not in word only, but in power and in the demonstration of the Spirit of God, and with much assurance." They were under the inspiration of the Almighty. (9)
And Where did we get our Bible from? "No Scripture is of any private interpretation," we are told, "but holy men of old spake as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost," and while under that inspiration they uttered the word of God, and that word because the Scripture of truth, as we here find it. It was given by dreams, visions and revelations, and that which was thus communicated to man was written, and has become what we call the Bible. (10)
When the inspired revelations which we call the Gospel were given to men there were Apostles and Prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists; and how did Jesus tell his disciples to teach his Gospel? He told them to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature," the promise being that "he that believed and was baptized should be saved." And it was also said that certain signs should follow them that believed: they should cast out devils in the name of Jesus, "they should lay hands on the sick and they should recover," &c., showing that there was a living, vital, energetic power associated with the Gospel that was enunciated by Jesus Christ and taught by his Apostles. It was not connected alone with the Apostles, as some suppose. It does not read "these signs shall follow the Apostles who believe, or the disciples who believe," but the signs would follow them that believe wherever the Gospel was preached in all the world. The Gospel and its blessings were not restricted either to time, person or place; but were to be enjoyed in all the world by all who believed. (11)
Paul tells us that Apostles, Prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers were placed in the Church, for what? For the establishing of Christianity? No, it does not read in that way. For the benefit of the Apostles and those immediately surrounding them? No. To convince the pagan Gentiles and unbelieving Jews? No, he tells us they were placed in the Church "for the perfecting of the Saints," that they who believed in and obeyed the Gospel might go on from strength to strength and be enabled to endure faithful to the end. It was for the perfecting of such persons, that, as immortal beings, they might increase in light, intelligence and truth, and be prepared to dwell with the Gods and the sanctified hosts in the eternal worlds. (12)
These officers were for the perfecting of the Saints then; were they for anything else? Yes, "for the work of the ministry and for the edifying of the body of Christ." Why? "That they should be no more children, tossed about by divers winds of doctrine and the craft of cunning men whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" but that they might "be built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone:" that they might have a knowledge of the truth of the Gospel for themselves, glowing in characters of living fire written in their hearts, which no man, influence or power could obliterate; but that it might dwell there like a fire upon the altar eternally burning and from thence spread its radiant effulgence glowing, increasing and spreading. This is the kind of Gospel the ancients preached and believed in, and which we, the Latter-day Saints, preach and believe in. (13)
But where is the necessity of a new revelation, some may inquire, to restore this Gospel, that is recorded in the Scriptures? The Catholics would tell us there is no need of it, for they obtained it from God in ancient times, and have retained it, and it has been handed down in regular succession to the present day. I am not going to investigate all these theories to-day, there would not be time, suffice it to say that they are mere fallacies, neither Catholics, Greeks, or Protestants have retained the Gospel and the power to administer it. When we come to the Protestant world there is a great deal of credit due to them for the course they have taken. But has the Gospel been continued among them in its purity from the time that Jesus lived on the earth? Is there any man who has the hardihood to say so? I do not think you can find one. Whence originated these notions, opinions, theories, principles and dogmas that exist among men in the religious world at the present day? Did they originate with God? We are told that "he is not the author of confusion, but of order." Did he inspire men with all these various dogmas and theories? Certainly not. Who did; where did they come from? Why, men, in various ages, many of them very good men, have tried to stop the flood of evil, false doctrine, error and crime, and in doing so, unaided by inspiration, they have made very great blunders. When the pope, through the instrumentality of Loyola, was selling indulgences in a shameful and disgraceful manner, Martin Luther and other reformers rose up and denounced it as an evil, and they were right in that, for it was an evil, and a crime and an outrage upon society, for it was bartering that for money which God never intended or authorized. Inquires one - "Did not Jesus give to his disciples 'the keys of the kingdom of heaven,' and say that 'whose soever sins they remitted should be remitted, and whose soever sins they retained should be retained?'" "Yes." "Then why did not others have that power?" They did, if they obtained it legitimately; but not in that kind of a way. Peter never possessed power to sell forgiveness of sins. In the days of the Apostles there was a certain man who saw the power of God made manifest through their administrations, and he offered them money to confer the same power upon him, but he was told that, inasmuch as he had thought the gift of God could be purchased with money, his money should perish with him. "But did not Peter and the other disciples possess the power to forgive sins?" Yes. How did they exercise it? The Scriptures are very plain on that point. Read the account of Peter, on the day of Pentecost, addressing thousands of people who were assembled at Jerusalem on that occasion. They cried out to Peter and the rest of the Apostles - "Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved? We believe your statement, we believe we are sinners, we believe we have consented to the death of the Son of God, now what shall we do?" Did he say - "I will forgive you your sins?" No, no such thing. Did he have the power? Yes. How did he exercise it? Said he - "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the Holy Ghost," and they took them and led them down into the water, and baptized them, and their sins were forgiven. That is the way the Apostles forgave sins, it was not be selling indulgences. (14)
Martin Luther introduced some good principles, but did he bring back the Gospel Jesus brought? No, verily no. Did Melancthon? No. Zwingler? No. John Knox? No. Did Calvin? No, none of them brought back the Gospel of Jesus. They went about teaching good principles of morality, and the Gospel as far as they knew it. But God did not impart to them the light of revelation which the ancient Saints enjoyed, and as each of those reformers had his peculiar views and ideas in regard to the Gospel, they were the originators of the multitudes of sects and parties now existing in the Christian world. Luther promulgated his views very extensively in Germany, Calvin, who differed from him in regard to the doctrine of free will, and was a believer in the doctrine of fate, election or reprobation, promulgated his views extensively, and so with others. If they had had the light of revelation this variation would not have existed, the Spirit of God would have led them into all truth and brought them to the unity of the faith, and they would have seen eye to eye, as the Scriptures say men will do "When God brings again Zion, and with their voice together will they sing." (15)
We will refer to some of these seceding churches, but first for a moment will notice the Greek church. This church seceded from the Latin church, or the Latin from the Greek, I do not care which way you take it. There was a schism between these two bodies, and each pursued its own peculiar course, and that course has been very erratic, foolish and far from the principles of truth. Then there is the Episcopal Church. How did it originate? Through Henry the Eight. How was it that he started a church? History informs us that it was simply on this ground - he was desirous of having a divorce from his wife and the Pope would not grant it. Before this Henry had written a book or pamphlet in defence of popery and in opposition to the Reformation, for which the Pope styled him "Defender of the Faith;" but when the Pope would not consent to grant the English king this divorce he became angry, and determined to start a church of his own; and fortunately or unfortunately he had two pliant tools, ecclesiastics in the Catholic church, and to gratify their sovereign they lent themselves to him to assist in carrying out his plan, and together they started the Church of England, or the Episcopal Church as it is now called. When Henry had got a priesthood of his own he got the divorce he wanted, and went on his way rejoicing I suppose, at least in his way. (16)
We will now come to some others among the reformers. There was John Knox, in Scotland a very zealous and very intolerant man, nothing very pleasant about him, some traits of his character I never admired, and I have read some things in his works that are not very pleasant, gentle or amiable; but he was no doubt a very sincere and zealous Christian in his way, and sought to do good. Then there was Calvin, another tolerably sincere man in my opinion, and judging from what history tells about him, he was desirous of stemming the torrent of evil and advancing good principles as far as he knew how. But who among them brought back the Gospel which Jesus taught? Not one. Leaving Calvin, Knox, Luther and the early reformers we come down to later times, and we find that in the Church of England there were some things which the conscientious portion of its members could not sustain, and a reformation was inaugurated by John and Charles Wesley, and a Mr. Fletcher. They taught many good principles; but they did not bring back the Gospel of Jesus Christ, although they were very zealous and very desirous of doing good, and I think there was something very creditable in their efforts to stem the current of evil and to resist and unmask the corruption that was creeping in under the name of religion and to unmask the hypocrisy that existed; but they did not restore the Gospel, and one of them, in singing said he looked forward to and hoped the time would come when -"From chosen Abraham's seed the new Apostles choose o'er isles and continents to spread the dead-reviving news." They did not have it, however he knew that, and although he was desirous of having such a state of things restored, he was not able to introduce it, for God had not called upon him to perform that work. (17)
There have been various other isms besides those I have mentioned, in some instances arising more from personal pique, prejudice and contradictions and personal interests of men than for the glory of God and for the good of mankind, and I am afraid their originators cared more about preaching the Gospel according to certain men, rather than the Gospel according to Jesus Christ. In such a state of things what is to be done? We are living in a world in which the spirits who have dwelt in the bosom of God are coming into and leaving this state of existence at the rate of about a thousand millions in every thirty-three years; and here are thousands of so-called ministers of religion with an inefficient Gospel, that God never ordained, trying to ameliorate the condition of mankind, and sending what they call the Gospel to the heathen, and they are continually calling for the pecuniary aid of their fellow Christians to assist them in this enterprise. But if they have not the truth themselves how can they impart it to others? How can blind leaders lead people in the way of life and salvation? Was it not necessary, in view of the ignorance and blindness of the people everywhere, in regard to the principles of salvation, that something should be done to ameliorate the condition of a fallen world? The Christian world, by their unbelief, have made the heavens as brass, and wherever they go to declare what they call the Gospel they make confusion worse confounded; but who shall debar God from taking care of his own creation, and saving his creatures? Yet this is the position that many men have taken. (18) But notwithstanding the unbelief so prevalent throughout Christendom, God restored his ancient Gospel to Joseph Smith, giving him revelation, opening the heavens to him, and making him acquainted with the plan of salvation and exaltation of the children of men. I was well acquainted with him, and have carefully examined the revelations given through him, and notwithstanding all the aspersions that have been cast upon him, I believe that, with the exception of Jesus Christ, there never was a greater Prophet upon this wide earth than he; and to the revelations he made known are we indebted for the glorious principles that God has communicated to the world in these last days. We were as much in the dark as other people were about the principles of salvation, and the relationship we hold to God and each other, until these things were made known to us by Joseph Smith. (19) A great deal is said at the present time about the relation of husband and wife; but where is there a man outside of this Church who understands anything about this relationship, as well as that of parents to children? There is not one, and the Latter-day Saints knew nothing about it until it was revealed by Joseph Smith, through the Gospel. It is the Gospel that teaches a woman that she has a claim upon a man, and a man that he has a claim upon a woman in the resurrection; it is the Gospel that teaches them that, when they rise from the tombs in the resurrection, they will again clasp hands, be reunited, and again participate in that glory for which God designed them before the world was. (20) John the Revelator, when on the Isle of Patmos, wrapt in prophetic vision, said - "I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell upon the earth, to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, crying with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come.'" He also saw a time when a certain power "would make war with the Saints, and prevail against them, and they should be given into his hand until a time, times and the dividing of a time." (21)
Well then, to come back, to accommodate my strange friend, whoever he may be, I will say that we, the Latter-day Saints, believe this Gospel just as Jesus taught it. We believe in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that we should reverence him as the Son of his heavenly Father and our Father. We believe in the ordinances that he introduced, and that were practiced by his disciples; we believe in the same Spirit and revelation that they believed in. I do not wish to argue these matters, or to go into details, for time would fail on the present occasion; but the Scriptures are before us, and I shall only attempt to touch upon some of the principles that Jesus enunciated, and which were taught by him and his disciples; and it is for believing in God and Jesus Christ, in prophecy and revelation, that we are continually arraigned before the world as impostors and deceivers. (22) We believe in being honest to ourselves and with everybody, whether they are with us or not; we believe in men acting all the time as though they were in the presence of God and holy angels, and that for all their acts they will be brought to judgment, for we believe that God will bring men into judgment "for every word and every secret thought." We believe a good deal as David says - Who is he that can dwell with devouring fire, and among everlasting burnings? That man who has feared God in his heart, and who has not lied in his heart, that man who will swear to his own hurt and change not, a pure, virtuous, holy man who regards the rights of others as he regards his own; a man who will concede to others all that he would ask for himself, and who seeks to promote the welfare of the human family. (23)
The Elders of this Church have been called, as the disciples of Jesus were in former times, to go and preach the Gospel without purse and script. I have traveled hundreds and thousands of miles on this errand myself, and I see men all around me here who have done the same. What for? To benefit mankind, to tear away the veil of ignorance, to combat error, to reveal truth, to make known the Divine will, to tell to the human family that God has spoken, that angels have appeared, that the heavens have been opened, that light and intelligence have been communicated to man, that the everlasting Gospel has been restored, and that we, in this age, can enjoy the same blessings that the Saints enjoyed in former days, and to point out to them the way of life and salvation. We have received this commission from our God, and we have endeavored faithfully to fulfill it, so that our blood may be clear, and that when we come to stand before the Great Eloheim, when all nations shall be gathered together, we can say, "Oh God, we have finished the work which thou gavest us to do." (24)
What else? We are standing now rather in a political capacity. How is this? We cannot help ourselves, the Gospel told us to gather together. Do the Scriptures say anything about it? Yes; but if they did not, and God gave us that command, the silence of the Scriptures would make no difference at all. But they do, for the ancient Prophets had a view of the gathering of the Saints in the Latter day; they saw them flocking to the mountains like doves to the windows; and through them the Lord declared that he would gather his people "from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south." It is said - "I will take them one of a city and two of a family and bring them to Zion, and give them pastors after my own heart, who will feed them with knowledge and understanding;" and in speaking of the calamities of the last days he says that in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance." But we gathered because the revelations given through our Prophet commanded us to do so, these revelations agreeing with those given on the same subject formerly. (25)
Standing in this capacity, we form a large body of people. We have lived in different places, and as the believers in the Gospel in other ages were persecuted, so have we been; and having been persecuted and driven we have come here, as Geo. A. Smith said on a certain occasion, "Because we could not help it." (26) We could not live in Nauvoo, yet we neither injured nor robbed anybody, neither did we interfere with anybody's rights. (27) They drove us from Missouri and from Illinois, and here we are, and what now? (28) We were on Mexican territory when we arrived here, having been forced to flee from the United States because we could not have protection. Why was it? (29) Who can tell why it was that people who strewed their garments and spread branches of palm trees in the path of Jesus, crying, "Hosanna, blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord," should cry, a short time after - "Crucify him, crucify him?" Said Pilate, "I wash my hands of this just man's blood;" and the people said, "let his blood be upon us and our children." (30) Terribly have they realized that invocation, for the avenging hand of the Almighty has been heavy upon them, and in every nation in which they have sojourned, they have been robbed, stripped, their property confiscated, and they have been deprived of all the rights of men. The time will come when God's wrath will be satisfied towards them, and when they will again be his elect people and gathered to their own land, even to Jerusalem, where, as the Prophet says, "The measuring line shall go forth, and little boys and girls shall again play in the streets of that city;" and when the Son of God will descend and "set his feet on the Mount of Olives, and it will cleave in twain, and there will be a great valley, and they will flee from before him like as they fled in the days of Oziah, King of Judah;" and "the Lord our God," we are told, "will come and all his Saints with him," and there will be deliverance in Zion and in Jerusalem in the remnant whom the Lord our God shall call." (31)
Well, we are here in a political capacity, inhabiting a Territory, and forming an integral part of the United States. Whom do we interfere with? Nobody. (32) Do we rob or pillage anybody, or interfere with the rights of any? No. (33) Do we make incursions on the citizens of surrounding Territories? No, we interfere with the civil or religious rights of no persons in this or any other city or Territory; we never did, we do not now; but we can not help being in the capacity that we occupy to-day. (34) We form a body politic, and have necessarily become a Territory, and we could not help ourselves if we would. But we do not interfere with anybody, we observe all good and wholesome law. (35) People will lie about us; but that makes no difference, they lied about Jesus. Our enemies say - "You are a bad people, and that is the reason we persecute you." That is what the enemies of Jesus said about him; it was not because he was good; you never saw a religious persecution got up on that account, all such persecutions have been "because of the wickedness of the people." the Scribes and Pharisees, after seeing Jesus heal the blind man, said - "Give God the glory, for we know this man is a sinner, it is true that he cast out devils, but he does it through Beelzebub, the prince of devils." Well, if they persecuted the Lord of the house, they will persecute the members of his household; if they do these things in the green tree, what will they do in the dry? The fact is, there is, and always has been, and always will be, an antagonism between truth and error, light and darkness, between the servants of God and the servants of the adversary. The devil is called the father of lies, and he delights therein. What difference does that make to us, what do we care about it? Very little. But suppose we are oppressed. We have stood it before and we can stand it again. Suppose they should pass proscriptive laws against us. (36) All right, if the nation can stand it we can. I will risk upholding and standing by correct principles which emanate from God. We will cleave to truth, honor, holiness, and to all the principles that God has revealed to us, and we will go on increasing in every good. (37)
This nation and other nations will be overthrown, not because of their virtue, but because of their corruption and iniquity. The time will come, for the prophecies will be fulfilled, when kingdoms will be destroyed, thrones cast down and the powers of the earth shaken, and God's wrath will be kindled against the nations of the earth, and it is for us to maintain correct principles, political, religious and social, and to feel towards all men as God feels. (38) He makes the sun to shine on the just as well as on the unjust; and if he has enlightened our minds and put us in possession of more correct principles than others have, let us be thankful and adore the God of Israel. Let us thank our heavenly Father for his goodness towards us in making us acquainted with the principles of the everlasting Gospel, and let us go on from strength to strength, from purity to purity, from virtue to virtue, from intelligence to intelligence; and when the nations shall fall and crumble, Zion shall arise and shine, and the power of God shall be manifest among his people. No man can overturn or permanently hurt those who do right. They may kill some of our bodies, but that is all they can do. We shall live and shout among the assembled throng, in the eternal heavens, "Hosanna, blessed be the God of Israel," and his kingdom shall grow and increase until the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ, and he will rule and reign forever and ever. (39)
May God help us to be faithful in the name of Jesus. Amen. (40)
1) The Christian message of Jesus Christ is not complex.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16.
2) Jesus Christ is the eternal truth of the Christian message.
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.
3) The Christian Gospel is not a principle but the message of 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 15:1-4.
4) The Christian Gospel is not about natural laws but the message of Jesus Christ.
Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God
which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Romans 1:1-4.
5) The Holy Spirit will empower believers to witnesses for 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.
6) Christian revelation ends with 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.
7) Christian revelation ends with Jesus Christ.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4.
8) Old Testament prophets ended with John the Baptist.
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. Matthew 11:13.
9) The Christian message is death of Jesus Christ for you sins.
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.
10) The Holy Spirit empowers believers to be witnesses for Jesus Christ.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8.
11) The Christian Gospel is about Jesus Christ.
Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” Acts 15:6-11.
12) Mormons are actually far from the kingdom of God due to their polytheistic paganism.
So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” Mark 12:32-34.
13) The Mormon gospel is not the Christian Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. Romans 16:25-27.
14) Baptism was dropped as a requirement for salvation in Peter’s second sermon.
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21.
15) The Mormon message is not the Christian message.
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
16) 19th century Mormons considered all non-Mormons as enemies through false revelations.
And thus, even as I have said, if ye are faithful ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies. Doctrine and Covenants 52:42.
17) The Christian Gospel or message never had to be restored by a polygamist.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21.
18) The Christian Gospel or message is not the deceitful message of Mormonism.
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6.
19) The Christian Gospel or message never had to be restored by a polygamist.
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 1:3-4.
20) Mormonism is a sex-based religion not founded upon Holy Scriptures.
Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.” Matthew 22:29-30.
21) Christian revelation ends with Jesus Christ.
Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:9-10.
22) John Taylor was a Christian imposter due to his polytheistic paganism.
John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom, p.14 The principles that we believe in reach back into eternity. They originated with the Gods in the eternal worlds, and they reach forward to the eternities that are to come. JD, 17:206, October 7, 1874.
23) Jesus Christ is eternal life for those who love God.
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 1:20-21.
24) Polygamist Mormon elders are not Christian elders.
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. Titus 1:5-6.
25) Zion has nothing to do with Utah and Mormon false prophets.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. Hebrews 12:22-24.
26) George Smith personally delivered Brigham Young’s order to murder the Fancher wagon train members.
George A Smith was sent south to personally deliver the orders to church leaders along the southern route to California in the communities of Provo, Springville, Nephi, Fillmore, and Parowan. Accompanied by William H. Dame and Dame’s assistant, James H. Martineau, Smith toured every settlement in the area. Dame reported to Wells that he had made an inventory of the weapons available: “Muskets, 99; Rifles, 190; Colt’s Revolvers, 17; Pounds of Powder, 192 1⁄4; Pounds of Lead, 335 1⁄2; Swords, 24.” Further, Dame wrote Wells, “the command feel calm, quiet, and willing to act upon any command that may be given and any orders from head Quarters will be cheerfully obeyed.” American Massacre, pages 115-116.
27) Joseph Smith the dictator crushed all dissent in Nauvoo.
Calling together the city council, he ordered a trial, not of the apostates, but of the Expositor itself. It was strange, highhanded proceeding. There were no jury, no lawyers, no witnesses for the defense. The councilors simply stood up, one after another, and accused the editors of seduction, pandering, counterfeiting, and thievery. The prophet went so far as to say that the apostate Joseph H. Jackson had been proved a murderer before the city council. No Man Knows My History, page 377.
28) Joseph Smith had promised a war before he surrendered to Missouri militia.
As Joseph neared the end of his speech, all the pent-up hatred that he had so long suppressed broke forth with unexpected violence. “If the people will let us alone,” he cried, “we will preach the gospel in peace. But if they come on us to molest us, we will establish our religion by the sword. We will trample down our enemies and make it one gore of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. I will be to this generation a second Mohammed, whose motto in treating for peace was ‘the Alcoran or the Sword,’ So shall it eventually be with us – ‘Joseph Smith or the Sword!’” No Man Knows My History, pages 230-231.
29) 19th century Mormons were treasonable traitors who hated all non-Mormons.
“It is well. If you had not done it, I would have gone out there,” and he swept his arm to the west, “and would have raised up a mightier people.” Then drawing his sword from the scabbard, Joseph thrust it heavenward and shouted in a voice that carried over the ranks of the army and down the city streets: “I call God and angels to witness that I have unsheathed my sword with a firm and unalterable determination that this people shall have their legal rights, and be protected from mob violence, or my blood shall be spilt upon the ground like water, and my body consigned to the silent tomb!” No Man Knows My History, page 379.
30) The Father sent the Son to die for the sins of the world.
Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. Acts 2:22-24.
31) Believers will not speculate on end-time prophecies if they listen to Jesus Christ.
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” Acts 1:6-7.
32) 19th century Mormons were expert cut throats.
I say, rather than that apostates should flourish here, I will unsheath my bowie knife, and conquer or die. [Great commotion in the congregation, and a simultaneous burst of feeling, assenting to the declaration.] Now, you nasty apostates, clear out, or judgment will be put on the line, and righteousness to the plummet. [Voices, generally, "go it, go it."] If you say it is right, raise your hands. [All hands up.] Let us call upon the Lord to assist us in this, and every good work. Sermon delivered by Brigham Young on March 27, 1853.
33) Mormons purposely murdered over 120 men, women, and children in 1857.
Still in Zion he preached war and rebellion, vengeance and ultimate redemption. On August 5, as the Fancher Train lodged nearby, the prophet issued a proclamation to the citizens of Utah declaring “we are invaded by a hostile force who are evidently assailing us to accomplish our overthrow and destruction.” An order went out to all outlying settlements to hoard their grain, and to “report without delay any person in your District that disposes of a Kernal of grain to any Gentile merchant or temporary sojourner.” The result of this “violent and treasonable proclamation,” a Utah resident wrote several years later, “was to incite the people to revenge and bloodshed.” American Massacre, page 115.
34) Brigham Young ordered the destruction of the Gladdenites in a March 27, 1853 sermon.
Several of Bishop's followers in Utah began preaching in the streets of Salt Lake City in March 1853. On March 20, from a wagon in front of the Old Tabernacle, several believers noisily accosted residents as they left church meetings. When several men attempted to push or pull the wagon out of the area, the city marshal dispersed the crowd. A week later another meeting was prohibited entirely by city officials. Alfred Smith, a member of the LDS Church who defected to the Gladdenites and had accused Young of robbing him of his property, was arrested and imprisoned until he gave a promise to Young to discontinue his rebellion. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
35) Polygamists were criminals due to the Morrill Act signed into law by Abraham Lincoln in 1862.
The Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act (37th United States Congress, Sess. 2., ch. 126, 12 Stat. 501) was a federal enactment of the United States Congress that was signed into law on July 8, 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln. Sponsored by Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont, the act banned bigamy and limited church and non-profit ownership in any territory of the United States to $50,000. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
36) 19th century Mormons were treasonable traitors in rebellion to God and country.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:1-2.
37) 19th century Mormons were treasonable traitors in rebellion to God and country.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. Romans 13:3-5.
38) 19th century Mormons were treasonable traitors in rebellion to God and country.
Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 1 Peter 2:13-17.
39) Jesus Christ rules in the hearts of believers now.
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.
40) God will be faithful to save believers who have a testimony of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:4-9.
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