Minutes and Discourses, 6–7 April 1844, as Published by Times and Seasons

  • Source Note
Page 523
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although we were not enongh to well man a farm, or meet a woman with a milk pail; all the elders, all the members, met in conference, in a room 20 feet square. I recollect being put in jail for reading the Book of Mormon. He came to see us, and expressed great astonishment, and left us apparently pondering in his heart; he afterward came to , Ohio, and said he was a convert. Many things were taught, believed, and preached, then, which have since come to pass; we knew the whole world would laugh at us, so we concealed ourselves; and there was much excitement about our secret meetings, charging us with designs against the government, and with laying plans to get money, &c. which never existed in the heads of any one else, and if we had talked in public, we should have been ridiculed more than we were, the world being entirely ignorant of the testimony of the prophets and without knowledge of what God was about to do; treated all we said with pretended contempt, and much riducule; and had they have hea[r]d all we said, it would have made it worse for us; we talked about the people coming as doves to the windows, that all nations should flock unto it; that they should come bending to the standard of Jesus, saying, our fathers have taught falsehood, and things in which there is no profit; and of whole nations being born in one day; we talked such big things that men could not bear them, and they not only ridiculed us for what we did say in public, but threatened and inflicted much personal abuse, and had they heard all we said, their violence would have been insupportable. God had great things to say for the salvation of the world, which, if they had been told to the public, would have brought persecution upon us unto death; so we were obliged to retire to our secret chambers, and commune ourselves with God. -[He here referred to the prayer of concerning our having arrived at the age to choose our own guardian.]- If we had told the people what our eyes behold this day, we should not be believed; but the rascals would have shed our blood, if we had only told them what we believed. There we sat in secret and beheld the glorious visions, and powers of the kingdom of heaven, pass and repass; we had not a mighty congregation to shelter us—if a mob came upon us, we had to run and hide ourselves to save our lives. The time has now come to tell why we held secret meetings. We were maturing plans fourteen years ago which we can now tell; were we maturing plans to corrupt the world, to destroy the peace of society? Let fourteen years experience of the church tell the story. The church never would have been here, if we had not done as we did in secret. The cry of false prophet and imposter rolled upon us. I do not know that any thing has taken place in the history of this church, which we did not then believe; it was written upon our hearts, and never could be taken away; it was indelibly engraved, no power beneath yonder heavens could obliterate it. This was the period when God laid the foundation of the church, and he laid it firmly, truly, and upon eternal truth. If any man says it is not the work of God, I know they lie.— Some of you who know you have a house, how long would it take to make you reason yourself into a belief that you have no house, where you now reside with your family? Neither have we any power whereby we can ever persuade ourselves, that this is not the church of God We do not care who sinks or swims, or opposes; but we know here is the church of God, and I have authority before God for saying so. I have the testimony of Jesus which is the spirit of prophecy; I have slept with it, I have walked with it; the idea has never been out of my heart for a moment, and I will reap the glory of it when I leave this world. I defy men, and hell, and devils to put it out of my heart: I defy all, and will triumph in spite of them. I know God, I have gazed upon the glory of God, the throne, visions and glories of God, and the visions of eternity in days gone by. What is a man of God to do, when he sees all the madness, wrath and follies of our persecutors. He will do as God does; he will sit and laugh; one breath from the nostrils of God would blow them out of existence to hell. These were the beginning of good days; shut up in a room, eating nothing but dry johnny cake and buttermilk; every man who had a little farm, or clothes, sold them and distributed what he had among the rest, and did the best they could. I had nothing to eat, nothing to wear, and yet it was the beginning of good days. Some say I want plenty to eat, plenty to drink, plenty to wear and a good house to live in, and say they, then I will believe; but God will not give it, until you have proved yourselves to him. No wonder then that we should be joyful to-day. If the people will do as they are told, I will tell you what to do. Get the visions of heaven, and seek not what you shall eat or what you shall drink, but seek the will of God; get into the presence of God, and then you will have johnny cake and milk and water no more. Would you not be astonished if even now we should tell the glories and the privileges of the saints of God to you, and to the world, we should be ridiculed; and no wonder we shut it up in secret; if we were to tell you [p. 523]
although we were not enongh to well man a farm, or meet a woman with a milk pail; all the elders, all the members, met in conference, in a room 20 feet square. I recollect being put in jail for reading the Book of Mormon. He came to see us, and expressed great astonishment, and left us apparently pondering in his heart; he afterward came to , Ohio, and said he was a convert. Many things were taught, believed, and preached, then, which have since come to pass; we knew the whole world would laugh at us, so we concealed ourselves; and there was much excitement about our secret meetings, charging us with designs against the government, and with laying plans to get money, &c. which never existed in the heads of any one else, and if we had talked in public, we should have been ridiculed more than we were, the world being entirely ignorant of the testimony of the prophets and without knowledge of what God was about to do; treated all we said with pretended contempt, and much riducule; and had they have heard all we said, it would have made it worse for us; we talked about the people coming as doves to the windows, that all nations should flock unto it; that they should come bending to the standard of Jesus, saying, our fathers have taught falsehood, and things in which there is no profit; and of whole nations being born in one day; we talked such big things that men could not bear them, and they not only ridiculed us for what we did say in public, but threatened and inflicted much personal abuse, and had they heard all we said, their violence would have been insupportable. God had great things to say for the salvation of the world, which, if they had been told to the public, would have brought persecution upon us unto death; so we were obliged to retire to our secret chambers, and commune ourselves with God. -[He here referred to the prayer of concerning our having arrived at the age to choose our own guardian.]- If we had told the people what our eyes behold this day, we should not be believed; but the rascals would have shed our blood, if we had only told them what we believed. There we sat in secret and beheld the glorious visions, and powers of the kingdom of heaven, pass and repass; we had not a mighty congregation to shelter us—if a mob came upon us, we had to run and hide ourselves to save our lives. The time has now come to tell why we held secret meetings. We were maturing plans fourteen years ago which we can now tell; were we maturing plans to corrupt the world, to destroy the peace of society? Let fourteen years experience of the church tell the story. The church never would have been here, if we had not done as we did in secret. The cry of false prophet and imposter rolled upon us. I do not know that any thing has taken place in the history of this church, which we did not then believe; it was written upon our hearts, and never could be taken away; it was indelibly engraved, no power beneath yonder heavens could obliterate it. This was the period when God laid the foundation of the church, and he laid it firmly, truly, and upon eternal truth. If any man says it is not the work of God, I know they lie.— Some of you who know you have a house, how long would it take to make you reason yourself into a belief that you have no house, where you now reside with your family? Neither have we any power whereby we can ever persuade ourselves, that this is not the church of God We do not care who sinks or swims, or opposes; but we know here is the church of God, and I have authority before God for saying so. I have the testimony of Jesus which is the spirit of prophecy; I have slept with it, I have walked with it; the idea has never been out of my heart for a moment, and I will reap the glory of it when I leave this world. I defy men, and hell, and devils to put it out of my heart: I defy all, and will triumph in spite of them. I know God, I have gazed upon the glory of God, the throne, visions and glories of God, and the visions of eternity in days gone by. What is a man of God to do, when he sees all the madness, wrath and follies of our persecutors. He will do as God does; he will sit and laugh; one breath from the nostrils of God would blow them out of existence to hell. These were the beginning of good days; shut up in a room, eating nothing but dry johnny cake and buttermilk; every man who had a little farm, or clothes, sold them and distributed what he had among the rest, and did the best they could. I had nothing to eat, nothing to wear, and yet it was the beginning of good days. Some say I want plenty to eat, plenty to drink, plenty to wear and a good house to live in, and say they, then I will believe; but God will not give it, until you have proved yourselves to him. No wonder then that we should be joyful to-day. If the people will do as they are told, I will tell you what to do. Get the visions of heaven, and seek not what you shall eat or what you shall drink, but seek the will of God; get into the presence of God, and then you will have johnny cake and milk and water no more. Would you not be astonished if even now we should tell the glories and the privileges of the saints of God to you, and to the world, we should be ridiculed; and no wonder we shut it up in secret; if we were to tell you [p. 523]
Page 523