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

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Editorial Note
“Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons, 1 May 1844, 5:522–524.

CONFERENCE MINUTES.
Conference met pursuant to appointment, on Saturday the 6th of April, 1844.
Present, President Joseph Smith, , and .
Of the Twelve, , , , , , and .
The members of the High Council, an immense number of elders, and an innumerable concourse of people.
Saturday, April 6, 1844.
Presidents Joseph, and came to the stand at 1-4 past 10 o’clock, when the meeting was called to order by elder . The choir sung a hymn, after which President Joseph Smith rose to state to the congregation the nature of the business which would have to come before them. He stated that it had been expected by some that the little petty difficulties which have existed, would be brought up and investigated before this conference, but it will not be the case; these things are of too trivial a nature to occupy the attention of so large a body. I intend to give you some instruction on the principles of eternal truth, but will defer it until others have spoken, in consequence of the weakness of my lungs. The elders will give you instuction, and then, (if necessary) I will offer such corrections as may be proper to fill up the interstices. Those who feel desirous of sowing the seeds of discord will be disappointed, on this occasion. It is our purpose to build up, and establish the principles of righteousness, and not to break down and destroy. The great Jehovah has ever been with me, and the wisdom of God will direct me in the seventh hour; I feel in closer communion, and better standing with God than ever I felt before in my life, and I am glad of this opportunity to appear in your midst. I thank God for the glorious day that he has given us. In as large a congregation, it is necessary that the greatest order and decorum be observed; I request this at your hands, and believe that you will all keep good order.
Prayer was offered by , after which the choir sung a hymn.
Elder then rose and said, It is with no ordinary degree of satisfaction, I enjoy this privilege this morning; want of health, and other circumstances have kept me in silence for nearly the last five years. It can hardly be expected, that when the violence of sickness having used its influence, and the seeds of disease have so long preyed upon me, that I can rise before this congregation. I am now come forth from a bed of sickness, and have enough of strength left to appear here for the first time in my true character. I have not come before a conference for the last five years in my true character. I shall consider this important privilege sacred in my family history, during life. I hardly promise myself lungs to make this congregation hear me, I shall do the best I can, and the greatest can do no more.— The circumstances by which we are now surrounded points out the principles of my discourse—the history of this church which I have known from its infancy: my text is, “Behold the church of God of the last days.” I do not know that I can find it in the Bible; I do not think it necessary to have Paul to make a text for me; I can make a text for myself; I recollect in the year 1830, I met the whole church of Christ in a little old log house about 20 feet square, near Waterloo, N. Y. and we began to talk about the kingdom of God as if we had the world at our command; we talked with great confidence, and talked big things, although we were not many people, we had big feelings; we knew fourteen years ago that the church would become as large as it it to-day; we were as big then, as we shall ever be; we began to talk like men in authority and power—we looked upon the men of the earth as grass hoppers; if we did not see this people, we saw by vision, the church of God, a thousand times larger; and when men would come in, they would say we wanted to upset the government, [p. 522] 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] when Jehovah looked on, lo it is beauty, it is heaven, it is felicity to look on; I should marvel if it were otherwise; if a man tells you one glory or one message, he is learning another at the same time. Do not be asonished then if we even yet have secret meetings; asking God for things for your benefit. Do not be afraid, go back to the commencement of this church, and see what was concocted then; there was no evil concocted when we first held secret meetings, and it is the same now; has God forgotten to be gracious? to be merciful to mankind? Did he ever concoct anything that was devilish for mankind? He could not do it, I never am afraid of God or man concocting any thing to hurt me, I have faith to detect man, even if he did; I would ask God to detect them, and would hold them fast before he should do it. I am not afraid of men or devils. I have none of those fears, jealousies, dreads, forebodings, surmisings, &c.; I put my trust in God, and whatever God does for me, is only for my salvation. A man is a bad teamster who runs his team in the worst road. -[And showed how much like the gospel.]- What I have already said, is only to prepare the way. -[Here five of the Pottowattomie tribe appeared with their interpreter, and were assisted to the by the president.]- I am going to tell of something that surprised me at the beginning of the church; I have handled, heard, seen and known things which I have not yet told. After the church began to grow, it was favored with monstrous wise men; they had so much wisdom that they could dispute what God said, and what his servant said. They were opposed to virtue; they would say they had revelations and visions, and were as certain that God had given it, as I was that the devil had. He referred to the children of Israel who were snivelling and murmuring about their leeks and onions, &c. &c., and so it is in these last days, some men are always yelling about what the church believes, and opposing every good thing. I want devils to gratify themselves, and if howling, yelling, pelping [yelping], will do you any good; do it till you are all damned. If calling us devils, &c., will do you any good, let us have the whole of it, and you can then go on your way to hell without a grunt. We hear these things ever since the church existed, they have come up with us, they have had so much more wisdom, they knew all about the kingdom before God revealed it; and they know all things before they are heard; they understand more than God knows. We gather of all kinds, if we get all nations, we get all wisdom, all cunning, and every thing else. The sectarians cannot be as wise as we are, for they have only got the plans of man for salvation, but we have got man’s plans, the devil’s plans, and the best of all, we have God’s plan. I do not know whether there are any of these wise men here this morning; I have merely given this as a part of the history of this church. I am disposed to give some reasons why salvation only belongs to the kingdom of God, and to that alone. I will endeavor to show why salvation belongs to us more peculiarly, in contradistinction of all other bodies; will this be clear enough? I discover one thing, mankind have labored under one universal mistake about this, viz: Salvation was distinct from government; i. e.; that I can build a church without government, and that thing have power to save me. When God sets up a system of salvation, he sets up a system of government; when I speak of a government I mean what I say; I mean a government that shall rule over temporal and spiritual affairs. Every man is a government of himself, and infringe upon no government. A man is not an honorable man if he is not above all law, and above government. I see in our town we have need of government, some study law, only for the purpose of seeing how many feuds, how ma[n]y broils they can kick up, how much they can disturb the peace of the public, without breaking the law, and then say: “I know my rights and will have them;” “I did not know it was the marshal, or I would not have done it.” He is no gentleman, gentlemen would not insult a poor man in the street, but would bow to him, as much as those who appear more respectable. No marshal, or any one else should pull me up; we ought to live a great way within the circle of the laws of the land. I would live far above all law. The law of God is far more righteous than the laws of the land; the laws of God are far above the laws of the land. The kingdom of God does not interfere with the laws of the land, but keeps it[s]elf by its own laws.
(To be Continued.) [p. 524]

Editorial Note
“Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons, 15 July 1844, 5:577–579.

Continuation of last April’s Conference.
-[ here stopped to refresh himself. The choir sung a hymn.]-
Elder being called upon to address the congregation, said, It gives me pleasure to meet and associate with so large an assemblage of the saints. I always feel at home among the brethren. I consider them the honorable of the earth; and if I can do any thing to conduce to their happiness, or that will in any wise tend to their edification, I am satisfied. I therefore address this congregation with cheerfulness and pleasure; and if by unfolding any of the principles of truth that I am in possession of, or laying before you any thing pertaining to the kingdom; If my ideas will enlarge your minds or produce beneficial results to any, I shall consider myself on this, as on all other occasions amply repaid. Many [p. 577] things have been spoken by concerning the early history of this church. There is no individual who has searched the oracles of eternal truth, but his mind will be touched with the remarks made by our venerable friend which unfold the dispensation of Jehovah, and have a tendency to produce the most thrilling feelings in the bosoms of many who are this day present, and to promote our general edification; he traces with pleasure on the historic page the rise of nations, kingdoms and empires. Historians dwelt with great minuteness on the heroic deeds, the chivalrous acts, the dangers and deliverances; the tact, bravery and heroism of their chieftains, generals and governments. We as republicans, look back to the time when this nation was under the iron rule of Great Britain, and groaned under the power, tyranny and oppression of that powerful nation. We trace with delight, the name of a Washington, a Jefferson, a La Fayette and an Adams, in whose bosoms burnt the spark of liberty. These themes are dwelt upon with delight by our own legislators, our governors and presidents; they are subjects which fire our souls with patriotic ardor. But if these things animate them so much, how much more great, noble and exalted are the things laid before us. They were engaged in founding kingdoms, and empires that were destined to dissolution and decay, and although many of them were great, formidable and powerful, they now exist only in name. Their “cloud capped towers, their solemn temples, are dissolved,” and nothing now remains of their former magnificence, or ancient grandeur, but a few dilapidated buildings and broken columns, a few shattered fragments remains to tell to this and to other generations, the perishable nature of earthly pomp and worldly glory.— They were engaged in founding empires and establishing kingdoms, and powers that had in themselves the seeds of destruction, and were destined to decay. We are laying the foundation of a kingdom that shall last forever;— that shall bloom in time and blossom in eternity. We are engaged in a greater work than ever occupied the attention of mortals; we live in a day that prophets and kings desired to see, but died without the sight. When we hear the history of the rise of this kingdom, from one who has been with it from its infancy, from the lips of our venerable friend who has taken an active part in all the history of the church, can we be surprised that he should feel animated, and that his soul should burn with heavenly zeal? We see in him a man of God who can contemplate the glories of heaven; the visions of eternity, and who yet looks forward to the opening glories which the great Eloheim has manifested to him, pertaining to righteousness and peace; a man who now beholds the things roll on which he had long since beheld in prophetic vision. Most men have established themselves in authority, by laying desolate other kingdoms, and the destruction of other powers. Their kingdoms have been founded in blood and supported by tyranny and oppression. The greatest chieftains of the earth have obtained their glory, if glory it can be called, by blood, carnage and ruin.— One nation has been built up at the expense and ruin of another, and one man has been made at the expense of another, and yet these great men were called honorable for their inglorious deeds of rapine. They have slain their thousands, and caused the orphans to weep and the widows to mourn. Men did these things because they could do it, because they had power to desolate nations and spread terror and desolation. They have made themselves immortal as great men. The patriots of this country had indeed a laudable object in view, a plausible excuse for the course they took.— They stood up in defence of their rights, liberty and freedom; but where are now those principles of freedom? Where the laws that protect all men in their religious opinions? where the laws that say a man shall worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience? What say ye, ye saints, ye who are exiles in the land of LIBERTY. How came you here? Can you in this land of equal rights return in safety to your possessions in ? No!— You are exiles from thence, and there is no power, no voice, no arm to redress your grievances. Is this the gracious boon for which your fathers fought, and struggled, and died? Shades of the venerable dead, could you but gaze upon this scene and witness tens of thousands of Americans in exile on Columbia’s soil, if pity could touch your bosoms, how would you mourn for the oppressed; if indignation, how would you curse the heartless wretches that have so desecrated and polluted the temple of liberty. “How has the gold become dim, and the fine gold, how has it changed?” Let it not be told among the heathen monarchs of Europe, lest they laugh and say ha! ha! So would we have it, Ye saints, never let it go abroad, that ye are exiles in the land of liberty, lest ye disgrace your republic in the eyes of the nations of the earth; but tell it to those who robbed and plundered, and refused to give you your rights; tell your rulers that all their deeds of fame are tarnished, and their glory is departed. Are we now indeed in a land of liberty, of freedom, of equal rights? Would to God I [p. 578] could answer yes; but no! no!! I cannot. They have robbed us, we are stripped of our possessions, many of our friends are slain, and our government says “your cause is just, but we can do nothing for you.” Hear it, ye great men, we are here in exile! Here are thousands of men in bondage, in a [l]and of liberty, of freedom!! If ye have any patriotism left, shake off your fetters, and come and proclaim us free, and give us our rights. I speak of this goyernment as being one of the best of governments, as one of the greatest, purest, and yet, what a melancholy picture. O ye venerable fathers who fought for your liberty, blush for your children, and mourn, mourn over your ’s shame. We are now talking about a government which sets herself up as a pattern for the nations of the earth, and yet, O what a picture. If this is the best, the most patriotic, the most free, what is the situation of the rest? Here we speak with national pride of a Washington, a La Fayette, a Monroe, and a Jefferson; who fought for their liberties, and achieved one of the greatest victories ever won, and scarcely has one generation passed away before 15000 citizens petition government for redress of their wrongs, and they turn a deaf ear to their cry. Let us compare this with the Church of Christ, fourteen years ago a few men assembled in a log cabin; they saw the visions of heaven and gazed upon the eternal world; they looked through the rent vista of futurity, and beheld the glories of eternity; they were planting those principles which were concocted in the bosom of Jehovah; they were laying a foundation for the salvation of the world, and those principles which they then planted, have not yet begun to dwindle, but the fire still burns in their bones; the principles are planted in different nations, and are wafted on every breeze. When I gaze upon this company of men, I see those who are actuated by patriotic and noble principles, who will stand up in defence of the oppressed, of whatever country, nation, color, or clime. I see it in their countenances; it is planted by the spirit of God, and they have received it from the great Eloheim, all the power or influence of mobs, priestcraft and corrupt men, cannot quench it, it will burn, it is comprehensive as the designs of God, and as expansive as the universe, and reaches to all the world, no matter whether it was an Indian, a negro or any other man, or set of men that are oppressed, you would stand forth in their defence. I say unto you, continue to cherish those principles; let them expand, and if the tree of liberty has been blasted in this nation; if it has been gnawed by worms, and already blight has overspread it, we will stand up in defence of our liberties, and proclaim ourselves free in time and in eternity.
The choir, by request sung ‘the red man,’ after prayer by Elder , the meeting was adjourned for one hour.
April 6th, 1844, afternoon.
The president arrived at the stand at 1-2 past 2 o’clock, P. M. The choir sung a hymn, after which prayer by Elder , when the choir sung another hymn. resumed his history of the Church of Christ.
(For the want of room we postpone s remarks for the present.) [p. 579]

Editorial Note
“Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons, 1 Aug. 1844, 5:596–598.

Continuation of last April’s Conference.
At two o’clock, P. M., Patriarch arrived at the , and said he wanted to speak something about the . We want 200,000 shingles, as we shall resume the work on the immediately; all who have not paid their tithing, come on and do it. We want provisions, money, boards, planks, and any thing that is good; we dont want any more old guns or watches. I thought some time ago I would get up a small subscription, so that the sisters might do something. In consequence of some misunderstanding, it has not gone on as at first; it is a matter of my own, I do not ask it as a tithing. I give a privilege for any one to pay a cent a week, or fifty cents a year. I want it by next fall to buy nails and glass. It is difficult to get money, I know that a small subscription will bring in more than a large one;— the poor can help in this way. I take the responsibility upon myself, and call again upon the sisters; I call again until I get about $1,000, it only requires 2,000 subscribers. I have sent this subscription to , and the branches; I am not to be dictated to, by any one except the prophet and God; I want you to pay in your subscriptions to me, and it shall always be said boldly by me—the sisters bought the glass in that —and their names shall be written in the book of the law of the Lord. It is not a tax but a free will offering to procure something which shall ever be a monument of your works. No member of the Female Relief Society got it up; I am the man that did it; they ought not to infringe upon it; I am not a member of the Female Relief Society; I am one of the committee of the Lord’s . I wish to accomplish something; I wish all the saints to have an opportunity to do something; I want the poor to have a chance with the purse of five dollars.— The widow’s two mites, were more in the eyes of the Lord, than the purse of the rich; and the poor woman shall have a seat in the house of God, she who pays her two mites as much as the rich; because it is all they have. I wish all to have a place in that ; I intend to stimulate the brethren; I want to get the roof on this season; I want to get the windows in, in the winter, so that we may be able to dedicate the by this time next year, if nothing more than one room; I will call upon the brethren to do something.
I cannot make a comparison between the and any thing now in existence. Great things are to grow out of that ; there is a great and mighty power to grow out of it; there is an endowment; knowledge is power, we want knowledge; we have frequently difficulties with persons who profess to be Latter Day Saints; when the sacrament will be administered in the Lord’s house, it will do away with a [p. 596] great deal of difficulty that is now in existence. If we can have a privilege and confess our faults unto God and one another every Sabbath day, it will do away with these, you poor sisters shall have a seat in that ; I will stand on the top of the pulpit and proclaim to all what the sisters have done; when you offer up your sacraments every Sabbath, you will feel well a whole week; you will get a great portion of the Spirit of God, enough to last you a week, and you will increase. We are now deprived of the privilege of giving the necessary instruction,— hence we want a . All the money shall be laid out for what you design it; it shant be paid for any thing else. I am one of the committee; the committee tell me the quarry is blockaded, it is filled with rock; the stone cutters are wanting work; come on with your teams as soon as conference is over. It is not necessary for me to tell who wi[l]l come and do it; I will prophesy that you will do it. There is not one in the but what will do right if they know it; only one or two exceptions and they are not worth notice; God will take care of them, and if he dont the devil will. I described them once and you will always know them while you see them, they will keep hopping till they hop out of town. Some are tree toads who climb the trees and are continually croaking.— We are now the most noble people on the face of the globe, and we have no occasion to fear tad-poles. We are designated by the all-seeing eye, designated to do good; not to stoop to any low thing. We are apt to suffer prejudice to get into our hearts on hearing reports, we never should allow it; never should pass our judgment until we hear both sides. I will tell a Dutch anecdote: a certain Dutchman had a cause brought before him and heard one side and he gave in his decision, ‘by sure you have got the case;’ and when the other party brought their witnesses, he said again, ‘by sure and you have got the case too.’ If you hear of any one high in authority, that he is rather inclined to apostacy, dont let prejudice arise, but pray for him;— God may feel after him and he may return; never speak reproachfully or disrespectfully, he is in the hand of God, I am one of those peacemakers who take a stand above these little things. It has been intimated we should have investigations this conference, do you think I would trouble this conference with it. If I have a difficulty with a man I will go and settle it, let them settle their difficulties; there is not a man who has had a difficulty, who would trouble this congregation about it; we ask no favors, we can settle it ourselves; dont think any thing about persons who are on the eve of apostacy, God is able to take care of them. Let God judge, do your duty, and let men alone.
I wish to speak about Messrs: Law’s steam mill, there has been a great deal of bickering about it. The mill has been a great benefit to the , no matter how much fault found; it has been the means of building up the , it has brought in thousands who would not have come here; but as they saw that the Mormons had not got horns, they came, and have got good by it. People would rather come in than starve.— The Messrs. Laws have sunk their capital, and done a great deal of good; it is out of character to cast any aspersions on the Messrs. Laws.— When we come to investigate the conspiracy, it is that rascal who presumed upon them; he supposed he could lead them into any manner of iniquity. I do not believe that the Messrs. Laws would do any thing to injure me or any man’s life. The men gave in affidavit that said they would go into it tooth and toe nail; I will not believe they will do it, if swore it upon a stack of Bibles as big as Mount Etna. I make these observations for the purpose of putting down prejudice. If I was as full of the devil as an egg is full of meat, and you undertook to oppress me, you could not drive me, neither if I was full of the Sprrit of God. Never undertake to destroy men because they do some evil thing; it is natural for a man to be lead and not driven; put down iniquity by good works; many men speak without any contemplation, but when they have a little contemplation it would not have been spoken. We ought to be careful what we say, and take the example of Jesus, cast over the mantle of charity and try to cover their faults. We are made to enlighten, and not to darken one another; save men but not destroy men; do unto others what you would have them do unto you. It is well enough to root out conspiracy, do not fear, but if you are in the rignt track, having God to guide you, he will save you, for God will save you if he has to destroy the wicked so as by fire.
I want to put down all false influence; all that brother Joseph said, was all right; but it was said by the rascal . If I thought I should be saved, and any in the congregation be lost, I should not be happy; for this purpose Jesus effected a resurrection; our Savior is competent to save all from death and hell; I can prove it out of the revelations; I would not serve a God that had not all wisdom and all power. The reason why I feel so good is because I have a big soul, there are men with small bodies who have got souls like Enoch; we have gathered out all the big souls from [p. 597] the ends of the earth; the gospel picks out all the big souls, out of all creation; and we will get all the big souls out of all the nations, and we shall have the largest city in the world; It works just like a God. We will gather out all the big souls out of every nation: as soon as the gospel catches hold of a big soul it brings them all right up to Zion. There is a thing called an eye star; the gospel is similar; then will have a people big enough to be saved.— Popery could not write what Enoch preached; he told the people the Spirit of God took him up into a high mountian; showed him the distress of the people; the destruction of the world, and he said his heart swelled wide as eternity; but Popery could not receive any thing as large as that. Every society are just like them; God Almighty has made mens’ souls according to the society which he lives in, with very few exceptions, and when men come to live with the Mormons, their souls swell as if they were going to stride the planets, as I stride the Republic of . I can believe that man can go from planet to planet, a man gets so high in the mansions above.
A certain good sister came to my house and she was troubled because she heard so many big things; she thought it weakened her faith. I told her she had too much faith; she believed too much; I will tell you how you may know whether the thing is true or not. When any come to you with a lie, you feel troubled; God will trouble you and will not approbate you in such belief; you had better get some antidote to get rid of it. Humble yourself before God, and ask him for his spirit; and pray to him to judge it for you. It is better not to have so much faith, than to have so much as to believe all the lies. Before this conference eloses I I want to get a[l]l the elders together. I shall make a proclamation: I want to take the line and axe, and hew you, and make you as straight as possible; I will make you as straight as a stretched line. Every elder that goes from to preach the gospel, if he preach any thing else we will silence him through the public print; I want all the elders to meet and to understand, and if they teach any thing but the pure truth we will call them home.
(To be Continued.) [p. 598]

Editorial Note
“Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons, 15 Aug. 1844, 5:612–617.

Continuation of last April’s Conference.
The president having arrived; the choir sung a hymn. Elder offered prayer.
The president then arose and called the attention of the congregation upon the subjects which were contemplated in the fore part of the conference. As the wind blows very hard, it will be hardly possible for me to make you all hear unless there is profound attention. It is of the greatest importance, and the most solemn of any that can occupy our attention, and that is, the subject of the dead; on the decease of our , who was crushed to death [p. 612] in a well, I have been requested to speak by his friends and relatives, and inasmuch as there are a great many in this congregation who live in this , as well as elsewhere, and who have lost friends, I feel disposed to speak on the subject in general, and offer you my ideas so far as I have ability, and so far as I shall be inspired by the Holy Spirit to dwell on this subject. I want your prayers and faith, the instruction of Almighty God and the gift of the Holy Ghost, that I may set forth things that are true, that can easily be comprehended, and shall carry the testimony to your hearts; pray that the Lord may strengthen my lungs, stay the winds and let the prayers of the saints to heaven appear, that it may enter into the ear of the Lord of Sabaoth; for the effectual prayers of righteous men availeth much, and I verily believe that your prayers shall be heard before I enter into the investigation fully of the subject that is laying before me. Before entering fully into the investigation, I wish to pave the way: I will make a few preliminaries, in order that you may understand the subject when I come to it. I do not calculate to please your ears with superfluity of words or oratory, or with much learning; but I calculate to edify you with the simple truths from heaven. In the first place, I wish to go back to the beginning of creation; there is the starting point, in order to be fully acquainted with the mind, purposes, decrees, &c. of the great Eloheim, that sits in yonder heavens, it is necessary for us to have an understanding of God himself in the beginning. If we start right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we start wrong, it is a hard matter to get right. There are a very few beings in the world who understand rightly the character of God. They do not comprehend any thing, that which is past, or that which is to come; and consequently, but little above the brute beast. If a man learns nothing more than to eat, drink, sleep, and does not comprehend any of the designs of God, the beast comprehends the same thing; it eats, drinks, sleeps, knows nothing more; yet knows as much as we, unless WE are able to comprehend by the inspiration of Almighty God. I want to go back to the beginning, and so lift your minds into a more lofty sphere, a more exalted understanding; that what the human mind generally understands. I want to ask this congregation, every man, woman and child, to answer the question in their own heart, what kind of a being is God? ask yourselves. I again repeat the question, what kind of a being is God? Does any man or woman know? have any of you seen him, heard him, communed with him? Here is the question that will peradventure from this time henceforth, occupy your attention. The apostle says this is eternal life, to know God and Jesus Christ, who he has sent. If any man enquire what kind of a being is God, if he will search diligently his own heart, if the declaration of the apostle be true, he will realize that he has not eternal life, there can be eternal life on no other principle. My first object is, to find out the character of the only wise and true God, and if I should be the man to comprehend God, and explain or convey the principles to your hearts so that the spirit seals it upon you, let every man and woman henceforth put their hand on their mouth and never say any thing against the man of God again; but if I fail, it becomes my duty to renounce all my pretensions to revelations, inspirations, &c., and if all are pretensions to God, they will all be as bad off as I am at any rate. There is not a man but would breathe out an anathema, if they knew I was a false prophet; and some would feel authorized to take away my life. If any man is authorized to take away my life, who says I am a false teacher; then upon the same principle am I authorized to take away the life of every false teacher, and where would be the end of blood, and who would not be the sufferer. But no man is authorized to take away life in consequence of their religion; which all laws and governments ought to tolerate, right or wrong. If I show verily, that I have the truth of God, and show that ninety-nine out of a hundred are false teachers while they pretend to hold the keys of God, and to kill them because they are false teachers, it would deluge the whole world with blood. I want you all to know God, to be familiar with him, and if I can bring you to him, all persecutions against me will cease; you will know that I am his servant, for I speak as one having authority.— What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear all ye ends of the earth; for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and am going to tell you the designs of God to the human race, and why he interferes with the affairs of man.
First, God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves, that is the great secret. If the vail was rent to-day, and the great God, who holds this world in its orbit, and upholds all things by his power; if you were to see him to-day, you would see him in all the person, image and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion and image of God; Adam received instruction, walked, talked and [p. 613] conversed with him, as one man talkes and communes with another.
In order to understand the subject of the dead, for the consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary they should understand the character and being of God, for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are the simple and first principles of the gospel, to know for a certainty the character of God, that we may converse with him as one man with another, and that God himself; the Father of us all dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did, and I will show it from the Bible. I wish I had the trump of an arch angel, I could tell the story in such a manner that persecution would cease forever; what did Jesus say? (mark it ;) Jesus said, as the Father hath power in himself, even so hath the Son power; to do what? why what the Father did, that answer is obvious; in a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus what are you going to do? To lay down my life, as my Father did, and take it up again.— If you do not believe it, you do not believe the Bible; the scriptures say it, and I defy all the learning and wisdom, all the combined powers of earth and hell together, to refute it. Here then is eternal life, to know the only wise and true God. You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves; to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done; by going from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you are able to sit in glory as doth those who sit enthroned in everlasting power; and I want you to know that God in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming his name, is not trifling with you or me; it is the first principles of consolation. How consoling to the mourner, when they are called to part with a husband, wife, father, mother, child or dear relative, to know, that although the earthly tabernacle shall be dissolved, that they shall rise in immortal glory, not to sorrow, suffer or die any more, but they shall be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? to inherit the same glory, the same power and the same exaltation, until you ascend the throne of eternal power the same as those who are gone before. What did Jesus do? why I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds eame rolling into existence. I saw my Father work out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom I shall present it to my Father, so that he obtains kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt his glory, so that Jesus treads in his tracks to inherit what God did before; it is plain beyond disputation, and you thus learn some of the first principles of the gospel, about which so much hath been said. When you climb a ladder, you must begin at the bottom and go on until you learn the last principle; it will be a great while before you have learned the last. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it is a great thing to learn salvation beyong the grave. I suppose I am not allowed to go into an investigation of any thing that is not contained in the Bible, and I think there are so many wise men here, who would put me to death for treason; so I shall turn commentator to-day; I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible, Berosheit. I want to analyze the word; baith, in, by, through, in, and every thing else. Rosh, the head. Sheit, gramatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. A man, a Jew without any authority, thought it too bad to begin to talk abut the head. It read first, ‘The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods,’ that is the true meaning of the words. Baurau, signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. No man can learn you more than what I have told you. Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council. I will simplify it in the English language. Oh ye lawyers! ye doctors! who have persecuted me; I want to let you know that the Holy Ghost knows something as well as you do. The head God called together the Gods, and set in grand council. The grand counsellors sat in yonder heavens, and contemplated the creation of the worlds that were created at that time. When I say doctors and lawyers, I mean the doctors and lawyers of the scripture. I have done so hitherto, to let the lawyers flutter, and every body laugh at them. Some learned doctor might take a notion to say, the scriptures say thus and so, and are not to be altered, and I am going to show you an error. I have an old book of the New Testament in the Hebrew, Latin, German and Greek. I have been reading the German and find it to be the most correct, and it corresponds nearest to the revelations I have given for the last fourteen years. It tells about Jachoboy the son of Zebedee; it means Jacob; in the English New Testament it is James.— Now if Jacob had the keys, you might talk about James through all eternity, and never get the keys. In the 21st verse of the 4th chapter of Mathew, it gives the word Jacob instead of James. How can we escape the damnation of [p. 614] hell except reveal to us; men bind us with chains; Latin says Jachabod mean Jacob;—Hebrew says it means Jacob; Greek says Jacob; German says Jacob. I thank God I have got this book, and thank him more for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have got the oldest book in the world, but I have got the oldest book in my heart. I have all the four testaments, come here ye learned men, and read if you can. I should not have introduced this testimony were it not to back up the word Rosh, the head, Father of the Gods. I should not have brought it up only to show that I am right. When we begin to learn in this way, we begin to learn the only true God, and what kind of a being we have got to worship. When we know how to come to him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us and tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us. Now I ask all the learned men who hear me, why the learned men who are preaching salvation say, that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing, and the reason is they are unlearned; they account it blasphemy to contradict the idea, they will call you a fool.— I know more than all the world put together, and the Holy Ghost within me comprehends more than all the world, and I will associate with it. The word create came from the word baurau; it does not mean so; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize a ship. Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos; chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time he had. The pure principles of element, are principles that can never be destroyed. They may be organized and re-organized; but not destroyed.
I have another subject to dwell upon and it is impossible for me to say much, but I shall just touch upon them; for time will not permit me to say all; so I must come to the resurrection of the dead, the soul, the mind of man, the immortal spirit. All men say God created it in the beginning. The very idea lessens man in my estimation; I do not believe the doctrine, I know better. Hear it all ye ends of the world, for God has told me so. I will make a man appear a fool before I get through, if you dont believe it. I am going to tell of things more noble—we say that God himself is a self existing God; who told you so? it is correct enough but how did it get into your heads? Who told you that man did not exist in like manner upon the same principles? (refers to the old Bible,) how does it read in the Hebrew? It dont say so in the Hebrew, it says God made man out of the earth, and put into him Adam’s spirit, and so became a living body.
The mind of man is as immortal as God himself. I know that my testimony is true, hence when I talk to these mourners; what have they lost, they are only seperated from their bodies for a short season; their spirits existed co-equal with God, and they now exist in a place where they converse together, the same as we do on the earth. Is it logic to say that a spirit is immortal, and yet have a beginning? Because if a spirit have a beginning it will have an end; good logic. I want to reason more on the spirit of man, for I am dwelling on the body of man, on the subject of the dead. I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man, the immortal spirit, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; but as the Lord lives there would be an end.— All the fools, learned and wise men, from the beginning of creation, who say that man had a beginning, proves that he must have an end and then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But, if I am right I might with boldness proclaim from the house tops, that God never did have power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself: intelligence exists upon a self existent principle, it is a spirit from age to age, and there is no creation about it. All the spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement. The first principles of man are self existent with God; that God himself finds himself in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was greater, and because he saw proper to institute laws, whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself, that they might have one glory upon another, in all that knowledge, power, and glory, &c., in order to save the world of spirits. I know that when I tell you these words of eternal life, that are given to me, I know you taste it and I know you believe it. You say honey is sweet and so do I. I can also taste the spirit of eternal life; I know it is good, and when I tell you of these things, that were given me by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to receive it as sweet, and I rejoice more and more.
I want to talk more of the relation of man to God. I will open your eyes in relation to your dead; all things whatsoever God of his infinite wisdom has seen proper to reveal to us, while we are dwelling in mortality, in regard to our mortal bodies, are revealed to us in the abstract and independent of affinity of this mortal tabernacle; but are revealed to us as if we had no bodies at all, and those revelations which wil[l] save our dead will save our bodies; and God reveals them to us in view of no eternal dissolution of the body; hence the responsibility, the [p. 615] awful responsibility, that rests upon us in relation to our dead: for all the spirits who have not obeyed the gospel in the flesh, must either obey the gospel or be damned. Solemn thought, dreadful thought. Is there nothing to be done; no salvation for our fathers and friends who have died and not obeyed the decrees of the Son of Man? Would to God that I had forty days and nights to tell you all, I would let you know that I am not a fallen prophet. What kind of characters are those who can be saved although their bodies are decaying in the grave? When his commandments teach us, it is in view of eternity. The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us, is to seek after our dead.— The apostle says, they without us cannot be made perfect. Now I will speak of them:— I say to you Paul, you cannot be perfect without us: it is necessary that those who are gone before, and those who come after us should have salvation in common with us, and thus hath God made it obligatory to man. Hence God said he should send Elijah, &c.; I have a declaration to make as to the provisions which God hath made to suit the conditions of man; made from before the foundation of the world, What has Jesus said? All sins and all blasphemies, every transgression, except one, that man can be guilty of, there is a salvation for him either in this world, or the world to come. Hence God hath made a provision, that every spirit in the eternal world can be ferreted out and saved, unless he has commited that unpardonable sin, which can not be remitted to him. That God has wrought out a salvation for all men, unless they have committed a certain sin. Every man who has got a friend in in the eternal world can save him unless he has committed the unpardonable sin, and so you can see how far you can be a savior. A man can not commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body, and there is a way possible for escape. Knowledge saves a man, and in the world of spirits a man cannot be exalted but by knowledge; so long as a man will not give heed to the commandments, he must abide without salvation. A man is his own tormenter, and is his own condemner: hence the saying they shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. The torment of the mind of man is as exsquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone—so is the torment of man. I know the scriptures; I understand them. I said no man can commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body, but they must do it in this world: hence the salvation of Jesus Christ was wronght out for all men in order to triumph over the devil: for if it did not catch him in one place, it would in another, for he stood up as a Savior.
The contention in heaven was, Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved, and the devil said he could save them all; the grand council gave in for Jesus Christ: so the devil rebelled against God and fell, and all who put up their heads for him. All sins shall be forgiven except the sin against the Holy Ghost: after a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost there is no repentance for him, he has got to say that the sun does not shine, while he sees it, he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens were open to him, and from that time they begin to be enemies, like many of the apostates of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. When a man begins to be an enemy, he hunts me. They seek to kill me; they thirst for my blood; they never cease. He has the same spirit that they had who crucified the Lord of Life: the same spirit that sins against the Holy Ghost. You cannot bring them to repentance. Awful is the consequence. I advise all of you to be careful what you do, you may by and bye find out that you have been deceived. Stay yourselves, do not give way. You may find out that some one has laid a snare for you. Be cautious; await! when you find a spirit that wants bloodshed, murder, the same is not of God, but is of the devil. Out of the abundance of the heart man speaketh. The man that tells you words of life, is the man that can save you. I warn you against all evil characters, who sin against the Holy Ghost, for there is no redemption for them in this world, or in the world to come.
I can enter into the mysteries; I can enter largely into the eternal worlds: for Jesus said, in my father’s house there are many mansions, &c. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, &c. We have reason to have the greatest hope and consolations for our dead, for we have aided them in the first principles; for we have seen them walk in our midst, and seen them sink asleep in the arms of Jesus. And hence is the glory of the sun. You mourners have occasion to rejoice; (speaking of the death of Elder ,) for your husband is gone to wait until the resurrection; and your expectations and hope are far above what man can conceive: for why has God revealed it to us? I am authorised to say by the authority of the Holy Ghost, that you have no occasion to fear, for he is gone to the home of the just. Don’t mourn: don’t weep. I know it by the testimony of the Holy Ghost that is within me. Rejoice O Israel! your friends shall triumph gloriously, while their murderers [p. 616] shall welter for ages. I say this for the benefit of strangers. I have a , brothers, and friends who are gone to a world of spirits. They are only absent for a moment; they are in the spirit, and when we depart we shall hail our mothers, fathers, friends, and all whom we love.— There will be no fear of mobs, &c., but all will be an eternity of felicity. Mothers you shall have your children, for they shall have eternal life; for their debt is paid, there is no damnation awaits them, for they are in the spirit.— As the child dies, so shall it rise from the dead and be forever living in the learning of God, it shall be the child, the same as it was before it died out of your arms. Children dwell and exercise power in the same form as they laid them down. The baptism of water without the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost attending it is of no use: they are necessary. He must be born of water and the spirit in order to get into the kingdom of God.
In the German, the text bears me out the same as the revelations which I have given for the last fourteen years. I have the testimony to put in their teeth; my testimony has been true all the time. You will find it in the declaration of John the Baptist, (reads from the German), John says I baptize you with water, but when Jesus comes, who has the power, he shall administer the baptism of fire, and the Holy Ghost. Great God! where is now all the sectarian world! and if this testimony is true, they are all damned as clearly as anathema can do it. I know the text is true. I call upon all you Germans, who know that it is true, to say aye, (loud shouts of aye.) , how are you going to save them with water alone? for John said his baptism was nothing without the baptism of Jesus Christ. There is one God, one Father, one Jesus, one hope of our calling, one baptism—all these three baptisms only make one. I have the truth and am at the defiance of the world to contradict me, if they can. I have now preached a little Latin, a little Hebrew, Greek and German, and I have fulfilled all.— I am not so big a fool as many have taken me to be. The Germans know that I read the German correct.
Hear it all ye ends of the earth—all ye sinners, repent! repent! turn to God, for your religion wont save you, and you will be damned; I do not say how long; but those who sin against the Holy Ghost cannot be forgiven in this world, or in the world to come; they shall die the second death; as they concoct scenes of bloodshed in this world so they shall rise to that resurrection, which is as the lake of fire and brimstone: some shall rise to the everlasting burning of God, and some shall rise to the damnation of their own filthliness—as exquisite as the lake of fire and brimstone.
I have intended my remarks to all; both rich and poor, bond and free, great and small. I have no enmity against any man. I love you all. I am your best friend, and if persons miss their mark, it is their own fault. If I reprove a man and he hates me, he is a fool, for I love all men, especially these my brethren and sisters. I rejoice in bearing the testimony of my aged friends. You never knew my heart; no man knows my history; I cannot tell it. I shall never undertake it; if I had not experienced what I have, I should not have known it myself. I never did harm any man since I have been born in the world. My voice is always for peace, I cannot lie down until all my work is finished. I never think any evil, nor any thing to the harm of my fellow man.— When I am called at the trump of the ark-angel, and weighed in the balance you will all know me then. I add no more. God bless you all. Amen.
The choir sung a hymn at half past 5 o’clock and dismissed with a benediction
(To be continued.) [p. 617]