Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Wilford Woodruff A Grand Slam

Delivered 6 - 10 April 1898

    At the 68th Annual General Conference, President Wilford Woodruff delivered four discourses, remarkable for their power and intensity. They would be the last he ever delivered in a General Conference setting as he died five months later. Here, then, are the four. Look for historical insights, the power of his testimony, and spiritual gems strewn along the way!

    I feel very thankful to have the privilege of meeting with so many of the Latter-day Saints in this, our Sixty-eighth Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I had my fears that I would not be able to attend this Conference at all, as I have been quite unwell the last month; but the last day or two I have been blessed with better health. It is a great satisfaction to me to have this privilege. I am satisfied myself that there are many thousands in the spirit world, including the Prophet Joseph Smith and other leaders of this Church, who are quite as deeply interested in this Conference and our work today as we possibly can be ourselves. I hope, while we are together, that we may enjoy the Spirit of God; that our minds may be opened, and our teachings and instructions be led in that channel which shall be unto the edification of the Saints and beneficial to us.

    The signs of the times show that the Lord has not forgotten His promises, made through the inspiration of Prophets and Apostles in generations that are past and gone. There has been a great change in the world with regard to "Mormonism" the last year of our lives, as shown in the increase of the work and of the labors of the Elders of Israel among all the nations where they have been called to travel. I hope and pray that we may be in a condition to comprehend our duties today and what is lying before us, that the purposes of God concerning us as Latter-day Saints may be carried out. I trust that the Spirit of God may be with not only those who speak and teach during this Conference, but with those also who sit and hear. My prayer to God is that His blessing may be over us, that our minds may be open to comprehend our duties, our blessings, and those things which are required at our hands; that we may be true and faithful in our labors while we dwell in the flesh, so that when we get through we may be satisfied with our labors here, and b justified when we are called to give an account of the deeds done in the body. I say, God bless you. I pray for His Holy Spirit to rest upon us as the Saints of God, and upon those who may address us; which is my desire in the name of Jesus. Amen.

[At President Woodruff's request, President George Q. Cannon read the 1st Section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.]

    I want the attention and the prayers of the Saints who have assembled upon this occasion. I have been sick and very weak in my body for a month past, and did not feel that I would be able to attend this Conference till the day before it opened. I have been blessed in this respect to be with you. I desire to say some things to you, and perhaps some strange things, too. I feel disposed to say something about myself, to give you a little of the history of my life, because of what I may want to say, [p.29]before I get through, to the rising generation of Israel. My remarks may be very eccentric to any but Latter-day Saints, and to them also, I expect. I suppose when I was born the devil knew what I should be called to do; for there has been from the day I was born until the present two powers with me—one to kill me, the other to save me. I stand before you today a pretty sound-looking, for a man ninety-one years of age. I stand before you with a body in which almost every bone has been broken except my back and neck. I have had through my life a power after me to take my life. When I was about three years old I was pushed into a caldron of boiling water, which had just been taken off the fire. My grandmother took me out, and my skin all dropped off excepting off my head and feet. I was wrapped up for months in cotton and oil. That was the beginning of my troubles. When I was twelve years of age I was drowned; at any rate, I lay in thirty feet of water long enough to drown anyone. After several unsuccessful attempts, I was brought up out of the water. This was under the Farmington mill dam. I was just as dead as I shall be thirty years hence. I lay on my back and saw the sun go out, and passed through all the sensations of death that any man would in drowning. After an hour's labor, I was brought around to life again.

    I shall not go into the particulars of many of these things, but I have passed through what may be termed death a number of times in my life. When I was 15 years old I was in one of those Connecticut blizzards. I walked four miles through a wood into the open country, and I sought some place where I could hide from the storm and rest. There was but one house within a mile of me—that was the poor house, which was about twenty-five rods away. The man was moved upon to go up in his garret to get some pennyroyal to give to a sick woman, and he felt led to look out of the window. He saw me crawling into the hollow of a big tree. He knew what the result of that would be better than I did. He took his horse and sleigh and came to me, and when he got there I was asleep, and he preserved my life. When I was 14 years old I was bit by a mad dog, and ought to have died; but I did not. So I continued on, until I can say that I have broken both of my legs, one twice; broken both of my arms, breast bone, several ribs, and altogether been through a pretty hard experience for a man who had to be called to preach the Gospel, at least. I was a miller by trade. I have been in two water wheels under full head of water, and I suppose I ought to have been killed in either of them, but I was not hurt.

    That preserving power has followed me all the way through my life. It has been with me upon my missions abroad as well as at home. It has followed me until the present day, and I have been placed in a great many strange places.

    I was ordained to dedicate this Salt Lake Temple fifty years before it was dedicated. I knew I should live to dedicate that Temple. I did live to do it. I had a great desire in my boyhood to receive the Gospel of Christ, to see a prophet or somebody that could teach me the Gospel of Christ as taught by the ancient Apostles and as I read of in the New Testament. I desired this with every sentiment of my heart, and on the first Gospel sermon I ever heard I was baptized, with my oldest brother. I immediately went to Kirtland. I was in Zion's Camp with the Prophet of God. I saw the dealings of God with him. I saw the power of God with him. I saw that he was a Prophet. What was manifest to him by the power of God upon that mission was of great value to me and to all who received his instructions. I will refer to one instance. A short time before we landed in Missouri Joseph called the camp together. He there prophesied unto us, and told us what lay before us. He gave us the reason why chastisement was before us. He says: "You consider me a boy with the rest of you. You have not realized my position before the Lord. But there is a chastisement before this camp." He told us that this would come upon us because he had not been obeyed in his counsels. In one hour after we landed in Missouri and pitched our tents at Mr. Burkett's, one man began to fail here, [p.30]another there, and in a few moments we had a dozen of our camp stretched upon blankets with the cholera. The Prophet of God, when he saw this, felt to sympathize with them, and he and Hyrum laid their hands upon Brother Carter, the first man that was taken sick, but as soon as they did it they were seized themselves, and they both had to leave the camp. He said afterwards: "I told you what was coming to pass, and when affliction came I stretched out my hand to stay it, and I came very near falling by it myself." That mission was very interesting to me.

    I want to say here that in all my life since joining this Church and kingdom, notwithstanding these powers that have been with me to kill me, I have always had the revelations of God with me. That is something I want to talk about to Israel before I get through. The power of God has told me what to do and what not to do. While the devil has had power to afflict my body very seriously, there has been a power with me that has saved me through it all. And, whenever I have had the Holy Spirit with me to tell me what to do, I have had to do that. By that I have been saved. By listening to that still small voice I am here today with you. There are two reasons why I am here today. When I went back after the pioneer journey, President Young said he wanted me to take my family and go to Boston, and stay there till I could gather all the Saints of God in New England and Canada and bring them to Zion. That was the mission he gave me on my return from the pioneer journey to Winter Quarters. I went in the spring, as he told me, and took my family.

    We came one evening to one of the brethren's houses in Indiana. Several of us were there. Orson Hyde had a team as well as myself. We drove into a long yard. I set my carriage within six inches of his. I had my wife and children with me. I tied my animals to an oak tree on the other side of where we camped. I went to bed in my carriage. As I laid down, the Spirit of the Lord told me to get up and move my carriage. I did not ask the Lord what He meant. I did as I was told. The same Spirit told me to go and move my animals away from that tree. I did that. My wife asked me why I did it. I told her I did not know. I had not been in bed twenty minutes when there came a whirlwind and took that oak tree, which had stood there perhaps fifty years, split it right through the trunk, and it swept through both of those fences where my carriage had stood. It never touched Brother Hyde's carriage, but it would have crushed me and my family to the earth if I had not listened to the voice of the Spirit.

    After spending two years and a half in New England and Canada, getting the Saints out, I started back with the last lot, about a hundred, from Boston. We landed in Pittsburgh at dusk. We were anxious not to stay there, but to go on to St. Louis. I saw a steamer making steam ready to go out. I went to the captain and asked him how many passengers he had. "Three hundred and fifty." "Could you take another hundred?" "Yes." I was just about to tell him we wanted to go aboard when that Spirit said to me, "Don't go aboard that steamer, you nor your company." All right, said I. I had learned something about that still, small voice. I did not go aboard that steamer, but waited till the next morning. In thirty minutes after that steamer left, it took fire. It had ropes instead of wheel chains, and they could not go ashore. It was a dark night, and not a soul was saved. If I had not obeyed the influence of that monitor within me, I would have been there myself, with the rest of the company. The Thirteenth ward would not have had an Atwood for a Bishop; the Church would not have had a Leonard W. Hardy as Bishop. They were both with me, and their families, including Brother Samuel Hardy, who is in St. George now, upwards of ninety years old.

    I never disobeyed that Spirit but once in my life; I did it then through the urgency of other persons, and it nearly cost me my life. I have been acquainted with this Spirit. It was not the blow of trumpets nor thunder and lightning; it was the still small voice to me. All the way from my boyhood I have been governed and controlled by that Spirit. My missions [p.31]have been by that Spirit of revelation. I was told to go to Fox Islands by that same still small voice. In the time of the great apostasy in Kirtland the Spirit of the Lord said to me, "Get you a partner and go to Fox Islands." I knew no more what was in Fox Islands than what was in Kolob. I went there, however, baptized a hundred and brought them up to Zion with me. It was upon that Island where I received a letter from Joseph Smith, telling me that I was called by revelation to fill the place of one of the Twelve who had fallen. You will see it in the Doctrine and Covenants. That thing was revealed to me before I received the letter from Joseph Smith, but I did not feel disposed to tell it to any mortal man, for I knew it was my duty to keep such things to myself.

    Through all my life and labors, whenever I have been told to do anything by the Spirit of the Lord, I have always found it good to do it. I have been preserved by that power. That power was with me when I went to Herefordshire. I was preaching every night with Brother Cordon, and one night we held a meeting in the town hall at Hanley, in Staffordshire. The Spirit—that still small voice—said to me, "This is the last meeting you will hold with this people for many days." I told the Congregation so when I got up. They were very much astonished, and asked me where I was going. I told them I did not know. After, I went to ask the Lord what he wanted of me, and He told me to go to the south. That was all the answer I got. I took the stage and rode eighty miles south. The first man's house I went into was John Benbow's. I had not been in his house fifteen minutes till I understood why the Lord had sent me there. There was a people broken off from the Wesleyan Methodists, who had banded together and called themselves United Brethren. They were watching for the coming of the Son of Man, watching for the Gospel of Christ, as they read of it in the New Testament. The first thirty days after I got there I brought into the Church some two thousand, with fifty ministers, and all their chapels, licensed according to law, were in my hands. There was no blowing of trumpets about that. The Spirit of the Lord told me to go there, and when I got there I saw why I was sent.

    That is, perhaps, enough to say about those things. Now, I want to say to this congregation, to the young men of Israel, to the Elders of Israel, to all our missionaries, the day has come when the God of heaven requires at my hands, as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to say unto you, it is the will of God for you to take this course. Get the Spirit of God before you go on your missions or anywhere else. Get the spirit of revelation with you. And when you get that you are safe, and you will do exactly what the Lord wants you to do. I have felt strongly impressed to say that to this Conference. What can you do without revelation? We cannot do the will of God and accomplish what is required of us without it. We will make no mistakes if we pursue that course. That spirit is with the Apostles, and with the Elders of Israel who are true and faithful. The rising generation should labor to obtain the Spirit of God. Get it within you and it will be a continual monitor with you.

    That is one reason brethren and sisters, why my life has been preserved. I will tell you another reason. Of course, this is my own reason for it. One reason why I am here is because the Lord has chosen the weak things of this world to preach the Gospel, to do His work, to build up His kingdom. I do not think He has ever had a weaker instrument on earth to work through than myself. The Almighty has known that never for a minute since I have been a member of this Church have I had any power to take any honor or glory to myself with regard to anything that I have been enabled to do in the work of the ministry or elsewhere. Why? Because I have known it has come from God, and not from me. And no other man who has engaged in this work has had any power of himself. This Power has come from God unto us, whereby we have been enabled to do the work He has required at our hands.

    There is a change coming over the earth; there is a change coming over the Christian world; and it is at our door. You read the revelations in the Bible, in the Book of Mormon and in the Doctrine and Covenants appertaining to our day and the [p.32]generation before the coming of the Son of Man. War! Yes; war is one of the troubles that belong to the generation in which we live. It will come to pass, and no power beneath the heavens can stay it. Who cannot open their eyes and see the change in the things around us? Read these revelations—the revelation just read by Brother Cannon, and the others in these books. The God of heaven has set His hand to carry out these great purposes that you read of. They are as sure to come to pass as that God lives. There is no power on earth, nor beneath the earth, nor anywhere else, that can stay the fulfillment of these things. And they are at our doors.

    I am anxious that the Latter-day Saints shall round up their shoulders and bear off the kingdom of God. Many in the world have labored to try the overthrow Mormonism. They have driven our people from their lands. They have persecuted and afflicted us. They have put some to death, for the word of God and testimony of Jesus. But they have not thwarted the purposes of God in any of these things. The Lord, in His mercy and wisdom, has led this people to these valleys of the mountains. It is ordained of God that Zion is to be established here. Here is the Tabernacle that the Prophet spoke of as a covering from the storm and the wind, etc. These temples are here in fulfillment of prophecy. We have four of them in this State. President Young was honored of God in the establishment of these things. He lived long enough to dedicate the corner stone of this Temple on this block, into which the Latter-day Saints go and deliver their friends who are in the prison house, and attend to the ordinances of the house of God for them, in fulfillment of the ancient Prophets, who spake as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost, to the effect that saviors should be raised up on Mount Zion in the latter days while the kingdom is the Lord's. Zion has got to arise.

    "Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing. O mountains; for the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted.

    "But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.

    "Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

    "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." (Isaiah, 49: 13-16.)

    All that has been spoken concerning Zion will come to pass, and you and I today are witnesses of these things.

    We are here for salvation and eternal life. We are here to obtain those great blessings which Saints of God in every age of the world have obtained when they have obeyed the commandments of God. Shall we fall? No, we shall not if we do our duty. The Gospel is just as good today as it was in the days of the Savior. As to the glorious blessings of the Gospel of Christ, they have been unpopular in almost every age of the world. Take Christ Himself: where was there a more unpopular man than the Savior of the world in His day? And His Apostles were unpopular. They were put to death for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, Christ was the Son of God; and the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Essenes, and all the sects that warred against Him were cursed and many of them were cast down to hell, while He remains as the Savior of the world, and received the honor and the glory which His Father had ordained for Him. I want our young people especially to remember these things. Those who are going upon missions must not neglect them. Unless you have the Holy Ghost with you when you go out to preach the Gospel, you cannot do your duty; but when you have that you are safe, go where you will, and your words will have their effect in the hearts of the honest and meek of the earth.

    Brethren and sisters, I feel to thank God that we are as well off as we are. I feel to thank God that we are in the position we occupy in these valleys of the mountains. Here is a safe place. While in the dedication of that Temple I saw the judgments of God that were about to be poured out upon this [p.33] generation. They will come to pass. I read the other night of a terrible flood. Who ever heard of such a flood in America before? These floods, and troubles and tribulations are increasing in the earth, and they will increase until this scene is wound up. I pray God my Heavenly Father to bless you all, to inspire our hearts, that the vision of our minds may be open to comprehend the position we are in and the responsibility we are under. The eyes of all heaven and earth and hell are over us. The eyes of the devils are over us. They labor for our destruction; but they have not power to do it. We are in the hands of God. He holds the keys of the destinies of the inhabitants of the earth, and He will bless the righteous, no matter who they are nor where they are. I am thankful to listen to the teachings that I have heard at this Conference from the Elders of Israel. I rejoice in the progress that has been made during the past year in the Church abroad.

    There has been an addition to the Church that we have never met with in any other year since the organization of this Church. And here at home there has been a great addition. Our sisters have labored faithfully in the Primary Associations, in the Mutual Improvement associations, and in every capacity in which they are called to labor. The blessings of God are with them, and they are doing much good. The Sunday schools have also added to their numbers. They have now over one hundred thousand members. The Young Men's Mutual Improvement Associations, as has been said, have an addition of about thirteen thousand as a result of their labors the past year. God is blessing those who labor among them. If you can save a soul from death, what blessings you will have with that soul. As the Lord said to Oliver Cowdery, "If it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father." We should continue in this labor, that we may gain the salvation of the souls of men. Inasmuch as you will do this, the blessings of God will attend you. Zion has got to arise or fall. Which shall it be? The proclamation of the Gospel of Christ is in favor of Zion. All the revelations appertaining to this day are in favor of Zion, and of preparing the way for the coming of the Son of Man. And Zion will arise and shine.

    God bless you, one and all. Let us do our duty and seek to magnify our religion, that when we get through we will rejoice in that. It is better to be on the Lord's side than anywhere else. I want salvation. I want to meet my forefathers and my friends whom I have labored here to redeem, who never heard the Gospel in their day and generation. God has given us this privilege. We have Elders of Israel laboring in all these temples day by day for the salvation of the children of men. We have been blessed in this labor, and we will continue to be blessed; and when we get on the other side of the veil there is not one of us but will rejoice for the good we have done. May God bless you. I feel to bless the Latter-day Saints, as far as I have power to bless. Our daughters and our mothers are laboring for the salvation of Israel in their line, and so are the Elders of Israel in their line. But we want to increase and continue to increase, until we have power in the earth to gather up all the honest and meek of the earth. God bless, guide and direct us all in the path of truth and righteousness, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

    In 1833 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was driven out of Jackson County, Mo., for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ. There Bishop Partridge was tarred and feathered by the mob. That was the time of the falling of the stars in that country. Soon afterwards Bishop Partridge called for volunteers to go to Kirtland to see the Prophet. Two men volunteered out of those who had been driven from Jackson County. One was Parley P. Pratt and the other was Lyman Wight. They went to Kirtland and laid before the Prophet the circumstances, and the Prophet called these two men, and others, to go abroad and gather up the strength of the Lord's house and to prepare the camp of Zion. Parley P. Pratt came to my house. I had just been baptized. I was engaged for a year in furnishing lumber by contract. Parley P. Pratt told me it was my duty to lay aside all my temporal matters, go to Kirtland, and join Zion's camp. I obeyed his counsel. I arrived in Kirtland on Saturday and there met with Joseph and Hyrum Smith in the street. I was introduced to Joseph Smith. It was the first time that I had ever seen him in my life. He invited me home to spend the Sabbath with him, and I did so. They had meeting on Sunday.

    On Sunday night the Prophet called on all who held the Priesthood to gather into the little log school house they had there. It was a small house, perhaps 14 feet square. But it held the whole of the Priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were then in the town of Kirtland, and who had gathered together to go off in Zion's camp. That was the first time I ever saw Oliver Cowdery, or heard him speak; the first time I ever saw Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, and the two Pratts, and Orson Hyde and many others. There were no Apostles in the Church then except Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. When we got together the Prophet called upon the Elders of Israel with him to bear testimony of this work. Those that I have named spoke, and a good many that I have not named, bore their testimonies. When they got through the Prophet said, "Brethren I have been very much edified and instructed in your testimonies here tonight, but I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother's lap. You don't comprehend it." I was rather surprised. He said "it is only a little handful of Priesthood you see here tonight, but this Church will fill North and South America—it will fill the world." Among other things he said, "it will fill the Rocky Mountains. There will be tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints who will be gathered in the Rocky Mountains, and there they will open the door for the establishing of the Gospel among the Lamanites, who will receive the Gospel and their endowments and the blessings of God. This people will go into the Rocky Mountains; they will there build temples to the Most High. They will raise up a posterity there, and the Latter-day Saints who dwell in these mountains will stand in the flesh until the coming of the Son of Man. The Son of Man will come to them while in the Rocky Mountains."

    I name these things because I want to bear testimony before God, angels and men that mine eyes behold the day, and have beheld for the last fifty years of my life, the fulfillment of that prophecy. I never expected to see the Rocky Mountains when I listened to that man's voice, but I have, and do today. I will say here that I shall not live to see it, you may not live to see it; but these thousands of Latter-day Saint children that belong to the Sabbath schools, I believe many of them will stand in the flesh when the Lord Jesus Christ visits the Zion of God here in the mountains of Israel. And while I bear testimony before God, angels and men, that mine eyes behold the fulfillment of the revelation given that night, I just as much believe the remaining part of it will be fulfilled as I stand here in the flesh. I rejoice at seeing the progress of the work that lies before us. There is a great work before this people in the fulfillment of these prophecies that [p.58]have been given. Joseph Smith was full of revelation. He foresaw this people, and this work until it was wound up.

    My prayer to God is that we may pursue such a course that we may enjoy and receive all these blessings, and our posterity after us. Amen.

    At the close of this Conference I have a desire to bear my testimony before you upon a few principles. I have rejoiced very much during this Conference in listening to the testimony of the Apostles and Elders who have spoken. It has brought to my remembrance a little of my history.

    In April, 1838, while in the town of Kirtland, in walking across the street I met two men who held the Apostleship. They said to me, "Brother Woodruff, we have something that we want you to join us in." Said I, "What is it? "We want another Prophet to lead us." "Whom do you want?" "We want Oliver Cowdery. Joseph Smith has apostatized." After listening to them, I said to them: "Unless you repent of your sins you will be damned and go to hell, and you will go through the fulness of eternal damnation, and all your hopes in this life will pass before you like the frost before the rising sun. You are false. Joseph Smith has not apostatized. He holds the keys of the kingdom of God on earth, and will hold them until the coming of the Son of Man, whether in this world or in the world to come." I am happy to say that those men did repent pretty soon, turned to the Church, and died in it.

    I feel thankful today that Joseph F. Smith is with us as a son of Hyrum Smith. He bears a true and faithful testimony of his father. I would to God that Joseph Smith had a son in the flesh who would do as Joseph F. Smith does here—bear testimony to the truth of his father. The Prophet Joseph Smith has no son that stands in the midst of the Church of God and bears record of his father. He never has had; possibly never will have.

    I will give you a testimony here that will show you where I stand with regard to this matter. Joseph Smith never ordained his son Joseph, never blessed him, never set him apart, to lead this Church and kingdom on the face of the earth. When he or any other man says he did, they state that which is false before high heaven.

    The last speech that Joseph Smith ever made to the quorum of the Apostles was in a building in Nauvoo, and it was such a speech as I never heard from mortal man before or since. He was clothed upon with the Spirit and power of God. His face was clear as amber. The room was filled as with consuming fire. He stood three hours upon his feet. Said he: "You Apostles of the Lamb of God have been chosen to carry out the purposes of the Lord on the earth. Now, I have received, as the Prophet, seer and revelator, standing at the head of this dispensation, every key, every ordinance, every principle and every Priesthood that belongs to the last dispensation and fulness of times. And I have sealed all these things upon your heads. Now, you Apostles, if you do not rise up and bear off this kingdom, as I have given it to you, you will be damned."

    I am the only witness left on earth that can bear record of this, and I am thankful that I have lived to see the day in which I stand. I am thankful to see the sons of these Prophets and Apostles holding the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I do not believe the day will ever come—it is too late in the day, in my opinion—when any Elder in this Church will be called to stand before any two of the Apostles with us today and give unto them the declaration that I gave unto the two Apostles I have referred to. I do not think any of the Apostles will occupy that position. I have faith to believe that these men who bear the Apostleship will hold it and live their religion. They have been called and ordained of God for this purpose. I do not think that one of them will apostatize. I believe they will be with you and with this Church while they stand in the flesh, true and faithful to God.

    Brother Cannon has been laying before you something with regard to the nation in which we live and what has been said concerning it. I am going to bear my testimony to this assembly, if I never do it again in my life, that those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits, not wicked men. General Washington and all the men that labored for the purpose were inspired of the Lord.

    Another thing I am going to say here, because I have a right to say it. Every one of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence, with General Washington, called upon me, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Temple at St. George, two consecutive nights, and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the House of [p.90]God for them. Men are here, I believe, that know of this, Brothers J. D. T. McAllister, David H. Cannon and James G. Bleak. Brother McAllister baptized me for all those men, and then I told these brethren that it was their duty to go into the Temple and labor until they had got endowments for all of them. They did it. Would those spirits have called upon me, as an Elder in Israel, to perform that work if they had not been noble spirits before God? They would not.

    I bear this testimony, because it is true. The Spirit of God bore record to myself and the brethren while we were laboring in that way.

    What has been said with regard to this nation and to our position is coming to pass. All the powers of earth and hell will not stay the hand of Almighty God in the fulfillment of those great prophecies that have to come to pass to prepare the way for the coming of the Son of Man. You who have gathered here are my witnesses of this. I feel as though the day has come when every Elder and every Latter-day Saint ought to stop and consider the position he is in and the covenants he has entered into. Is there anything on the face of the earth that will pay you to depart from the oracles of God and from the Gospel of Christ? Is there anything that will pay you to lose the principles of salvation, to lose a part in the first resurrection with the privilege of standing in the morning of the resurrection clothed with glory, immortality and eternal life at the head of your father's house? No, there is nothing. I feel sorry many times when I see men who have the Priesthood forget almost that they have any interest in the work of God.

    I feel to thank God that I have lived as long as I have, and to see as much as I have in fulfillment of the words of the Prophet of God. His days were few. The lives of great men have been strange. The idea of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, only laboring three years and a half in the ministry and then He was put to death! His Apostles, too, were put to death, excepting John the Revelator, and they would have killed him if they could have done so. He lived because God wanted him to live. We live in the last dispensation and in the midst of the great work that all the Patriarchs and Prophets since God made the world have spoken of. Afflictions and tribulations await the world. The destroying angels have got their sharp sickles in their hands, and they are going to reap the earth. Everything that has been spoken by the prophets under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost will come to pass in the generation in which we live. Do not forget it. I thank God we are as well as we are; that we have as many as we have who are united together in the Priesthood. Let us try to live our religion, do our duty, and magnify our calling while we are here. The eyes of all heaven are over us. The eyes of the world are over us. The eyes of the angels are over us. The Lord has looked upon us and upon the house of Israel to be saviors of the nations. We are here to fulfill these principles.

    I pray God my Heavenly Father that as Elders of Israel and as Latter-day Saints we may prize these principles, and that we may do our duty what time we spend here in the flesh. These Apostles and all the quorums of the Priesthood have a great work upon them. Every father and mother has a great responsibility resting upon them, to redeem their dead. Do not neglect it. You will have sorrow if you do. Any man will who neglects the redemption of his dead that he has power to officiate for here. When you get to the other side of the veil, if you have entered into these Temples and redeemed your progenitors by the ordinances of the House of God, you will hold the keys of their redemption from eternity to eternity. Do not neglect this! God bless you. Amen.

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