George A. Smith

First Counselor in the First Presidency (October 7, 1868 – September 1, 1875)

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (April 26, 1839 – September 1, 1875)

General Conference Addresses

  • October 1874 General Conference
    • Faith Without Works is Dead, etc.
      • “While we recommend and approve of using every reasonable means within our power to preserve our lives and those of our children, we do depend, first of all, upon faith in the holy gospel, the administration of its ordinances and the fulfillment of the promises of God; and inasmuch as we observe  the word of wisdom and keep the commandments of God we have faith, and we have the promises of God, upon which we can rely, and by which thousands and thousands are delivered from the afflictions which prey upon them.”
      • “Never let us be guilty of any word or deed that we will be ashamed of before our father, mother, brother or sister or before our Heavenly Father.”
      • “I regret to say that I have noticed a great many instances of laxity in the observance of this rule and I wish the elders and teachers in all the branches and settlements to preach and practice the observance of the sabbath. Brethren, work six days and on the seventh rest and observe the sabbath according to the revelation; and impress this principle upon the saints everywhere by practice.”
      • “Now I do not believe that as a general thing anything is gained in property or in time by working on the sabbath and I advise and exhort all men professing to belong to the united order or to be latter day saints to observe the sabbath. Keep it holy, devote it to worship, to the study of good books, to rest, to imparting instruction, to attending meeting, and do not, under any circumstances, lapse into a habit of thinking that you can do as you please on the sabbath and that so doing is clear gain.”
      • “We should not let our love for self our desire for gain, or our anxiety for pleasure so mar our path that when we come into the presence of our Father in Heaven we shall be smitten with the reflection that, instead of observing the Sabbath, acccording to the command, we went off spreeing, or hunting, or we went looking after cattle, or getting wood, or dashing around and breaking the Sabbath, time and again, for if our conscience reprove us, God is greater than our consciences and he surely will condemn us.”
  • April 1868 General Conference
    • Importance of Observing the Sabbath Day, etc.
      • “I feel a desire to call the attention of the conference to the consideration of this subject because it not only involves a commandment given in the law of Moses and endorsed by the New Testament but it has been also enjoined upon us by revelation through Joseph Smith in the present generation and if we neglect it we have no right to expect the blessings of God to that extent that its observance would ensure.”
      • “We should observe the sabbath as a day of rest, and if we do it faithfully we shall live longer; for my impression is, saying nothing about the commandment of the Lord, that nature requires one seventh of our time for rest, and that when a man has worked fifty two Sundays in a year, he is at least fifty two days older than he needs to be, and has not done as much work during the year as if he had worked only six days a week and had rested the seventh.”
  • October 1860 General Conference
    • Testimony
      • “The Lord speaks unto us in his own way, and after his own manner, and in our language, and after our understanding, and the light of his Spirit which shineth in our minds, inasmuch as we will suffer it to do so; but if our hearts are clogged with the things of this world—if our souls are suffered to become enamored of the earth and the objects that are sought after by the wicked world, we lose the Spirit of the Lord, and by that means do not understand when we are taught and instructed in the way of life.”
      • “Fear not to do right ourselves, and let us be fully aware of our own follies and weaknesses and corruptions, and listen to the watchmen of Zion, and we shall overcome and inherit the blessings of glory.”
  • April 1856 General Conference
    • The Leaven of the Gospel
      • “It matters not what corner of the earth men come from, unless they possess the spirit of the leaven of truth they will remain but a short time in these mountains before they begin to consider it the wrong place, for the leaven is working, they cannot quite endure the climate and the peculiarities of the country, or something of the kind, and off they go.”
      • “On account of our altitude we are most advantageously situated for the drainage of the filth, scum, and corruption, when it accumulates to a certain extent, for it flows off in different directions, thus leaving the people of the kingdom remaining as it were alone.”
      • “The human mind is wonderfully susceptible and tenacious of traditions, and whatever may have been our traditions, it is an extremely difficult task for us, as human beings, to dispense with our traditions at once. They will hang about us, we will retain them, more or less, hence it often happens that, when you baptize a sectarian preacher into this Church, and a great many of them have been so baptized, in a little time his foolish traditions will become so apparent as to make him despise himself.”
      • “Do you understand what trouble was consequent to the dispute about a pint of strippings? Do you understand that the want of fences around gardens, fields, and yards, in town and country, allowing cattle to get into mischief and into the stray pen, may end in some serious result? That the corroding influence of such circumstances may be brought to bear upon us, in such a way that we may lose the Spirit of the Almighty and become hostile to the people? And if we should not bring about as mighty results as the pint of strippings, yet we might bring entire destruction to ourselves. If you wish to enjoy your religion and the Spirit of the Almighty, you must make your calculations to avoid annoyances, as much as possible. When brother Brigham was anxious to have men take ten acres of land each and fence it, many thought that he was behind the times. The result is, from the time I came into the Valleys, in 1849, to the present, I never have been to the big field south of this City, or around or through it when it was fenced, and if any other man has seen it fenced, he has seen it at some time when I did not. The reason of this is, and has been, either we undertake to accomplish more than we can do, or neglect to do our duty in many respects.”
      • “Much is said in the world, and considerable excitement raised on the subject of “women’s rights.” Complaint is made that the rights of women are taken away, that they have not the privilege of working outdoors like men, have not a chance of voting at elections, of holding commissions in the army and navy, or of being elected to honorable offices in government. Whether “women’s rights conventions” will terminate as did the lady’s rebellion in Hungary, in almost universal war, is not now for me to say. But I will say to our “Mormon” sisters that they have the best prospect of having their rights, of enjoying the privilege of a healthful share of our outdoor labor, of cultivating the gardens and of aiding in the management of business, of any women at present on the earth, for every Conference calls for a considerable number of missionaries, who are sent forth to preach the Gospel, and to perform other duties in relation to the upbuilding of the kingdom in the last days. This operation leaves many wives and daughters at home, frequently not under the most favorable pecuniary circumstances, and the result is that it calls into requisition their economy, brings out their energies, educates them in matters of business, and, I think, enables them to exercise, as long as they probably may wish to, those avocations and duties which custom has assigned to men, but which are so earnestly sought for by the “women’s rights conventions.” If any of our ladies are really anxious for the privilege of cultivating the earth and producing the necessaries of life, they most certainly have a fair field to labor in; and if any lack this privilege, and will let that fact be known, their husbands can be advantageously sent forth to preach the Gospel.”
  • April 1855 General Conference
    • Ordaining Young Men To Office
      • “Mankind is capable of a great many extravagances; we very well remember the time when a very zealous man named Hawley, arraigned Joseph Smith before Bishop’s counsel in Kirtland, and charged him with having forfeited his office as a Prophet of God, because he had not prohibited the aged sisters from wearing caps. I attended the Council, which was held very late, and the man there advocated that he was cut off from the Church, for God had cut him off from the Church, as well as from his Apostleship, because he had suffered the men to wear little cushions on the shoulders of their coat sleeves. It being then fashionable to wear a little cotton on the shoulders, and in consequence of some of the brethren wearing such coats, the Prophet of God was cut off from the Church by this man, and persecuted as an impostor, and another was placed in his stead.”
      • “It has been a constant sifting from the time we entered the Church up to the present; some would compel it, while in others none of the old prejudices have predominated; and so it has continued until twenty-five years have passed away, and until a great number of persons have risen up who have not the prejudices of their fathers to contend with, and if they will humble themselves with all their might, knowledge, and intelligence, power will grow in them, and they will approximate nearer to the things of God, to get more light, more knowledge, more intelligence, more faith, and more power to spread forth the work of God, and to roll forth the kingdom their fathers have been able to obtain.”
      • “I know that many men have persisted in the use of these stimulating articles until they cannot do without them, or they think they cannot. Perhaps sometimes when they have been reduced by sickness or fatigue, they have then been under the necessity of taking some of these things as a medicine to revive sinking nature, and this was probably when they first began to practice the use of them, and laid the foundation for a short life.”
      • “Now if a man really felt as if he were dying, and was anxious to hurry himself away, a dose of strychnine might assist him. Now anything that a man takes that stimulates his nerves above their proper mode of action when he is in health, his system will fall in the same proportion below a healthy action, and it will require a little more the next time to stimulate it to the same height, and so on, until the system refuses to be stimulated, and the person will suddenly fall into the grave.”
      • “Look first at ourselves, reckon first with ourselves, and dwell upon our own faults, instead of dwelling upon the faults of others.”
  • October 1854 General Conference
    • Perpetual Emigrating Fund
      • “I would say to those who are in arrears to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund, who know themselves to be such—If you have got houses, lands, cows, sheep, farms, or property of any description, come forward like honest men and settle up to the uttermost farthing, and begin again to amass property; and if you have been owing to this institution for one year; or from the first of its operations, give a liberal interest for the capital you have held, and which could not be used or increased by the operations of the Fund.”
      • “I have come across individuals who would lurk among the Saints. “Why,” say they, “what can be the matter? Something is dreadfully wrong: this is not ancient ‘Mormonism’—this is not the old religion we used to have years ago in the days of Joseph: something is entirely wrong. I do not see things as I used to; I do not understand them.” And they finally begin to complain, and find fault, and murmur; and so it goes on from one time to another, until they wonder if they could not get a better location in California. I have heard men murmur when they were surrounded with plenty, with peace, and the blessings of heaven. What is the cause of this? The cause is in themselves. Do you who have crossed the Plains this season expect to find the inhabitants of these valleys perfect? I think, from all accounts, you were ill prepared to associate with them, if you had found them perfect: there would have been room, at least, for a doubt whether you could have been admitted at all. The great fault lies in individuals not doing right themselves, but undertaking to make others do right, or to find fault with others for not doing right.”
  • October 1853 General Conference
    • Disobedience of Counsel
      • “In the commencement of my remarks, I will say, that the people almost universally do not realize the importance of listening to the voice of God through His servant Brigham. My heart has been pained by the things that are past, when I have been traveling and laboring in different parts of the territory; it has been pained to see the carelessness and indifference with which the words of the Almighty, through His servant, have been received.”
      • “Had the people listened to the counsel of President Young, in the first place, and put their property in a proper place, it would have been protected. In the counties of Utah, Juab, and San Pete, the houses were vacated, and the Indians got into them, and shot the brethren, so they had to be entirely demolished, which rendered it necessary for great numbers to move into forts. This has been affected by brother Walker. That bloodthirsty Indian, in this matter, had more influence to make the Saints obey counsel than the Presidency of this Church had, and could actually kick up a bigger fuss in a few days than they could by simply telling the people the will of the Lord.”
      • “This business of having one hand in the golden honeypots of heaven, and the other in the dark regions of hell, undertaking to serve both God and Mammon at once, will not answer.”
      • “I admit that a man is free to serve the devil if he thinks proper; but let me tell you, it is the cheapest in the end to do right.”
      • “The Indian war is the result of our thinking we know better than our President, the result of following our own counsel instead of the counsel of Brigham Young.”

Other Reported Talks

  • Religious Worship a Natural and Universal Principle, Discourse in Salt Lake City, November 1, 1857
    • “There is a feeling in the human breast to reverence something. We find it among the untutored savages; we find it among what are denominated the heathen nations—among those who are considered pagans, bowing down to worship images, the workmanship of their own hands.”
    • “Heathen and pagan idols are built for the same purpose. You ask the priest of a heathen temple if the real intent is to worship that stone or that image of gold, silver, brass, or iron, and he would tell you that it was only a representative of something—that you could not see the real god, and the image was introduced as a substitute.”
    • “You may go into any society of people, almost, and ask them what they worship, and they would as soon tell you they worship the unknown God as not. You may take up their creeds, and they give it out that they worship a God that has neither body, parts, nor passions, and yet has three persons. Their ideas are so perfectly confused, and their knowledge so supremely ridiculous on this subject, as to make it clear to those enlightened by the Holy Ghost that they are entirely ignorant and totally in the dark on this matter. They must have made their creeds without thinking whether the words composing them had meaning or not.”
    • “The right track is the only plan, the only design, and the only intention that can bring us to the enjoyment of salvation; and it is not only in starting right that salvation depends, but when we start it is necessary to continue to the end.”
    • “Every human being has rights; and it is a true principle, in all governments upon the earth, that governors should rule by the consent of the governed. But there is not a people on the face of the earth that I know anything about, except the Latter-day Saints, that are actually governed in this way. In our government, all our movements are by the unanimous consent of the governed; and we are the only people on the earth that observe this constitutional principle. Other people may try to do it to some limited extent.”
    • “There is yet in the hearts of our people, although the reformation has done a great work, a spirit of selfishness. We have got to divest ourselves of this principle; we have got to become so perfectly stripped of it that we will love the Lord our God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves, that our hearts will not be set upon our own property or upon the property of others, so as to covet the things that pertain to this world, and that, with our whole soul, mind, and strength, we will desire to serve the Lord our God—that we would just as soon set fire to our own dwellings, sacrifice our property, and flee into the mountains, to dwell there in dens, caves, and holes, as did the ancients, as dwell in palaces and enjoy the soft raiment of kings.”
    • “Every man and woman should cultivate in their hearts a desire to love the Lord, keep his commandments, and appreciate the spirit and the freedom of the Gospel and the privilege and blessing of the fulness of the holy Priesthood more than all the treasures upon the face of the earth.”
    • “I believe, if we, as a people, were of one heart and mind, and would place ourselves in the right position before the Lord, and ask him for what we need, that we never would have any serious annoyance from our enemies.”
  • Report of a Visit to the Southern Country, Remarks in Salt Lake City, September 13, 1857
    • “I do not know but it is on account of my extreme timidity; for I would a great deal rather the Lord would fight the battles than me; and I feel to pray that he will punish them with that hell which is to want to and can’t; and it is my prayer and wish all the time that this may be their doom. This is what I want to inculcate all the time; and at the same time, if the Lord brings us in collision with them, and it is his will, let us take hold—not in the spirit of revenge or anger, but simply to avenge God of his enemies and to protect our homes and firesides. But I am perfectly aware that all the settlements I visited in the south, Fillmore included, one single sentence is enough to put every man in motion. In fact, a word is enough to set in motion every man, or set a torch to every building, where the safety of this people is jeopardized.”
    • “Many people do not know why it is that they feel so enraged against us. I found in talking with hundreds and thousands of persons, in the course of our travels, that there was a deep-rooted spirit of hatred; and in talking of this I found that my reasons were superior to theirs; and they felt it and realized it, and my conversation seemed to suit and carry a good influence.”
    • “Our Elders have preached the Gospel freely throughout the world, and they have tarred and feathered them and put them to death. If they could have defeated them by arguments, all well enough: but no—these weapons proved ineffectual, and they tried mobs and violence; and now they array the armies of the United States against us, that under their wings they may send missionaries among us to convert our souls. Poor cursed slinks! Do not they know that we were raised among them in the very hotbed of sectarian bigotry, and that we know all that the priests know about their religion, and ten thousand times more?”
  • Joseph Smith’s Family, Discourse in Salt Lake City, August 2, 1857
    • “If we descended from Abraham, or from Joseph, or from any other virtuous, good, upright man, and we do not emulate his deeds and follow his example, the greater will be our shame.”
    • “Report says that the plan is deep, and it is laid with the intention of murdering every man that will stand up for “Mormonism.” But the evil which they design towards us will fall upon their own heads, and it will grind them to powder. The men that have been living in these valleys, living their religion, and serving their God. They will laugh at their calamities, and mock when their fear cometh.”
  • A Visit to the House of Congress, Remarks in Salt Lake City, July 26, 1857
    • “Just let me tell the truth—the naked facts as they exist in open day, to any person I would visit or meet, and they would look at me with distrust; and it would be plainly manifest in their countenances that the truth had no resting place there. No matter if I conversed with the great and wise men of the nation, they seemed not inclined to receive the truth; but let them read a falsehood or an exaggerated statement, and it would strike their attention in a moment. They loved lies, they loved falsehood, they loved corruption, they loved whoremongers, they loved wickedness.”
  • Result of the Delegation to Congress, Remarks in Salt Lake City, May 31, 1857
    • “It is generally considered in the world that truth bears away the victory. It was in fact laid down by some of the ancient prophets that such was really the case. Things have changed a little now-a-days, but it is an age of improvement. If a man tells the truth, he stands no earthly chance whatever; he has got to lie and mix so much lie with the truth that it will hide it almost entirely, or he cannot receive any credit whatever. So it is to a great extent, and instead of truth governing the world at the present time, lies and falsehood govern it, as far as I have observed.”
    • “I did not go to Washington putting my trust in man, neither do I come home putting my trust in man. The Almighty God is at the helm; He rules His people, He governs and controls all men, and He can restrain the wicked at His pleasure; but let me tell you, if the designs of the spirit of the devil that reigns in the hearts of the wicked against us, prompting them to our destruction, could be executed, we would be exterminated from the face of the earth; but God limits their power, and as long as they cannot gratify their whole desires, just so long they may rage and foam; but if you put any trust whatever in man, if you rely on the arm of man to protect you, you will be disappointed. What protection have we ever had from the day we commenced to preach the Gospel to the present day? We expect nothing but the arm of the Almighty to protect His people; let us, therefore, put our trust in Him, and just let the devil howl.”
  • The Sacrament, Remarks in Salt Lake City, May 31, 1857
    • “Under these circumstances we assemble and call together our wandering thoughts and minds. We review our conduct, our feelings to our Heavenly Father, our actions and doings in relation to His laws, and also our faith towards our brethren, and make a kind of settlement with ourselves, a balance of accounts in our minds, repenting of our sins and follies, and we lay the foundation in our own minds to renew our diligence and exertions in future, that wherein we have failed to walk up to the line of our duty we may improve, and that we may partake of those emblems under an express influence, and with a perfect understanding of a covenant that we will remember Him in all things until he comes.”
    • “Men will have what they like; for the spirit that is in men loves lies; they will read them and believe them. At the same time, there is no man or woman upon the face of the earth but what is more or less responsible for what they read and receive; for there is an innate spirit in the man who desires to know the truth that will generally dictate to him which is truth and which is falsehood.”
  • The History of Mahometanism, Discourse in Salt Lake City, September 23, 1855
    • “The God of heaven is the creator and proprietor of the earth; we will admit, however, that His claim to it has been considered by men very weak for many generations; His title has been, I would not say disputed, but it has been absolutely denied for a great while, so much so, that when the Son of God came on the earth he had nowhere to lay his head; he said himself, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.””
  • Preaching the Gospel, Address in Salt Lake City, August 12, 1855
    • “Now when we present ourselves to a congregation of people, the first thing should be plainly and simply to communicate to them the first principles that we receive, in the best possible manner. But what is the best way to communicate them to the inhabitants of the earth? Shall we select the greatest jaw-cracking words in the English language, and from other languages, or shall we use reasoning the most abstruse and mysterious? The best method is to select the best and simplest way in our possession, and you will find that to be the most successful method of proclaiming the Gospel. You may note it when you will, in men that go forth to proclaim the truth, and you discover that the man who has the fewest words communicates his ideas to the people, as a general thing, in the plainest manner.”
  • Opposition to the Gospel, Address in Salt Lake City, August 5, 1855
    • “I am very happy to enjoy the privilege of seeing the faces, and listening to the voices and testimonies, of our Elders when they return from their missions, and I do know that the greatest school to which any man in this Church can be sent, is through the world to preach the Gospel. I used to say when I was a young man and was traveling to preach the Gospel, I would forgive the worst enemy I had if he would only travel among the Presbyterians, Seceders, and Covenanters in Pennsylvania, and preach the fulness of the everlasting Gospel faithfully, without purse or scrip. I would forgive him from the fact that if he lived three months among them in that way, he would have been literally starved into a full atonement for any injury that he could have inflicted on me.”
    • “All the systems of Christendom have got so mixed up with the world, and so mixed and interwoven with the corruptions thereof, that the adversary has perfect dominion over them all, and hence the very moment that a man having the Priesthood comes along and pours in a flood of light upon the world, the adversary tells them like this, “Why we should put that down, or it will cause us trouble,” and the very spirit that is in them is the spirit of the adversary, and they go to work with all their might, and try to put down all who dare to advocate such strange doctrines, and thereby trammel everything under their control.”
  • Celebration of the Anniversary of American Independence, Speech in Salt Lake City, July 4, 1855
    • “By this grand step our fathers secured to us the right of self-government. However much wicked men may have opposed and abused the institutions the revolutionary fathers have established and put in motion—whatever corrupt officeholders may have done in violation of them, the great point is gained which enables the American people to choose their own rulers and produce such a form of government and such protection as are necessary for their growth, their freedom, and their continual well-being.”
    • “This circumstance should caution us against sin of every description, and prompt us to live uprightly, walking in accordance with all the laws and principles of human right and Divine revelation, that we may be prepared for so great and solemn an event, when it shall come, when it will be our turn to participate in the realities of death.”
  • Arguments of Modern Christian Sects, Sermon in Salt Lake City, June 24, 1855
    • “There is not a person of common intelligence among the Saints, who has resided in this valley for the past three years, who has not heard enough of the principles of salvation to know perfectly what to do to be saved, if they had given that attention to the subject which they ought to have done, if such persons desire to carry out the views and sentiments which have been from time to time proclaimed from this stand.”
    • “I remember twenty-four years ago, when the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were first being proclaimed to the inhabitants of the earth, we were told that we were to participate in the same blessings, and would be subject to the same kind of persecutions, as was the common lot of all former-day Saints; that the same gifts that were enjoyed in the days of our Savior and his Apostles were and should be in the last days; and that if these things did not follow, it was for want of obedience to the will of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was this spirit of revelation that pointed out the only way; and because the different churches did not have in their midst the same offices, gifts, and blessings, and the same privileges, the reason assigned was plainly and simply that they had not been faithful in their obedience to the principles which had been revealed, and had thereby lost the spirit of revelation, had slid from the original platform, and had fallen back to principles of folly, teaching for doctrine the precepts of men.”
    • “This people have nothing to expect but persecution, for just as long as they adhere to the principles of revelation, just so long as they are governed by the original principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, will every priest upon the face of this earth, that is an hireling, raise his influence to destroy the kingdom and those who bear the Holy Priesthood.”
  • Gathering and Sanctification of the People of God, Sermon in Salt Lake City, March 18, 1855
    • “Every person who is well acquainted with the history of this Church, knows that at the commencement of it the persecutions commenced, and they continued to increase until the death of the Prophet. Forty-seven times he was arraigned before the tribunals of law, and had to sustain all the expense of defending himself in those vexatious suits, and was every time acquitted. He was never found guilty but once. I have been told, by Patriarch Emer Harris, that on a certain occasion he was brought before a magistrate in the State of New York, and charged with having cast out devils; the magistrate, after hearing the witnesses, decided that he was guilty, but as the statutes of New York did not provide a punishment for casting out devils, he was acquitted.”
    • “I recollect a gentleman who came from Canada, and who had been a Methodist, and had always been in the habit of praying to a God who had no ears, and as a matter of course had to shout and halloo pretty loud to make him hear. Father Johnson asked him to pray in their family worship in the evening, and he got on such a high key, and hallooed so loud that he alarmed the whole village. Among others, Joseph came running out, saying, “What is the matter? I thought by the noise that the heavens and the earth were coming together,” and said to the man, “that he ought not to give way to such an enthusiastic spirit, and bray so much like a jackass.” Because Joseph said that, the poor man put back to Canada, and apostatized; he thought he would not pray to a God who did not want to be screamed at with all one’s might.”
    • “If we will be submissive and listen to the revelations of the Most High, remembering that His ways are not as our ways, and His thoughts as our thoughts, for as the heavens are higher than the earth so are His ways than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts; if we will remember this, and act upon it, we are in the way to obtain those keys of power, and profit by them; that is to say, we are right on the grand turnpike to exaltation.”
  • Reminiscences of the Jackson County Mob, the Evacuation of Nauvoo, and the Settlement of Great Salt Lake City, address in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, July 24, 1854
    • “At a Council of the leading men of this community in Nauvoo, it was concluded that on finishing the Temple there, a company of one thousand or fifteen hundred pioneers should establish themselves in the mountains, to prepare the way for a safe retreat from the tyranny and oppression which had so long followed this people. This conclusion was unknown to the public, hence the surprise of the mob at our willingness to depart.”
    • “This is a hasty glance of history. To enter into details would introduce matters that would unnecessarily harrow up the minds of many. Suffice it to say, like the pilgrim fathers who first landed upon Plymouth Rock, we are here pilgrims, and exiles from liberty; and instead of being driven into the wilderness to perish, as our enemies had designed, we find ourselves in the middle of the floor, or on the top of the heap. Right in the country that scientific men and other travelers had declared worthless, we are becoming rich in the comforts and blessings of life, we are now rocking in the cradle of liberty, in which we are daily growing; and I challenge the Union to produce a parallel of this day’s Celebration.”
  • Celebration of the Fourth of July, address in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, July 4, 1854
    • “The causes which produced the American Revolution were so far behind the veil, that the writers of American history and the orators who expatiate on the subject on occasions like this, and on other occasions, have not acknowledged that it was the Almighty—the invisible and omnipotent hand of Him who made the heavens and the earth and the fountains of waters, who worked the secret wires, and opened up the revolutionary scene, to lay a foundation and prepare a people, with a system of government, among whom his work of the last days could be commenced upon this earth.”
  • Responsibilities of the Priesthood, remarks in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, August 28, 1852
    • “When men refuse to fulfil their callings and magnify them in the proclamation of the fulness of the Gospel to the nations of the earth, they certainly lay the foundation for their own ruin. When men, on the other hand, become so puffed up in their own estimation as to think that the kingdom of God could not roll forth without their mighty exertions, they fall into transgression; they are fools in Israel, and their greatness will vanish like smoke.”
  • Liberty and Persecution, an oration in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, July 24, 1852
    • “The history of our persecutions is unparalleled in the history of past ages. To be sure, persecutions have existed in countries where religion was established by law, and where any other religion than the one established, was decreed by law to be heretical, and its votaries doomed to persecution and the flames. But in the countries where we suffered our persecution, there is a good government; there are good institutions that are calculated to protect every person in the enjoyment of every right that is dear to man.”
    • “I know that there is no “Mormonism” known in the constitution of the U.S., but all men are there considered equal, and free to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and enjoy equal rights and privileges.”
  • The Nauvoo Legion—Civil and Religious Rights, a speech in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, July 4, 1852
    • “Men will rise up in distant countries; and say that the inhabitants of these mountains are rebellious. Rebellious! Against what? Against the power of mobs, lawless robbery, and the infringement and violation of the constitution of the United States—against the lawless destruction of property and life—against the deprivation of human beings of religious liberty—that is what we are rebellious against; and the Nauvoo Legion are ready to rebel against every aggression of this kind, as long as there is one drop of blood left in their veins.”
    • “Why was he [Joseph Smith] murdered? Because he thought different from his neighbors. Religious toleration was not in accordance with the feelings of narrow minded men; he must be butchered—basely murdered—and to accomplish it the faith of a sovereign state had to be pledged. We love the constitution of the United States in its organization; but we detest southern secession, and northern disunion, or anything that would be calculated to destroy our glorious Union, and the institutions which have been sealed by the blood of our fathers.”

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