Orson Pratt

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (April 26, 1835 – August 20, 1842; January 20, 1843 – October 3, 1881)

General Conference Addresses

  • April 1855 General Conference
    • Progress of the Work – Consecration
      • “But we have no promise, unless we endure in faith unto the end; whether we live few or many years upon the earth, we must endure through all the trials, tribulations, difficulties, and persecutions which the Lord sees fit in His infinite wisdom to cause us, as individuals, or as a people, to wade through; we must endure them, and hold steadfast to the faith, if we would inherit the crowns of eternal lives that are promised to the faithful.”
      • “But it is my desire and my constant prayer that I may so live, that when I depart from this life—when I lay down this mortal body (if I am called upon to lay it down before the coming of our Lord), I may enter into the paradise of rest, and not only conquer Satan, and have power over him here, but have power over him and all his hosts hereafter. These are my feelings, these are my desires, and this is my prayer.”
      • “Have I anything that I have obtained by my own wisdom, or by my own exertions, independent of the hand and providences of the Almighty? No, I have not.”
      • “How pleasant—how glorious it would be, if we had proved ourselves in all things; if we had become pure in heart, with no unbelief, no evil, no abominations, but our hearts perfectly pure before God; if we could behold His smiling face, and look upon Him, and hear the words of His mouth, pronouncing blessings upon our heads. Would not this be worth sacrificing all things for? Yes; how pleasing—how glorious it would be, could we see those three old Nephites whose prayers have ascended up, for something like 1,800 years, in behalf of the children of men in the last days, and have them return to their old native land, and find the kingdom of God prepared and pure to receive them, and could we hear their teachings, and their voices lifted up in our midst.”
      • “Has He not told us, in the early rise of this Church, if we would do His will, and seek the riches that is the will of the Father to bestow upon us, we should be the richest of all people; for the riches of eternity should be given to us, and it must needs be, saith the Lord, that the riches of the earth are mine to give. They are all His; how easily He could turn all the riches of the earth into our hands, if we were only prepared to receive them and use them according to His will. But He knows the time to hasten them, and He knows the secret intents of our hearts as a people; He knows whether we are prepared to use the riches of the earth to build up His kingdom or not, and He will withhold them, until the time shall fully come for Him to bless us according to the promise He has made—until we shall be prepared to receive them; we shall have riches then in great plenty.”
  • October 1854 General Conference
    • The Perpetual Emigrating Fund
      • “We think in our hearts—“Well, we will go and do as we have been told; it looks beautiful and very consistent; it seems to be the very law by which we should be governed; and when we go from this Conference, we will make all the necessary arrangements to fulfil and comply with this law, and hearken to the counsels and instructions that have been given;” but straightway, as you go out of the Tabernacle, and get out of the voice of the servants of God, the devil comes along, and begins to whisper in your ears, and tells you to be a little selfish, saying, “Look out more for yourselves, for your wives, and for your children; they may go hungry, they may want food, and houses, and ten thousand other things, and unless you put forth your hands, and exert your energies to provide for them, they may be brought into great suffering; and again, perhaps there may be some great trials ahead of the Saints, there may be pinching times; it would be well for you to look out a little, and be prepared against these times of trial,” &c. And thus the good word that is sown in your hearts by the Holy Spirit begins to be caught away, one principle after another, until finally selfishness has full control over your movements, and it is the last thing you think of to do unto others as you would have others do unto you under the same circumstances.”
      • “We can always tell what we should do by changing circumstances and places; by placing ourselves in other’s circumstances, we can see what we would wish them to do to us under those circumstances, and thus find out what we should do for those in that condition.”
      • “The Lord is beginning to redeem Zion. You must not suppose, because you are away here in Utah, that you are out of the reach of the Lord’s working for the redemption of Zion; for He has been working, ever since we were scattered from that land, to bring it about, and we are becoming more and more of one heart and mind, more and more willing to hearken to counsel. You see among this people a very different spirit manifested, from what was manifested some ten, fifteen, and twenty years ago. How ready and willing they generally are to receive the instructions and counsel of those God has ordained to teach them.”

Other Reported Talks

  • The Salvation of the Soul, Discourse in Salt Lake City, February 10, 1856
    • “I have also observed in other places that the Lord’s day is scarcely regarded at all. Perhaps the people would attend meeting at times, but often after it is over, “hurrah for the horses, mules, and carriages,” and directly six or eight young men and women are in each carriage riding out for pleasure. This does look as though they did not rightly value the Lord’s day, it looks as though they did not care whether they went strolling over fields and prairies, or how they spent their time.”
    • “Is not all truth good? Yes; and when we speak of true and useful knowledge we have reference to that which pertains to God, or to the workmanship of His hands; and when there are books that pertain to God, or to the things of His kingdom, or the workmanship of His hands, they must be of use, of some service to the human family.”
    • “What constitutes civilization? The acquirement and correct application of useful knowledge.”
    • “We cannot escape the course of purification. What is more visible to the eye than the dealings of God, our Father, with us for the past year? First came the innumerable swarms of insects by millions, sweeping off our crops, then the drought drying them up as does the sun the dew, consuming nearly all the insects had left. How was this? Because the snows were kept from the mountains during the previous winter.”
    • “I feel to say in my heart, O Lord, chasten me, let thy chastening hand be upon me, if thou seest there is no other way of escape. I would much rather be chastened than to heap up an abundance of this world’s goods, and neglect some of the most important duties of my religion.”
    • “There is room for all of us to become a great deal better.”
  • Salvation of the House of Israel to Come Through the Gentiles, Remarks in Provo, July 15, 1855
    • “Perhaps there is no subject that could be presented at the present time that is of so much importance, and that has so great a bearing upon the human family, as the one set before us this forenoon. It is one on which the salvation of the Latter-day Saints depends. It is one, also, on which the salvation of the remnants of the tribe of Joseph upon this American continent depends. It is one that we must not only understand, or reason about, or think of, but one in which we must engage every faculty and power of our minds, if we would be blessed as a people. It is for this object, as has been plainly shown to you this forenoon, that the angels of God descended from the eternal world and spoke in the ears of mortal man. It is for this object that the heavens have been opened, and the everlasting Priesthood sent down and conferred upon chosen vessels. It is for this object—namely, the salvation and redemption of the poor, lost, degraded sons of the forest, that God has given the Urim and Thummim, and caused to be translated one of the most glorious sacred records, or histories that was ever introduced into the world by mortal man.”
    • “We are commanded to be of one heart and of one mind; and in this case in particular we are required to be united in all our exertions, and to use all the power and faculties of our minds for the salvation of the nations of Joseph. Will the brethren reach forth the helping hand, and try to redeem the sons of the forest with whom we are surrounded? I believe they will; for the purposes of God must be fulfilled; and we are the people who have to do the work; and to those who do not take part in it, I will apply the words of my text—“Woe to them that are at ease in Zion.””
  • The Kingdom of God, Discourse in Salt Lake City, July 8, 1855
    • “Mankind have felt a disposition to seek after some kind of government of their own; they have all seemed to manifest a feeling to have a different government from the one established by the Almighty; and hence, they have all rebelled against His government, and they have introduced creeds and systems of their own manufacturing.”
    • “All that we have to fear is our own wickedness, and corruptions, and liability to depart from the true faith. If we will be true and righteous, and if we will have faith in God, this is all that is required.”
  • Funeral Address, in Salt Lake City, June 30, 1855
    • “This redemption is just as extensive as the curse, so far as the body is concerned. The curse affected all, and the bodies of all will be redeemed. When I speak of this redemption, I wish to be distinctly understood, that I mean the redemption of the body from the grave. If the fall lays all mankind low in the dust, the redemption will bring them forth from the dust. If the fall shut them out from His face and presence, the redemption will bring them back into His presence to behold His face.”
    • “By way of conclusion, we will say, that all men will come forth and take bodies, some celestial, some terrestrial, and telestial, to occupy degrees of glory and be rewarded according to their works, unless they have sinned against the Holy Ghost. There are certain sins that cannot be forgiven in this world nor in that which is to come; to say that such shall be forgiven, we are not authorized, but all others, after suffering for their evil deeds, will come forth from the grave to receive for their good works, those that have done evil having suffered according to their evil deeds; and thus the justice and mercy of God will be displayed. All will partake of them according to the degree of light that has shone forth in their day.”
  • Trials of the Saints, Discourse in Salt Lake City, May 20, 1855
    • “Here, then, we perceive that each will have his share of trials, either in the beginning or in the advanced state of the Church. We do not know what they will be, only so far as God has revealed in His word. He has told us that we should be visited with famine and sword, with pestilence and distress; all these are predicted, and laid before this people in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. The Lord says, unless His servants should hearken to the words and counsels that He gives unto them, famine, trouble, and distress would overtake them. Now what benefit or what glory is there to an individual who is placed in circumstances that he cannot help but do right? For instance, suppose there were no intoxicating drinks in the world, what glory and credit would it be to an individual to say that he had kept himself from those things? If his father and his forefathers to the third or fourth generation of them, had died from drunkenness, he would have nothing to boast of; for he could not be a drunkard; therefore, I say, if this temptation was set before us as the forbidden tree was before mother Eve, and we withstood the temptation, then there would be some merit in it, far more than there is for a person to keep himself sober, because he is obliged to do so. So we may take other things in the same light.”
    • “Now if there were no Gentiles among us, we could not see whether there was any integrity among the people. Do you suppose that this people will be kept away from the Gentiles? No verily, the Lord does not intend that we should dwell separate from the world altogether. From this time forth, it is our duty to warn our sons and daughters, day by day, and night by night, and week by week, as has been told us from this stand to warn our sons and daughters, as God did our first parents, concerning the forbidden fruit.”
  • The Holy Spirit and the Godhead, Discourse in Salt Lake City, February 18, 1855
    • “I am sure that I have no other object in view, and I am the last person in my feelings that would come out and undertake to speak for the sake of hearing myself and getting the applause of men; for so far as speaking is concerned, I feel more like retiring into some lonely place; for I never did feel a desire to be engaged in public life, only so far as I can do good; but I have a desire to serve the Lord, I have a desire to do good, I have a desire to persuade men and women to become righteous, I have a desire to understand the knowledge and things of God, and those great principles that will be calculated to aid me under all the circumstances of this life, as well as in that which is to come; and for these things I live, and for this cause (believing that it is required of my hands by the Lord) I take a part in public life.”
    • “Without union, without concentration, it is clear that we cannot enjoy ourselves as the Lord designs we should; in short, exclusive of the principle and spirit of union, we never can accomplish any great work like the one given into our hands.”
    • “You will perceive that in the devil’s kingdom, with all the knowledge that they have gained by a long experience, they are not one. There are disunion and strife continually among them; they are not united upon false principles, and wherever false principles exist in the world, or anywhere else, there will be discord and contentions, and hence he (Jesus) says, “Be one.” This has no reference whatever to being one upon an unrighteous foundation; it has only a reference to being one upon the principles of the celestial law. And as soon as this people are united, and become one upon the principles of the celestial law, the Lord will pour out His blessings more abundantly upon them; when all understand it, they will all be governed by it; they will believe alike, and act alike, and this will make them one.”
  • The Ancient Prophecies, Discourse in Salt Lake City, January 7, 1855
    • “The Latter-day Saints that are now sitting before me, and those who inhabit this Territory, are here in fulfillment of prophecy. We inhabit these mountains because the ancient Prophets have predicted that such an event should take place, and we are fulfilling their predictions in this respect.”
  • Language, Discourse in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, October 22, 1854
    • “Mankind, in one sense, are far above the brutes, and not only this, but they are above even some of the angels; for there are certain orders of angels that are far beneath man; they have not progressed in the great scale of being—in the scale of wisdom, knowledge, and intelligence to the same extent as we have; and consequently they are beneath us; they are lower than we are; they have not attained to the same degree of information that we are in possession of; hence we read that man shall judge angels; the Saints are to judge, not only the world, the wicked world, and also one another, but they are to judge angels. Why? Because they are superior, or will be at the time they shall sit in judgment and decide upon the cases brought before them by the angels; they will rule over the angels, or in other words, the angels will be subject to them.”
    • “So you see that there is a language in the spirit world that can communicate more to the mind in one minute than could be learned here in a hundred years of intense study and reasoning. There is an eternity of knowledge.”
    • “How much do we expect? That we may fly swiftly to other worlds on missions. We would not want to occupy three months time in going from the earth to the moon, or from the earth to the sun, as we do in crossing these plains with ox teams, but we wish to go with greater velocity. If we go with the velocity of light, we should travel at the rate of one hundred and ninety-two thousand miles every second. There are substances in nature which are moving with this velocity. What is it that moves with this velocity? Is it anything else but spirit? The light we see is spirit. What does the Lord say in one of the new revelations? “Ye shall live by every word that cometh out of the mouth of God; whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit,” consequently the light that comes from the sun is spirit. How fast does that spirit travel? It can be demonstrated that it can travel one hundred and ninety-two thousand miles per second; if then one portion of spirit can travel with that velocity, it is natural for us to suppose that any other portions of spirit can travel with the same velocity, and thus we shall be able to accomplish, and perform a greater amount of righteousness among other worlds and beings, than if we were compelled to lose three fourths, or nine tenths of our time on the journey.”
    • “May the Lord bless us, and may His Spirit be continually poured out upon us, and may it inspire our hearts with truth, and with a desire to work righteousness all the day long.”
  • Increased Powers and Faculties of the Mind, Discourse in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, October 15, 1854
    • “Why is it that we are required, as the servants of God, to treasure up in our minds the words of life? It is in order that we may have a store of knowledge and information—it is in order that we may understand true principles—true doctrine, upon all subjects that pertain to the welfare of man, that the mind being filled with understanding, light, knowledge, truth, theory, and with a knowledge of things God has revealed, may be able to communicate at the very moment that part or portion of the same which God shall be pleased to impart to the congregation, suited to their capacity and circumstances; this is not taking thought beforehand what we shall say.”
    • “The Lord is gathering His Saints into this valley in order to instruct them how to be happy; that is the ultimate object and aim He has in view. He desires us to be well instructed, and to have the straight and narrow path laid out plain before us, showing us, from time to time, what steps are necessary to be taken, that will lead to the greatest amount of happiness; and if we follow them and continue in the path, we shall find that our light will grow brighter and brighter, our happiness greater and greater, and our joys will become more and more intense, until, in the eternal world we shall be swallowed up, as it were, with a fulness of joy—a fulness of happiness.”
    • “There must be some faculty or power natural to God and to superior beings, that man, in this life, is not in possession of in any great degree, by which they can look at a great variety of objects at once. The brother of Jared could look upon past, present, and future generations; they all came before him, and he gazed upon them all; there was not a soul that he did not behold.”
  • Consecration, Discourse in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, September 10, 1854
    • “Remember, that as long as there is inequality in the things that belong to the Lord, the world lieth in sin.”
    • “No equality can be brought about by dividing property; the Lord never intended such an order of things. It is not a division of property that is going to bring about a oneness among the Latter-day Saints in temporal things, but it is a union of property, that all the property may be united, and considered belonging to the Lord, and to every individual in the whole Church, as joint heirs with Him, or as His stewards. You may imagine, then, how my heart rejoiced, when I received a letter from our beloved President, informing me that steps had been taken for a full consecration of the property of the Church, to introduce the order of stewardships among the Saints of God.”
  • The Earth, Discourse, Salt Lake City, 1853
    • “A mass of inanimate elements cannot be organized in any possible form or proportion so as to benefit or injure itself, and therefore cannot be good nor bad with reference to itself. Goodness and its opposite quality, when applied to unconscious matter, always have reference to conscious beings capable of deriving happiness or misery from these qualities. This was the meaning of the Creator when he ascribed the quality of goodness to the earth; it contained every necessary ingredient to render happiness to the beings who were designed to occupy it.”
    • “The children of Adam had no agency in the transgression of their first parents, and therefore they are not required to exercise any agency in their redemption from its penalty. They are redeemed from it without faith, repentance, baptism, or any other act, either of the mind or body.”
    • “Man cannot by any possible act, prevent his redemption from the fall; but he can utterly refuse and prevent his redemption from the penalty of his own sins.”
    • “Man having voluntarily committed sin, must voluntarily comply with the conditions of redemption.”
    • “But who are the meek? By what peculiarities are they distinguished from other men? There must be some qualities about them far superior to the generality of mankind, or they would not become the exclusive heirs of the new earth. The law of meekness includes all the laws of the Gospel, with its ordinances and blessings, Priesthood and powers, through obedience to which mankind become justified, sanctified, purified, and glorified. Such are the meek of the earth, and none others.”
  • Celestial Marriage, Discourse in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, August 29, 1852
    • “It is well known, however, to the congregation before me, that the Latter-day Saints have embraced the doctrine of a plurality of wives, as a part of their religious faith. It is not, as many have supposed, a doctrine embraced by them to gratify the carnal lusts and feelings of man; that is not the object of the doctrine.”
    • “Why the fact is, that being that animates this body, that gives life and energy, and power to move, to act, and to think; that being that dwells within this tabernacle is much older than what the tabernacle is. That spirit that now dwells within each man, and each woman, of this vast assembly of people, is more than a thousand years old, and I would venture to say, that it is more than five thousand years old.”
    • “The Lord has ordained that these spirits should come here and take tabernacles by a certain law, through a certain channel; and that law is the law of marriage. There are a great many things that I will pass by; I perceive that if I were to touch upon all these principles, the time allotted for this discourse would be too short, therefore I am under the necessity of passing by many things in relation to these spirits in their first estate, and the laws that governed them there and come to their second estate.”
    • “What is the object of this union? is the next question. We are told the object of it; it is clearly expressed; for, says the Lord unto the male and female, I command you to multiply and replenish the earth. And, inasmuch as we have proved that the marriage ordinance was eternal in its nature, previous to the fall, if we are restored back to what was lost by the fall, we are restored for the purpose of carrying out the commandment given before the fall, namely, to multiply and replenish the earth.”
    • “Again, let us look at Sarah’s peculiar position in regard to Abraham. She understood the whole matter; she knew that, unless seed was raised up to Abraham, he would come short of his glory; and she understood the promise of the Lord, and longed for Abraham to have seed. And when she saw that she was old, and fearing that she should not have the privilege of raising up seed, she gave to Abraham, Hagar. Would Gentile Christendom do such things now-a-days? O no; they would consider it enough to send a man to an endless hell of fire and brimstone. Why? Because tradition has instilled this in their minds as a dreadful, awful thing.”
  • Departure of Missionaries, Remarks in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, August 28, 1852
    • “There is certainly no work in which the servants of God can be engaged that is so pleasing and joyful to the mind as to be engaged in the work of the holy ministry—in trying to persuade the honest in heart among the nations to receive the truth.”
    • “Traveling to your field of labor is one thing, and laboring in it is another.”
  • A General Funeral Sermon, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, July 25, 1852
    • “But what was this sin, and what was the nature of it? I will tell you what it was; it was merely the partaking of a certain kind of fruit. But, says one, I should think there is no harm in eating fruit. There would not be unless God gave a command upon the subject.”
    • “This great Redeemer is stronger than Death, more powerful than that direful monster who has come into the world, and laid siege to all the inhabitants thereof; He will banish it out of this creation.”
    • “So far as that transgression is concerned, all the inhabitants of the earth will be saved. Now understand me correctly. If there are any strangers present, that have not understood the views of the Latter-day Saints, I wish you to understand that we have no reference in any way to our own personal sins; but so far as the original sin of father Adam is concerned, you and I will have to suffer death; and every man and woman that ever lived on this globe will be redeemed from that sin. On what condition? I answer, on no condition whatever on our part. “But,” says one, “where I came from they tell me I ought to repent for the original sin.” I care not what they tell you, you will be redeemed from the original sin, with no works on your part whatever. Jesus has died to redeem you from it, and you are as sure to be redeemed, as you live upon the face of this earth. This is the kind of universal redemption the “Mormons” believe in, though in one sense of the word, it is a different kind of universal redemption from that which the nations have been in the habit of hearing. We believe in the universal redemption of all the children of Adam into the presence of God, so far as the sins of Adam are concerned. They will obtain a universal redemption from the grave. It matters not how wicked you are; if you have murdered all the days of your life, and committed all the sins the devil would prompt you to commit, you will get a resurrection; your spirit will be restored to your body. If Jesus had not come, all of us would have slumbered in the grave; but now, wicked as we may be, if we go down to the grave blaspheming the name of the Lord, we shall as sure come up again as we go down there. This is free grace without works; all this comes to pass without works on the part of the creature.”
    • “I care not where you place them; you may take any of the celestial worlds, and place millions of beings there that are dead to righteousness, and how long will it be before they make a perfect hell of it? They would make a hell of any heaven the Lord ever made.”
    • “There is a way of escape from the effects of your own individual transgressions, but it is different from the redemption from the original sin of Adam. The redemption from that sin was universal without works, but the redemption from your own personal sins is universal with works on the part of the creature—universal in its nature, because it is free to all, but not received by all. The salvation, or redemption from your own sins, is not by free grace alone, it requires a little work.”
    • “Much more might be said, for we have only just touched upon these things, only turned the key that you may look through the door and discern a little of the glories that await the Saints. Let me tell you, it has not entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which God has laid up for them that love Him, unless he is filled with the Holy Ghost, and by vision gazes upon the thrones and the dominions, the principalities and powers, that are placed under His control and dominion; and He shall sway a righteous scepter over the whole.”

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