The transcription begins with the following explanation of the setting for this address: “September 23, a company of friends met at President Kimball's to perform their last duties to Sister Mary Smith who departed this life on Wednesday 22 instant at half past 5 p.m. President Young present. The meeting opened with singing and prayer by President Young.”
A Life Well Lived
The sister that lies before us here, we can say of her as we have said of others: she has been true and faithful; true to her God, her husband, her religion, her friends. She has been a faithful stewardess over those things committed to her charge. She still desired to live for the comfort and benefit of her family. It seems however that she was worn out, that she could endure no longer. She has been a woman that has labored incessantly, and I will say successfully, for the benefit of her family and friends. She now sleeps in peace. Her spirit is with her friends. Her pains have ceased to afflict. The troubles and sorrows of this world are over with her, and she would not return had she the power.
The Veil of Mortality
Death must come upon us. It is the decree of the Almighty that we should pass through that that the prophet calls the shadow and valley of death. … People cling to life. It is right they should. Was it not so, our thought would be to leave the world, in as much as we have faith, and separate ourselves from our friends and leave them much quicker than they do at present time. If the people knew precisely their situation hereafter they would desire to be gone. They do not. It is hid from them. The veil of the covering is still over [the] inhabitants of [the] earth. We are shut out from the presence of the Lord and [the] knowledge of God. It is right we should be. … It is right that the Lord should place in their hearts a desire to live in the world. We should not fill the measure of our creation if that desire [were] not in us. [We] should not accomplish the work given us to do. We should be in a hurry to receive our rest … but having that desire in our hearts to live causes us to cling to the world that we may finish the work the Lord gives us to do.
“Pattern after her, abide in her good work, be faithful, keep together.”
I can [say] to my friends and immediate connections of Sister Mary, and to the children: pattern after her; abide in her good work, be faithful, keep together. Let this family keep together, let them love each other, let them pray, serve the Lord and live just as long as [they] can upon the earth and carry out the work commenced by their father and their mothers.
We Are in the Lord’s Hands
The Lord watches over you. You need not suppose for a moment the Lord's eye not upon you, the angels round about you, and they will take care of you and you may be peaceful and contented. I recollect Brother Joseph … talking about his children, about being taken away from his family. Says he, “I have no fears concerning my children. God will take care of them, and if it needs be, he will hide them up in [the] rocks of [the] mountains. They will do well enough. He will take care and watch over them.” So will he over the children of Brother Hyrum [and] every good man and woman. They [are] in the hands of [the] Lord. They are before him, his eye upon them, his angels round about them, that they might endure afflictions, suffer pain, buffeting by Satan, pass through scenes of afflictions enough to wring their natural hearts out of them comparatively. Yet God [will] take care of them. He will preserve his own unto himself.
I say to my brethren and sisters, be comforted. One request I have to make of these my sisters present: Better the life of Mary Fielding, if you can do it. If you can … then you will receive you[r] reward: a crown of glory, immortality, and eternal lives. I can also make the same remarks with regard to Sister [Jerusha] Smith, Brother Hyrum's first wife; just as good [a] woman as ever lived, and no mortal could be more faithful. You that [are] acquainted with her, walk in her footsteps. Better her life if you can. If you can't, come as nigh as can and all is [well] with you. And [I] will say with myself and brethren: Live as well as Brother Hyrum did, and better it if you can. I want every brother and man to better the life of Brother Hyrum … and we shall receive [our] reward and dwell with him and his Brother Joseph and Father Smith. … I don't know how far it is where they dwell, but it is not very far.