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Treasures

of the Collection

Wilford Woodruff, January 9, 1864

Sermon to the Saints in Farmington

Transcribed by LaJean Purcell Carruth

We Need the Spirit

I have been called upon to occupy a little time this afternoon. I will say that I desire that I may have the Spirit of the Lord to assist me in what I may say to you. I have learned myself … as I believe every other elder has in their own travels and preaching and labors, … that we need the Holy Spirit. I know that I need it to edify anybody when I talk to them, and I believe it is our privilege to enjoy this blessing. I know there is sufficient before us to interest and edify every Latter-day Saint on the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the things of the kingdom of God if our minds can be opened to these things and we can understand and comprehend them and be enabled to teach them to the edification of the people. I consider it one of the greatest blessings that ever a people enjoyed upon the face of the earth in any age [of the] world—this or any other—to have the privilege of tending to the things of the kingdom of God; to have the privilege of preaching the gospel, of building up [the] kingdom.

Blessings of the Restored Gospel

It is a privilege to live in a day and generation when we can see the kingdom of God, see the organization of it, can be associated with men who are called of God to administer the ordinances of that kingdom, and know that those ordinances are ordained of God, and knowing [that what] the servants of God do in the flesh in building up the kingdom of God has effect on the other side [of the] veil after the resurrection, and all the ordinances and sealing powers which are given and bestowed on the children of men by the prophets—[the] servants of God, no matter what their calling, as long as they fulfill their calling—these ordinances are accepted of God and have their effect after the resurrection. We have this privilege ourselves, brethren. It is given unto us. The kingdom of God is given… in all its glory, beauty, power, organization, priesthood, ordinances, and administration unto the children of men in our day and generation. I say it is one of greatest blessings ever bestowed on men in any age of the world. We have the privilege of building temples, of building mighty houses like this of building, [and other] houses of various kinds. We have the privilege of dedicating these temples, tabernacles, and houses of worship unto the Lord our God, and if we do our duty in these ordinances, congregations, [and] dedications, they are [accepted] of the Lord, and the ground upon which we dwell—if we as a people live to our privileges—[is] holy before the Lord.

The kingdom of God is given… in all its glory, beauty, power, organization, priesthood, ordinances, and administration unto the children of men in our day and generation. I say it is one of greatest blessings ever bestowed on men in any age of the world.

The Lord Calls the Humble to Do His Work

The Savior didn’t come as [the] lion of the tribe of [Judah], but came as [a] lamb that is dumb before his shearers. He traveled from the mountain[s] to the coast as a meek, humble, man. He was poor, afflicted, persecuted, [and] opposed. [He] was looked upon by the Jewish nation, not as they would upon a man as they expected. They looked for him to come in pomp and glory and strength, perhaps with armies and power, and [to] take possession of earth, but he [was] meek and lowly. … He didn’t preach but a little while after he entered the ministry before he was slain, but in all his life, though weak as he appeared, all his administrations had effect and [so] that of his servants. Their words [were] like the words of [the] Almighty and remained as fast as the words of Jehovah [had] been. …

The Lord called Joseph Smith by sending an angel. He went forth in fulfillment of [the] commandment of God. He was a true prophet, an honest man, [a] man of integrity, filled with justice and mercy and truth. He was a proper instrument for the Lord to make use of to do the work of God in this day. [This work] came forth through the revelations of Joseph in fulfillment of the promises given to the fathers. Those same blessings I was referring [to] was given to those old prophets four thousand years ago [have] all been fulfilled, and the blessings they gave to their sons and posterity, as far as they were faithful, have had their effect and have had all through time to this day. So in this day… the Lord has called humble men, from the [humble] and plain.

The Commandment to Build Temples

We are called upon to build a temple in these valleys [of the] mountains, [and] this according to the commandments of God, that the Lord may have a house that he himself has commanded ordained and required the people to be built. There are thousands of houses—large chapels and houses of worship—upon the face of the earth, all over the Christian and Jewish world, synagogues and temples and building[s] that are erected by the various sects of the day, and they go into them and worship God. Has God ever given them a commandment concerning one of them? Are the ordinances administered in them of Him? Will they have effect? No. The house we built in Kirtland is one that has been built in this generation. We have been called upon to build temples in other places; called upon to build a temple in Jackson, [and] Caldwell [and] in Nauvoo. As far as we have had an opportunity, the servants of God have endeavored to fulfill the commandments of God, but we have been driven. This constant warfare and opposition to this kingdom has driven this people from town to town, state to state, and place to place until we [have been] driven to these valleys. Now we are required to build a temple here. This is a great privilege to do, that we may go and attend to the ordinances of God for the living and dead.

Walk in the Light

We have more no time to be drawn away from the things of the kingdom of God. I don’t believe any man, while enjoying the spirit of this work, will be drawn away. While enjoying the spirit of the Lord, we want the light all the time. Without the light no man can see. [When] you go out in a dark night, the moment you are in the dark you can’t tell the steps you are going to take. You can see where you take your steps if you have the light. While I walk in the light of God my mind is open. I can comprehend it and understand the signs of the time and the working of the Spirit of God, and when a thing is presented to me by [the] servants of God, I can receive a testimony of the truth of that; but when I lose the light I don’t comprehend those things. I am liable to find fault with this, that, and the other. We want to walk in the light. We want the Spirit of [the] Lord to be with us in order for us to live our religion, fulfill our mission as elders in Israel, and do the will of God—to fulfill this great, high calling in the building up of this kingdom. We can’t do it unless we walk in the light of the Lord.

We have more no time to be drawn away from the things of the kingdom of God.

The Kingdom Will Move Ahead

There is no people under the heavens as well off as we are; no people blessed as we are. We have the kingdom of God. I am satisfied as to that. It has been given into our hands, and if we do our duty it will not be given to [an]other people. I have no fears of this thing. When I contemplate it by the revelations of Jesus Christ, I am just as well satisfied that this kingdom is bound to stand. It is in fulfillment of all the prophets from the days of old Adam in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, where he blessed his children. From that day to this, all [those] inspired by the Spirit of God has had their eye upon this kingdom, [on its] progress, growth, and final consummation, and [the] glory and dominion it would have on the face of the earth, and be prepared as bride prepared for the bridegroom. From the days of Joseph Smith, from the days of its organization, [there has] not been one moment but what it has progressed. I don’t care whether it was driven from Jackson, Clay, [or] Caldwell [County], lying in the mud [in] the valley of [the] Mississippi, or crossing the sage plains to come to these valleys. It will never stop until it has accomplished all that the servants of God has set out to accomplish. The Lord has got tried men, faithful men who he has proven, who will build this kingdom and will dwell in it, and the Lord will have honest men and women enough on the earth, from the nations of the earth, that will maintain this kingdom. Notwithstanding this, many men, by turning aside from the path of duty, by getting into the dark and going away [after] the temptations that lay before them, they have fallen from the blessings of salvation, and many of them have left the kingdom entirely; for there is none of us [that] can say we are safe without we trust in God and live our religion. The kingdom may travel. You may get off a rail car [but] the car [will] go ahead and leave you [so that] you must take some other course and get along, but the car goes along, and men will leave this kingdom, and he may stop, [but] the kingdom will go ahead. … Then it should be our aim—the aim of all of us—to endure and live and prepare ourselves to keep up with this kingdom, not only to abide in it, but grow with its growth.

The Lord Has Protected the Saints

I am as well satisfied myself—as I am that I am here—if we do our duty, that the wicked will have no dominion over this people. They will never have any power over this people to distress or drive you from your habitations, and as bad and careless as we have been, the Lord has held the enemy all the time. Our enemies [have] a bit in the mouth of a horse and they have been [governed] by it. The Lord has the care of the servants of God. What weapon is there formed against us in these valleys [that] has had any power to injure this people? The Lord has turned away the edge of the sword all the time until today. Should we not be faithful, humble, and have confidence continually to call on the name of the Lord, day by day, and ask for power to build up Zion? To build up the temple and carry out the principles and requirements the Lord has given to us?

Strict Observance of the Law of Tithing

Just as far as we remember our tithes before the Lord, just so far we shall be blessed. … That is the law of God. … It was given to Abraham. He was required to pay tithing. If it is the law of God, it is as reason[able] for me to pay my tithing as to be baptized for [the] remission of my sins, and I have noticed in doing this I have an increase of everything I possess and of everything I put into the house. … [We should be] as strict before the Lord in attending to this matter as we may. … We should open a book account with the Lord and [act] in our dealing with him as [we do] with one another, and when we thresh our grain we should carry our grain from our fields to the tithing office. All the time measure your grain … and keep a strict book account every day and year with the Lord as you would with your neighbor. … It is so with any commandments the Lord give to us.  We shall be blessed by obeying these laws by taking the counsel given to us by the servants of God. No man has ever failed in it from the beginning of this church to [this] day, and we have more trouble by disobeying counsel than by obeying it. This is my opinion.

We should open a book account with the Lord and [act] in our dealing with him as [we do] with one another, and when we thresh our grain we should carry our grain from our fields to the tithing office.

Prize the Words of the Living Prophets

We remember (a great many of us) the days of Joseph. We have heard his prophecies, counsels, reproofs, testaments, and blessings. Did we prize them in the days he was in our midst as we have since [he has] gone? No. When he came to go and leave us the people began to wake up and look at these things. Let’s take the teachings while our presidency have lungs and health and strength to live and power as they have to bless. They have sealed a world of blessings on the heads of this people, thousands upon thousands has blessings from the hands of [Presidents] Young and Kimball and [the] first elders of this church. Let’s not treat lightly the counsel of God while we have them. We are passing along in the flesh to do the work previous to going to the other side of [the] veil. We are told that this earth, this life, our tabernacle here, is as important to us as any portion of our existence we have. We are placed here [where] we have a disposition and agency, and [the] trail to our future destiny in the eternal world depends on the course we pursue in this life. How we should prize the gifts of God, the precious things of God, the blessings of the revelations of God, the words of Lord! Let’s prize them while we have them. [Do not] let them go into one ear and out of another. What we get in our day [is] as good as Abraham, Adam, Isaac, Jacob, [and the] apostles; as good … words [as have] ever been taught to any man in any age of [the] world. Let’s prize them.

 

The full transcription of this sermon is available to read via the Church History Catalog. Learn more about our Lost Sermons editorial method.