EPISTLE TO THE SAINTS COMPRISING THE BRITISH CONFERENCES.
Beloved in the lord,—It is now nearly one year since the Presidency of the Church in the British Isles, was committed to my charge. In entering upon the performance of its high and holy duties, I was most impressively reminded of my own incapability, by the great, and rapidly growing importance of the work of the Lord, which had become so extensive and powerful as to present almost daily new features of interest and importance, which required the wisdom, energy, and foresight of the Holy Spirit to guide and control, so as to secure prosperity and blessing upon all its varied interests.
The efficient manner in which the Conferences were then organized, together with the discreet, and substantial tone which had been given to all their affairs by my predecessor—Elder Orson Pratt—rendered the duty far less onerous, and the hope of success much more certain than it otherwise might have appeared; but as success in the Holy Priesthood is “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord:” to His name be all the glory, for the prosperity which he has vouchsafed to grant unto his Church in these realms.
During the past twelve months a general effort has been made by nearly all of the conferences, to lay before the people a declaration of our Holy Faith—the doctrines of the Church of Christ. Most of their general agents have ordered books and tracts by thousands, so that, in the aggregate, some hundreds of thousands of copies have been put into circulation among the people, through the agency of tract societies, and the voluntary efforts of the Saints in the various cities, towns, and villages of the empire. It was not enough, nay it did not evince a becoming zeal, to merely offer the publications for sale at their several depots, and in their chapels and halls of worship, but they have been kindly handed into the dwellings of the people, and in consecutive order, so as to impart a general knowledge of our views to such as were willing to do themselves the favor of a gratuitous perusal. A general spirit of emulation as been manifested among both the ministry and members, to inform the people of the heavenly message which has been delivered by angels to men, insomuch that some, unless they added a certain number to the Church in a given period of time, felt dissatisfi d with the non-performance of their self-set task. The general efforts of the Church, together with the frequent, and sometimes copious effusions of the press, both in favor of, and in opposition to the Truth, have had a powerful tendency to extend our acquaintance among a class of society, hitherto inaccessible to the Saints. Indeed, so extensively has this labor of love been carried forward, that, if the people of this great nation were half as eager to know the will and purpose of the great Jehovah concerning them, as they are to amass the perishable wealth of this world, every habitation in the United Kingdom, from her Majesty’s palace to the residence of her humblest subject, would resound with thanksgiving and hallelujah to God and the Lamb for the remission of sins, the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, the ministry of angels, and the setting up of the Kingdom of God again on the earth for the last time.
The efforts of the Church, embodying the enterprising labors of an active and efficient ministry, and of the world, have not been fruitless; several thousands have confessed the faith, and attested the same by going down into the waters of baptism for the remission of their sins, during the present year.
It is truly a glorious task to win souls to the knowledge of God, and he that doeth this is wise; but it is a far nobler and wiser act to govern well, than to make conquest. Many mighty men of the earth have become eminent in conquest, but because they failed to give their captive subjects enlightened and liberal laws, such as would bind their hearts to their conquerors, and inspire them with gratitude to their emancipators, their ill-gotten power has passed away by treachery and revolt, and they have become as eminently foolish rulers, as they were illustrious victors: so also it is in the Kingdom of God, they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever; but he that ruleth well, shall be accounted worthy of double honor. The Captain of our salvation, who has sent us forth to conquer by the sword of the Spirit, has supplied us with laws and rules of government, pure and perfect; and with gifts and blessings, to bestow upon such as take the oath of allegiance. They are at once relieved from guilt and remorse, they have the assurance that if they continue loyal to the end, they shall be saved from all their sins; and for this precious boon, feel an attachment inexpressible, and incomprehensible to those who impart it to them.
Inasmuch as the past year has been one of such vast effort, and of such general success in winning souls into the Church, let me call your attention to the subject of church Government.
So great has been the call for Elders to carry the Gospel into new places, and so general and powerful have been the efforts of the Church to add to their numbers, that the duties of the Priests, Teachers, and Deacons—the standing ministry to the Church—have in a measure been overlooked. While members have been added by thousands, the Church itself has lacked that diligent, faithful instruction in daily, practical duty, which the laws and ordinances of the church contemplate. This is mainly accounted for by the fact, that the numerous calls for Elders have induced the ordination of faithful Priests to that office. The faithful Teacher has been promoted to the office of Priest, and the Deacon who magnified his calling, has been ordained a Teacher; and thus have these standing officers in the Church—the main helps in government—have rendered so transitory as to become measurably ineffectual in their callings, which has caused them to be lightly esteemed in many instances.
What is the ostensible object of any person in joining the Church of Christ? Is it not that their sins may be washed away by baptism, that they may obtain the aid of the various officers and ordinances of the Church, to enable them to overcome their evil propensities, and lay aside the weights and sins that easily beset them; that they may, through the sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the Truth, be cleansed and perfected from all their sins? Most certainly! This is the great object of a membership in the Church of Christ; and most effectually has kind heaven provided for this, by instituting the offices of a Priest, Teacher, and Deacon, in the Church.
The Priest’s duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, baptize, administer the sacrament, visit the house of each member, exhort them to pray vocally and in secret, and attend to all family duties.
The Teacher’s duty is to watch over the Church always, to be with and strengthened them, to see that there is no iniquity in the Church,—neither hardness with each other,—neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking,—to see that the Church meet together often, and that all the members do their duty.
The Deacon is to assist the Teacher in all his duties, if occasion requires.
Who cannot see at one glance that with the honest, faithful performance of these duties under the searching auspices of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible for sin to dwell in the Church without detection. If it were not so, the Church of Christ would be imperfect, and would not accomplish the high and holy purpose of Salvation for which it was instituted. This is that Holy Institution, and there are some of the holy offices and callings appointed of God to aid man in divesting himself of his sins, and clothing himself with the righteousness of Christ; and he who enters in by baptism and the laying on of hands, if he transgresses not, but abides in the doctrines and ordinances of the Church, will have the gift and power of the Holy Ghost accompanying him. O blessed gift of heaven to man! How unlike the sickly, decrepit, and impotent institutions of men, which are conceived in ignorance, brought forth in folly, and matured by priestcraft, and which lull men’s souls to perdition, in the way of their own choice.
The Church of Christ is not the place for men or women who wish to practice iniquity under cover of religion; some have tried it, but their sins have found them out, and they have been cast out from us, that it might be known they were not of us. But it is emphatically the place for such as wish to come to the light, that their deeds may be reproved, that they may walk in the light and sin not; where if they are sick they may be healed; if they are tempted and tried, they may receive the word of encouragement from their Teachers, that shall enable them to overcome; where if they are sorrowful they may be comforted; if any err they may be taught, and come to understanding; if any sin inadvertently they may confess, forsake, and find mercy; but from which if they will not repent they will be cast out, that the Church be not defiled with their evil ways; and if any are destitute and needy their wants will be known and supplied;—that the members may walk together by the aid of their Priests, Teachers, and Deacons in all the ordinances of the Church, as the heirs of the grace of life, bearing one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the royal law.
Seeing, then, that the life, the health, the stability, the energy, and the purity of the Church are, to so great an extend, resultant from a faithful performance of the duties of these offices, but especially those of the Teacher; it is highly important that these officers should be humble, faithful men, full of the Holy Ghost and good works; men of experience in the knowledge and power of God; men who are apt to teach by their example, as well as by precept, the careworn sons of men, how they may work out their salvation, and overcome the evils that are in the world.
The Presidents of Branches and Conferences, and particularly the American brethren, are instructed to give their attention to this subject; let good and faithful men be selected from among the Branches, men of good reputation, of exemplary conduct, such as rule well in their own houses, men of experience in the work of God, men of sound minds; if they are men of years, and are parents, so much the better, that they may teach and be honored as fathers, that their presence and their counsels may command reverence in the Church of God; and if the persons who are best adapted to the performance of these important duties are Elders, no matter, let them be set part to the higher and more important duty of instructing the Saints.
It requires but little experience in the work, comparatively, to preach and defend the first principles of the Gospel successfully before the world; but to be an able minister to the Saints requires a man skilled in the words of life, full of faith, and the spirit of revelation.
Let no man despise this office, but let him that is wise honor the calling, and add grace unto it, that while the Gospel is preached with diligence unto the congregations of unbelievers, the Saints may get their portion of meat in due season.
Said an ancient Prophet, “my people perish for lack of knowledge.” The knowledge of God and of his Son Jesus Christ is Eternal Life. Let, therefore, those who embrace the faith be well and truly taught in the knowledge, of God that they may always be able to give a reason of the hope which is within them, and adorn their profession with a well-ordered life and conversation. If this course be pursued with the faithfulness and energy which the salvation of souls demands, when the clouds of adversity gather thick around the Saints, instead of resorting to the inebriating cup to drown their sorrows as do the wicked, they will resort to their closets, and through the prayer of faith, drink from the cup of life the gifts and blessings of the Spirit, which will refresh and sustain them under every affliction. Then the power of God will increasing the Church, the gifts and blessings of the Gospel will be more gloriously displayed in their midst. Their light will break forth as the morning upon all that surround them, iniquity will be brought to light and put away, they shall ask whatsoever they will, that is expedient, and it shall be granted them. They shall be a blessing to all that associate with them, and the Nation shall be blessed by their existence in its midst.
The Spirit manifests clearly that vile and corrupt men who have been, and shall be severed from the Church for their iniquities, will stir up others, who, like themselves, have pleasure in unrighteousness, and they will speak lies in hypocritical sanctity against the truth and against the Saints; and they will have power, through a great swelling words of lying and deceit, to turn aside many to apostasy who have not the testimony of Jesus within them. They will also cause many to harden their hearts against the truth, and to believe all manner of evil of the Saints falsely, in order to stir up persecution against them, that the weak and feeble may be offended because thereof, while others will turn away for the very Truth’s sake, and follow no more with us.
Forasmuch as these things must needs be, let the presiding elders throughout the Conferences set in order the various functions of the Holy Priesthood in all the ordinances and duties which belong to the Church, “that the whole body being fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, may make increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love,” then it will grow up into Christ its living head, through the gifts and administrations of the Holy Ghost; without which, all our work is vain.
The call for labourers is now very great from every quarter, and will soon be very much increased, therefore let faithful and just men be called to the ministry, but no faster than they are prepared to enter upon their labors, ever remembering the blessed rule given by our Saviour to the prophet Joseph, viz.: that only “such as having faith, hope, and charity desire to thrust in their sickles and reap with their mights,” are called. Let not the holy priesthood be bestowed indiscriminately, or unworthily, but let it be used for the high and holy purpose for which it was designed—the salvation of immortal souls. As a general rule, those least experienced will best employ their talents in preaching the Gospel to the world; while they whose duty it is “to be always with, to watch over, and see that there is no iniquity in the Church,” should be the most experienced, wise, and holy men among you.
The Presidents and agents of both Conferences and Branches will allow me to remind them, that their immense efforts to spread abroad the Gospel to the people, have, in many instances, involved their conferences in liabilities to this office for the publications they have had, and unless we are favored with more prompt remittances we shall be obliged to limit our credit with them.
The present amount of outstanding debts, due this office, is very large—quite enormous for the extent of business we are doing, and the presidents are required to see that Tract Societies which are owing their agents for books, tracts, &c., settle for the same, if possible before the new year. Also that the Branches in like manner settle for what Stars they have on hand, that the same may become the property of the Branches, then the Branches and societies can dispose of their Stars and tracts as they please,—by sale, loan, or gift, and we can appropriate the cash to pay our debts to the printer and bookbinder.” Let these items receive your early and careful attention, that neither the tracts nor the Stars which we have sent out to the conferences may be reckoned to us as stock, or debts, but cash in hand.
Some of the conferences have generously extended their efforts for various benevolent objects upon terms of credit. It is particularly desirable, and should now become the ambition of all the churches, as far as possible, to clear off all their debts, and cast off these clogs to their progress, so that they may commence the new year in a renewed and improved condition.
Saints in the British Isles, we have not yet echoed back the response to that shout which went up from the Temple Block in Great Salt Lake City last April, in reply to the question, “Shall we build a temPle?” We shall soon he called upon to answer this question. Let us have all these small matters disposed of, so that we may be fully prepared to do, as well as to say yes. The Lord will require his people to bring their tithes and offerings into his storehouse, from all parts of the earth wherever they may be found, for this is a law of the Celestial Kingdom, and none can enter into the fullness of Eternal Life, unless they keep this holy commandment in connection with all others.
Our intelligence from the Church in the west is thrilling with interest. The energy that is displayed in all their movements is unequalled, unless by the untiring zeal of the Saints and Elders in dispensing the Gospel in this and other nations. The blessing of a munificent Providence seems to rest upon them, and crown their labors with unexampled success. Their crops are generally good. The climate is peculiarly healthy; many who were broken down in their constitutional vigor, are renewing their bodily, as well as spiritual strength. They have extended abroad during the present year into distant portions of that wilderness country, and formed new settlements for the development of the resources of the earth, both mineral and vegetable; extensive tracts of land have been fertilized, and rendered productive. Every variety of talent and profession is called into requisition, and best applied to promote the growing interest of a youthful nation, whose union excludes litigation, and whose ambition is to build and establish Zion. In pursuance of an Act of Congress, they have been organized into the Territory of Utah, with Legislative and Judicial powers. Monthly mails are established from the Great Salt Lake City to the States, and to San Francisco on the Pacific coast. Mails are also established from their metropolis to the shire towns of several different counties in the Territory. A State House is in progress of erection; the University building is progressing. The seventies are erecting a Rotunda,—Hall of Science. Last and best, the most ample and competent arrangements are entered upon for the construction of a magnificent Temple unto the Most High God, in which the ordinances of eternal life can be administered to the just.
An amicable feeling exists in the States towards the Saints, which was recently evinced by the prompt and efficient refutation of slanderous charges against President Brigham Young, in his governmental capacity. These charges we understand were set on foot by an unprincipled vagabond, who, for attempting to practice his wicked schemes, was sentenced to a term of hard labor on the public works. The Saints have no sympathy for such characters, the peace of their homes has long been disturbed by their maraudings, and it is a glorious epoch for the Church, that it has attained a position to punish criminals by the civil law, as well as disorderly members by excommunication. Nor is it less worthy of note, that when the characters of our rulers are aspersed by such outlaws, in public prints, that high-minded, honorable men, like T. L. Kane, Esq. should be found ready to roll back the mountain waves, and let injured innocence appear.
The Saints in the Eastern States are very few indeed; those who still remain are as the gleaning of grapes after the vintage is done; and it is to be feared they will scarcely escape the judgments of God. No Saints from England should emigrate to the Eastern States, unless compelled through the most absolute necessity. Those who are residing in St. Louis and on the frontiers, are making the most diligent efforts to get off to the Valley the coming spring.
The present year has been one of unusual peace and prosperity in this nation; probably never since Britain was a nation, has it experienced at once the liberty, peace, and universal prosperity, upon all its interests, together with such general goodwill from the whole family of nations which inhabit our globe, as during the expiring year; and much the same may be said of the western States of Europe, indeed the world seems to have almost ceased active hostilities—to come up to the great metropolis of Babylon and pay their devotions at the shrine of human invention in the Crystal Temple. Like the distressed, consumptive patient, the human family has seasons of respite from convulsive pains, and bystanders are flattered by the apparent tranquility, into hopes of recovery, while disease is silently acquiring a more potent hold upon the vitals and in an unexpected moment active dissolution commences. God has decreed a consumption upon the whole earth, and by the shedding of the blood of the prophets and apostles, Joseph, Hyrum, David, and others, that consumption has become immoveably seated. During this peaceful interlude, the Apostles of the Church made godly exertions to extend the kingdom of our blessed Redeemer. That divine record which contains the fullness of the Gospel—The Book of mormon—has been published in part, and in whole, in five different languages of Europe, vix, the Danish, Italian, French, Welsh, and German. The “Doctrine and Covenants” is now in circulation in Welsh, and is translated into Danish, ready for the press. These, together with the monthly periodicals now issuing from Paris, Copenhagen, and Hamburg, with the Udgorn Seion, published in Wales, and our own Millennial star of twenty-three thousand circulation fortnightly, constitute some of the bolder features of our holy cause, which give promise of a more immense growth of the Kingdom of God, and of its dawning glories to the benighted virgins, who slumbered among those nations, and will hallow the memory of 1851 as a distinguished epoch in the history of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times.
What glorious prospects are before the Saints, already the shouts of the harvest reapers in the vineyard of the Lord break upon our ears from the four quarters of the earth, calling for Elders, books, &c., to be sent over to their help.
O ye Saints of the Most High, lift up your heads and rejoice, it is by you the Lord designs to bring to pass his Act, his strange Act, in the eyes of all nations; though now you are bowed down you shall be lifted up, though now you are sorrowful you shall rejoice evermore in an eternal weight of glory, which the sufferings of this life are working out for you, if you continue to the end in the integrity of your hearts. Though like the Saviour you are poor, yet like him you make many rich; for though you are illiterate you have the Knowledge of God, and this is Eternal Life. Though you may lack worldly substance, you can accomplish prodigies of valor in your united exertions, whether in publishing the Gospel, or in gathering together and building cities and Temples; and this because the Spirit and wisdom of Jehovah are with you, which is better than strength, or weapons of war.
I hoped for something to communicate to you at this time upon the subject of emigration by the Perpetual Emigration Fund, but have not yet received any conclusive information as to the route. I still hope the next mail from the Valley may bring something cheering upon this subject. Do not let the fund be neglected. Every penny which has been forwarded to this office is safely preserved for that particular use, and when the route is determined the same will be appropriated to the removal of the greatest possible number of the worthy. This Fund will be the means of gathering far greater numbers than those who will gather upon their own resources, for in it will be concentrated the means and faith of the whole Church, which will render it a most powerful engine for the Gathering.
Presidents of conference.—As the Gospel net of the Kingdom is spreading itself abroad, and gathering into it of every kind, your duties and responsibilities must increase in number, in variety, and in importance. You are appointed to preside over all the affairs of your Conferences, both of a temporal and of a spiritual nature. It will require great diligence on your parts to search out, and comprehend all the interests of your Conferences. The work, already large, is but a drop in the bucket. The Lord, abundant in mercy, is pouring out his spirit copiously upon his faithful laborers in all places. He who seeks to spread abroad his energies with the greatest diligence, will realize the most of the blessing and power of God; therefore let all who are called, thrust in their sickles and reap before the summer is spent, while judgment is stayed; for yet a little season, and pestilence, the sword, and the direful catalogue of God’s heavy judgments will follow in rapid succession, and reveal his hot wrath upon the ungodly in their destruction, while the righteous will scarcely escape. Let your faces be uncompromisingly set against all manner of unrighteousness: Remember mankind are to be saved from their sins, not in them. And he or she who will not, after proper admonition and instruction, put away their sins from them, let them be cast out from you, that the Holy Spirit may delight to dwell in all the habitations of the Saints. To you is entrusted the welfare of immortal souls, and your ability to minister the words of life and salvation unto them, will be proportionate with your own estimate and practice of the words of God. If you esteem lightly the precious precepts which He has condescended to reveal, by which mankind may be saved, so will your people; for your example will teach with vastly greater power than any arguments you can use. If you appreciate the counsels of the Almighty above fine gold, or all the treasures of the earth, and seek wisdom and life, spirit and faith, by keeping the words of wisdom as well as commandment, your people will also esteem the words of the Lord as priceless; they will delight to make sacrifice that they may win souls they will be mighty in faith toward God; the spirit of revelation will abound in you and them; disease will have little or no power among you; evil and seducing spirits will be unable to enter in, and make havoc with your flocks, for the wisdom and power of the Spirit shall be sufficient for you. The counsels of the Almighty shall fill your bosoms; you shall be to the people as wells of living water, from which they may draw the words of life and salvation under every circumstance of life; your Priesthood shall distil upon you as the dew of heaven; you shall have power with God, and be the sons of God, among the people, having power to bless them, and dispense salvation on every hand.
May the increased righteousness and faith of the Saints in these islands induce the greater blessings of God’s favor upon all the efforts of his people, hasten the day of their deliverance, and establishment in goodly heritages among the righteous in Zion.
F. D. Richards,
One of the Twelve Apostles, and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles.
“LET ME GO”
Dear Brother Davis,—At the request of several of my friends, I ventured to make some kind of rough translation, or rather an imitation of the splendid poem of Apostle Taylor, not that I consider myself worthy or skilled for the task, but rather because no one else was taking it on. This is the first time I have sent anything to your valuable Trumpet; and the reason I have ventured to take on this task was, because I know of your readiness and your skill to set right whatever is wrong.
I am, your sincere brother and well wisher,
Victoria. James James.
Let me go to the western Valley far away,
To friends and brethren—whom do I love better?
Where affection and true love through their hearts abound;
To my home in the mountains, let me go.
Let me go to the Valley—a place of rest to be found,
And live with the righteous and the best without fail;
True peace and satisfaction like rivers abound;
To the beautiful and lovely Valley, let me go.
I’ll go to my loved ones, oppressed so long,
Some fled to the Valley, to the western land,
Where the contentious and the wicked do not abound;
To the loved and the virtuous, let me go.
I’ll go to Zion to live with the saints,
And travel the Valley—to me a resting place;
Impart to me some of their joy, or my woe will abound,
To the town of the righteous, let me go.
I’ll go to the Zion which our God prepared,
Fond hope of the Saints, and their reward it is;
I’ll find there fountains in purity that abound,
And the land of plenty, let me go.
I’ll go where there is eternal light and splendor, To join with the faithful in prayer and praise;
I’ll have heavenly streams of our God that abound; To the pure and the just, let me go.
I’ll go where there is always the banner of true freedom, To every one of the religions throughout the wide world; All tribes, all colors, and nations abound,
Free from oppression, let me go.
Oh, Phillips, dear man, I await the day,
When through your best I shall from my bonds live free;
I shall revere your name, I’ll remember you, and call you friend, Therefore with haste, let me go.
I’ll rush from Babel, her grasp is tight;
After going to Zion, I’ll have the means to obtain true nourishment; After the long journey sweetness and comfort will abound— To the place where my heart is, let me go.
[These lines are published with hardly a change; and if in them there are defects in rhyme, yet the substance is good. We say to our brother, that the Presidency of Wales permits him to go, since there is a call for a Welshman or two in the Valley to begin the ironworks there. May the Lord bless this our brother, together with those who go with him, so they may reach the mountains of Ephraim safely.—Ed.]
Payments from Dec. 12 to dec. 24.—Monmouthshire, £2; Carmarthenshire, £6 1s 9c; Denbighshire, £2 5s; Pembrokeshire, £1; Pontytypridd, £1 8s; Llanfabon, 14s 2c; Cwmbach, £1 4s (Nov. 16, £1 9s); Aberdare, £1 16s 10c; Hirwaun, £1 10s; Merthyr, £2 4s; Pendaren, £1 14s 2c; Cefn, 14s; Gorllwyn, 7s 3c; Ffynnon Tydfil, £1; Aberaman, £2; West Glamorgan, £3 1s; Total, £30 9s 2c.
Upon going to the press, we recieved the Sixth General Epistle, together with much news from the Valley, which we will publish in the next.
Remember to read our Address about the TrumPet in Number 24, so that no one will be disappointed concerning its price.
The bills for this quarter will come with the next issue.
Send all correspondence, requests, and book payments, to John Davis, Printer, John’s Street, Georgetown, Merthyr Tydfil.
JOHN DAVIS, PRINTER, MERTHYR TYDFIL.