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17 April 1856


Literary and Musical Assembly; Seventies Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory

“Whatever Is, Is Right.”

Written for, and read before the “Literary and Musical Assembly,” in the Seventies’ Hall, Great Salt Lake City, April 17, 1856.

by miss eliza r. snow

Whatever is, is right, but then

All axioms received;

Require some certain principles,

On which to be believ’d.

With good and evil—right and wrong,

This present world is rife—

Right is not wrong—wrong is not right,

In any form of life.

If there are given rules, by which

Good is from evil, made;

’Tis well for ev’ry Saint of God,

To understand the trade.

To all who love and practice wrong,

Wrong is forever wrong;

While unto those who practice right,

Right will be right, as long:

But ev’ry wrong will be o’er-rul’d,

Resulting for the best,

To all who in life’s furnaces,

Stand every trying test.

Had not Missouri, in her spite

And hatred, driv’n us forth;

The souud [sound] of truth would not have spread

So widely o’er the earth.

When in Nauvoo, we were beset

With foes on ev’ry side—

The Church was grievously oppres’t—

Our Prophet [Joseph Smith] crucified!

Surrounded by a murd’rous brood,

Nurs’d in corruption’s nest—

The vilest offspring of the vile,

Of Satan’s soul possess’d:

In spite of all their hatefulness,

Diffusing death and thrall;

We, clinging to our rightful homes—

Our lands—our earthly all;

Might have remain’d, and struggled on: —

They thrust us out—we come

And found a peaceful resting place,

In this wild mountain home.

To those that play’d a treacherous part,

That is an evil day:

And they and theirs, will feel the smart

When time has pass’d away.

We’ve here a better Government

And more of safety too;

Than we experienc’d in our own,

Our beautiful Nauvoo.

Thus God will use the wickedness

And all the wrath of man,

To magnify His holy name,

And execute His plan:

All evil purposes and schemes,

His wisdom will o’er-rule,

And make of each of Satan’s imps,

Though vile, a useful tool.

For finer work and finishing,

The polish’d tools will do:

But God wants sledges, threshing-flails,

And battle-axes too.

And when we love to do His will

With all our mind and might,

The Lamp of Life, His spirit’s glow,

Will show that all is right--

That ev’ry suff’ring—ev’ry ill,

And all the foes we meet:

Will serve our interest in the end,

And make our joy complete.

Offences must needs come, ’tis said:

We also further know,

There is on them by whom they come,

Pronounc’d a fearful woe.

If we are cloth’d with innocence,

And to our Cov’nants true;

What though we suffer for the wrong,

The evil-minded do?

The time will surely come when those

Who’ve cheated in life’s play;

Will find they shake an empty purse,

And yet the Bill to pay.

Whene’er we feel chastisement’s rod,

For wrongs ourselves have done;

We’re taught our conduct to control,

And future ill to shun;

As if the shades of darkness were

Converted into light;

Through reformation’s handy work,

Wrong may conduce to right.

For here had plenty’s ceaseless board,

Without a care, been spread;

Who would have own’d the Giver’s hand,

Or known the worth of bread?

How many would, as saviors, here,

With wheat their garners stor’d,

Ere famine’s cup of bitterness,

Is on the Gentiles pour’d?

But when pale hunger’s meagre hand

Is on the stomach laid;

The blind discern the pencil-lines,

By wisdom’s finger made.

Our father Adam, broke the law

His father gave, and thus

That blind-fold thing, degen’racy,

Has travel’d down to us.

The Saviour’s pity mov’d:—He came—

Up to the fount of day,

While all the troops of darkness storm’d,

He stoop’d to mark the way;

And through the curse with all its ills—

With death and sorrow rife;

He grants to those who follow him,

The pow’rs of endless life.

And He has giv’n a perfect law—

When walking in its light;

As Saints of God, we understand,

“Whatever is, is right.”

That dark, dark cloud, call’d ignorance,

Which veils the human mind;

Has clogg’d the springs of common-sense,

And press’d the judgment blind:

He who calls forth the light of day

From crude, commingling gloom;

And bright Celestial rolling spheres

From Chaos’ op’ning womb—

Who built the pillars of the sky—

Who counts the hosts of heav’n:

Holds ev’ry key and instrument,

By which results are giv’n.

When we, thro’ fear of comming ill,

His providence distrust;

We sit in judgment on His hand,

And deem his ways unjust.

Should ought exist from which His skill

Can nothing good produce;

That is a wrong without a right—

A thing without a use:

But who indulge the thought? And who

Would impudently dare

Impeach the high imperial Court,

Or charge a failure there?

Altho’ the links are intricate—

Though long may be the chain—

Though Gordian knots with us occur;

With God all things are plain.

’Tis not for us to rule the storm

Or Zion’s bark to steer:

With our own duties well perform’d,

We’ve nothing more to fear.

What should we fear? Who guides the ship?

None but Eternal Might:

Father Himself is at the helm:

“Whatever is, is right.”

[. . .] [n.p.]

Source Note

Eliza R. Snow, “Poetry: ‘Whatever Is, Is Right’,” Mormon 2, no. 46 (3 Jan. 1857): [1].