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December 1863


1 December 1863 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Decr 1st/63. Started to L’pool in company with Bro. Taylor at 1.55 P.M. He stopped at Manchester, I proceeded to L’pool where I arrived about 3 P.M. and found all well.

2 December 1863 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Decr 2/63. Variously employed about Office.

3 December 1863 • Thursday

Thursday, 3rd. Wrote an Editorial “Star and Journal for 1864,” and dictated a number of letters. Storming violently all day, many chimnies &c blown down.

4 December 1863 • Friday

Friday, 4th. Busy attending to Office matters. Finished letter to my wife, Sarah Jane.

5 December 1863 • Saturday

Saturday, 5th. Trying to obtain Monthly Statement and figuring with Bro’s. Graham and Reynolds. As Bro. Thos Taylor did not come as early as he should have done to go with the train to Accrington where we had appointed to meet with the Saints to-morrow, we had to hurry very much for fear we would not be in time. I perspired freely when I reached the train. We found that we would have had plenty of time to walked [walk] more leisurely. We reached Accrington about 6.30 P.M. and were met by Bro’s. Cox and Briggs & John Taylor. We stopped at the latter’s house.

6 December 1863 • Sunday

Sunday, Decr 6th/63. I arose this morning with lungs very sore and inflamed and laboring under a very severe cold. Met with the Saints this morning. Bro’s. Taylor and <F. W.> Cox spoke[,] followed by Presidents of Branches & myself. It was with very great pain I spoke[;] but I felt better as I proceeded and was much blessed in my remarks. They had provided a general dinner of which we and all the Saints partook. Started for Preston at 3 P.M. and was met at the Station there by Bro Beck at whose house we took tea and supper. Bro. Taylor made a few remarks after which I followed; but with considerable <bodily> pain in the beginning. I felt better as I proceeded and had considerable freedom. Slept at Bro. Wadman’s.

7 December 1863 • Monday

Monday, Decr 6th/63. Still laboring under <suffering from> a very severe cold. <Bro. Taylor and myself> Started at 12.40 P.M. for Liverpool and was accompanied to the Station by Bro’s Cox and Wadman. I felt very sick and used up when I reached the Office. Found all well.

8 December 1863 • Tuesday

Tuesday, 7th, 1863. Feeling very unwell. Busily employed in Office.

9 December 1863 • Wednesday

Wednesday, 9th. Still unwell. Writing letters to several of the Elders and others. <Wrote Editorial> Erection of House of the Lord.

10 December 1863 • Thursday

Thursday, 10th My lungs are still sore & I cough considerably. Writing letters to various persons. Wrote one to Bro Halliday in reply to one I recd from him this morning respecting the prospects for Emigration. He states that a report had reached him that the teams instead of being used for the Emigration of the Saints the coming season the President had said he would have employed upon the Temple. The question with him was What are the Saints to do who are selling off their little property, &c &c with the view of being helped across the Plains. I referred him to my Editorial in the Star of Oct 31st wherein I particularly cautioned the Saints to be prepared for whatever obstacles might arise to prevent the Emigration of the Saints next year and to exercise faith and not allowed themselves to be lulled into a feeling of security. That I did not suppose any of the Saints would dispose of their means of livelihood until they were informed that the Emign would be likely to go forward

11 December 1863 • Friday

Friday, 11th To-day I feel much better in health, better indeed than I have felt for some time[.] Wrote to Pres’t Young. and to

12 December 1863 • Saturday

Saturday, 12th In the morning busy writing. In the afternoon left for Leeds to attend Conference on the morrow. Was met at the Station by Elders Bull & Swan

13 December 1863 • Sunday

Sunday 13 Attended meetings and spoke at each, altho’ I felt very sick. In the evening meeting I did not at first feel like speaking & called upon Brother Swan to speak. After he had finished, however, I arose & occupied the remaining portion of the evening and while speaking I scarcely felt any of my illness.

14 December 1863 • Monday

Monday 14. Retd to L’pool where I found all well.

15 December 1863 • Tuesday

Tuesday, 15. busy writing letters

16 December 1863 • Wednesday

Wednesday 16 Busy in the Office

17 December 1863 • Thursday

Thursday 17th Writing letters during the day, and in the eveng. attended meeting of the L’pool Branch at their chapel and spoke for about an hour under the influence of the Spirit.

18 December 1863 • Friday

Friday, 18th. Wrote to several of the Elders.

19 December 1863 • Saturday

Saturday, 19th. Left for Birmingham and stayed all night with Bro Kay

20 December 1863 • Sunday

Sunday, 20th Started in company with Bro Kay for Coventry to attend Conference. Had a very good time with the Saints and spoke at the Meetings – held in the afternoon & eveng[.] Returned to Birmingham

21 December 1863 • Monday

Monday, 21st. Recd a letter from Bro Bentley & another from Bro. W H. C. Smith in London[.] The former desired me to go to London as there were a few matters that required some consideration. I found Bro. Miles P. Romney rather poorly. Altho’ he has not made any complaints it has been discovered that he his suffers from an affection of lungs are affected & he betrays evidences1 <(from old book)> of a bad state of health.

Had an interview with Bro W. H. C. Smith and finding that all his chances for making a living for himself & family were anything but probable in this country[,] I concluded to assist him to emigrate to the States where he was sanguine he could get along better than in England. He has for many years lived in India where he was more fortunate in his exertions & since his return to this country has seemed to have been almost helpless & so far as obtaining employment is concerned he has completely failed.

22 December 1863 • Tuesday

Tuesday, 22nd Returned to L’pool; found all well. Bro. Smith (Prest of the Scan. Mission) I found awaiting me. He was in good health & spirits.

23 December 1863 • Wednesday

Wednesday, 23rd. Busy writing letters

24 December 1863 • Thursday

Thursday, 24 Still busy in the Office.

25 December 1863 • Friday

Friday, 25. (Christmas-day) Had all the brethren in the office & the brethren in the ministry laboring in the L’pool Conference as well as Sisters Spencer & daughter & Charlsen to dinner served up in my room, and all appeared to do justice to the excellence of the preparations. In the eveng attended a Festival held at the Chapel in Crown St., where there [were] over 200 of the Saints assembled. The entertainments were well played. A farce called “As like as two Peas” was very amusing. The Songs &c were also well sung.

26 December 1863 • Saturday

Saturday, 26, Busy in the Office.

27 December 1863 • Sunday

Sunday, 27th. Attended meetings held in the Saints Chapel, Crown St. In the evening I spoke and had much freedom during my remarks. A very good spirit prevailed throughout the day at all the meetings. Bro’s Jesse N Smith & T. Taylor spoke also.

28 December 1863 • Monday

Monday, 28th. Very busy in the office with the brethren who are preparing reports & statements for the coming Conference to be held at Birmingham.

29 December 1863 • Tuesday

Tuesday, 29th. Busy in the office & in writing letters.

30 December 1863 • Wednesday

Wednesday 30th Decr 1863. Busily engaged in Office. In afternoon started for Birmingham in company with Brother Jesse N. Smith, Graham & Reynolds. Had some unpleasant companions in the carriage, who were positively filthy. By appealing to the Station master at Crewe I succeeded in having them changed to another compartment. Was glad to meet a number of Elders at Brother Kays where we put up [and] spent a very agreeable evening.

31 December 1863 • Thursday

Thur[s]day Decr 31/63 Met with nearly 100 Elders in General Conference this morning at Hockley Chapel — a house owned by the Church[.] the names of those present were as follows:— (See minutes of Conference)2

{President of the European Missions:

____

George, Q. Cannon, of the Twelve Apostles.

____

President of the Scandinavian Mission:

____

Jesse, N. Smith.

President of the Swiss, Italian and German Mission:

____

John, L. Smith

____

Presidents of the Welsh Mission:

____

Thomas, E. Jeremy & George, G. Bywater.

____

Presidents of Districts.

____

London. ______________________________ Richard Bentley.

Birmingham. __________________________ John, M. Kay.

Southampton. _________________________ Warren, S. Snow.

Manchester. ___________________________ Thomas Taylor.

Scottish. ______________________________ Isaac Bullock.

Nottingham. ___________________________ John, D. Chase.

Sheffield. ______________________________ Joseph Bull.

Bristol. _______________________________ George Halliday.

Cheltenham. ___________________________ John, G. Holman.

Norwich. ______________________________ W. S. S. Willes.

Newcastle-on-Tyne. _____________________ M. F. Farnsworth.

________________________

Presidents of Conferences:

_____

Nottingham. ____________________________ P. P. Pratt.

Warwickshire. ___________________________ R. Pixton.

Edinburgh. ______________________________ J. C. Brown.

Reading. ________________________________ C. M. Gilbert.

Monmouthshire. _________________________ William Lewis.

Herefordshire. ____________________________ G W. Grant.

Essex. ___________________________________ George Sims.

Bedfordshire. _____________________________ Thomas, O. King.

Land’s End. ______________________________ William Willes.

Staffordshire. _____________________________ C. B. Taylor.

Derbyshire. _______________________________ William North.

Carmarthenshire. __________________________ D. S. Davies.

Pembrokeshire. ____________________________ George Gibbs.

Glasgow. _________________________________ William Gordon.

Kent. ____________________________________ William Saunders.

Cheltenham. _______________________________ Henson Walker.

Dundee. ___________________________________ Matthew McCune.

Cardiff. ___________________________________ George Stokes.

Worcestershire. _____________________________ George Taylor.

Norwich. __________________________________ Samuel Neslen.

Dorsetshire. ________________________________ Edmund F. Bird.

West Glamorgan. ____________________________ F. D. Hughes.

Leicestershire. _______________________________ Alexander Ross.

Lincolnshire. ________________________________ James Bullock.

Carnarvonshire. ______________________________ David, E. Jones.

Channel Islands. _____________________________ Charles Norman.

___________________________________

Traveling Elders

_________

Alfred Lee. ______________________________ Matthew Lyon.

Frederick, W. Cox. ________________________ David, P. Kimball.

William, H. Waylett. ______________________ James, A. Cunningham.

Heber, J. Richards. ________________________ Ensign, I. Stocking.

David Gibson. ____________________________ Charles, S. Kimball.

Benjamin, F. Stringham. ___________________ Joshua, H. Whitney.

Miles, P. Romney. _________________________Finley, C. Free.

Charles, W. Stayner. ______________________ Wilford Woodruff Junr

Elnathan Eldredge, Junr., ___________________ Stephen, W. Alley.

Joseph, H. Felt. ___________________________ Oscar, F. Lyons.

Jonas, N. Beck. ___________________________ Justin, C. Wixom.

John, L. Wolten. __________________________ George Webb.

Harry Luff. ______________________________ John Ryder.

Franklin Merrill. __________________________ John South.

Oswell Knight. ___________________________ John, V. Hood.

Junius, S. Fuller. ___________________________ Thomas, C. Patten.

Charles, A. Benson. ___________________________ Henry Arnott.

John Sharp Junr. ___________________________ Thomas, S. Priday.

Robert Watson. _______________________________ John Bird.

Evan, A. Richards. ___________________________ John Evans.

George Swan. _______________________________ Joseph Machin.

John Nicholson. _______________________________ John Day.

Joseph, L. Barfoot. _______________________________ Jens Hansen.

Henry, C. Fowler. _______________________________ P. C. Carstensen.

Septimus Sears. _______________________________ C. C. Sorensen.

James Lythgoe. _______________________________ Jens, C. Olsen.

_____________________________________

_______________ From the “Millennial Star” Office. ___________________

___________________William, H. Shearman. ___________________

___________________Joseph, G. Romney. ___________________

___________________John, C. Graham. ___________________

___________________George Reynolds. ___________________

___________________

The Council opened at half past 10. A.M. and after singing and prayer, I arose and said:—

I scarcely need say to you, brethren, who so well know how to appreciate such a meeting as the present, that I am exceedingly rejoiced to meet you under the favorable circumstances which surround us. I presume that all who are here present feel to enjoy the privilege afforded them, especially those who are so far from that place the prosperity of which is so closely associated with their own, and in which their hopes and everything that at present interests them are centred. I know that many assembled here this morning can better appreciate the associations of home than they ever did before. Absence from home has enabled me to appreciate more highly the society of my brethren and all those associations which I have hitherto enjoyed. Being deprived of them causes us to place a far higher value upon them than we otherwise would. I trust that all who are here this morning will have the Spirit of the Lord with them while together, and, if we supplicate our Father to let his blessings rest upon us, we shall have a time long to be remembered. For my own part, I have left my office business behind me, and have come here to concentrate all my thoughts and desires upon the business of the meeting before us, and I want to be filled with the gift and power of my office and calling, of every one of my brethren present to be the same. I hope no one will feel bound in their feelings and thoughts or experience any embarrassment. I would like all to feel free in their remarks, and not suppose that there are any here who will criticise their language or mode of address; and, while we are here, I trust we shall not allow ourselves to be like the world in their meetings and associations, carrying with us a stiffness and formality not consistent with our feelings and profession. If we have this freedom the Spirit will be with us. I want to hear all the brethren speak, and to see them feel as they should feel, if it takes a fortnight before they can do so.

I have great satisfaction in meeting with you; for I do feel that, speaking in general terms, the Elders from Zion have been trying to do the best they could in their labors in the ministry, and the same with the native Elders. The Elders have been successful in bringing many thousands of souls to a knowledge of the truth, as well as gathering them to Zion. I think we shall find, when the brethren make their statements before the Council, that the number of baptisms throughout the Mission for the past year is equal to, or, if anything, exceeds the number emigrated from these lands.

There have been a little over ten thousand Saints who have emigrated from Europe during the last three years. I trust, my brethren, that you will continue to exert yourselves in your labors, and that you will magnify your callings to the glory of our Eternal Father. The older I grow the more I am sensible of the necessity of increasing my exertions and of living according to the principles of salvation. When I see my brethren pursuing this course and practising every virtuous and holy example, my feelings warm towards them. I love them and desire to live and labor with such. Men of this kind are not so commonly found, I find, as I once thought they would be. I once thought that it was no uncommon thing for men to live in purity & remain faithful and devoted to the Truth, but, as my associations and intercourse with men extend, I grieve to find it far more unusual for purity and integrity to exist than I before imagined. This experience forcibly convinces me of the truth of the word of the Lord through the Prophet Joseph, “Strait is the gate and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it.” It may sound strange, yet it is true, that there are very few, comparatively speaking, who will attain to the fulness of their exaltation in the presence of our Father and our God. The price of such a glory is great, for the reward is great, and much is required at our hands before we can obtain it. We must lay everything upon the altar, subdue every evil desire, and the propensities common to our nature, before we can dwell in the exalted presence of God. When I see Elders disposed to sacrifice everything they possess, even to themselves, and place all upon the altar, my heart warms towards them and I love such men. My brethren, I know that there is nothing that I hold dear upon this earth that I should consider of greater importance to me than the progress of God’s Work.

Under our present circumstances we all can understand, perhaps, how to estimate the importance of God’s work more than we were able to do before, and the greater necessity there is for us to labor diligently in our present positions and callings. While we are laboring in this mission I trust we will do so contentedly and faithfully, and that the faith & desires we now have and the good resolves we may form, will live and abide with us, and be so indelibly impressed upon our minds that we will never cease to entertain them while we have existence on the earth. All the instructions we may hear, and every new resolution of our minds that we may make while we are here assembled, we will be, I hope, able to put into practice to the fullest extent, not alone while we are upon these missions, but throughout our lives. Let us from this period form determinations that we will discharge those responsibilities which rest upon us and labor for God while we live. Let us retain in our remembrance, when we return to Zion, the precious blessings we have received while we have been fulfilling our Missions, & the happy times we have had in consequence; and, instead of being a load upon the shoulders of brother Brigham, brother Heber, brother Daniel or the Twelve, let us assist them and labor with the same purpose in view. Our missions are not ended when we return home, but we are constantly — so long as we are connected with the Church of God and bear the Priesthood we at present are called to — missionaries engaged in the development of his purposes. Let every Elder be the same Elder when he returns to Zion that he is while laboring in these lands; and if there should be any change in him, let it be for the better, that he may be a man of God in the widest sense of the term, & be an example for them who surround to profitably imitate. To prosper and have the blessings of God we must live according to the precepts of our holy religion and the whisperings of the Spirit, whether at home or abroad. The contest between truth and error is all the time going on; and as every day rolls on that contest increases in its vindictiveness. Our weight and influence must be felt on the one side or the other; and happy and blessed are we if they are and always shall be felt on the side of God and truth. The efforts of our enemies will continually appear more mighty and formidable, and I do not expect there will ever be a time when we can listlessly fold our arms and still progress with the truth. Every one who desires to be saved must be on the watchtower and be prepared for the events that will transpire. There are times of difficulty, to all human appearance, look whichever way we will, at hand. The immediate enemies of the kingdom of God are no more idle than the rest of the wicked, and they are as determined as ever to overthrow it. I have not the shadow of a doubt but they are only waiting for a favorable opportunity to make the assault. There will be trials to all who have embraced the Gospel, and those whose faith is not strong will not be able to stand the difficulties which, as members of the Church of God, they will have to contend with. You may notice one thing, my brethren, and that is, that they who have been in the Church and have apostatized therefrom are the most wicked of our enemies. They are the bitterest in feelings towards the Saints and their efforts for the destruction of God’s work are the most deadly. The blood of Joseph and Hyrum was shed by such men, and the blood of those who have been martyred for the Gospel has been sought for by those who have, by their wicked and corrupt actions, been severed from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We may as well make up our minds to be faithful at once and prepare ourselves for the trials that we shall have to meet, for we may rest assured that everything that can be shaken will be shaken. To avoid being shaken we must seek for and obtain the Spirit of God, and gain favor with God through the practice of the principles of truth; and our prayers should be continually ascending to Him to aid us in attaining to glory with him in the eternal world.

I am convinced that to lust after women is a sin that has been very common, and has, like the commission of adultery, resulted in every instance in the loss of the Spirit. Woman has been promised to man, if faithful, as an eternal companion in his exaltation, that he might thereby attain unto the gift of eternal lives; but the man who seeks to possess her improperly, and exercises a debasing and corrupting influence over her, compasses his own damnation and destruction. If Elders allow their thoughts to wander after women, they will sooner or later, unless they speedily repent, find themselves covered with shame and condemnation, and the result will be that through their lusts they will be led to the terrible condition of apostacy. If the Elders can keep clear of this, and can look upon women with eyes of purity and virtue, I have no fear for them. I do not care what errors they may commit besides, if they are striving to correct them and cultivating purity, for they will overcome such things after a while. If we are pure in thought, our words will be the same, and the Spirit and power of God can & will abide with us; while the man who is not pure in his thoughts will eventually indulge in sin, & thus lose the blessings which our Father and God will bestow upon the pure and virtuous man. The Lord is trying us upon this, as upon every other point, that we may evince our integrity and maintain our character. I take pleasure in talking upon this subject, because I know that yielding to temptation of this kind is a fruitful source of evil, and there is great necessity to warn the Elders against it. I can prophesy that the man who indulges in this sin will be led to destruction. There have been hundreds, & I may say thousands, of cases in the history of this Church in which men of great promise have been overcome by this sin, and have succumbed under its baneful influence and been carried out of the Church. You will notice, my brethren, in your experience, that when a man indulges in this sin he loses the Spirit of the Lord, and then he begins to doubt the Gospel, until he reaches apostacy. Numerous names and instances might be cited, if necessary, in proof of what I here state. Brethren, be cautious and avoid this sin. Shun it as you would death—indeed far more, for it is a spiritual death far more terrible than the death of the body. Far better for you that you should die than indulge in this sin and its consequent apostacy. I have felt led to speak on this subject because I know that it is only by watchfulness that we will be able to maintain our integrity unto the end. My prayer is, that as long as we live we may be worthy of the association of the Saints of God. Why, to think of being eternally with Joseph and Hyrum and Willard and Jedediah and Parley, and the rest of the faithful who have gone, and with those who are now faithful on the earth, in the presence of the Father and Jesus, is the most delightful thought of my soul. May God grant us strength to maintain our standing in his Church upon the earth, that we may receive eternal rewards in the presence of our Father, is my prayer. Amen.

The first business this morning will be the reports of the Elders from various parts, of the condition of their fields of labor. I would like the brethren to feel free in making their statements. We have the New Year before us and plenty of time to speak our feelings. I will first call upon brother John, L. Smith.

Elder John L. Smith in representing the Swiss, Italian and German Mission said that he rejoiced to be in their midst, he knew that what Prest Cannon had said was true, and if acted upon would greatly benefit the hearers; with regard to his field of labor, he might say it was very large and the Saints much scattered, often finding it impossible to visit them as often as was necessary; in some instances 150 to 200 miles intervening between the Branches they had baptized 157 during the year and 51 had emigrated last season, and if political affairs remained unchanged and the Emigration continued open during the coming year it would most probably double that of last season.

He also stated that there were considerable difficulties to contend with from the officers of the government, many of the Elders having suffered imprisonment which only seemed to make them more willing to preach the Gospel. In Italy there are but few Saints, in some places a spirit of persecution prevails very much. The prospects in Germany are pretty good at present, thought he meetings have to be held very secretly.

Bro. P. A. Schettler and the other brethren laboring with him were striving diligently to build up the kingdom of God, and those who have been only a short time in the Mission can already preach in the German language.”

The Council was then adjourned until 2.30 P.M. when it again opened with singing and prayer, after which Elder Jesse N. Smith represented the Scandinavian mission, saying that he felt thankful to God for granting him the privilege of meeting in general Council. In the Scandinavian mission the people generally are kind and honest hearted. In the kingdom of Sweden there is room for a great work. The kingdom of Denmark is now in a state of war, and will, sooner or later, be convulsed and desolated by its ravages, as America now is. I regret to say that some of the brethren have been forced into the army to fight in defence of their country.

During the last two years we have emigrated 3.0,33 souls, and prospects for the coming spring are very promising. Those who are not in the Church are very prejudiced in respect to emigration. The last visit of President Cannon was attended with much good and will be long remembered by the Saints.

The brethren who came from the Valley to Scandinavia last Spring are making rapid progress in the language &c.

Elder Isaac Bullock in representing the Scottish District said that he had been laboring in Scotland since the 22nd of last July, travelling through the various Branches and found the Saints very warm hearted and happy to receive the visits of the servants of God. He felt thankful that he had been sent to this country for he felt that staying in Zion would not do so much for the deliverance of God’s people as putting forth the strength God had given for that purpose. He exhorted the young brethren to be diligent and humble, and prayed that himself with them might be so &c.

Elder Thomas Jeremy in representing the Welsh Mission said that he was happy to meet &c. There were nine Conferences in Wales, the population of the Principality was about one million. The Gospel had been preached there since 1842. During this year 151 Saints had emigrated from Wales, and 264 had been baptized. The total number of Saints at present in Wales is 1,828. The brethren laboring with him were doing the best they could &c”

I here remarked that I had read a statement a short time ago in the “Times,” to the effect that the “Mormon” emigration from South Wales was seriously depriving the mining community there of a great number of men, and complained that the “Mormon” Elders were busy endeavoring to take away many more. This showed that brother Jeremy and the Elders were doing a good work in Wales. I am convinced myself that it is so.

Elder R. Bentley in representing the London District said “that when he arrived in this country a little over three years ago, he received an appointment to preside over the Norwich Conference, where he labored until last March, when a second appointment directed him to labor in the London District. He had made some visits to the Kent Conference. Its affairs were prospering under the Presidency of Elder William Sanders. There were 22 Saints emigrated from that Conference last Season and 44 were baptized during the year. The Conference numbers 503 persons.

Elder George Sims presides over the Essex Conference, & is assisted by two traveling Elders. Last season 15 souls emigrated to Zion and 38 persons have been baptized. The Conference at present numbers 246 Saints.

In the London Conference the work is prospering meeting with but little opposition. There were 214 Saints emigrated last season and 229 been baptized. The Conference numbers at present 1,303 persons &c”

Elder Isaac Bullock said that he wished to add a few more words in relation to the Scottish District to show that the work was increasing there. In the Edinburgh Conference during this year 69 persons have been baptized; and 82 emigrated last season. At present there are 464 Saints in the Conference. In the Glasgow Conference 124 have been baptized during the year and 106 have emigrated. It numbers at present 700 Saints. The Dundee Conference numbers at present 153 Saints 21 having been baptized & 13 have emigrated.

Elder Warren S. Snow in representing the Southampton District said his field of labor comprised the Southampton, Reading & Dorsetshire Conferences. The District was prospering. The Southampton Conference was on the increase. Last emigration season 25 Saints left for Zion and 61 have been baptized during the year. It numbers at present 385 persons. The Reading Conference have baptized 20 during the past year and emigrated 32. The Dorsetshire Conference is but small, numbering only 95 Saints; 9 emigrated last season from there and 16 have been baptized during the year. As in Southampton these two Conferences are doing well; and he prayed that God would give them power to overcome all obstacles & that they might go forth as giants in the cause of Truth.

Elder George Halliday in reporting the Bristol District said it was probably different to any District in the Mission, it included the two branches in Ireland — Belfast and Dublin — which number 53 Saints. He had made a visit to Ireland and was pleased to hear the Saints speak so highly of those who have labored among them; alluding to Bro’ Bigler in affectionate terms. In the Land’s-End and Bristol Conferences, the Saints are doing well. We have eleven branches and 396 members in the Bristol Conference. Some of the Branches are very much scattered, the Saints in some of them living as much as fifteen miles apart. The best travelling Elder is the “Star,” and the Saints look forward to its arrival with eagerness.”

After Elder Halliday had concluded his report I arose and spoke as follows:—

I have been much edified by the remarks made by the Elders; and know if we treasure them up they will be food for us in days to come. We can go from this Council to our different fields of labor and we will find that the Spirit of the Lord will call to our minds the things that have been taught to us when we are in the discharge of our duties. I was pleased to hear the remarks of Brother Bentley. He said that the danger of the young brethren being overcome was not now when they feel their weakness, but after they came to rely more on their own individual ability and ceased to trust the arm of God. There is little fear of Elders falling so long as they call upon God and depend entirely on him. But when Elders become accustomed to speaking in public and they begin to imagine that it is their own ability that accomplishes the labor in which they are engaged, and they rely upon their own strength, they have commenced to transgress the laws of God and they are in danger of falling. If you will peruse the history of the Church you will find that the greatest speakers have in this manner fallen. You will find they have been unable to stand in the Church while they have indulged in these feelings. The man who is endowed with natural ability to speak in public must be exceedingly careful. The Devil is ever ready to whisper in his ear that he has talent. This reminds me of an instance which occurred in the experience of one of our leading Elders. He was on a mission to the Eastern States and was considered to be a very gifted speaker. He had been speaking on one occasion to a very attentive congregation, and, at the conclusion of the meeting, one of the brethren stepped up to him, apparently well satisfied with the remarks that he had made; and he said, “Brother, you have preached an excellent discourse.” “Brother,” replied he, “the Devil told me that before you did.” The rebuke was truthful and well timed, for the Devil is ever ready to tell an Elder when he has preached an “excellent discourse,” and that he is a very wonderful and effective speaker, without having the aid of his brethren and sisters to tell him such things. If you allow such insinuations to have weight with you, and allow men and women to tell you how able you are and what excellent speakers, &c., you are, the result will be, my brethren, that you will be overcome. When you preach under such circumstances your words will not give that degree of instruction and satisfaction that the broken remarks of a more humble brother will. If your words do not savor of the Spirit of God, they will not profit those to whom you speak. I speak to the young men, and what I say to them on these points will suit the old men as well. Seek for the Spirit of God, and when you rise to proclaim the words of life and salvation let them be accompanied by that Spirit. If you rise devoid of that Spirit it will be far better for you to sit down, although in doing so you may be mortified & your vanity wounded; but, brethren, sit down rather than attempt to address a congregation without this Spirit. Have it with you constantly that its influence may, in all your preaching, accompany the words you utter, that they may prove beneficial and saving. I know that the man who cultivates the Spirit of God is the most calculated to do good and to move forward this Work.

Brother Halliday spoke of the influence which prevails in Bristol against the Saints — the Spirit of mobocracy. This spirit prevails, he says towards others besides the Latter-day Saints. You know to what extent it has been indulged in towards us, and how, by its violence we have been driven repeatedly from our homes.

It was told the nation of the United States, which sanctioned the proceedings against a harmless people, that they should have mobocracy to their heart’s content, and that when it was once roused they could not put it away. They had imbibed this spirit and had encouraged it in order that we might be its victims, and what is now the result? Why, the whole nation of the United States are suffering the dreadful effects of mobocracy. The spirit once indulged in it could not be put away with the occasion for which it was used. There are contention, war and bloodshed throughout the whole land, and the origin of it all is the spirit of mobocracy which urged the people to persecute & destroy the Saints of God, and so the consequences fall upon their own heads. So it is in Bristol, to a certain extent, and it will increase among the people so long as the spirit to mob and persecute the Saints is indulged in by them. They will not be content with mobbing or persecuting us, but they will manifest it towards others and one another. When men begin to persecute one another, and entertain feelings of vindictiveness to one another, they will be led captive until their destruction is accomplished.

For a man to be saved in this Church he must have the Spirit of revelation constantly with him teaching him how to conduct himself and how to live for the blessings of heaven. The Spirit of God will teach him how to do that which is reasonable and consistent with salvation. When we have that Spirit we have the same Spirit that directed Moses in his leading of the children of Israel, and which filled all the prophets of God of whom we read. It is this Spirit which is with President Young. There has been a constant stream of revelation from the heavens through him since the death of the Prophet Joseph — revelation necessary to exalt the entire family of man. It is the same Spirit that will be with you when you honor your calling before God. There will be a constant stream of revelation with you, to give you sufficient wisdom and intelligence to counsel & lead the people. It is that Spirit which makes us one, &, to-day, gives us cause for great joy and happiness. It is the principle by which all the inhabitants of the earth will be redeemed. By this Spirit we are enabled to communicate great truths to one another. It is that which makes every heart beat with joy and makes every soul glory in God and the privileges that we have received. Do the children of men outside of this room, who are not in the Church, know anything about the joy which the Spirit of God creates in our bosoms? Is there an inhabitant of this land who has not embraced the Gospel who experiences the joy and the delightful feelings we have today? No, Go where you like you will find that there is not a tithe of the joy that the Spirit of God affords, which we possess here. Those joys and that happiness we experience to-day, my brethren, are but a foretaste of what we will experience if we remain faithful to our covenants.

One of the brethren, in speaking of his labors, said that he had accomplished but very little. Now, that is a point upon which I wish to make some remarks. Many of the Elders imagine that if they do not baptize a great many they are not accomplishing anything by their preaching. We are all too apt to look at the fruits which immediately follow our labors as the only evidences of success. An Elder who is successful in baptizing is viewed as an efficient and a greatly blessed man; while another Elder who may be equally zealous and laborious, but who may not have so favorable a field and consequently not be able to baptize more than a few, is not thought to be so energetic and wise in his labors. Now, while it must be admitted that every faithful, wise Elder will see the precious fruits which attend his labors, still such a man may not always have the pleasure of seeing those results immediately follow his efforts. When an Elder has been doing the best that he could, has been laboring among and teaching the people to the extent of his ability, and they will not listen to him, and he does not have the privilege of baptizing many, he should not feel discouraged or have the idea that his labors have not been attended with good results; for there never was a man who did a good action from the time of Adam down to the present time, but that good action and its effects have lived and they have contributed to the great work of human redemption. There is nothing, my brethren, that you have done or said, if directed aright, and in the discharge of your duties in the Priesthood, but has tended to the accomplishment of God’s purposes. Whether you speak, write, or do anything else for the building up of the Kingdom, all will result, at some time, in the accomplishment of that which you desire. The seed you have sown will grow and blossom. There is no Elder in this Church — no matter where he is, nor how small or limited his sphere of labor may be — but what all he does, if properly directed, will tend to consummate the purposes of God. How many of you have preached over and over again, and, comparatively speaking, have done but little in the way of bringing souls to a knowledge of the Truth? But the time will come, my brethren, when every word of truth, every testimony for the Truth you have uttered will be vividly remembered by those to whom you have spoken. You sow the seed, and, being eternal truth, it is imperishable, and as undying as the men, themselves, are. People may reject the offer of salvation you make to them and my disregard your warnings, but every word you have uttered will be distinctly remembered at some future day by them.

You will, perhaps, recollect reading in the book of Mormon respecting Alma — who was the son of Alma, and whose course in the beginning was a wicked one. We read that through the prayers of his father, an angel of the Lord on one occasion appeared and spoke to Alma while he was pursuing his career of wickedness, and he was so astonished that he became dumb — he could not open his mouth, the power of God having fallen upon him. He was carried by those who were with him to his father, and after he had assembled the Priests of the Church, he and they began to fast and pray to the Lord that he would open the mouth of Alma that he might regain his speech. After he had regained his speech and was freed from the inexpressible torment in which he was placed, he stated that, while he was racked with horror and tormented with the pains of hell, he remembered to have heard his father prophesy and speak unto the people “concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a son of God;” & when his mind caught hold upon that thought and he began to call upon him, his pain and horror left him. His mind, doubtless, ranged over every thought & action of his life, and everything that would be likely to afford him relief was sought after. This serves as an instance of the truth of what I say, that men and women may, when you preach or speak to them, disregard for the time being the words you use, but there will be a time when, through the circumstances in which they will be placed, they will recall to their minds the words of life & salvation they once heard. In the depths of sorrow, misery, and, it may be, despair in which they may be involved hereafter, their minds will range over everything they have ever heard, and the words and testimonies of the truths you have declared, and probably thought fruitlessly, because they fell unheeded, may be the means of bringing them forth to life, liberty and light. We poor mortals are entirely too narrow in our conceptions of the nature of the Gospel. You have never given utterance to an expression but what will have an influence upon your lives; and the testimonies you bear concerning Joseph and the Work of God will be recorded in heaven and live eternally — coeval with ourselves — and those who hear your words will, themselves, be judged by them. Who can tell, while in this mortal state, for instance, what the extent of brother George Halliday’s labors has been, and what amount of good he may have accomplished during the many years he has preached the Gospel? As every <good> thing we do tends to promote the cause of God, so everything that we perform, that is unworthy of our positions and callings will go in the opposite direction. If you could see yourselves, you will find that there is not one of you but what carry a spirit and influence with you — a spirit & influence, whether good or evil, which can be sensibly felt by all who come in contact with you, especially if they have the gift of discernment. Did you never feel, when you were in the presence of people who possessed a bad spirit, uncomfortable, and an unwillingness to associate with such? And have you not felt how much more in accordance with you feelings and your own influence was the society of those who possessed a good spirit? The spirits are just as palpable to the understanding as men’s words.

My brethren, what happy reflections fill our minds when we are trying to do good. If we are faithful we shall meet our Father and God, and enjoy his presence; but I fully understand that we must prove ourselves faithful and worthy sons, and fill our missions upon this earth honorably. I want to meet Jesus with the same faith and with as much confidence and satisfaction as I do brother Brigham and my brethren when I return home. The Lord said unto Enoch “Then shall you and all your city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other; and there shall be my abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years shall the earth rest.” This promise, my brethren, is ours. How delightful; & what a joyful time it will be to meet brother Joseph, brother Hyrum, and the rest of the brethren who have gone before! And what a glorious reflection, to meet our Father and God! Shall we say more? Are there not others to be met with who will fondly welcome us? Oh, what a delightful anticipation it is, to think of living upon the earth with the pure and righteous, when wickedness is swept away and Satan is bound! The salvation of the world will be accomplished when that rebellious son is subdued. Well, my brethren, I am laboring for this end. I am thankful for the privilege of laboring upon the earth, and being associated with such men as control the affairs of God’s Church and Kingdom in this age. I want to be associated with them all the time. I do not care what position I may occupy, so long as I am in the same atmosphere and breathe the same air. I know to what purpose their energies are directed, and I desire to labor to the same end. If we feel like this on the earth, how much more shall we feel to associate with pure and righteous beings when we get to heaven? There are three of the men who met here last Council — two years ago — who have since been cut off from the Church. What are their feelings to-day? They are miserable, and have descended to the lowest degradation. What is the pleasure of doing wrong? We are told that “the wages of sin is death,” and it is true. We cannot wilfully violate the laws of God with impunity. We know the consequences of transgression; and if we flagrantly commit sin, those consequences cannot be avoided. We must suffer the penalty. The man who commits sin can never, while indulging in sin, be happy. On the contrary he is, always, miserable and dejected. He has proved himself recreant to those sacred covenants which he entered into with God. There is no joy for him, and he ceases to experience that pleasure which he before enjoyed in the society of his brethren. He has been tempted and has yielded to temptation, and entered upon the service of a wicked, rebellious and delusive master. If we always felt as we do now, we would never do wrong. Let us endeavor to always feel so and do right continually and live the religion we profess. I pray God to lengthen out your days, and I feel to bless you and do so in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, and by the power of the Priesthood which I hold. Amen.

Elder William Willes sung his song, “The City I love so well.” The meeting was afterwards adjourned with prayer by Elder Willes.

Footnotes

  1. [1]The daybook labeled v. 5 begins here.

  2. [2]The minutes, not found in the daybook, cover the rest of 31 December 1863 through 2 January 1864.