Friday, December 5, 2008

A word from Brigham Young

April 7, 1861

Journal of Discourses 9 pg 36

"I will now speak a little in regard to people's making themselves happy. We heard something upon that subject to-day and yesterday; and we frequently hear people preaching about heaven, paradise, and Zion; and if there is a comfort, a felicity, and good feeling, I want to say a few words about them; and I shall begin upon the doctrine so much beloved by Saint and sinner, and that is the plurality of women. The Saints like a plurality of wives, and the sinners like a plurality of men and women. I will say to the sisters that I have heard but very few women, and not a great many men, ever talk sensibly upon the plurality of wives. When they begin to talk about it, they exhibit, almost without an exception, passion instead of principle. Were we to appeal to passions of the people, we should promote the doctrine of a plurality of men and of women. But when we address ourselves to the Saints of the Most High God, it is very different and in a different light. It is for my sisters to be mothers of holy men and holy women-to receive and conceive in the name and by the power of the Holy Ghost-to bring forth their fruits to the praise and honour of the God of heaven. But what are the people doing here? "I want another wife," and almost universally passion is exhibited instead of principle.

"If the plurality of wives is to pander to the low passions of men and women, the sooner it is abolished the better. "How far would you go in abolishing it?" I would say, if the Lord should reveal that it is his will to go so far as to become a Shaking Quaker, Amen to it, and let the sexes have no connection. If so far as for a man to have but one wife, let it be so. The word and will of the Lord is what I want-the will and mind of God. He has revealed his mind and will. The time is coming when the Lord is going to raise up a holy nation. He will bring up a royal Priesthood upon the earth, and he has introduced a plurality of wives for that express purpose, and not to gratify lustful passion in the least. I would rather take my valise in my hand to-day, and never see a wife or a child again, and preach the Gospel until I go into the grave, than to live as I do, unless God commands it. I never entered into the order of plurality of wives to gratify passion. And were I now asked whether I desired and wanted another wife, my reply would be, It should be one by whom the Spirit will bring forth noble children. I am almost sixty years old; and if I now live for passion, I pray the Lord Almighty to take my life from the earth.

"I know the weaknesses of humanity, and I understand the passions of men and women. I am sorry for them. I wish they had grace according to their day, creating such fortitude in them that they would determine to suffer unto death rather than violate a holy command of the Almighty, or transgress the bounds God has set. "Is that the way you have lived?" It is. It is the example I have set before my family from the day the Lord opened my mind to see the Gospel. Ask these sisters (many of them have known me for years,) what my life has been in private and in public. It has been like the angel Gabriel's, if he had visited you; and I can live so still. But how are we to be made happy? There is one course-love the Giver more than the gift; love Him that has placed passion in me more than my passions. Let passion lie at the feet of judgment, and let every attribute that God has bestowed on me be devoted to the righteous cause he has commenced upon the earth. This, and this alone, produces happiness. He has brought us forth, and we live and see this day that Prophets, kings, and millions of great and good men have prayed to see, but died without the sight. When they looked at it in vision, it cast a halo, around which was like the dawning of heaven to their souls, and they shouted, "Hallelujah!" beholding the spirit and glory of these times that we now live in. And we yield to passion? I say, Shame on the individual that says passion has anything to do with his life. It is crucified. It lies, as it were, at the foot of the cross. That is my faith, and it has been my life.

"How will you be happy? Love the Giver more than the gift. Delight yourselves in your duties, mothers. Here are the middle-aged and the young. I am now almost daily sealing young girls to men of age and experience. Love your duties, sisters. Are you sealed to a good man? Yes, to a man of God. It is for you to bear fruit and bring forth, to the praise of God, the spirits that are born in yonder heavens and are to take tabernacles on the earth. You have the privilege of forming tabernacles for those spirits, instead of their being brought into this wicked world, that God may have a royal Priesthood, a royal people, on the earth. That is what plurality of wives is for, and not to gratify lustful desires. Sisters, do you wish to make yourselves happy? Then what is your duty? It is for you to bear children, in the name of the Lord, that are full of faith and the power of God,-to receive, conceive, bear, and bring forth in the name of Israel's God, that you may have the honour of being the mothers of great and good men-of kings, princes, and potentates that shall yet live on the earth and govern and control the nations. Do you look forward to that? or are you tormenting yourselves by thinking that your husbands do not love you? I would not care whether they loved a particle or not; but I would cry out, like one of old, in the joy of my heart, "I have got a man from the Lord!" "Hallelujah! I am a mother-I have born an image of God!" Let your prayers ascend to God, and that continually, that he will overshadow the child by the power of the Holy Ghost before and after its birth-that the Holy Ghost may attend it continually. The mother should inquire what her duty is. It is to teach her children holiness, prayer to God, and to trust in Him. Teach them the holy religion and the commandments that are calculated to sanctify the people and bring them into the presence of our Father and God. But no; too often it is passion. If my passion is served, I am in heaven. The fire will have to burn them up. We must live by principle; and if we do we shall attain to perfection-to being crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives. I would rather be purified here than to live ten thousand years to attain the same point in another existence. The man that enters into this order by the prompting of passion, and not with a view to honour God and carry out his purposes, the curse of God will rest upon him, and that which he seems to have will be taken from him and given to those that act according to principle. Remember it.

"The world cries out against this obnoxious doctrine, that I should have more wives than one. And what would they do? Destroy the virtue of every woman in this community if they had the power. What do they care about virtue? With comparatively few exceptions, no more than do the devils in hell. Most of the officers who have been sent here would have defiled every bed in this Territory, had they have had the power. Tell about this doctrine's being obnoxious to their delicate feelings! Yes, it is, in one sense. It keeps them at bay; it is hell to them; it is burning them up; and I say they may burn up, and they will.

"Elders of Israel, have you entered into the doctrine that has been revealed, through passion? If you have, you will find that that course will take that which you seem to have, and the Lord will say-"Let this man, that man, or the other man go, for he has acted on passion, and not on principle. Take that which he seems to have, and give it to him that has been faithful with the five, the two, the three, or the one talent." That is the way it will be, by-and-by.

"Sisters, do not ask whether you can make yourselves happy, but whether you can do your husband's will, if he is a good man. Teach your children; for you are their guardians, to act as father and mother to them until they are out of your care. The teachings and examples of our mothers have formed, to a great extent, our characters and directed our lives. This is their right, when they act by the power of the Priesthood, to direct the child until it is of a proper age, and then hand it over to the husband and father, and into the hands of God, with such faith and such love of virtue and truth, and with such love of God and its parents, that that child can never suppose that it is out of the hand and from under the control of the parent. Do not call it "mine." Let your maxim be, "This is not mine," whether you have one child or a dozen. "It is not mine, but the Lord has seen fit to let me bear the souls of the children of men. It is from my Father and God, and I will do my duty and hand it over to him," and have that faith that the child can never wring itself out of the hands of a good father and mother-can never stray away,-no, never. That is the privilege of mothers. It is you who guide the affections and feelings of the child. It is the mothers, after all, that rule the nations of the earth. They form, dictate, and direct the minds of statesmen, and the feelings, course, life, notions, and sentiments of the great and the small, of kings, rulers, governors, and of the people in general.

"Now, mothers, act upon principle, and see whether you can do anything to promote happiness in your families; see whether you can guide the minds of your children, teach them their letters, &c. I thought to speak upon the last-named point, but I will omit it. You can, at least, teach your children faith, and pay attention to knitting their stockings, making their clothing, &c.; see that the chickens are taken care of, that the milk is cleanly milked from the cow, and that the children are made comfortable. And if your husband is here or there, do not fret yourselves, whether he leaves you or not. If he is a good man, he can take of himself, and will safely return to you again. The mother that takes this course will be a happy mother-a happy woman. But where you find women jealous of each other, and "I am watching my husband," I would ask, Where are your children? They are nearly all the time in the mud, or in some mischief. And what are you doing, mother? You are "watching that man." "Who is he?" "He is my husband." I used to tell the sisters in Nauvoo that they did not care where their children were, if they could only keep in sight of their husbands.

"A traveller in the Eastern country overtook an old gentleman walking towards a town, and asked him, "Who is the great man of that little town? Who is your leading man? Who is the governor and controlling spirit of that little place?" The old gentleman replied, "I am the king of that little town." "Really," says the traveller, "are you the leading man?" "Yes, sir, I am king in that place, and reign as king." "How do you make this to appear? Are you in affluent circumstances?" "No, I am poor; but in that little village there are so many children. All those children go to my school; I rule the children, and they rule their parents, and that makes me king." I frequently think of this. Let the children rule the mother, and the mother the father, and that makes the children kings. How frequently you find this. How is it, my brethren? When you call your families together for prayers, where are your children? Were this question asked me, I should say, "I do not know." Mothers, where are your children? "We do not know; it is as much as we can do to be here." Why do you not have your children together? It is your duty to look after them; they should not be running at random in the streets. Some mothers will put a ten-dollar frock on a child and let it go straight into the mud, while they are watching the father and trying to keep him in bounds. Take care of your children, clothe them comfortably, and avoid all extravagance.


"Some mothers try to make father believe that a child five years old knows as much as the father. Another great cause of dissatisfaction is that so many women are such noble women, and know so much more than their husbands. They say, "This man is not capable of leading me." That is a positive proof to me that that man does not know his ability and calling. I will acknowledge that many women are smarter than their husbands. But when people are married, instead of trying to get rid of each other, reflect that you have made your choice, and strive to honour and keep it. Do not manifest that you have acted unwisely, and say that you have made a bad choice, nor let anybody know that you think you have. You made your choice; stick to it, and strive to comfort and assist each other."

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