Monday, March 23, 2009

Brigham Young on Marriage

“Brethren, what is it that you love the truth for? Is it because it gives you the power, the authority of the Priesthood? Is it because it makes you rulers, kings, and priests unto our God, and gives you great power? There are men professing to be Saints, even in this congregation, within the sound of my voice, who feel how almighty they have become. They will curse you, if you do not see proper to comply with their wishes. Many men have feelings in their hearts towards their wives, that if they will not do precisely as they wish to perform this or that, they will curse them. What wonderful things they are going to do! "If you do not obey my voice, my counsel, I will send you to hell, and turn the keys upon you, that you may never! no NEVER! be released." Sisters, you might as well heed the crackling of thorns under the pot, the passing idle bird, or the croaking of a crane, so far as their Priesthood is concerned. You are safe, if they will only keep their hands off from you; let them curse. It reminds me of a proverb which the Arabs have, that "cursings are like young chickens, they will still come home to roost."

Is it for this—is it because it gives you such great power and authority, that you love the Truth? That it gives you power to curse your neighbors, your neighbor's children, their cattle, and everything around you? Let all such go away to their own place, to California, by the northern route; not to San Bernardino, at brothers Lyman and Rich's location, for they have devils enough there already; but go into the world entirely away from the Saints, and the sooner the better.

Men should act upon the principle of righteousness, because it is right, and is a principle which they love to cherish and see practiced by all men. They should love mercy, because of its benevolence, charity, love, clemency, and of all of its lovely attributes, and be inspired thereby to deal justly, fairly, honorably, meting out to others their just deservings.

If selfishness prompts you to embrace the truth, if it is merely to exalt yourself and your friends that you covenant to serve your God, and that is your only motive, you had better pass on the northern route, for we can do you no good if you wait, or remain with us; not but that God has regard for all His children; but He loves those who love all the principles of righteousness, because they are righteous, and have a delight in the exercise of pure principles, of virtue, of excellence and truth, of meekness, long-suffering, and self denial, mercy, and charity.

I am aware that my language fails to convey my ideas to you as I could wish. But I will proceed a little further. A great promise was made to Abraham, which was—you shall have seed, and unto your increase there shall be no end. The same promise was made unto the Saviour; and unto every true and faithful man who serves God with all his heart, and whose delight is in keeping the law of the Lord, obeying the behests of Jehovah, and building up His kingdom upon the earth.

The Elders of Israel frequently call upon me—"Brother Brigham, a word in private, if you please." Bless me, this is no secret to me, I know what you want, it is to get a wife! "Yes, brother Brigham, if you are willing."

I tell you here, now, in the presence of the Almighty God; it is not the privilege of any Elder to have even ONE wife before he has honored his Priesthood, before he has magnified his calling. If you obtain one, it is by mere permission, to see what you will do, how you will act, whether you will conduct yourself in righteousness in that holy estate. TAKE CARE! Elders of Israel, be cautious! Or you will lose your wives and your children. If you abuse your wives, turn them out of doors, and treat them in a harsh and cruel manner, you will be left wifeless and childless; you will have no increase in eternity. You will have bartered this blessing, this privilege, away; you will have sold your birthright, as Esau did his blessing, and it can never come to you again, never, NO NEVER!

Look to it, ye Elders! You will awake from your dream, alas! But too soon, and then you will realize the truth of the remarks I am making to-day. Whose privilege is it to have women sealed to him? It is his who has stood the test, whose integrity is unswerving, who loves righteousness because it is right, and the truth because there is no error therein, and virtue because it is a principle that dwells in the bosom of Him who sits enthroned in the highest heavens; for it is a principle which existed with God in all eternities, and is a co-operator, a co-worker betwixt man and his Maker, to exalt man, and bring him into His presence, and make him like unto Himself! It is such a man's privilege to have wives and children, and neighbors, and friends, who wish to be sealed to him. Who else? No one. I tell you nobody else. Do YOU HEAR IT?

Many applications will unquestionably be made to me for wives, and, perhaps, by men too who will steal, or trespass upon me, their neighbors, kill their stock, do wickedly in various ways. Nothing would damn such men sooner than to give them this privilege. I answer the brethren; they have to go upon their own responsibility. I tell you the truth. If you are a first-rate good man, and honor your Priesthood, it is your privilege. The man who has proved himself before God, has been faithful, has gone through and performed everything the Lord has laid upon him to do, for the purpose of building up and sustaining His kingdom, has proved himself before men, angels, and his Father in heaven, he is the only character that will increase, and obtain a Celestial glory. Others may seem to prosper, to increase for a season, but by and by they are left in the shade, their glory is clipped, and their house is left unto them desolate.

Pray the Lord to inspire your hearts. Ask for wisdom and knowledge. It is our duty to seek after it. Let us seek, and we shall find; knock, and it will be opened unto us. But as for His coming down here to pour His Spirit upon you, while you are aiming after the vain and frivolous things of the world; indulging in all the vanity, nonsense, and foolery which surrounds you; drinking in all the filthy abomination which should be spurned from every community on the earth—so long as you continue this course, rest assured He will not come near you.

I will not enter into particulars. You already know enough about them. I ask that you would leave it off; refrain, purify, and sanctify yourselves before your God, and get so much of the Spirit of Truth that you may become filled with it, so that you can shout aloud with all your might to the praise of God, and feel your hearts clear as the noon-day sun. Then you can dance, and glorify God; and as you shall abide in the truth, God will raise you up, and add to your numbers, so that your train will fill the Holy Temple, as it was said of the Lord by one of old.”
(Brigham Young JD 1pg 118-120)

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