Jason W. Briggs
The Voice of the Captives...
(Blanchardville, Wisconsin: 1854)

  • p. 01  Introduction
  • p. 02  Last Dispensation
  • p. 05  Captives Delivered
  • p. 07  Brighamism
  • p. 11  The Gathering

  •   Transcriber's comments

    1901-03 "Early History of Reorganization"  |  Briggs' "History of RLDS"  |  W. W. Blair "Memoirs"
    Palestine Stake of Zion  |  "Word of Consolation"  |  1851 J. W. Briggs poem  |  True Saints' Herald






        For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, and in the REMNANT whom the LORD shall call.   Joel ii:32.
        Go through, Go through the gates, prepare ye the way of the People; lift up a Standard for the People.   Isaiah lxii:10.
    Brethren and Sisters in the New and Everlasting Covenant:

    In our former Communication to you, entitled "A Word of Consolation," &c., we reminded you of the law of GOD in relation to the perpetuity of the authority which GOD has committed to men for the pruning [of] His vineyard for the last time, called the Holy Priesthood; and the legitimate exercise of the various offices in that Priesthood, showing, that each can act acceptably in his own place, but none out of it; also that the Presidency of this Priesthood vests -- of right and by law -- in the seed of him to whom it was first committed for the work of the dispensation. The same Law and precedents that prove the rights of lineage in regard to the first Presidency of the church, applies to the Patriarchal office with equal force. To confirm this, a single quotation shall suffice: See Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 103, par. 29. "That my servant Hiram may take the office of Priesthood and Patriarch, which was appointed unto him by his father, by blessing and also by right." Why did not a brother of the former patriarch succeed him? Because the blessing and the right forbade it, (right continues to be right,) and confirmed it upon a Son, not a brother. I hate robbery,

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    saith the LORD. And further, that the present situation of the Saints is a powerful, though melancholy testimony that GOD, the LORD, has spoken, and will be heard and obeyed by those who call themselves by the name of Jacob, and have surnamed themselves Israel, by obedience to the new and everlasting Covenant, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, (D. & C., Section 74, par. 1,) the power of GOD unto salvation, unto both Jew and Gentile, "for there is no difference."

    When, at the opening of this last dispensation, and the setting up of this "last kingdom," and the building up of thid "true and living Church," the saints, like the Galatians of old, ready to pluck out their eyes, if required, for the work, ready to go to prison, and to death; and what is harder still, ready to forego self-indulgence daily to exemplify the Gospel which they taught; then were the promises realised which are made in the Gospel. The Heavens were propitious, the Holy Ghost illumed the earthly sanctuary, bringing it into unison with the Heavenly. Truly, this was the time that "mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace kissed each other." Here were the blessings that should come upon and overtake the obedient to this Covenant. But there were tares, as well as wheat, at the springing up of the tender blade, (D. & C., section 6, par. 2,) there was preparing, in secret chambers, schemes for the destruction of this plant of GOD's right hand planting, while it was yet tender. Let us observe this process of satanic cunning, for the tares were sown in the same soil, and about the same time with the Good Seed. See Section 30, par. 3. To the one appointed to go forth and deliver the word (or good seed,) to this generation, the LORD says, "How oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of GOD, and have gone on in the persuasions of men, (by man's wisdom.) Then he is enjoined to obey GOD and trust to the wisdom of man no longer. Next the man whom GOD. had selected to bear the pecuniary burden of bringing to light the Book of Mormon, was the medium of this same cunning of Satan, "to set at naught the counsels of GOD and depend upon his own judgment," (Section 30, par. 5;) whereby a part of the translation of that book, (116 pages of the Book of Lehi,) was delivered up to the Devil. That circumstance may be called an accident, but we learn from Section 36, par's 2, 3, that it was the settled scheme of the Prince of darkness, and those connected with him were his "servants," and they "uphold his work;" and in part 6 the purpose of this scheme is given. "Thus Satan thinketh to overpower your testimony in this generation, that the work may not come forth in this generation." -- But the wisdom of GOD should prevail over this cunning of Satan, and the work should come forth, and men be ordained to go forth and deliver the words thereof "unto the children of men;" which

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    should constitute "the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness." (Section 32, par's 2 and 3.) Hence all these attempts to prevent the Book of Mormon coming forth, and the establishment of the Church, by amalgamating the wisdom, judgment, and persuasions of men with the cunning of the Devil, was a signal failure. But an arrow more poisonous still was in reserve, for it was labeled with a "saith the LORD." This fiery dart was a proclamation to the Church soon after its removal to the first stake of Zion, that "the Kingdom was rent from them," and they might go -- go fishing with desponding Peter, for all was gone. But He who held the "keys of mysteries" soon solved this one, and pronounced it a wile of Satan. For GOD had said it should roll forth as the stone till it filled the whole Earth," (Section 24.) This last kingdom, (Section 7, par. 19.) "This my Father's kingdom," (Section 50, par. 1.) "Which kingdom is coming forth for the last time." (Section 84, par. 1.) "The only true and living church," (Sec. 1, par. 5.) What, this kingdom, founded on the eternal purpose of Him who has all power, -- for the LAST TIME -- THIS overthrown? This "living church," ordained to "stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world," (Sec. 74, par. 3,) this cease to live? Then has the cunning of Satan triumphed over the wisdom of GOD; for on this was the issue joined in the beginning. This announcement is the shout of victory by a retreating army. But we are assured that the "work and designs, and purposes of GOD cannot be frustrated." (Sec. 30, par. 1.) Hence the Gospel, and the kingdom, committed for the last time, will roll on until it fills the whole earth, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel. And we are told that "all kingdoms have a law," (Sec. 7, par. 9.) A kingdom of man has the laws of man. But the kingdom of GOD has the laws of GOD. Where are those laws? (See Sec. 13, par. 1.) "Hearken, ye Elders of my church -- hearken and hear, and obey the law which I shall give unto you," (par. 18,) "ye shall observe the laws which ye have received and be faithfuk." Again, "Behold the laws which ye have received from my hand, are the laws of the church," "for, verily I say unto you, my law shall be kept on this land," (Zion:) Sec. 18, par's 4 and 5. That there may be no doubt where these laws may be found, see Sec. 1, par. 2: "Behold THIS IS MINE AUTHORITY, and the AUTHORITY OF MY SERVANTS, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the Earth. Wherefore fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I the LORD have decreed in them shall be fulfilled." Then gathered together the people, the Prophet and his Counselors, the Apostles, High Priests and Elders, Bishops, and all the Congregation, and covenanted before the LORD, to receive these laws and commandments,

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    as the "doctrine and covenants of their faith," and "avouched the LORD to be their GOD, and to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, commandments, and judgments, and to hearken unto his voice." (My voice is spirit.) Sec. 7, par. 17. Here, then, is the faith, covenants, and authority of the saints, in a nut shell. And that the virtue of obedience may fully appear, we are told, "that which is governed by law, is also preserved by law, (Sec. 7, par 8.) Have we been preserved by the law of GOD, or the law of man? Let the vacant courts of one temple and the ruined walls of another, answer. Listen to the widow's wail and the orphan's moan, made so in the trackless plains of the west, in disordered flight from the place where their GOD had said, if they would be governed by law they should not be moved. Here, fellow captives, from this stand-point, contemplate with us the opening of this dispensation, with its angelic ministrations, heavenly visions, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit -- the mind of the law-giver, whereby we are enabled to say, the law id holy, just and good -- giving us "line upon line, here a little, and there a little," that we might "grow in favor (with GOD) and in the KNOWLEDGE of the truth." which TRUTH should make us free. Review with us the immediate results of this darling truth, -- the peculiar divinity of the last message prior to the supper, -- speaking WITH AUTHORITY to all the seed, saying "Come out of her my people." Then was there a great forsaking in the midst of her; and up rose an host, even the church of GOD "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." Truly, we begin to drink in the spirit of that heaven-born event, to stand erect, and note with joy the rapid growth of this MUSTARD SEED. When, lo! the spirit of our vision is changed; the mustard stalk (Zion,) is smitten, and the "great branches" (stakes,) are withered; and they that were wont to lodge under the shadow of them, are scattered abroad seeking a resting place. Surely we have demonstrated that GOD is, and that he is a rewarder. We have proven Him by obedience, in blessing; and we have proven him by obedience, in cursing. Well may we put our hand upon our lips and say: -- O LORD we have sinned -- to us belongeth confusion of face, -- to our fathers, and princes -- and all the congregation, for we have sinned by departing from thy law; we have grown heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than GOD. We have grown wiser than our teacher. We have said the law of GOD sufficed for our infancy, but with our age, we have outgrown it, like all our infantile garments. This have we done, O LORD, in the midst of thine house; and have not been ashamed; neither could we blush. Other lords beside thee have ruled over us; and we have called flesh and blood the LORD our righteousness. We have called the doctrines of Baalam thy celestial law; yea, we

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    have called evil good, and good evil, and woe has come upon us; for we have been the victims of blind guides, whom thou hast cursed. Yet the voice of the LORD is unto us, return to the law which we have forsaken, with the assurance that He will receive us. Moreover, brethren, we certify you that the dayspring from on high hath visited us; and good is come; and whosoever hath ears to hear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the dispersed; for verily, on the eighteenth day of November, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one, the voice of the LORD came unto one of the Captives in the fields of the woods, saying: "Behold, I (the LORD,) have not cast off my people; neither have I changed in regard to Zion. Yea, verily, my people shall be redeemed, and my law shall be kept, which I revealed unto my servant, Joseph Smith, jun., for I am GOD and not man; and who is he that shall turn me from my purpose, or destroy whom I would preserve?" Again, "and in mine own due time will I call upon the seed of Joseph Smith, and will bring one forth, and he shall be mighty and strong, and he shall preside over the High Priesthood of my Church. And then shall the quorums assemble, and the pure in heart shall gather, and Zion shall be re-inhabited, as I said unto my servant Joseph; after many days shall all these things be accomplished." Thence forward have we been laboring early and late, in season and out of season, to make known to the scattered saints that the time had come to arise and gird on their armor, and prepare for the restitution. And with those whose heart the LORD had touched, we assembled in conference -- we chastened the flesh by fasting, and sought unto GOD by prayer, like Ezra of old, "for a right way for us and our children," (Ezra 8, 21.) Then was the Holy Spirit poured out, and the inspiration of the Almighty sealed instruction upon the hearts of many, who now utter their VOICE unto you, in testimony of what the LORD has done for us, and promised to all the scattered seed. But we are reminded -- by the prudent -- that the LORD will not speak except to the legal head, -- prophet, seer, revelator, &c. We beg to remind such, that in the days of captivity, many prophets have arisen. Ezekiel says, "as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, the Heavens were opened, and I saw visions of GOD" (Ezek. 1, 1) concerning deliverance. Daniel, also among the captives at Shusan, saw visions of GOD, concerning deliverance. Haggai, among the same captives, received the word of the LORD concerning deliverance. Zechariah, among the same captives, in the same year, received the word of the LORD concerning the same deliverance. Where were the prudent men of those days, that these captives were not all gagged, to preserve order? Or, was their understanding hid as Isaiah said should be the case with them, in the day the sealed book shall be read. But, says another, tremblingly, will not this bring confusion?

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    When Peter, Paul, James, John, Jude, the prophets at Antioch, Stephen, Agabus, Silas, and the four daughters of Philip, all received the word of the LORD and prophesied at the same time, was there confusion? Then when the words of Joel are fulfilled, and the spirit of revelation is poured out upon all flesh, and the WOULD TO GOD. of Moses accomplished, confusion will be excessive. Well did Jesus say, put new wine into new bottles, lest if put into old ones, they burst, and both bottles and wine be lost together. In contradistinction to this narrow view of the subject -- of communion with GOD -- we are told that, "I the LORD, am willing to make these things known to all flesh; for I am no respecter of persons," (Sec. 1, par. 6.) Again, "and behold, and lo, this is an ensample unto all those who were ordained unto this priesthood, whose mission is appointed unto them to go forth; that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture; shall be the will of the LORD; shall be the mind of the LORD; shall be the word of the LORD; shall be the voice of the LORD, and the power of GOD unto salvation. (Sec. 22, par. 1.) It is evident that from the beginning, there has been, and still is, a disposition in man, -- in saints -- to improve the wisdom from above, by adding to it the wisdom and great experience of man, obtained by the light of nature, or philosophy. This is the light of the physical world; it reveals the hidden wonders of the animal and vegetable kingdoms; it explores the vast space described by the light of the sun, at least with tolerable accuracy. In short, it proves a priori, or a posteriori, that GOD is, but utterly fails to prove that He is a rewarder of them that seek him, which the Gospel alone does, being the light of spiritual things. And as the spiritual is more excellent than the physical, so its light is superior, being from above, while the other is from beneath -- of this world, -- by which wisdom, even the princes (or philosophers) of this world never knew GOD. (1 Cor. 1, 21; 2, 6.) By this wisdom, man's attempts to improve the church of GOD, or explain the gospel, have proven the enemy of both. He that lights a candle to assist the Sun, or volunteers his genius to aid the Holy Spirit, is entitled to the merit of supererogation.

    Thus, for want of faith in the promises of GOD, and resort to the wisdom of man, and the contrivances of man, Zion languishes, and her children are scattered abroad. And where is the beacon light to re-establish hope? to the law and to the testimony. "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him," (Isaiah 59, 19;) this spirit of the Lord is the voice of the LORD -- as St. Paul says, "Christ Jesus in you," the hope of deliverance. Let us, then, fellow-captives, turn to the first principles of the Gospel, -- faith, repentance, baptism for remission of sins, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Spirit,

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    which Spirit "shall lead you into all truth." But we have not been led into all truth, but many errors; and wherefore? Because we have distrusted the voice of the LORD by his Spirit, and have leaned upon the arm of flesh, and when good came (through the Spirit) we saw it not. Thus light itself, to us, became darkness. Well did the Prophet Joseph declare, by the word of the LORD, saying, "Hearken, oh ye people of my church" -- "My voice is Spirit, even the Holy Ghost. And if it be in you it shall abound." "And that which the Spirit testifies unto you, even so I would that ye should do it, in holiness of heart." To preach my Gospel by the Spirit, even the comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth, (see Doc. and Cov. Sec. 2, par's 5 and 6, Sec. 24, par. 4, Sec. 16, par. 3, Sec 17, par. 4.) And in Sec. 15, par. 10, it is declared to be our guide. "For they that are wise, and have received the truth, have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived. Verily, I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down, but shall abide the day, and the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance." And lest we be deceived by false spirits, we are informed how the Holy Spirit shall act, or manifest itself, (1 Cor. 12.) But not to one only -- to profit withal. That is, every manifestation of it is profitable. Now read the manner of this manifestation: to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another knowledge; to another faith; to another the gift of healing; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these (gifts) worketh (is the work of) that self-same Spirit, which we are commanded to take for our guide. "And except ye have the Spirit ye shall not teach." Here then, is the well of living water, which Jesus Christ said he would give them who came unto him, and this constitutes them also, that "true and living church."

    Now this same spirit, in former times, spake expressly that in the "latter times" there would be a grevous departing from the faith, through the influence of seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. Being traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than GOD, creeping into houses to lead captive the silly, (1 Tim. 4, 5, 2 Tim. 3, 5, 6,) and comparing them to James and Jambres, and their having a form of godliness, (that is the ordinance through which the power of godliness is manifested, Sec. 4, par. 3,) proves that they are the apostates from the latter-day work, turning the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ into lasciviousness. These are they of whom Lehi spake by vision, (Book of Mormon, page 21,) that after commencing in the path, by the rod of iron, when the mist of darkness arose at the taking away the two principal shepherds in one day, did "lose their way that they wandered off (out of the

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    boundaries of Zion,) and were lost." But, "behold he saw other multitudes pressing forward, and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron, and they did press their way forward, continually holding on to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree." Now mark; the first multitude fell away because of the "darkness," and the others because of "shame" induced by those who had first fallen away, and who had by this time erected a great and spacious building, or system, unlike anything on earth or in Heaven; hence it stood "as it were in the air," and their attitude was that of mocking those who enjoyed the fruit of obedience. But those who heeded them not, but clung to the rod of iron, began anew, or took hold of the end of the rod of iron. The rod of iron is the word of GOD; and to take hold of the end of the rod of iron signifies beginning at the foundation, (as established April 6, 1850.) and while this is doing, other multitudes are feeling their way toward the spacious building on the other side of the river, wandering in strange roads, not heeding the standard which the Spirit of the LORD should raise up. Again, Ezekiel saw the work of deliverance under the figure of "a wheel in the middle of a wheel." We are told that the works of GOD do not vary, but his course is one eternal round, Sec. 30, par. 1; thus the work of any "hour," or dispensation, is fitly represented by a wheel, and a renewal of that work by a wheel within a wheel. And as the spirit of the living creatures, "holy watchers" or overseers, are in the wheels, it must also be in the hearts of those who would help roll them forward. GOD forbid that we should become in anywise the accusor of our brethren; nevertheless let truth be established. And for this purpose we must allude to organization of Church and Priesthood, gathering, &c., to correct if possible some errors on those subjects. The greatest truths are the most self-evident, and address the common understanding of mankind requiring no metaphysical research to apply the lessons. Now it is self-evident, that no order or department of any institution or government can supersede that institution or government, or exist apart from them. Then we ask, how can the organization of Priesthood supersede the church, or exist without it? The Church was organized and recognized as the last kingdom of GOD on the earth by revelation. After which, some two years, the Priesthood, -- or those holding the Priesthood, -- began to be organized by the consent and authority of the church, constituting the quorums. The church existed, and can exist without any of them. Neither the quorums nor any organization of the Priesthood can exist without the church, any more than the officers of a government might remain after the government is destroyed. Again, a very strong inducement to become heady, is found in the idea that the organized Priesthood constitutes lords instead of servants. But the word is, that the church

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    stands independent above every creature beneath the celestial kingdom. See Sec. 75, par. 3. And again, "the above offices (all the quorums,) I have given unto you, (the church,) and the keys thereof for helps, and for governments, for the work of the ministry, and for the perfecting of my saints." Rev., 1841, par. 46. Here the organization of the Priesthood is called a help for the church; and they exist only as the church "approve" of their being. Having thus shown that the church, as such, stands above all or any organization on earth beside, and that the organization of Priesthood is by her authority, and constitutes her help-meet to extend her dominion, and govern and perfect her members; we now inquire the name or names of this authority. See Sec. 3. par. 1. "There are in the church, two Priesthoods, the Melchisedec and the Aaronic." (Both were possessed by the church before a quorum was ever heard of.) The Melchisedec Priesthood, existed before Melchisedec, and was called "The Holy Priesthood after the order of the son of GOD," -- all other authorities or offices in the church, are appendages to this Priesthood, (par. 2,) -- and has power and authority over all the offices in the church, in all ages of the world. Par. 3. This Priesthood constitutes the authority and anointing of Jesus Christ. Heb. 5, 6. "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec." Psa. 45, 7. "Therefore GOD, thy GOD, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." And as the "great high priest" over this priesthood, he presides, and governs all whom the father hath given him. Hence he is called Lord, King and Ruler, as well as priest and prophet. 1. Pet. 2, 9. By it Melchisedec was priest and king. Heb. 7, 1. King of righteousness, (or righteous king,) and King of peace, (or the peace king.) A model king, truly. By its authority, Adam, three years before his death, convened seven generations of high priests, with the church, in the valley of Adam-ondi-ah-man, and blessed them; and by the Holy Ghost predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation; See Sec. 3, par. 28, 29, and was there confirmed "a prince forever," and received the keys of salvation under the counsel of the Holy One. Sec. 76, par. 3. And these keys he came, -- together with Gabriel, Raphael, and divers angels from him down to the present time, -- to reveal in the opening of this dispensation. See Sec. 106, par. 20, 21. Its authority is to bind on earth and in heaven. We have shown before that a law was given of GOD, and we have pointed you to that law. And the Elders are enjoined to see that it is kept, (until he comes) and whosoever doeth not according to it is not his disciple. And it is to be answered upon our souls in "the day of judgment." Hence the priesthood to administer it remains until that time; for if the Priesthood is changed there is made of necessity a change also of the law,

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    Heb. 7, 12, and this being the law of the gospel, or the royal law, to introduce another, would virtually be another gospel, which, though taught by an angel from Heaven, St. Paul says let him be accursed. The duty of this Priesthood -- or the two Priesthoods -- is to preach the Gospel and administer its ordinances, through which alone the power of godliness is manifested unto salvation. Thus while the Priesthood remains, and is permitted to act, its duties are clearly defined.

    But it is assumed by some, that the Gentiles have rejected the Gospel, and by murdering the prophet, have sealed themselves up unto the day of wrath, and the Gospel is taken from them. If it is meant by this, all the nations of the Gentiles, we answer, many of them have not been offered it, that it might be taken from them. If it is meant that this nation only have filled up the cup of their sins, we reply, that inasmuch as the Gospel and kingdom was offered them in a legal manner, and by competent authority, it requires the like legality and authority to take it from them. Observe the manner of carrying the Gospel to the nations. See Sec. 43, par. 5, Sec. 104, par. 1, Sec. 103, par. 40, Sec. 1, par.4, Sec. 3, par. 43. Herein we are shown that men were called by revelation, and ordained and sent forth by commandment, to open the door of the kingdom, by the proclamation of the Gospel, -- first unto the Gentiles, and then unto the Jews. And this preaching was to be done with all diligence, patience, humility, forbearance, and with much argument and persuasion, as they were taught from on high. But, if after all this, they shall sin against the gospel, through pride, lyings, deceits, mischief, hypocrisy, murders, priestcrafts, whoredoms, and secret abominations, and shall reject the fullness of the Gospel; behold -- saith the Father -- I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them. Book of Mormon, Nephi, ch. 7, "and then will I remember my covenant, which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them." And it is brought to a people by its proclamation. It is taken from them in like manner. See Sec. 7, par. 20, 22, 23. Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry, to go forth among the Gentiles, for the last time, as many as the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony. And after this last testimony comes the testimony of wrath and indignation -- "the testimony of earthquakes," "the voice of thunderings, the voice of lightnings, the voice of tempests, the voice of the waves of the sea." This last testimony of the servants of GOD, is the last proclamation of the gospel by the spirit of prophesy, to close the door of the Kingdom to those that heed it not. It is preaching the Gospel, but not as aforetime, but to such, a savor of death unto death; and the elements wail forth their terrible affirmation of wo, that follows. When has such a last mission been taken to the nations by those who are clean of the blood of this

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    generation; and by the commandment of GOD? Whom has the voice of the LORD named to do this? Is it those who through disobedience have forfeited preservation "by law," and have been "moved out of their places?" Or is it those who like the natural olive branches in the nethermost part of the vineyard, who through loftiness "Overcome the root, pillar and ground of the truth, which is the church, taking strength to themselves?" or having issued from the common fountain, have rose above it? To such we would remark, "thou bearest not the root, but the root thee." Again, the evidences of the Gospel are the confirming the word by signs following, as the Spirit will. And when the Spirit approves, who will condemn? The Gospel is declared to be the everlasting covenant sent into the world, which covenant is a standard set up for the GATHERING of the people, which is the characteristic of the dispensation of the fullness of times. (Sec. 65, par. 2, Sec. 100, par. 6.) Hence until the completion of the work, the Gospel is preached -- is the everlasting covenant raised for a standard, around which gather the pure in heart from the bundles of tares, that they may become a separate, distinct, and peculiar people. This brings us to the consideration of the doctrine of the Gathering.

    The subject of the gathering is one that embodies the whole truth designed to make us free; or in other words to bring salvation, spiritual, temporal, (or social.) and eternal. We begin anew to proclaim the gathering, and withal, set forth its purpose, and the means by which it shall be sanctified to the world. The conqueror and the monopolists of mechanical power understood it well. But in this exhibition of wisdom, there is but little of goodness; for the benefits of all such mighty efforts of power and genius, are enjoyed by the few at the expense of the toiling swarms, who prepare the feast, but taste it not. This is Gentile wisdom, and its manifestation is what Christ called lording it over them. Now if the wisdom of the Gentiles, (or serpent,) can be joined to the goodness of the "dove" in gathering together, and combining the resources of all, for the mutual benefit of all; such a people would realise the announcement of the Angels, peace on earth and good will among men, and be a standing rebuke to the nations that have in all their institutions forgotten GOD. What mighty gatherings the Gentiles have! five hundred thousand, and even a million reside in a single city. But upon scrutiny, what do we see? We see the system and details of avarice. The lofty hypocrite, and the downtrodden, the glutton, and the starving, the spendthrift, and the beggar. In short, we see the system of oppression, its overseers, and its victims. If we ask who presides over such a work, the answer is, "the Prince of this world, who reigns in the hearts of the children of disobedience." This order of things is the sordid counterfeit of the truthful one -- the gall and vinegar for crucified humanity,

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    The opposite of all this, is the hope of the saints, and the purpose of Heaven. The doctrine of unity must be manifested in the flesh of those who call themselves Israel. The latter day work is this manifestation; first spiritual, then temporal; or, first in theory, then in practice. We have long since imbibed the theory; every allusion to the Church, in the sacred Books, is descriptive of such a unity. There is one body, but many members. Are not all the members of the natural body dependent upon the one cause for existence, and upon each other, for the blessings of that existence? Does not the same vital current traverse all? The head cannot say to the feet, I have no need of thee. If the church is compared to a tree, how favorable the lesson of oneness. The same root bears all, the same texture covers all, the same fruit characterizes all its branches. Is the church compared to a flock? How spontaneous flow the ideas of unity. One shepherd, one pasture, one field for all. Is it called a building? See how every timber embraces its fellow for a common purpose. Is the church called a family? Where, then, can there be rival interests? the parent's word is the rule for all, the pleasure or pain of one is shared by all; all surround the one table, and partake of the same bounties. Well did Jesus say, by this (unity) the world shall know that the Father had sent him, for thus standing out in high relief, the world would "take knowledge" that they had learned of Jesus, and be constrained to say, these -- the inhabitants of Zion -- are terrible, because they are one; their lesson salutary, for their faith and works agree. The voice of Him who spake as never man spake, is "except ye are one, ye are none of mine." Equal in earthly things for the obtaining of heavenly things. Sec. 75, par. 1.

    The decree concerning Gathering, and its object, is plainly set forth. See Sec. 10, par, 2, "And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice, and harden not their hearts." Wherefore the DECREE hath gone forth from the Father, -- the gathering is the work of the Father, -- that "they shall be gathered in, unto one place, upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts, and be prepared in all things against the day of tribulation, and desolations are sent forth upon the wicked." This one place is called Zion, (after the pure in heart, who are also called Zion,) also a holy place, or new Jerusalem, Sec. 15, par. 12, the pattern of which the revelator describes by measurement; fifteen hundred miles square. "Now see you do all things according to the pattern," applies to building of this Zion, answering to that above, for the new song says, "the LORD hath brought down Zion from above."

    The LORD has brought up Zion from beneath, &c., Sec. 4, par. 17. And notwithstanding the slothfulness of the servants in building the tower to protect the place of the beginning of the gathering

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    and foundation of Zion, Sec. 18, par. 3, Sec. 27, par. 1, it shall not be moved out of her place; though her children are scattered through disobedience. For, saith GOD, "my law shall be kept on this land." Sec. 18, par. 4. Now what is the law of Zion, which must be kept therein, or its inhabitants be spued out? Hear it all ye scattered saints! Sec. 102, par. 2. "Zion cannot be built up unless it is by principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself." This law of the celestial kingdom, it seems, Enoch was the first to obey. Hence he walked with GOD; and the law of the celestial kingdom was thenceforth called the law, (or order,) of Enoch, as the Holy priesthood was subsequently called after Melchisedec. Again, See Sec. 102, par. 10, "And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law, be executed and fulfilled after her redemption." Thus the work of preparation is, firstly, to learn the law whereby Zion might be acceptably built up. And, secondly, to begin to act upon the principles of that law. Enoch, Melchisedec, and Jesus Christ, have accomplished the order of Zion, the mystery of unity. Hence, the prayer, "that they may be one, even as we are one." This brings us to the means of this unity. How are the Father and Son one? In that the Holy Ghost is the mind of both. Doc. and Cov. page 57. It proceeds from the Father, and is the spirit of His Son, in like manner. John 15, 26, and Gal. 4, 6. But how are the saints to become one? Not by secret covenants, oaths, pains or penalties, but by receiving this same spirit, by which the saints become one; "as thou father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us," John 17, 20, 21. Now we can appreciate why it is forbidden to teach without the spirit. Without it no man can preach the gospel. How can he preach except he be sent? and how can he be sent without the qualification to do his work? for this reason, says Jesus, tarry at Jerusalem until ye be endowed from on high, which was accomplished when the Holy Spirit was poured out and they spake with other tongues, prophesied and preached the gospel. Now mark the effect of preaching the gospel by the spirit. Acts 4, 32. "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart, and of ONE SOUL." Then how natural, that no man called aught his own; but all the Lord's, and themselves stewards. Herein is the essence of the celestial law. It is embodied in the first two commandments of the decalogue. Thou shalt love the LORD thy GOD with all thy heart, mind, might and strength and thy neighbor as thyself. On these two, hang all the law, and the (testimony of the) prophets. And to you, oh scattered Israel, we bear our testimony in this behalf: the law of Enoch, the priesthood of Melchisedec, and the name of Jesus, are the three hinges on which turns the gate into the celestial city.

    And in obedience to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, we have,

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    by the common consent of the church assembled in conference, established this place, a preparatory stake of Zion, called Zarahemla, and have come up hither to combine our wisdom and unite our faith, for the deliverance of the captives, and the redemption of Zion. Zion, the pure in heart, must first be redeemed by righteousness, and then the land of Zion by power. Therefore let us arise and be strong in the LORD, and prepare ourselves by obedience, to become vessels of honor in the kingdom of our GOD.

    Zarahemla is located in the County of Lafayette, Wisconsin, and is a mining, as well as grain, and stock-raising region. Considerable unclaimed government land remains in the vicinity.


    Transcriber's Comments

    Elder Jason W. Briggs
    Elder Jason W. Briggs


    (under contruction)

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