"Friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism to revolutionize and civilize the world, and cause wars and contentions to cease, and men to become friends and brothers."
23 July 1843 • Sunday
96<Sunday 23.—> Meeting at the stand. I preached. I insert a brief synopsis <of the discourse.> reported by Dr. [Willard] Richards:—
“I commence my remarks by reading this text; Luke, 16 chap. 16 v. “The Law and the prophets were until John; since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” I do not know that I shall be able to preach much, but with the faith of the Saints may say something instructive. It has gone abroad that I proclaimed myself no longer a prophet; I said it last Sabbath ironically; I supposed you would all understand. It was not that I would renounce the idea of being a prophet, but that I had no Disposition to proclaim myself such; but I do say that I bear the testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of prophecy.
There is no greater love than this that a man lay down his life for his friends; I discover hundreds and thousands of my brethren ready to sacrifice their lives for me.
The burdens which roll upon me are very great; my persecutors allow me no rest, and I find that in the midst of business and care the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Although I was called of my Heavenly Father to lay the foundation of this great work and kingdom in this dispensation, and testify of his revealed will to scattered Israel, I am subject to like passions as other men, like the prophets of olden times.
Notwithstanding my weaknesses I am under the necessity of bearing the infirmities of others, who when they get into difficulty hang on to me tenaciously to get them out, and wish me to cover their faults. On the other hand, the same characters, when they discover a weakness in brother Joseph, endeavor to blast his reputation, and publish it to all the world, and thereby aid my enemies in destroying the Saints. Although the law is given through me to the church, I cannot be borne with a moment by such men. They are ready to destroy me for the least foible, and publish my imaginary failings from Dan to Beersheba though they are too ignorant of the things of God which have been revealed to me to judge of my actions, motives or conduct in any correct manner whatever.
The only principle upon which they judge me is by comparing my [HC 5:516] acts with the foolish traditions of their fathers, and nonsensical teachings of hireling priests, whose object and aim was to keep the people in ignorance for the sake of filthy lucre, or as the prophet says to feed themselves, not the flock. Men often come to me with their troubles, and seek my will, crying, oh, brother Joseph, help me, help me!— but when I am in trouble, few of them sympathize with me or extend to me relief. I believe in a principle of reciprocity, if we do live in a devilish and wicked world, where men busy themselves in watching for iniquity and lay snares for those who reprove in the gate.
I see no faults in the church, and therefore let me be resurrected with the Saints, whether I ascend to heaven, or descend to hell, or go to any other place. And if we go to hell, we will turn the Devils out of doors and make a heaven of it. Where this people are, there is good society. What do we care where we are if the society be good? I don’t care what a man’s character is, if he’s my friend, a true friend, I will be a friend to him and preach the Gospel of salvation to him, and give him good counsel, helping him out of his difficulties.
Friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism to revolutionize and civilize the world, and cause wars and contentions to cease, and men to become friends and brothers; even the wolf and the lamb shall dwell together, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf, the young Lion and the fatling, and a little child shall lead them, the bear and the cow shall lie down together, and the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall play on the cockatrice’s den; and they shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord of hosts.
It is a time-honored adage that love begets love; let us pour forth love— shew forth our kindness unto all mankind, and the Lord will reward us with everlasting increase— cast our bread upon the waters, and we shall receive it after many days increased to a hundred fold. Friendship is like brother [Theodore] Turley in his blacksmith shop welding iron to iron; it unites the human family with its happy influence.
I do not dwell upon your faults, and you shall not upon mine. Charity, which is love, covereth a multitude of sins, and I have often covered up all the faults among you; but the prettyest thing is to have no faults at all. We should cultivate a meek, quiet and peaceable spirit.
Have the Presbyterians any truth? Yes. Have the Baptists, Methodists &c. any truth? Yes, they all have a little truth mixed with error. We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up or we shall not come out pure Mormons.