Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Letter - Dear Mother, The Lord did something twenty hundred years ago
Bemidji, Minn., Oct 22, 1930
Your letter received and duly digested; can’t say it makes us exactly happy, and there is so much else in the world to be unhappy over too. Bro. Day thinks we ought to all be joyous and should for joy contineually—poor man and only one of his step-children pays any attention to the latter-day work, his boys drinking and carousing, and into things too naughty to mention in a letter. One of them said there was nothing to look forward too now, but just to die; and yet George thinks there is nothing in the world to grieve over, because the Lord showed him twenty years ago that the gospel was true, and so this church is the only true church—no matter what it does, or where it goes to. Well, that is exactly what the Saints said who were in the church in the Prophet’s day, and followed Brigham Young to Utah.
The Lord had shown them that the church was true, and so no matter what it did it must always be true, and no matter where it led they must always go with it, and go they did, into the depths of apostacy, shouting glory, hallelujah! I know this church is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that Brigham Young was his legal successor. They had nothing to grieve over, except when some of their children backslid, and went into the Reorganization, which they looked upon as being nothing but a set of apostates, who legally action had been shorn of church membership and all priesthood authority, by action of the only true church.
Strange isn’t it how a people could be so blinded, and yet they blinded themselves. At some time they had all of them deliberately shut their eyes to wrong, or voted to sustain that which was not right, knowingly, that thereby they might retain their prestige, and be good fellows with those in charge; or had failed to raise their voices against wrong, for fear they would loose their official position or their family allowance. It was only the few who had backbone enough to denounce the evils, and defy the evil-doers that the Lord could use to reconstruct his work.
Well the same thing is happening in our day, and the same causes will produce the same condition of blindness, and eventually lead to the same depths of apostacy. There is no other recourse, except repentance and humility, and that of course is unthinkable.
You say you are looking for a change in the church soon. Mother dear, what change do you look for in the church? What change can you possibly look for? No one dares to say anything about the necessity of a change, in Conference; and hardly dare to whisper it in private especially if it would jeopardize their place or position or their job. And under the rule of dumb and throttled silence, what change can there be but a change from bad to worse.
Do you think that the Lord is going to reach down and shake Fred M. out of his breeches? Why, if he did, what would a cowed and groveling people do with their liberty? They haven’t the least idea what should be done in an emergency of that kind, any more than had the Saints at Nauvoo. And never will have till freedom of thought and speech, and of the press is restored to them, and they begin to do some thinking on their own account.
You are looking for a change in the church soon; for the Lord to do something? Just how many, mother, do you suppose whould note the change and accept it, and would recognize his hand when he did do something?
The Lord did something twenty hundred years ago, in fulfillment of prophecy. A virgin conceived and bore a son, heralded by angelic hosts, and by the wise men. He grew up in the midst of his people, counfounded the doctors of law and of divinity with his wisdom, wrought a world of miracles by his almighty power, put tempters, critics and faultfinders to silence with a single answer, established his church, spake as never a man spake, but as one having authority; suffered on the cross, rose from the dead, inspired his ministry to carry on his work--- and those who were looking for a change soon, and for the Lord to do something, never saw the change, never knew the Lord was doing anything; don’t know it yet, are still looking for their Messiah, and his second coming is at the door. They’ve lost two thousand years of growth and development in the kingdom of God, WAITING FOR THE LORD TO DO SOMETHING. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. He dared to tell them of their wickedness in plain and unvarnished, but forceful language, and they said he had a devil.
And so many were looking for a change soon, at Nauvoo, and for the Lord to do something. And how many saw the change, and recognized his hand when he did do something? Just the few who had refused to worship at the shrine of priestcraft, who had the courage to denounce evil and stand for the truth at whatever cost; to whom truth meant more than prestige and priestly emolument. And it was said that they had a devil. “The God that I worship,” said one, “told me they were led by a spirit of deception.” But the Lord could use them, and did, to reestablish his work. At his bidding they denounced and cast off all who claimed to be leaders but were living in idolatry. They denounced them and their works in plain and unvarnished language, but forceful; and because of this they were possessed of a devil. And we have lost a good part of a hundred years waiting for leaders of the church to get through fiddling with Masonry, so the Lord could do something.
And to-day, there are hundreds looking, as you are, for a change soon, and for the Lord to do something---admitting the necessity of it, for why look for a change if there is no need? But how many will see this change, and how many recognize the hand of the Lord when and where he is working? Only the few! Only the few who have the courage to follow Christ, even though it means the loss of place and position and priestly appointments. Only those who have the backbone to denounce the encroachments of evil, who stand upon their feet and cry aloud as watchmen upon the walls of Zion, in plain and unvarnished by forceful language. And those who hear say they are possessed of a devil, as you said of Long.
That has been my experience too. Let me tell you some of it. The Sunday after I knew for a certainty that Fred M. had joined the Masons, I declared against the evil in no uncertain terms, as well as against those who, while before hand they were mightily opposed to masonry, now began to hedge, and say, Well, if Fred M. has joined it must be all right. And I said it was too bad that we were not all named Smith, then we could do as we pleased and it would be all right. That was in Sunday-school. Well, some went home from the Sunday-school, and meeting others warned them to stay away from the church, that Leon had gone wild and was ranting.
And when I took the stand to preach, I was filled with that unquenchable fire that loosened my tongue, and enabled me to speak as only in my dreams I had ever been able to speak before. At the close, my wife—the first and only time—came up to the stand, grasped my hand and congratulated me upon the effort. The rest went home and said I was possessed of a devil.
I was filled with much of the same spirit when I preached earmarks of Apostacy; but there was a spirit of resistance operating in the audience that destroyed my liberty in part, and yet with enough power so that one man sat up with eyes wide open, whom I had never before seen in a service, except with eyes closed as if asleep. How many who have read “Earmarks of Apostacy,” and have testified that the Spirit of God came to them as they read it? If their testimony is true, isn’t it a little strange, that the Herald Editor being supposedly guided by the Spirit of truth should turn it down; while the editor of the Torch being supposedly benighted by the spirit of Apostacy should ask to publish it?
And so, with one that I preached sometime before “Earmarks” and one last spring, that I told you was given me during the stormy night when I stayed in the basement of the Postoffice, I was blessed with more than usual liberty and power in presenting them; but because they were a voice of warning, and a portrayal of our perilous condition, they were not received by those who heard.
So I have experienced the feelings the Savior must have felt, when trying to warn and reach those whom he loved, to save them from great sorrow and loss, and they rejected his message and accused him of being the tool of Beelzebub, the prince of devils.
And so the change you are still looking for, mother, will be seen and known only by those who have the courage to stand for the right; the will become old bottles, filled with traditions of various kinds, with no capacity to receive and contain the over new wine of the gospel.
I’ll be glad to read Bro. Greene’s sermon. Send it along. If it is as good as one he preached at Conference, in 1907, it is surely good. But if it was indicted by the Spirit, the Herald won’t want it; but the Torch would. The sermon at Lamoni, in 1907 was a short one, but to the point. Perhaps you never read it. The Herald never published it. I will quote it here entire:
Speech by U.W.Greene, April 13, 1907
“I believe I am opposed to the substitute, and in favor of the original motion. And I am in hearty accord with the last speaker when he said that this motion has not been discussed from the proper standpoint. I believe it. Having had just a few years experience on the inside as well as the outside of some of these organizations, I think that if we turn a little light upon the question under consideration this afternoon, it may be of benefit to us.
“The last speaker laid considerable stress upon the statement that one can not be a member of OUR CHURCH AND BELONG TO SOME OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS. He repeated that over and over. I believe it to be true. I DON’T BELIEVE THAT THERE IS ANY MAN OR WOMAN IN THIS HOUSE, IN THIS TOWN, IN THIS STATE, IN THIS COUNTRY, THAT CAN TAKE THE OATHS THAT THEY ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE AS THEY KNEEL AT THE
ALTAR, AS A MEMBER OF THESE SECRET ORGANIZATIONS, AND BE A PROPER MEMBER OF THIS CHURCH. Now, I purpose to tell you why.
“Fifteen years ago I began the investigation of secret societies. I continued to study from the inside for a series of years. And the very first night that I entered the lodge-room and knelt at the altar, I was asked to take oath, bloodcurdling in its character. Let me quote part of it to you; for I dare not quote it all, because I am bound by that obligation. But I was asked that night to subscribe to certain conditions, under no less penalty to have my throat cut across. What do you think of that? And do you think that you can take oaths of that kind, AS MINISTERS OF GOD? Young men came to me at the close of the meeting last night and stated that because of speeches made they felt that they would be at liberty to join some of these organizations.
“I was, as a fellow minister for Christ, this afternoon TO PLACE MYSELF ON RECORD to urge you not to do it; and if you are a member of one of them to urge you to take your demit and withdraw. My observations and individual experience for fifteen years has taught me that those who follow the lodge-room soon lose the Spirit of God. And when for a period of years I knelt at the altar as an officer in the lodge, the Spirit of my calling left me, and I wondered what was the matter. And it led me to make a rigid self-examination, and I reached the conclusion that if I would be a servant of Christ, I must renounce that which I had taken.
“Now, again, I was asked to subscribe to obligations that made me swear under no less penalty than to have my breast torn open, my heart plucked out, and that my bowels be burned to ashes. What was it that I covenanted to do? That if a man came to me and whispered in my ear, with his foot to my foot and his knee to my knee, and his breast to my breath, and told me that had ravished my neighbor’s wife, I must say nothing about it. If the had stolen, I must not turn them over to the law of the land. If they had committed crimes that would send them to the penitentiary, I must observe their secrets as my own, under no less penalty than to have my body cut in two and buried down at low tide in the rough sands of the sea, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in every twenty-four hours. And I tell you that THERE IS NOT A MAN WHO CLAIMS TO BE A MAN OF GOD THAT CAN SUBSCRIBE TO OATHS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THAT CHARACTER, AND BE A PROPER MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST. And I want to impress upon these young men this afternoon, as I urge you to stand by that resolution for I think it ought to be adopted,-- I want to urge you to hold yourself aloof from institutions of that character, from the obligations that are contrary to the covenant of the gospel, that are in secret and in the dark. I want to say to you that when you enter these organizations you do so hoodwinked. You can not see what is going on, and you know but a little until you are compelled to take those dreadful obligations there. And let me say, Ladies and Gentlemen, that the various organizations of this country that are based one upon the other go back to the original mother organization that claims to date its origin back to the building of King Solomon’s temple. Now that is not true. I know that from study; but that is the claim, and their oaths and obligations are similar. You let them alone. And I think it is time to place ourselves up on record; therefore I am in favor of the original resolution. I think it is stronger. I believe it is time to act, and to stand for what I believe to be God and his truth, and the right. That is why I favor the original as opposed to the substitute.”
The original resolution was so worded as to make it prohibitory to belong to secret societies.
The substitute, which was eventually passed, provided that we discourage membership in secret societies. It was brought in by friends of the lodge, to prevent the more drastic resolution from passing.
If the original had passed and been put in operation the Reorganized Church would be a clean body and fit to build the temple, instead of the mess it is in now. But the lodge followers didn’t even keep faith with the substitute, which they themselves sponsored; but in secret violated their own act, and betrayed the confidence of the Saints.
If Bro. Greene is still standing true to his sermon of 1907, I would be glad to read his sermons now; but if he has gone back on that, I wouldn’t give a picayune for one now.
If his statement of conditions in the lodge is true (and there is plenty of evidence to establish the truth of it), then it is self-evident that his conclusions are true, when he said:
“I DON’T BELIEVE THAT THERE IS ANY MANY OR WOMAN IN THIS HOUSE, IN THIS TOWN, IN THIS STATE, IN THIS COUNTRY, THAT CAN TAKE THE OATHS THAT THEY ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE AS THEY KNEEL AT THE ALTAR, AS A MEMBER OF THESE SECRET ORGANIZATIONS, AND BE A PROPER MEMBER OF THIS CHURCH.” and
“I TELL YOU THAT THERE IS NOT A MAN WHO CLAIMS TO BE A MAN OF GOD THAT CAN SUBSCRIBE TO OATHS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THAT CHARACTER, AND BE A PROPER MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST.”
Now listen to this from the Book of Mormon:
“This is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly, to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily,… for whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if
(missing part Samii S. Gould) n is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and