Fortieth Semi-Annual Conference
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elder Orson Pratt.

The great object of these conferences is that we may be edified concerning the things of God, to examine ourselves to see if we are alive to our duties.  God has wisely designed that men should be placed in this probation that he may be prepared to obey higher laws.  We have a great variety of ideas and notions of our own, but God designs that we should all be instructed in one grand system.  All nations have traditions that have been handed down to them from their fathers.  Some of these traditions are erroneous and some correct and beneficial.  Let us see whether some of our traditions are consistent with the laws of God.  We have been educated with regard to our property.  We have been taught that all men and women should use all their efforts to accumulate wealth for their personal aggrandizement.  This seems to be the main object of the people in all nations and in all classes of society.  They believe that wealth is power and happiness.  Is this a correct tradition?  It is in one sense and in another it is not.  God created man to eventually possess wealth.  It was He who created the vast resources of wealth that so abound on the earth.  That same God that made those riches and endowed men with the power to accumulate them designed that they should be used for His own honor and glory.  He did not design that the use of them should cause man to be lifted above his fellow, but for him to do good in the use of them.  This is one of the traditions of which the Latter-day Saints are called, by the voice of God and revelation, to free themselves.  To free themselves from selfishness and devote their substance to building up God’s kingdom, to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.  To use wealth for self-aggrandizement only, is a tradition which entwines itself around the hearts of the children of men probably more than any other.  Jesus instructed his disciples to pray that the will of God be done on earth as it is done in Heaven.  This prayer is taught in all Christian nations.  The difference between the order of things, in relation to property, in Heaven and the order existing on earth is very great.  The riches of eternity are for the Saints of the Most High God.  Those who shall be counted worthy to inherit the kingdom of God will be made heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; joint heirs to riches, happiness, dominion and glory.  This is the destiny of the Latter-day Saints.  How great, then, will be your individual possessions.  There should, therefore, be a preparation in this life before such a condition of things can be entered upon.  We should have a very different order of things in relation to property from that which has obtained in the world.  Some have murmured concerning what they term the strictness of matters about property, but there has been no strictness compared with what must ere long be introduced.  Who has violated the vote that was taken at one of our Conferences that we would cease to sustain our enemies and that we would seek to sustain ourselves?  There are men in our midst who would like to see this people persecuted and driven.  If you trade with and sustain such characters here you will be miserable as well as accountable for the blood of the brethren providing it should be spilt.

There are other traditions besides the one I have referred to which need the attention of the Latter-day Saints.  It is not considered dishonorable in the world for a young man to marry a young lady without the consent of her parents.  A young man who would do this is guilty of robbery of the meanest description.  No young man has any right to make any advances whatever to a young woman without first consulting her parents, and no language could portray his contempt for a person who would take any other course.  It is true, as was said here yesterday, that our young men and young women are, as a general rule, virtuous, yet the practice, that has obtained here somewhat, of young people staying out of evenings in by places courting and probably keeping up that courtship for years is highly reprehensible.  Those who oppose the true order of marriage as revealed by God virtually shut themselves out from a prospect of having wives and children in eternity.  The speaker continued to speak for some time on the true order of marriage.

[Deseret News, Oct. 12, 1870]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Sept. 2006]

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