Forty-Fourth Annual Conference.

Elder Orson Pratt addressed the Conference on the United Order.  He gave a brief history of this Order as it had existed in different ages of the world.  In the fall of 1830 Joseph Smith translated the fore part of the book of Genesis.  In it was a revelation given by God to Enoch, the seventh from Adam.  Enoch was commanded to preach to the inhabitants of the earth the gospel of Christ.  He obeyed the command, and built up branches of the church in various parts.  Eventually the people who obeyed the warning he gave gathered together as the Latter-day Saints had done, and they built up a city, and the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and of one mind, and had no poor among them.  After Enoch had fulfilled his mission of preaching to and gathering the people he continued preaching for three hundred and sixty-five years, at the end of which time they were prepared to leave this earth.  That people, before their translation, had great power, by the exercise of which their enemies, who sought to destroy them, were defeated.  The Lord made known to them that eventually the earth, in answer to their prayers, would be freed from wickedness, but that that time had not yet come; that they would be taken to another sphere, until the latter times, when they would again come to earth.

The speaker then traced the history of the people of God in every dispensation, from the time of the flood until the latter times, and showed the different extents to which a united order of things had been practiced or rejected in different ages.  The disciples in the days of Jesus and the ancient apostles, sold their possessions and laid the proceeds at the feet of the Apostles, which would not have been necessary had the Jews been willing to accede to the laws of an organization involving a union of property.

He next dwelt upon the visit of Jesus to the Nephites on this continent, the establishment of his Church, the organization of a universal united order amongst them, the blessings and prosperity that were poured out upon them when there were no poor among them.  Subsequently they began to withdraw from that glorious order of things, the fostering hand of God was consequently withdrawn from them, distinctions of classes sprang up, there being rich and poor.  The people divided under the names of Lamanites and Nephites, and they warred with each other until the Nephites were all destroyed from the earth.

In 1830 God gave a commandment to Joseph to organize the Church of Christ, which was done on the 6th day of April of the same year.  In 1831 a Conference was held at the house where the church was organized.  During the summer of 1831 the Lord revealed through the Prophet Joseph that the centre stake of Zion should be in Jackson County, Missouri, and indicated the spot where the Temple should be built.  It was also revealed that those who should gather up there should consecrate all their property.

We had heard of the difficulties that had been in the way of the establishment of the United Order, in the covetousness of the people.  The Lord gave a revelation that the names of those who would reject the law of consecration would be blotted out from the books, and also that if the children of Zion would not comply with his law they should be driven out of the land, that they should be persecuted, and the land would not be a Zion to them, and but few should stand to receive their inheritances in it; and how strikingly had these things been fulfilled.  It was promised, however, that inasmuch as this people would repent they should return to Jackson County and build up Zion; but few, however, of those who were driven from Jackson County would be left remaining to participate in that work.

Elder Pratt then read some revelations contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, relating to the establishment of the United Order of Zion, and related and explained the circumstances connected with efforts of the Lord, through Joseph Smith, to inaugurate it in the early history of the church, showing that the people were too full of covetousness to fully receive and practice it.

Those who entered into this Order now should remember that it is a most holy and sacred covenant, which could not be lightly treated with impunity.

[Deseret News, May 13, 1874]

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

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