Yesterday afternoon the congregation was first addressed by Elder Mathoni W. Pratt, a young man who has just returned home from a ten months’ mission to the States. He stated that his mission had been a great blessing to him, as it had greatly added to his experience in the work of God. He had never enjoyed himself so well during any previous period of his life, as when engaged in his late ministerial labors. He was glad, however, to be once more at home, and at having the privilege of bearing testimony to the congregation before him that he knew that the work with which he was connected was from God. We were living in an important era, when God had commenced to communicate with those of his children on the earth who were willing to listen to him, as in ancient days. The gospel in its fulness and purity had not been preached for ages until revealed in these latter times. The work which Daniel saw in a prophetic vision or dream, has been commenced. It was a kingdom that was to be set up in the latter times, destined never more to be thrown down. “If this be true, and I testify that it is, the Lord will certainly carry out what he designs to accomplish.” All people who did not know this to be the fact should seek for information in relation to it, and when conviction ensued it should be followed by a life service devoted to the building up of that glorious work. The prophecies uttered by nearly all inspired men of every age pointed to a work that was to be established in the latter-days by our Heavenly Father. Those who had obeyed the gospel were able to see that this was the very work alluded to by them. Those who had not been thus obedient were unable to see this, nor were they expected to be able to discover it. Jesus gave the reason of this lack of observation in the Spirit, when he told Nicodemus that a man must be born again before he could even so much as see the Kingdom of God. He must be born of water and of the Spirit to enter it and see it. People must believe, repent of their sins, be baptized for the remission of sins, by being immersed in water, symbolical of the death and burial of the Saviour, coming up out of his resurrection, when they were entitled to receive the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, which spirit would give them a realization of the promise made by the Lord when he said if any man would do the will of the Father he would know of the doctrine whether it was of God. Thousands upon thousands had experienced this gift, and were able to testify today to that effect.
Those who had received these things should live up to their privileges and the performance of their duties, for there were many things that would have to be accomplished in a short time. If there were some among those who had been baptized into the church and yet did not know these things for themselves it was because they had not repented of their sins, for baptism was the baptism of repentance, unto the remission of sins, and they should repent at once and receive the blessing that was free to all who complied with the conditions. “My testimony to you is that this work is of God. You need not take my word on this point, but we invite you who have not yet obeyed the gospel to repent of your sins and investigate and prove those things to your own satisfaction. The adoption of this advice will certainly do you no harm. I know there is a god in heaven who is establishing his work. I feel like striving to have a hand in building up the work of God.”
The speaker was followed by Elder Orson Pratt, who delivered a discourse on the promises made by the Lord to his servants, and their realization, on the character of the principles of the true gospel of Christ, and the nature and organization of his Church. The reasoning on the various points upon which he touched was most logical, clear and convincing. His remarks were reported in full, for publication.
[Deseret News, Aug. 21, 1876, 3]