Elder Nephi Pratt

I have seen the day when I knew every man, woman and child in Salt Lake City. I was a year and a half old when I was brought into this valley. I had the rickets, so my mother said. I presume that meant I could not stand up, because I was so weak. On that day we landed in a desert, so desolate and still that it must have been appalling to the few hundred Latter-day Saints who arrived here that year. On July twenty-fourth, 1847, the first company in advance of those that had been driven out of Illinois, by the rage and hatred of those who opposed truth, arrived in this valley; and President Brigham Young, wrapped in the visions of eternity, when he saw this country knew that it was the place prepared for the people of God. He put the point of his walking stick down in the dust, just over there, and said: "Here shall be erected the temple of our God, and around this spot shall be builded a great city." I remember many of the scenes through which we passed. We were little and weak, poor, desolate and destitute. With the growth of my body and intelligence, I saw mighty forces, such as the press, the lecture platform, and the pulpits, combine to calumniate the reputation of this people, and to destroy them by snares that were set for their feet. I have seen us delivered from those conditions. I have seen that notwithstanding all the powers that can be brought to oppose this work of our God on the earth, to stay the growth of His kingdom, we grow in spite of all, until today we cry, as Brother Whitney has said, "Give us room, that we may dwell."

We are bringing a great emigration from the spirit world; and in my mission field in the northwest we are gathering more souls into the Church than we ever have since the mission was organized. We have the indifference broken down, comparatively speaking; and the hostility that was once manifest against us has come to an end, to a great extent, in the northwest. The presence of your sons, and the acquaintance that the people are making with them, and the influence of the Spirit of God upon the people has caused the feeling of hate and prejudice to pass away, and the people’s hearts are being softened. I do not doubt that in all the missions of the United States it is going to be harvest time for a few years, to gather out the people that are God’s, and that He intends to bring them with songs of everlasting joy into His Church, preparatory to His coming and the establishment forever of His kingdom.

There are some girls and women who have come to us in my mission field and mourned because they had not kept the counsel of their parents, and lived up to the training they had received at home. The children of those women are unblessed and unbaptized, because their husbands will not permit these ordinances to be administered to their children. When our children stray away from the home of their youth, Mormonism clings to them, and brings them to a sense of the awful loss they have sustained. I think it is better that a maiden should maintain her faith and virtue and never wear the crown of wife-hood and motherhood in this life, than that she should wed an unbeliever.

God bless you, brethren and sisters, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

[Conference Report, Apr. 1909]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]


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