Elder Nephi Pratt

Brethren and sisters, the joy that I have felt in the teaching of my brethren in this conference is beyond my ability to express. I came down from the Northwestern States mission on purpose to be fed with the bread of life, to have my faith encouraged, built up and strengthened, and to hear the Prophet of the Lord and his counselors, and the Apostles that the Lord has chosen, that I may feel the influence of the spirit that is upon them. How thankful I am that I am accounted worthy to be numbered among this people. Could there be any grief so great as that which would come to us if we knew that we should be cast away from the associations of this people, either in time or eternity? I feel like the disciples of the Lord did when He said unto them, "Will ye leave me also," and they replied, "Lord, if we leave Thee, where shall we go?"

I believe that God has blessed us in this day, in mellowing our hearts and preparing our souls for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, more than He has blessed any other people that ever lived upon the face of the earth. He has poured down knowledge upon us, such as the world has never seen, except the very few Prophets He raised up throughout the ages. Let us, then, my brethren and sisters, hold fast to that which God has entrusted to us. How shall we answer to the Lord if we are unfaithful to the doctrines, principles and covenants that we have made and have learned from God?

Repentance of sins, and forsaking weaknesses, has been a theme of the servants of God at this conference. It has rested upon me of late that I need to repent of the weaknesses and follies of which I am guilty, that I need to command my family after me, and to plead with them, that when I set them a good example they should follow in my footsteps, and cease to fritter away the great opportunities of salvation that God has given them in this day.

I believe in the doctrine that has been proclaimed from this stand this afternoon, that man has the greatest gift and blessing in having the right to be an agent unto himself; that he must stand upon the merits and worthiness of his own character, and not lean upon anybody else. We believe that free agency was given to man in the beginning, and that all the spirits that God created had their agency to do as they would in the spiritual world and in this world, wherever they are placed. We believe that there were righteous people, spirits, sons and daughters of God, that lived in accordance with the words of the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, in the world of spirits. We believe also that there were rebels among the children of the Lord in the world of spirits, and that because of their agency they made trouble in the eternal world, until the wickedness of Lucifer, the son of the morning, rendered it necessary that the heavens should be rid of him, and he was then cast out and hurled to the earth. The disciples in speaking to the Lord concerning the man who had been born blind, said: "Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?" If there had not been such a principle as free agency in the spirit world, it would have been a very foolish question on the part of the disciples of the Lord to ask, "did this man sin before be was born?" There could have been no sin if there was no agency. It is my belief that our Father’s children, having been nurtured and taught by Him (through how many ages no one knows), the diligent and faithful, those who loved to hear His voice, and that took upon themselves to be subject and accept the teachings of their divine Father and of His beloved Son, were blessed of the Lord in being permitted to come to the earth. God made no mistake when He chose Abraham to be the great ancestor of Israel. He lived with the Lord, and the Lord beheld that he was one of the noblest and most splendid characters, and He chose him to be the father of Israel, to the increase of whose kingdom there should be no end; and in blessing He blessed him, and in multiplying He multiplied him. The blessing of Abraham has rested upon this people. They are His children, and have heard the voice of the Good Shepherd. They were born in different parts of the earth, and came through the loins of righteous men and women who had lived up to the best knowledge and wisdom they had. The Latter-day Saints are descendants of those great men. We believe that when their forefathers were taken by the Lord through the countries of Europe, Ephraim was stubborn and refused to proceed. By hundreds and thousands the tribe of Ephraim stayed, and through the providence of God were preserved, so that the blood of Ephraim is found among the countries of Europe, and on the islands of the sea, greatly predominating in England and the Scandinavian countries. When these children of Abraham, through Jacob’s son Joseph, and Joseph’s son Ephraim, heard the Gospel, it entered into their hearts; they loved it and they have embraced it, many of them.

The Lord has favored us, and has redeemed us as far as we are pure in His sight, and lived the law of the Gospel. I know, my brethren and sisters that these things are true, and I know that the blessings of God rest upon His people; that the Gospel is here now for the last time, and the Prophets and Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ are here, and they shall stand. The machinations of the wicked shall fail, the hand of God shall be against them. In His own time we will triumph in the world by righteousness, and mercy, and the love of God that we have, and the love of His children that we exhibit. The names of our oppressors, and those who seek to bring destruction upon God’s people, shall be remembered only for the infamies they have committed. "Mormonism" will be here a thousand years from now, when righteousness shall reign, but the wicked shall sleep in the dust until the time when the Lord will bring salvation to them.

May the Lord bless us and strengthen us, that we may endure to the end, I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

[Conference Report, Oct. 1906]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]


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