The usual Sabbath services of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were held in the Tabernacle on Sunday, September 18, 1881, at 2 p. m. The choir sang as opening hymn:

Softly beams the sacred dawning.

Prayer was offered by President J. D. T. McAllister.

The choir sang the sacramental hymn: While of these emblems we partake.

Apostle Orson Pratt was the first speaker. He said: It has been almost one year since I have been able to stand up before a congregation to address them, having been severely afflicted during that period of time. I am now blessed with the opportunity and privilege of occupying a few minutes, as long as my health would justify, in speaking a few words to the congregation. I am [undreaable] to stand upon my feet, [unreadable] time scarcely able to sit [unreadable] that the Saints have [unreadable] their prayers and thair [unreadable] my behalf. If they had [unreadable], I doubt very much [unreadable] would now be able to ap- [unreadable] you. Notwithstanding [unreadable] of my body and the [unreadable] that I have kept, so far [unreadable] congregations are concern- [unreadable] have felt the same endur- [unreadable] the principles of truth [unreadable] people of God in all my [unreadable] that I had in the time of [unreadable]. There is nothing so pre- [unreadable] as the great principles of [unreadable].

They have for the last [unreadable] my life—it being 51 years [unreadable] since I was baptized–oc [unreadable] uppermost place in my [unreadable] -hes, the honors of this [unreadable] have been but a very [unreadable] -deration with me, com- [unreadable] the riches of eternal sal- [unreadable] blessings of the everlast- [unreadable] the new covenant which [unreadable] mbraced, the great work [unreadable] Lord our God is perform [unreadable] mig ty hand in the age [unreadable] and I live. I trust and [unreadable] that that which has [unreadable] spicuous a place in my [unreadable] in my thoughts, in [unreadable], in my mind, will [unreadable] hold the same position [unreadable] long as the Lord shall per- [unreadable] to tarry here in this [unreadable] Fifty-one years ago to- [unreadable] I have said, I entered [unreadable] the Church then being [unreadable] a small district of coun- [unreadable] State of New York. The [unreadable] of the gospel and the [unreadable] which we have taught, [unreadable] read forth except within [unreadable] limit of country. What [unreadable] between then and the [unreadable] morrow—if I live till to- [unreadable] shall be 70 years of age, [unreadable] to be the average old [unreadable]. They are the years ap- [unreadable] man. So says one of the [unreadable], and if man, perad- [unreadable] could reach a few years [unreadable] score and ten, it is [unreadable] filed up with affic- [unreadable] sorrow and infirmities of [unreadable] I trust, however, that if I [unreadable] to tarry still longer [unreadable] appointed time, or rather [unreadable] of time, I trust that my [unreadable] not be those of suffering. [unreadable], so far as my mind is [unreadable] my understanding, that [unreadable] that is at peace. I know [unreadable] hopes are. I know the [unreadable] alvation. I have had the [unreadable] cations of the spirit of the [unreadable] God, to teach me [unreadable] –less all the days of [unreadable], and this has given me [unreadable] onsolation. Hence, if I live [unreadable] –ty I do not expect to have [unreadable] mind. I may have afflic-[unreadable] may encounter them; I [unreadable] to any great extent.

[unreadable] to call your attention for a [unreadable] ments to a subject closely [unreadable] with those days that I [unreadable] speaking of—the rise of [unreadable] -ch.  It will be, next Thurs- [unreadable] 54 years since the Pro- [unreadable] -ph Smith, then but a lad, [unreadable] tted by the angel of the [unreadable] the gold plates of the [unreadable] -Mormon from the hill Cu- [unreadable] as it was called in ancient [unreadable] in the State of New [unreadable] I consider one of the [unreadable] velous occurrences which [unreadable] place for the past eighteen [unreadable] to be permitted to ob- [unreadable] the face of an holy angel, and [unreadable], permitted in addition to [unreadable] take out of the ground, in [unreadable] ancient prophecy, a re- [unreadable] half of our globe, giving [unreadable] of the peoples and nations [unreadable] this great western he [unreadable] more marvelous than any [unreadable] has transpired during [unreadable] period. What makes it [unreadable] marvellous is, that it is [unreadable] with revelation, with [unreadable] that comes from heaven, [unreadable] authority. God permit- [unreadable] cord to be taken from its [unreadable] cient deposit. He it was [unreadable] the angel to deliver those [unreadable] the hands of this boy [unreadable]. And what object did [unreadable] have in performing this [unreadable] thing? It was to esta [unreadable] earth that kingdom pre- [unreadable] the ancient prophet Dan- [unreadable] ould be set up in the last [unreadable] should stand for ever, [unreadable] finally become a great [unreadable] and fill the whole earth. [unreadable] be of more importance? [unreadable] ent was predicted to har- [unreadable] such a kingdom should [unreadable] God should be the author [unreadable] He should lay the founda [unreadable] that He should set it up. [unreadable] ack to the finding of the [unreadable] the Book of Mormon; if [unreadable] to that eventful day [unreadable] sent his angels to confirm the divinity of that record to three other persons; if we go back to the time of the organization of this Church, we find that God has in all these matters spoken Himself. We did not select the day on which this kingdom should be organized. Joseph Smith, the Prophet, did not select the day, but God pointed out the very day, the very month, in which this work should be performed. Hence it is God’s work; it was God and not man that set up this kingdom. Has there been an authority established in this Church from the day of its organization that was established by man’s authority? Not one. Every authority in this Church, however high, or however low, or whatever the nature of the callings might be, whatever the duties of the callings, God has introduced that authority. We have no record, no minutes in our Church, where there have been Apostles called and ordained in this kingdom, by man’s authority. It is just what we might expect. Anything else than this would not be ascribed to the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God could not be set up by man. Man has no right to select even the day for the organization of that kingdom.  Man has no right to select the least officer of that kingdom; is must all come from heaven.  It was said that such a kingdom should be set up. It was set. It was set up according to the mind of God, according to His own mind, not according to the whims and notions of sectarians, or any theologians, or any learned man, but according to the mind of the great Jehovah. We have seen the progress of this kingdom. We have seen what God has accomplished during the last 51 years. We have seen his hand made manifest. We have seen the kingdom organized, not to dwell in the place of its particular organization, and the people be scattered all over the world like sectarianism, but a kingdom that should gather together the sons and daughters of God, according to the predictions of the ancient prophets into one place upon the face of our globe, to prepare them for the mighty events and occurrences that should take place when He should accomplish that work. And how marvelous it is to see the hundreds and hundreds or vessels that have crossed the ocean, the mighty ocean, in perfect safety, bringing the Saints of God to their destined haven, to rejoice in one body, in one place, in one region in the mountains of Israel, the great back bone of the western hemisphere, if we may so term it. This is all to fulfill prophecy.

But I must not enlarge upon this subject. How happy I feel that I am once more, after having been brought so low, so near the gates of death—how happy I feel that I am permitted once more to lift up my voice before you. I do not know that I can make you all hear, but I trust that my voice will be strengthened, I trust that my body will be strengthened, I trust that my mind—if it has been weakened at all by sickness—may also be strengthened, and that I yet may have the humble privilege of lifting up my voice and testifying, before thousands of people in these mountains, if not abroad among the inhabitants of the earth, of God’s power. It is a day in which He has commenced to perform a mighty work, and the foundation is already laid and is quite broad, and He has quite a numerous people through whom He can work and accomplish His mighty purposes; and although feeble in body, I do not know but what the Lord may yet strengthen me to again publish glad tidings of great joy abroad among the nations of the earth, or perform whatever duties may be assigned unto me by the general authorities of His Church.

May God bless the people of Zion, all the Latter-day Saints scattered throughout all these mountain regions; may He favor us before many years with a full and complete redemption according to the promises that are made in His word, Amen.

President George Q. Cannon was the next speaker. He believed the remarks made by Brother Pratt had been listened too with delight, and expressed the pleasure he himself had experienced while listening. Brother Pratt was no doubt the oldest living member of the Church, and surely none had been more faithful and self-sacrificing. He believed that the prayers of the Saints had prevailed in his being healed, and hoped that they would continue, as there was no desire so strong in the heart of Brother Pratt as the desire to publish the glad tidings of the gospel. It was a pleasure to listen to such a man. The speaker alluded to the subject touched upon by the previous speaker, viz., the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and showed how that record had been maligned and derided by the world and denounced as one of the greatest of impostures, and how, through belief in its divinity, this people had been ridiculed and persecuted. Compared this to the Pharisaic persecution of the disciples of Christ for holding to the truth of His resurrection. Showed how public sentiment changed from age to age, the alleged impostures of yesterday being the accepted truths of to day, etc., and testified that even as the sentiment respecting Christ had changed, so would the sentiment concerning this work. The Book of Mormon had been testified of by three witnesses, one of whom is now living, and who, though alienated from the Church, still bore witness to the authenticity of the book. The others, in life, also held unflinchingly to their testimony, although they, too, had left the Church. Eight others also testified to having seen and hefted the gold plates. But besides these, the book had internal evidences of its own divinity. Some of its own prophecies had been verified since it was published, and were being fulfilled to day. The speaker named some of the events thus foretold, including the rejection of the book by most of the world, its acceptance by the few and the progress of the Church of Christ upon the earth. A general opinion, concerning the American Indians, was that they would gradually disappear before the onward march of civilization, but the Book of Mormon predicted the exact opposite—that there was a glorious future for the red man, and that his despised and down-trodden race would yet become a white and delightsome people. Nothing seemed more unlikely than this, but it would come to pass as surely as God had spoken it. It was for holding this belief that the “Mormons” were accused of undue sympathy for the Indians. Because we treat them as human beings, respect their rights, and endeavor to reclaim them from their fallen state, we are accused of inciting them to depredations against the Government. It is fashionable to decry everything unpopular, and every reformation is unpopular. We might be as angels, yet we would be falsified and calumniated. Our religion is unpopular, and the virtues of this people are obscured by the great cloud of calumny raised against them, yet this work is true and it will eventually prevail.  The speaker cited instances where Providence had interposed in behalf of this people, and showed that they had thus been taught to place firm reliance upon the Almighty. And God had blessed the Saints with peace and serenity of soul, and through all their trials they were far happier than those who persecuted them. He exhorted the Saints to live in such a manner that they might retain this feeling, and ever possess a knowledge of the truth of the work they were forwarding. The six members who formed the nucleous of the Church in 1830, were a greater power in the earth than six millions who were without their testimony. All should live so as to be able to bear a personal testimony, ond not blindly follow Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor or any man, and depend alone upon his testimony. All had the right to know for themselves. The speaker testified of the truth of “Mormonism,” and showed how the Lord was working mightily in the earth to accomplish His purposes.

The Choir sang, Rejoice in the Lord.

Elder Robert Campbell pronounced the benediction.

[Transcribed by Marlene Peine, DeeAnn T. Pratt, and Mauri Pratt; Apr 2012]

Unknown Newspaper, clipped article; September 28, 1881

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