I came across this talk by John Taylor when I was looking for things on wisdom for my MSH paper.
Well, we are here, and God is going to build up his kingdom. He will do it, and we need not trouble ourselves about outsiders and their notions, or about foolish men or their thoughts, practices and calculations. It is a matter of very little difference to us. God is at the helm—he manages, he guides, he directs and controls, he influences his people, and he will continue to influence them. Well, we are here, in the capacity, say, of a kingdom, and people tell us that we are different from anybody else. Of course we are; we do not expect to be like others. It is true that smoke goes out of our chimneys, as out of the chimneys of others, because it is a law of nature. It is true that potatoes, wheat and corn grow here as elsewhere. It is true
we have to attend to the common affairs of life—eat, drink, sustain ourselves, clothe and keep ourselves warm, as others do, and we have to take care of and protect ourselves from the incursions and machinations of those who seek to destroy us. In all these respects we have to take the same course that other people do; but the difference between us is—we have an organization, a Church organization, given by revelation from God, and which does not exist anywhere else in this little world.
But what about other things relative to temporal affairs? If God can organize us as a Church, if he can unveil the heavens to us, draw aside the curtain of futurity, and enable us to penetrate the veil and gain a certain knowledge in regard to the future, certainly he can make known or reveal something about a few temporal things, such as plowing, sowing, building, planting, trading, manufacturing, making railroads, and a thousand other little things that have to be attended to in this world. If he can do the bigger things, I think he can do the less.
“Well, we are capable of doing that ourselves,” say some people, some of these philosophers I have referred to—they are all wise men, and you would think wisdom would die with them, but it will not be entirely extinguished when they are gone, not quite. God will still lead, govern and direct his people. “But,” say they, “we think we could do things so much better than somebody else.” Well then, go at it and try; there is plenty of room in the world for you to exhibit your intelligence.
We are in the hands of God. We have come here. What for? The Lord says, “I will take them one of a city, and two of a family, and bring them to Zion.” Jer. 3:14
What will you do with them? “Give them pastors
after my own heart, who shall feed them with knowledge and understanding.” Jer. 3:15 It is a fact, today, that the wise men and great men, and statesmen, and men in position in various parts of the world, as they come here to visit, us with all our failings and infirmities, tell us that we are the best and most orderly people they have ever seen. And they say we have a beautiful country, and that we are governed by wisdom, by sage counsels, and by a high order of intelligence. That is the opinion of the leading statesmen of this day who pass through our midst, and many of them come through here. The question naturally arises, Where does this wisdom come from? Why, God inspired Joseph Smith; then he inspired President Young with the same kind of spirit and feeling. Then he inspired the devil, or the devil inspired his imps—one of the two—and drove us from our former possessions, and it all worked together, the Lord inspired on the one hand, and the devil on the other, and by hook or by crook, we got here, just as we are today.
We commenced to build a temple in Kirtland, and we built it. We built another in Nauvoo, and we are building another here. We are attending to the ordinances pertaining to the Church of God, temporal and spiritual, ordinances pertaining to the body, and ordinances pertaining to the spirit. And then, as men having to do with the world on which we live, with the Territory that we possess, we have to enact laws, and we have to conduct ourselves properly, and seek the assistance of the Almighty to direct us in all our affairs, and the Lord has promised if we would do that, he would show us that the wisdom of God is greater than the cunning of the devil. D&C 10:43
Well, he does keep showing that from time
to time, and if we do right he will keep on doing it. But to ensure this there is something devolving upon us.
Says one, “If I could have so much money, such a farm, or this, that, and the other, I would feel satisfied.” I say, get the Spirit of God in your hearts! Let the light of revelation burn in your bosoms like living fire, then you will know something about God, something about the blessings of salvation, something about the benefits that will accrue to Zion. “But, sometimes, I have to make a little sacrifice if I carry out the counsel given.” Well, make it then. If it is a sacrifice, it ought to be a pleasure to help build up the kingdom of God, establish righteousness, plant the standard of truth, and to be on the side of God, angels and eternal realities, to be saviors of men. D&C 103:9
To be thus situated is the most honorable position in this world or the world to come. Now, God could not get the world to do anything towards building up his kingdom, they would not do it, they could not see it, and he had to get you baptized before you could see it; and seeing it now, will you barter it away for the follies of this world, for the smiles and promises of the ungodly? Or are you going to cleave to the truth, live by it, and, if necessary, die by it? What are you going to do?
I am glad we have come here. I am pleased that these meetings have been instituted, that the people get together, and that we have a chance to talk with them, in their assemblies, about the things of God. We are God’s people, God is our Father, and we should spend a little time in these things. This is our duty, and we should feel an interest in them. That is what we set out for, and we mean to go forward, and we will go on and
on, for our motto is eternal progress. This kingdom will advance, the purposes of God will roll forward, and no power on this side of hell, or the other either, can stop it. God will sustain his people, and Israel will rejoice and be triumphant.
Now then, we come to the management of our affairs. Talking of the wise men of the world, why we have had many of them ever since the world was. And what have they accomplished in the nations of the earth? They have built cities, and some have raised themselves to fame by trampling under foot thousands of others. They have waded through seas of blood sometimes to get upon the throne of power. What to do? That they might trample still lower poor humanity, and bring men down, as it were, to the dust of death, and make serfs of them. What else have they done? They have established every kind of government, as they have every kind of religion. Do you not think that we need revelation about government as much as anything else? I think we do. I think we need God to dictate to us as much in our national and social affairs as in church matters. Some people are willing to have their souls looked after, but they think they are smart enough to look after temporal affairs themselves. In the world they want a doctor to look after their bodies, a parson to look after their souls, and a lawyer to take care of their property. In these respects we differ from them. We begin with God. Our light comes from him, our religion is from him, and we need his guidance and instruction in all these other matters. Is not that simple, plain and reasonable?