Speech by Ezra T. Benson
Returned Missionaries Party in the Social Hall
Great Salt Lake City
Tuesday, Nov. 29, 1855
Deseret News, 5:325, 328; or Journal History, 29 Nov. 1855, p. 2
As I have the privilege I wish to express my feelings in connection with my brethren.
While President [Jedediah M.] Grant was speaking and invoking the blessing of God upon your heads, the reflection ran through my mind—are these my brethren and sisters? Are they the chosen of God? Yes. Are they worth of the blessings that have been pronounced upon them? Yes. Their work have proved it to the Almighty, and to his servants.
Then how happy we ought to be, and how thankful, as saints of the Most High, that we are here in the valleys of the mountains, far away from mobocracy, and from gentile oppression, where we can worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience, none daring to molest or make us afraid.
Here we can do as we please, that is, if we do just right. Do we not feel this evening that heaven smiles upon us? Is there an individual present that does not feel the still whisperings of the Holy Spirit, that speaks peace to the souls of the children of men? No, not one that is acquainted with Mormonism, and whose intentions are pure before God.
Then how thankful we ought to be. When I beheld my brethren feasting together to-night, I thought what a change this is to them, when compared with their varied circumstances in which they were placed among the benighted nations where they have recently traveled. There is not one of my brethren of the returned missionaries, I dare venture to say, but have felt while out in the world preaching the gospel in distant lands that they would give all their earthly possessions could they be placed in like circumstances they enjoy this evening; could they have done it, and at the same time do justice to themselves, to the work in which they were engaged, to their brethren, and to their God. I have felt so when abroad preaching the gospel, and I expect to feel so again.
The grand object is to appreciate the blessings we enjoy to night. Sisters, do you appreciate your blessings to night in the society of your companions? Think of the time you have been melted down in tears when they were absent from you, and you know not, but that the cholera and devastation would take them before you would see them in the flesh.
I say, let our hearts be raised to the Most High in gratitude. And as the heart of one man, when we return from this place invoke the blessings of God on our Presidency, whose feelings are so kind as to grant us this privilege of enjoying ourselves together, and of partaking of their hospitality; and may we always be prepared to do their will, which is the will of God. Even so, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.