SYNOPSIS OF A
Delivered by President E. T. Benson, in the Latter-day Saints’ Hall, Belfast, December 4th, 1856.
Millennial Star, vol. 19, no. 1 (3 Jan. 1857), pp. 1–4
It is with feelings of pleasure and satisfaction that I embrace the privilege of standing before you. I request your careful attention, together with your faith and prayers while I talk for a short time. I do not know what I shall say, neither shall I until it is delivered.
“Mormonism” is like a finger’s ring—you can begin anywhere. As we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and in those whom he sends unto us, we feel to move forward in the practice of the principles of the Gospel.
I have not had as much experience in preaching as some Elders, yet I have had considerable in the practical part of “Mormonism.” I have traveled some seven or eight thousand miles, and have left my home in the Valleys of the Mountains, with my wife and children, to come without purse or scrip to preach the Gospel. I have been sixteen years in this Church, and do not conscientiously think that I ever had the shadow of a doubt on my mind, during that time, of the truth of this work. Neither have I ever had any fear that it is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, nor that this was not the kingdom of God. My only fear is for myself; the Lord can take care of Himself and His kingdom without my assistance.
I am aware that the Gospel preached by the Elders of this Church is different from every other on the earth, for we preach what we know to be true; and one important item is that we know God has sent a Prophet. The world say, “This is preposterous. What need is there for a Prophet when we have got so many manufactures for making ministers? Do we not send out missionaries? Do we not hire our priests and pay them well?” Yes, it is as it was in the days of Jesus—they compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and after they have made him, he is fourfold more a child of hell than before. Why? Because they have nothing to give him but what will lead into greater darkness. I heard much preaching before I heard the Gospel, and was as honest then as I am now, but could not get religion although I tried to. The reason of this I never knew until I heard the Gospel, which was, that those who undertook to instruct me did not possess it themselves.
Where do sectarians get their religion? They say in this book—the Bible; but when we open it to show the truths it contains, do they believe it? Do they believe in men going forth with authority in the name of the Lord, and in the signs and blessings following the believers. No; they say, “Preposterous to heal the sick by the laying on of hands! Have we not got doctors?” Do not the world believe in doctors? Jesus says, “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” But this generation puts the cart before the horse. They say, “Come along with your pill-boxes and jalap, and pour them into the sick, and perhaps they will recover. If you heal the sick by laying hands on them, we shall lose our livings after rubbing our backs for forty years against a college in order to learn our professions.”
We go forth without purse or scrip, depending on the Lord. Did you ever hear of an Elder in this Church being hired to preach? No. Will you ever? No; for it would not prove this generation.
Brother Scott has introduced me as one of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have never introduced myself as one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, but “by their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistle?” I have come to Old Ireland to preach the Gospel and counsel the Saints. I felt well in Dublin; I feel well here, and rejoice in the God of “Mormonism”—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of revelation. If men want revelation they must get it according to Gospel principles. Who has revelation? He who despiseth it? No; but he who humbles himself, and keeps the commandments of God. If you want revelation, believe in revelation. If you do right you shall receive the Holy Ghost, and a testimony which the world can neither give nor take away.
I rejoice in “Mormonism,” and have for the last sixteen years. Find a people who believe as this people do, and they are Latter-day Saints. Find a man who believes the Bible, and he is a “Mormon,” and I know it. I tell you “Mormonism” is true, and you have got to endure to the end in order to be saved. Remember it is not velvet lips that we preach with, for we want to arouse the people from their lethargy. I do not care about the powers of this generation, for I am case-hardened against them. If a few days pass off without persecution I do not feel at home. Then knowing that persecution must come, I want you to wake up, ye Latter-day Saints, for you have got to do it.
I know that I am a servant of God, and that I have life and salvation for the people. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and that the Lord has Prophets and Apostles upon the earth. The good Bible says, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Then if He is going to gather anybody, He must first have a Prophet to reveal it to.
When the first Elders who preached the Gospel in these lands came here, they had no one to take care of them, yet they had to come and do what they were commanded through the Prophet of God. They came in the name of the Lord, and laid the foundation for a great work; and who are reaping the benefit of their labours? The Elders who are here just now including myself, and also you Latter-day Saints. Did not the Lord bless them? [A voice in the stand, “yes.”] Yes. Jesus says, “Go and preach the Gospel; and whosoever leaveth father, mother, wives and children houses and lands for my sake, shall receive”—what?—“a hundred fold in this life, and in the world to come life everlasting;” or in other words, eternal lives. If eternal lives is not there it should be, and I will put it. Well have these brethren received a hundred fold? Yes, pretty neigh of wives and children, houses and lands. These brethren are President Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, and others of the Twelve Apostles. God has fulfilled every word that was put upon them by the Prophet Joseph, who was a Prophet of the Most High God, and held the keys and authority of this dispensation. What is a church worth that has not these keys? Not worth the ashes of a rye straw, and I would not give as much for it. “Why, there is a Mormon!” “Well,” say I, crack down, “I am a ‘Mormon,’ and what of that?” Old Mormon was a good man and a Prophet. The Book of Mormon agrees with the old Bible; and every man from Adam who had the Priesthood, and kept the commandments of God, was a “Mormon,” if you will have it so.
We have come to bear record of these things to men, and we are the people to fulfil every revelation of Jesus. There are no people on the face of the earth who can do it but the “Mormons.” Wherever I am, it is “Mormonism” with me all the time, for I know that it is life and salvation to all who believe and obey it.
Elders, how humble we ought to be. Elders, do you go weeping, bearing precious seed according to the words of the Prophet?—“He that goeth forth bearing precious seed, shall return doubtless bringing many sheaves with him.” If you do not, you are not doing your duty. Do you prophesy good things concerning Israel? Do you want a reformation here? If you will do your duty you shall have a reformation from this hour, and new life, and the truth will shoot out on the right hand and on the left, as the Lord liveth. You may write it down and call it prophecy, and it is so. Pray and fast, and live your religion, for the blood-hounds of war are on your heels. Live your religion, then if you do not want to be swallowed up with the wicked.
I am all the time digging around the Saints; I am all the time fanning the flame of “Mormonism,” and thinking how I can counsel this brother, and that sister, and God blesses me. Will He not also bless you upon the same principle. If we expect to associate with the first Elders, and enjoy the same heaven that they will have we not got to follow in their footsteps.
No one blames you for asking wisdom. If you have a gift in lively operation, and at your call, it is well; and if you have not, seek one. The spirit of the Prophets is subject to the Prophets. If it was not so, how could we go forth and administer? Do not let us say we cannot do this, that, or the other, when we are called of God. I will do anything that is necessary to build up the kingdom of God, if need be. I will put off my kid boots and put on clogs, quit preaching and go to work, and it will be all right to me.
No one will be saved in this Church except through their own obedience. There is not one principle or thing that I know anything about but what I am willing to preach. I do not want to smother the spirit that is in my; I want to cut loose.
There are a great many in this European Mission who are just what the Gospel found them five, ten, or fifteen years ago. Can this thing continue fifteen years more? No, it cannot. They are travelling out of the little end of the born, but “Mormonism” is traveling to the big end. If you swell and grow with it, you cannot go out of the small end. Remember, there are more for us than there are against us. What is this generation in the sight of the Lord: Just a parcel of grasshoppers, whom He could starve out in a couple of years, though I expect He will permit some of them to kill themselves off. If I had the power to do it, I would set the feet of every faithful Saint in the Valleys of the Mountains and leave the Elders here alone, and they would do more good. We do not particularly want to get people baptized into the Church, unless, they repent of their sins; but we do want to warn the people.
Now, you Saints, abide by the counsels of brother John Scott, for I am going to counsel him; and if he makes any moves, back him up in it. If you watch the Elders, you are sure to get a stumbling block. Rather watch yourselves, and the principles of the Gospel. If you want the work to go on here, get the Spirit of God on you, and pray constantly. Some Saints talk about their rights. It is the rights of the Saints to serve God. And that is just all. If you Saints
keep yourselves filled with the Spirit of the Lord, there is no possible way for the destroyer to get at you. There is but one way of getting the Spirit of the Lord, and it is the same always. Jesus came to do the will of the Father; but what is the will of the Father? It is for you to repent and keep the commandments of God. That is what Jesus said, and that is what the Priesthood says.
I rejoice that God has spoken again from the heavens, and that it is by our works our faith is made manifest. This is the truth, and I have come to bear record of it; and I have nothing to say but life—life and salvation—have come to this people; if they will receive them. Sectarians say they are in the Bible. Can the Bible ordain a man? Can it baptize him? No; no more than an old almanac. No man can get the authority, but on the same principle as did Aaron of old.
I have every testimony to give to this generation, for I know that “Mormonism” is true with all five senses. Blot out the sun turn the earth upside down, and you may have some chance of making me believe that it is not true; but you will have to do that first, and then not convince me. “Mormons” will preach. If you can get God off His throne, or tip Him out of heaven, you may have a chance of stopping the progress of “Mormonism,” but not without. It gives me life, health, and joy. It makes me fat to preach “Mormonism.” The world say we are all starving to death in the Valleys of the Mountains, but I am right from Utah, and you may look to me for a sample of how the famine has used us up.
I rejoice in the truth. The Gospel of Christ circumscribes everything that is good in the world.
I thank you for your kind attention, and pray God to bless you all in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.