President Hyrum Smith called the Conference to order at 25 min. to 4 <P. M.> and said:—
It is a matter of consequenee that the Elders of Israel should know when they go to preach to be like Paul— to give a reason for the hope of their calling; and if— man men cannot vindicate his their cause he they would be like the ostrich— hide <their> head.
One reason I speak to the Elders is, in consequence of the Ten thousand reports which come to me from abroad— almost every foolish man runs to me, to enquire if such and such things are true, and how many spiritual wives a man may have. I know nothing about it; what he might call a spiritual wife, I should not know anything about. In about half an hour after he has gone, another person begins to say: “the Elders tell such and such things all over the country.”
I am authorized to tell you from henceforth, that any man who comes in and tells any such damn fool doctrine, to tell him to give up his license. None but a fool teaches such stuff; the devil himself is not such a fool, and every Elder who teaches such stuff ought to have his nose wrung; any one found guilty of such teaching will be published and his license will be taken from him.
When Elders are sent to preach the Gospel, they are not to preach anything but the Gospel, if they wish to shew themselves approved and not fools, like the old man who went to preach such wonderful things, old dad<dy> Matthews the Tinman.
I wish the Elders of Israel to understand it is lawful for a man to marry a wife, but it is unlawful to have more, and God has not commanded any of you to have more; and if any of you dare to presume to do any such things, it will spoil your fun, for you will never have the spirit to preach the Gospel. I despise a man who teaches a pack of stuff that will disgrace himself so; for a man to go into the world, and talk of this spiritual wife system he is as empty as an open sepulchre. If the coat suits any one, let him put it on. I would call the Devil my brother before such a man.
The idea of marrying for eternity is the seal of the Covenant, and is easily understood; and as to speaking of it I could make all the world believe it, for it is noble and grand; it is necessary in consequence of the broken Covenants in the world. I never saw any scripture but what was written by Prophets to instruct and prepare mankind for eternity. I read that what God joins together let no man put asunder. I see magistrates and Priests in the world, but not one who is empowered to join together by the authority of God. nor yet have I seen any priest that dare say that he has the authority of God; there is not a sectarian Priest in Christendom that dare say he has the authority by direct revelation from God.
When I look at the seal of the new Covenant and reflect that all the covenants made by the authority of man are only made to be in force during the natural life, and end there I rejoice that what is done by the Lord has an endless duration. No marriage is valid in the morn of the resurrection unless the marriage Covenant be sealed on earth by one having the keys and power from the Almighty God to seal on earth, and it shall be bound in heaven. Such a sealing will have full effect in the morn of the resurrection.
Almost every principle that is communicated to us is made to have an evil effect through the foolishness of some who seek to build up themselves, and destroy the truth of which they are ignorant. O ye foolish Elders ye are only sent into the world to preach the first principles of the Gospel, faith, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. All the mysteries are to be taught in Nauvoo where they can be taught so as to be understood. No spiritual wife doctrine ever originated with me.
God Almighty has given to us by Revelation a plan of salvation, redemption, and deliverance, and the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood. Under the Constitution of the Almighty God, every thing <rightfully and lawfully> belongs to man if he fulfils the stipulated conditions; and if a thing belongs to me legally it cannot belong to any one else.
I married me a wife, and I am the only man who has any right to her. We had five children; the covenant was made for our lives. She fell into the grave before God shewed us His order. God has shewn me that the covenant is dead, and had no more force, neither could I have her in the resurrection, but we should be as the Angels:— it troubled me. Brother Joseph said you can have her sealed to you upon the same principle as you can be baptized for the dead.
I enquired what can I do for my second wife?
He replied you can also make a covenant with her for eternity and have her sealed to you by the authority of the Priesthood.
I named the subject to my present wife, and she said “I will act as proxy for your wife that is dead and I will be sealed to you for eternity myself for I never had any other husband. I love you and I do not want to be separated from you nor be for ever alone in the world to come.”
If there is any man that has no more sense, and will make a base story of such a fact, his name shall be published <What honest man or woman can find fault with such a doctrine as this. None> It is a doctrine not to be preached to the world; but to the Saints who have obeyed the gospel and gathered to Zion. It is glad tidings of great joy.
The Lord has given to Joseph the power to seal on earth and in heaven those who are found worthy; having the Spirit of Elijah and Elias he has power to seal with a seal that shall never be broken, and it shall be in force in the morn of the resurrection. Talk about spiritual wives! One that is dead and gone is spiritual. We will come up in the morn of the resurrection; and every soul that is saved will receive an eternal increase of glory. Will you believe this, (loud shouts of aye)
Every great and good principle should be taught to the Saints, but some must not be taught to the world; until they are prepared to receive them; it would be like casting pearls before swine. <No man must attempt> to preach them.
I believe every good man should have one wife in this life, and I know if I had two I should not know what to do with them; they might quarrel about me, and I might get a whipping. One is enough, and I warn all of you not to attempt it; if a man should begin to find you out, you would get into some cell in Alton.
Be careful what you teach; if you say anything one thousand miles off, it comes here. There are God’s spirits and the Devil’s spirits, and some carry it. If any man preach any false doctrine I shall disgrace him. God has commanded you to preach repentance to this generation; if this generation will not receive this Book of Mormon they will have no greater; the remaining portion is too strong for the people. The world has no faith; you are not commanded to preach any thing but the first principles of the gospel. There are many things that are good and great to the Saints.
Get the wife sealed to you that God and your country let you have, and if any brother hears any person preach such stuff wring his nose but look out or he may be stouter than you. No man would have more than one wife or they will join together and beat him. If I was a woman, and got so fooled I would hide my head. I give the sisters leave to wring his nose to teach such stuff; I’ll bear you out in it; give him justice. If I can’t get you clear W[illiam] W. Phelps and the Constitutional Congress can.
Why don’t you teach what God tells you to teach, and tell nothing more; remember the young Prophet who prophesied against the altar of Jereboam, and who afterwards got decoyed away, and was devoured by the lion. Just do what you are told to do; the day of choosing and anointing is nigh at hand, and every man who does his duty will have his endowment. A man who preaches anything contrary to what he is told, will not be blessed or anointed or endowed.
It is the power of God that is going to convert the world; and nothing but the power of God. Every man who knows me knows that I have taught these principles from the beginning. Brother Hyrum will live twenty years hence, and you will then find that I have spoken the truth. It is as much as you can do to get the people to repent. We calculate to send out about one thousand of you— put one thousand Elders together and you can raise a heaven on earth, and you will have a great deal of knowledge. We want every Elder to be successful to bring his ten, and when the house is dedicated we want to send out about ten thousand, in about a year and a half. The Savior was kind and merciful to the publicans and harlots, and it requires Elders to have purity and virtue.
We are in a different dispensation; it is the honest and pure in heart that will hearken to the everlasting covenant; they are those who are noble and good; they that give you food, and clothe you. We want the honest in heart— the virtuous— the noble; we want the good seed gathered here. Let all men repent, and the Elders gather out the good seed, and bring it to Nauvoo.
We want you to understand that if you preach any thing wrong, you will be published. We don’t want bogus makers, counterfeiters, or preachers of the spiritual wife system. We shall see the wicked flee when no man pursueth. I want you to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Preach principles that will stand the test of ages; teach them good principles, and save souls.
There is not so much difference in the world as you may suppose; take away their prejudices, and you will find them nearly like yourselves. Go forth as men of God— be wise— and you will find good friends wherever you go; drink deep of the Spirit of Truth; a great and mighty work shall be wrought in the world, they are only waiting to hear the truth. Have a well ordered life and a godly conversation, when thousands and tens of thousands shall flock to the standard, and go up to Zion. Why? because they are good souls. Have the knowledge of truth drove into you like a broadside. I am serious in what I say, and it has the power of God with it.”
Spoke an hour and a half.
Sidney Rigdon concurred in his remarks.
12 min. to 6, adjourned to april 9, at 8 a. m.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints eliminated much of Hyrum’s purpose in the talk, by deleting any mention of polygamy being against God’s law:
Scrubbed version of the talk reported in Church History Volume E
<1844 April 8.> President Hyrum Smith called the conference to order at 25 minutes to 4 p. m., and spoke to the Assembly one hour and a half.
He treated upon the subject of the Elders preaching abroad. He said it was a matter of consequence that the Elders of Israel should know what they were about when they go to preach the gospel— They should, like Paul, be ready to give a reason for the hope of their calling. When they are sent to preach the gospel, they should preach the gospel and nothing else, if they wish to stand approved themselves. The Elders are sent into the world to preach faith, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and they should let the mysteries alone. God has commanded you to preach repentance to this generation, and if this generation will not receive the first principles of the gospel and the Book of Mormon they will receive nothing greater— Just go and do as you are told and God will bless you. It is the power of God that is going to convert the world and nothing but the power of God. Every man who knows me knows that I have taught these principles from the beginning. It is the honest and pure in heart that will hearken to the Everlasting Covenant, they are those who are noble and good they will feed and clothe you and receive your testimony and we want the Elders to gather out the good seed to Nauvoo. The day will come when you will see the wicked free when no man pursueth— I want you to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves— preach principles that will stand the test of ages— teach them good precepts and save souls— go forth as men of God and you will find friends wherever you go— Drink deep of the spirit of truth and a great and mighty work shall be wrought in the world— Hundreds and tens of thousands shall flock to the standard and go up to Zion. Many other remarks were made by the speaker.
After which Sidney Rigdon made a few remarks and concurred in what Bro Hyrum had said.
12 min to 6 adjourned to April 9th at 8 o’clock a. m.