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Brigham Young



Comments by
Pres. Brigham Young

I wish now to say a few words to the brethren upon the subject of tithing.  It is well known to the majority of this Conference what transpired, last Conference, upon the stand in the old Bowery.  At that Conference I had good cause to find fault with the Bishops, and I took the liberty to brush them down a little.  From that day to this there has been more accomplished by our Bishops in the short space of seven months, than was accomplished by them for the space of years previously.  This gives me great satisfaction.  The Bishops have done as well as men could do: their conduct in fulfilling the duties of their calling has truly been praiseworthy, and I feel to bless them, and pray the Lord to bless them all the day long, for they have done first rate.  When we consider the ignorance of the world, their unbelief in God, and realize that the vail of the covering is over the face of all nations, and remember the ignorance we were once in ourselves, having to commence like babes at the rudiments of learning, knowing also how faltering men are in their faith, and then look at what this people have accomplished, we are led to exclaim, "It is marvellous in our eyes!"  Were I to say, "Elders of Israel, you that feel to put your all upon the altar, rise upon your feet," who would be left?  [All present rose up simultaneously.]  Where is there another people upon the earth who would have done this?  I have no tithing, but all--all I have is the Lord's.  You know the word sacrifice: as brother Banks said to-day, it is a mere burlesque--a nonsensical term.  No man ever heard me say I had made a sacrifice.  I possess nothing but what my heavenly Father has been pleased to give me, or, in other words, He has loaned it to me while I remain here in this mortal flesh.1


A discourse delivered by President Brigham Young in the Tabernacle,
Great Salt Lake City, February 27, 1853.

Now, you Elders who understand the principles of the kingdom of God, what would you not give, do, or sacrifice, to assist in building up His kingdom upon the earth?  Says one, "I would do anything in my power, anything that the Lord would help me to do, to build up His kingdom."  Says another, "I would sacrifice all my property."  Wonderful indeed!  Do you not know that the possession of your property is like a shadow, or the dew of the morning before the noon-day sun, that you cannot have any assurance of its control for a single moment!  It is the unseen hand of Providence that controls it.  In short, what would you sacrifice?  The Saints sacrifice everything; but, strictly speaking, there is no sacrifice about it.  If you give a penny for a million of gold!  a handful of earth for a planet!  a temporary worn out tenement for one glorified, that will exist, abide, and continue to increase throughout a never ending eternity, what a sacrifice to be sure!

Many, no doubt, would consider it a great sacrifice to be called to go on a mission a few years; to leave wife, children, friends, comfortable homes, travel perhaps on foot, encounter storms on the sea, be in perils on land among mobs, and be hated of all men.  It is true we might consider this a great sacrifice, and yet men do all this, and more--they risk their own lives upon their venture to get gold, to follow the allurements of pleasure.  And should not the Saints of the Most High God be more willing, more anxious to promote the cause of their holy religion, devoting themselves, their influence, property, and, if necessary, their existence, than the votaries of fashion, the devotees of wealth and pleasure, and to merely sensual, temporary objects of worldly gain or aggrandisement?  Verily I say unto you, if you are not, and if you have a spirit to seek after the giddy, vain, foolish vanities of the world, the things pertaining only to the gratification of present feelings, passions, and selfish desires, and have no spirit of prayer and supplication, cannot and do not feel to exercise an interest above all others, for the cause of truth, my advice and counsel is for all such, to go straightway to the gold mines of California, and seek for gold, for rest assured, as many as have this spirit, will run as their unrighteous feelings prompt or dictate.  Yes!  Go to the gold region, and do not come and seek my counsel about it, whether I am willing that you should go or not, for I am not only willing that you should leave, but anxious that you may as soon as possible.

If you do not love God, and His cause, better than everything else besides, and cannot with a good heart and willing hand, build it up upon the earth; if you will not repent of your follies, and get the Spirit of truth in you, so as to love it, and feel willing to sacrifice all for it, you cannot build up the kingdom of God.2

I was as ready to pass through the scenes of mobbing and driving in Jackson County, as I was to pass through the troubles in Kirtland, Ohio; in Davis and Caldwell Counties, Missouri; in Illinois; and up to this place.  And what of it?  I have not known or seen a single sacrifice that this people have made.  There has not been one such providence of the Almighty to this people, that was not calculated to sanctify the pure in heart, and enrich them with blessings instead of curses--enrich them not only with earthly blessings, but with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives in the presence of God.  Where, then, is the sacrifice this people have ever made?  There is no such thing--they have only exchanged a worse condition for a better one, every time they have been moved--they have exchanged ignorance for knowledge, and inexperience for its opposite.3


1. Journal of Discourses, Vol.1, p.48 - 49, Brigham Young, April 9, 1852

2. Journal of Discourses, Vol.1, p.114 - 115, Brigham Young, February 27, 1853

3. Journal of Discourses, Vol.1, p.314, Brigham Young, February 20, 1853