Eye of the Needle
23 ¶ Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
23 ¶ And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
(JST Matthew 19:23-29)
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily, I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard this, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld their thoughts, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but if they will forsake all things for my sake, with God whatsoever things I speak are possible.
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me, shall, in the resurrection, when the Son of man shall come sitting on the throne of his glory, ye shall also sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And every one that has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
(JST Mark 10:22-26)
22 And Jesus looked round about, and said unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of my Father!
23 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus spake again and said unto them, Children, how hard is it for them who trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
24 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
26 And Jesus, looking upon them, said, With men that trust in riches, it is impossible; but not impossible with men who trust in God and leave all for my sake, for with such all these things are possible.
(2 Nephi 9:30.)
30 But wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also.
The rich despise the poor by being rich. If they truly cared for the poor they whoul have loved them (their neighbor) as they love themselves, and their own security.
19 ¶ There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
The Rich Man was not evil, nor a wicked man, just one that was not equal and "despised the poor" by his wealth. The sin was inequality, and as in Jacob Chapter Two, he was seeking for wealth. The Saviors response was that if man would not believe and obey the scriptures we have before us, they would not listen to an angel.
(Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, edited by Don E. Norton [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1989], 167 – 168.)
But how about the law of consecration, which is the foundation of Zion? It is, as I said, contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, explained there not once but many times, so that there is no excuse for not understanding it. The three basic principles are (as so plainly set forth by Wilford Woodruff): (1) everyone gets what he really needs, his wants being met from a common fund that belongs entirely to the Lord and is administered through the bishop of the church; (2) nobody keeps more than he really needs, his surplus all going to that fund; (3) dickering and controversy over the amounts involved is forestalled by the clear statement of the intent and purpose of the law, which is that all may be equal in temporal as in spiritual things. One man’s needs may be greater than another’s—for example, because his family is larger; but once those needs are met for each, then all are equal, satisfied, at peace, each free to develop his own talents and do the Lord’s work, for that is the purpose of the law. There is plenty to do to satisfy the work ethic without a profit motive, "but the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish" (2 Nephi 26:31). Failure to observe this law places one man above another, abominable in the sight of the Lord, and for that reason, we are told, "the world lieth in sin" (D&C 49:20), in Satan’s power indeed.
This law, the consummation of the laws of obedience and sacrifice, is the threshold of the celestial kingdom, the last and hardest requirement made of men in this life. It is much harder to keep than the rules of chastity and sobriety, for those temptations subside with advancing age, while desire for the security and status of wealth only increases and grows through the years. Yet none may escape the law of consecration, none are exempt from it in the Church (D&C 42:70-73; 70:10); none may outlive it, for it is "a permanent and everlasting" law (D&C 78:4; 72:3), a "covenant and a deed which cannot be broken" (D&C 42:30), even by transgression—there is no escaping it (D&C 78:10-11). It cannot be put off until more favorable circumstances offer (D&C 70:16); it was given to the Saints because the time was ripe for them. One cannot move into it gradually to ease the shock (D&C 78:3), or observe it partially (D&C 42:78), or even grudgingly (D&C 70:14). It is so fundamental that the early leaders of the Church (Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, Parley P. Pratt, and others) declared that their first impulse after being baptized was to give away all their property to the poor and trust the hand of God to supply their wants in the mission field, for in any case they could take no money with them. Was that a hard choice? Let us recall the case of the righteous young man who had kept every point of the law and asked to become a disciple of Christ: "Yet lackest thou one thing," the Lord told him (Luke 18:22), "if thou wilt be perfect" (Matthew 19:21). There was yet one thing—the law of consecration, which crowns all the others. But the young man could not take that one step because he was very rich, and for that the Lord turned him away sorrowing: he did not call him back to suggest easier terms but turned to his disciples and pointed out to them by this example how hard it is for a rich man to enter heaven—only a special miracle could do it, he explained; it is as impossible to enter the celestial kingdom without accepting the celestial law as it is for a camel to get through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24). The disciples marveled greatly at this, for they had never heard of that convenient postern gate, invented by an obliging nineteenth-century minister for the comfort of his well-heeled congregation—the ancient sources knew nothing of that gate, and neither did the baffled apostles. (That is another "para-scripture.") If I keep all the other commandments, says Amulek, and ease up on this one, my prayers are vain, and I am a hypocrite (see Alma 34:28). Tithing is merely a substitute—a very different thing; once we start making concessions and explanations, the whole thing becomes a farce. If business expenses and necessities are deducted from tithable income, nothing is left. God takes a serious view of any attempt to cut corners: he struck Ananias and his wife dead not for failure to pay anything, but for "holding back" part of what they should have paid (Acts 5:2, 5, 10).
(Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, edited by Don E. Norton [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1989], 314 - 315.)
Then was the interesting case of the rich young man, to whom Jesus said, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven" (Matthew 19:21). But the young man didn't want to do it. He was very rich, but he did love the Lord and he was a good young man. The Lord did not say, "Wait a minute, fellow. Perhaps we can work something out here." So the young man went away sorrowfully. And the Lord let him go sorrowfully, then turned to the apostles and said (this is the point), "I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24).
We are told that the apostles were amazed beyond measure when he told them that. They didn't know about any postern gates through which a camel comes. That's an invention of modern-day criticism. There is no evidence anywhere at all that there was a gate called "The Eye of the Needle." No, Jesus really meant it: It's impossible. You've got to get rid of your treasures; you have to have the one way or the other. "No man can serve two masters" (Matthew 6:24); compromise is out of the question. That's just the way it is: "Either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24; emphasis added). You've got to make the choice. "And he called unto him the twelve," says Mark, "and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; and commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse" (Mark 6:7-8).
(Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Doctrine and Covenants, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 2: 329.)
"Through a needle's eye" has been interpreted by some scholars to refer to an entrance in the wall near the major gate of a walled city. However, the Greek text could be literally translated "through the aperture of a sewing needle."
(Robert L. Millet, An Eye Single to the Glory of God: Reflections on the Cost of Discipleship [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 34.)
Jesus said what he meant and meant what he said when he taught that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. There is no metaphor intended.No softening of this hard saying by linguistic or cultural traditions is justifiable. The Savior said what he said. "Who then can be saved?" the apostles asked. "With men that trust in riches, it is impossible; but not impossible with men who trust in God and leave all for my sake, for with such all things are possible" (JST, Mark 10:22-26; compare JST, Matt. 19:26;JST Luke 18:27). The issue, then, is one of trust. Reliance. Dependence. The Almighty, who promises us all that he has, asks simply that we be willing to give him all. Nothing else will do.
Discourse by Elder Lorenzo Snow,
Delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, at the Semi-annual Conference, Tuesday Afternoon, Oct. 7, 1873.
(Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 16: 272.)
I wish this afternoon to confine my observations to the subject of our temporal interests and obligations. Before we are prepared to return to Jackson County, to build up the centre Stake of Zion, I believe that a system or order of things will be introduced for our practice, requiring more faith and devotion than, I fear, some of us possess at the present moment. This will call forth a perfect submission in respect to our temporal affairs, equal to that in which we now yield ourselves in spiritual matters. This principle of devotion and obedience in temporal affairs, as being connected with the plan of eternal life, is fully illustrated in the conversation between the Savior and the young man who applied for information on the subject of salvation, recorded in the New Testament. On being questioned by this young man what was required of him in order to inherit eternal life, the Savior replied, "Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, honor thy father and thy mother, and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." The answer was, that all these duties had been performed from his earliest youth. But, still one thing was lacking to make him perfect in the sight of the Savior, viz., to allow his means and property to be controled in the cause of God, and by the will of God. "Sell all thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and follow me." But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. In all other duties he had been faithful and blameless, but in this, his selfishness and love of riches held complete control, which called forth the remark of the Savior, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." This saying created great amazement among the disciples, who asked, with astonishment, "Who then can be saved?"
This principle of submission, and being controled in property matters, is a doctrine which belongs to the Gospel and the building up of the kingdom of God. It was preached and practiced in the Apostolic dispensation, also by the Nephites upon this continent, after the introduction among them of the Gospel in its fullness, as recorded in the Book of Mormon. It was also a doctrine introduced to us, over forty years ago, which we find set forth in various revelations contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
This consecration, or yielding our temporal interests to be directed for the work of the Lord, as being a fundamental element in the work of salvation, and in the union and perfecting of the Saints, is very clearly shown in the second and fourth chapters of the Acts of the Apostles; "And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. Neither was there any among them that lacked, for as many as were possessors of lands, or houses, sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the Apostles' feet, and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need." Ananias, and Sapphira his wife, also sold their possessions, but fearing, perhaps, that this scheme of things might not operate altogether successfully, they therefore concealed a portion of their means, and made a false report, but were fearfully punished for their duplicity and hypocrisy, showing that this principle of consecration was acknowledged of the Lord, and that he regarded disobedience with the utmost displeasure.
When the Church was established among the Nephites, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, this doctrine was preached by them, and practiced nearly two hundred years,resulting in peace, union, great prosperity, and miraculous blessings, greater than were ever experienced by any people of whom we have record. The most remarkable miracles were constantly wrought among them; their sick were healed, and in some instances their dead restored to life. These extraordinary manifestations of the approbation of God continued so long as they remained one in their temporal interest, or were controled in their financial matters according to the Order of Enoch. At the close of two hundred years they began to separate their interests, and each one to control his own financial affairs to suit his individual and selfish purposes. Upon this change, strife and divisions arose in every quarter, wars ensued, and misery and total destruction followed. The first starting point of these people in wickedness and apostacy, appeared to be a disregard of this heavenly system of holding property in common, and refusing to be controled in temporal matters.
In the first instance referred to, in the case of the young man, he cut himself off from the blessings of eternal life by refusing submission to the Savior's counsels in reference to his possessions. In the case of Ananias and his wife Sapphira, sudden destruction visited them, in consequence of dishonesty and hypocrisy in those matters. Also in the case of the Nephites, as we have seen, the whole were destroyed by the judgment of God, after having ignored these principles. But, we have an example in our own time, of the judgments of God falling suddenly upon a people, because of refusing to comply with this order of consecration.
In the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 18, page 146, the Lord says: "And now I give unto you further directions concerning this land. It is wisdom in me that my servant Martin Harris should be an example unto the Church, in laying his moneys before the Bishop of the Church; and also this is a law unto every man that cometh into this land to receive an inheritance; and he shall do with his moneys according as the law directs." Again, the Lord says, sec. 13, page 125: "If thou lovest me, thou shalt serve me, and keep all my commandments. And behold thou will remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support, that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant, and a deed which cannot be broken," &c. Again, on page 235, the Lord says: "Verily I say unto you, the time is come, and is now at hand; and behold, and lo, it must needs be that there be an organization of my people in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of my people, both in this place, and in the land of Zion, or, in other words, the city of Enoch, for a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto my Church, to advance the cause which ye have espoused, to the salvation of man, and to the glory of your Father who is in heaven, that you may be equal in the hands of heavenly things; yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things, for if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things; for if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you, and required of you." Again, on page 288, the Lord says: "Behold, all these properties are mine, or else your faith is vain, and ye are found hypocrites, and the covenants which ye have made unto me are broken; and if the properties are mine, then ye are stewards, otherwise ye are no stewards."
But we learn that the Saints in that early period of our history, refused to be governed in those matters. The Lord says, page 284: "Therefore, inasmuch as some of my servants have not kept the commandment, but have broken the covenant by covetousness, and with feigned words, I have cursed them with a very sore and grievous curse; for I the Lord have decreed in my heart, that inasmuch as man belonging to the order shall be found a transgressor, or in other words, shall break the covenant with which ye are bound, he shall be cursed in his life, and shall be trodden down by whom I will, for I the Lord am not to be mocked in these things." Also on page 295, the Lord says—"Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the Church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now, but, behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I require at their hands, but are full of all manners of evil, and do not impart of their substance as becometh Saints to the poor and afflicted among them, and are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom; and Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom, otherwise, I cannot receive her unto myself, and my people must be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be by the things which they suffer. Therefore, in consequence of the transgression of my people, it is expedient in me that my Elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion, that they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands."
Hence we learn that the Saints in Jackson County and other localities, refused to comply with the order of consecration, consequently they were allowed to be driven from their inheritances; and should not return until they were better prepared to keep the law of God, by being more perfectly taught in reference to their duties, and learn through experience the necessity of obedience. And I think we are not justified in anticipating the privilege of returning to build up the center stake of Zion, until we shall have shown obedience to the law of consecration. One thing, however, is certain, we shall not be permitted to enter the land from whence we were expelled, till our hearts are prepared to honor this law, and we become sanctified through the practice of the truth.
The Lord required that those lands in Missouri should be obtained, not by force, but by purchase, through the consecrations of the properties of the Saints; and the manner was pointed out how these consecrations should be made, but it was disregarded.
"Wait a little season, for the redemption of Zion, that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty and the things which I require at their hands. For behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfill, I will fight your battles." But this he does require of us, that we attain to a devotion of heart and sanctification of feeling, that we be willing that all our substance be controled by counsel for the advancement of the kingdom of God. It is more than forty years since the Order of Enoch was introduced, and rejected. One would naturally think, that it is now about time to begin to honor it, and that we had gained sufficient knowledge and experience in the Lord's dealings with us, to prepare us with faith and devotion to cheerfully comply with all its principles and requirements. But how many of us, upon such a requisition, would follow the example of the young man referred to—turn away sorrowfully?
(Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 17: 10 - 11.)
Discourse by Elder Orson Hyde,
There is one very peculiar saying of our Savior in the New Testament which I believe I will quote. Said the Savior, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." This is a saying which very few people who live now seem to believe, for, apparently, the main object for which most people labor is to get rich, and hence, according to the saying of Jesus, to keep themselves out of the kingdom of God.
(Bruce A. Van Orden and Brent L. Top, eds., The Lord of the Gospels: The 1990 Sperry Symposium on the New Testament [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 159.)
When the rich young man asked Jesus what he needed to do to gain eternal life, Christ admonished him to "sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven." When the young man went away sorrowing, the Savior lamented that "it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:22, 25). Contrary to common belief, there is no gate in Jerusalem with this name, through which a camel, after shedding its load, might pass. Fn The Savior here refers to the impossibility of a camel passing through the eye of an actual sewing needle.
Why is it impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God? Because his wealth, like the cumbersome load on a camel, stands as condemning evidence that he places the acquiring and hording of riches above helping his fellow men and building the kingdom of God. The prophet Moroni condemned such people: "For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, . . . more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. . . . Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?" (Mormon 8:37, 39).
Astonished at the Savior’s strict pronouncement against the rich, those who heard asked, "Who then can be saved?" In the Joseph Smith Translation, the Savior responds, "It is impossible for them who trust in riches, to enter into the kingdom of God; but he who forsaketh the things of this world, it is possible with God, that he should enter in" (JST Luke 18:27).
There are members of the Church today who have "enough and to spare" and who say, "If the Brethren or the Lord ask me to give everything, I am prepared to do so." What they do not understand is that the Lord has asked.
"And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.
"But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.
"For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.
"Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment" (D&C 104:15-18).
(Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet, eds., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 5: The Gospels [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986], 352 - 353.)
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Luke 12:32-34.) This challenge was warmly extended to the rich young man whom Jesus loved: "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." (Matt. 19:21.) He went away sorrowing because he had great riches. It is hard for the rich to enter heaven—as hard even as for a camel to go literally through the eye of a needle.
(D. Kelly Ogden, Where Jesus Walked: The Land and Culture of New Testament Times [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 113.)
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle." (Matt. 19:24.)
The camel is mentioned in only three contexts in the New Testament. The first is John the Baptist being clothed with camel's hair and a leather (animal-skin) girdle. (See Matt. 3:4; Mark 1:6.) The second is the analogy Jesus made between a camel going through the eye of a needle and a rich man entering the kingdom of God. (See Matt. 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25.)
The camel going through the eye of a needle does not refer to some hypothetical little gate in or alongside a main city gate, through which a camel is supposed to edge his way on its knees after being stripped of its burden. The present writer has seen the remnants of numerous ancient cities and gates throughout the Near East, and his conclusion is that such a little gate did not exist! Such a notion is a figment of the imagination of someone who was probably trying to explain the image without understanding an important figure of speech that Jesus used.
The Greek word used for "needle," raphis, means "a sewing needle." In the Hebrew text of this passage, hamakhat is used, which is also the ordinary word for a sewing needle.To make his point, Jesus was using a purposefully extreme exaggeration, a literary device common to Hebrew tradition called hyperbole.
(Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 3: 303.)
Eternal life can come to those only who put first in their lives the things of God's kingdom; who love the riches of eternity more than a handful of mortal pelf; who are willing to forsake all and follow Christ. Where a man's treasure is, there will his heart be also. For this man, the needful thing was to overcome the love of money and the power of riches; for others of us, the testing process calls upon us to forsake some other prized possession or ardent desire; every man has his own Gethsemane. fn Having heard Jesus' counsel, the young man was sad and went away grieving, for he was richly endowed with this world's goods. Jesus then said to the disciples:
How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
Heretofore Jesus has said many things about laying up treasures in heaven. He has taught that a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that his soul possesses; he has spoken of those who lay up treasures for themselves and are not rich toward God; he has repeatedly called upon men to forsake all and follow him, and many such like things; but now he makes it almost seem as though rich men cannot be saved. His disciples are astonished. This is a straiter gate and a narrower path than they had supposed was the case. Jesus, in words of tenderness, responds to their feelings by amplifying his words:
Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Their astonishment increases. It is a common Jewish proverb that even in a man's dreams he will not see an elephant pass through the eye of a needle. It is a proverb that points to that which cannot be. As with an elephant, so with a camel; a bloated beast of gargantuan size cannot pass through an opening made only large enough for a silken thread. As Mark expresses it, "they were astonished out of measure," and asked among themselves, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus gives answer:
With men that trust in riches, it is impossible; but not impossible with men who trust in God and leave all for my sake, for with such all these things are possible.
Discourse by Elder Lorenzo Snow,
October 19, 1879.
(Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 20: 361-371.)
As a foundation for a few remarks this morning, I will read the 18th verse of the revelation commencing on page 337, Book of Doctrine and Covenants:
"Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my Gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall with the wicked lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment."
Also a few verses, contained in the same book, on page 123, commencing at the 3rd verse, which show what is required of every man in his stewardship.
"3. I, the Lord, have appointed them, and ordained them to be stewards over the revelations and commandments which I have given unto them, and which I shall hereafter give unto them;
"4. And an account of this stewardship will I require of them in the day of judgment:
"5. Wherefore I have appointed unto them, and this is their business in the Church of God, to manage them and the concerns thereof; yea, the benefits thereof.
"6. Wherefore a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not give these things unto the Church, neither unto the world:
"7. Nevertheless, inasmuch as they receive more than is needful for their necessities and their wants, it shall be given into my storehouse.
"8. And the benefits shall be consecrated unto the inhabitants of Zion, and unto their generations, inasmuch as they become heirs according to the laws of the kingdom.
"9. Behold, this is what the Lord requires of every man in his stewardship, even as I, the Lord, have appointed, or shall hereafter appoint unto any man.
"10. And, behold, none are exempt from this law who belong to the Church of the living God;
"11. Yea, neither the bishop, neither the agent who keepeth the Lord's storehouse, neither he who is appointed in a stewardship over temporal things."
The short time that I occupy this morning, I wish to speak in a manner that will be for our edification and mutual improvement in those things that pertain to our salvation.
We should realize the relationship that we sustain to the Lord our God, and the peculiar position we occupy. To properly discharge the obligations devolving upon us, we require supernatural aid. The character of the religion that we have espoused demands a certain course of conduct that no other religion that we know of requires of its adherents; and the nature of those demands upon us are such that no person can comply with them, unless by assistance from the Almighty. It is necessary that we comprehend, at least in part, the great and important blessings that we are to derive, eventually, by complying with the requirements of the religion or Gospel that we have received. The sacrifices that are required of us are of that nature that no man nor woman could make them, unless aided by a supernatural power; and the Lord, in proposing these conditions, never intended that his people should ever be required to comply with them unless by supernatural aid, and of that kind that is not professed by any other class of religious people. He has promised this aid. The demands upon us are of a peculiar nature, and, as I before said, no man or woman could comply with them, unless enlightened and sustained by the power of the Almighty.
The religion we have received is not a chimera. It is not something that has been devised by the cunning of man, but it is something that has been revealed by the Almighty. It is a fact. It is something that truly exists. It is something that is tangible. It is some thing that can be laid hold of by the minds of the Latter-day Saints. It is something that can be directly understood, and be fully comprehended, so that there can be no doubt in the mind of any Latter-day Saint in regard to the nature and character of the ultimate outcome of the course that he proposes to pursue in complying with the demands of the Gospel he has received. But those demands are of a nature that perhaps would be almost appalling to the minds of individuals that were darkened, that had no light or understanding in regard to the outcome that is expected to be experienced by the Latter-day Saints, inasmuch as they continue faithful in adhering to the principles which they have espoused.
These demandsare not of a nature that have no parallel in the history of the people of God. They were required in every age and period when God called a people to serve him, and to receive his laws. They were required in the days of Israel, in the beginning of that people. They were required of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They were required of Moses, and of the people that he led from Egyptian bondage. They were required by all the prophets that existed from the days of Adam to the present period of time. They were required by the apostles that received their commission by the laying on of the hands of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, and by the adherents of the religion that the apostles proclaimed and taught to the people, in their day and no man or set of men or class of people from the day of Adam to the present time, could comply with these requirements, except the people of God, as they were endowed with power from on high, which could proceed only from the Lord our God. And it would be simply foolish indeed to expect the Latter-day Saints in these days to comply with the celestial law, with the law that proceeds from God, and with his designs to elevate the people into his presence, except they were sustained by a supernatural power. The Gospel promises this. It promises the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is divine in its character, and which is not enjoyed by any other people, and which we are told by the Savior, should lead into all truth, and inspire those who possessed it, and give them a knowledge of Jesus, a knowledge of the Father, and of things pertaining to the celestial world; that it should inspire those who possessed it with a knowledge of things to come, and things that were past; and inspire them to an extent that they should enjoy supernatural gifts—the gift of tongues and prophecy, to lay hands upon the sick, by which they should be healed. Those who received this Gospel were promised these supernatural powers and gifts, and a knowledge for themselves, that they might not depend upon any man or set of men, in regard to the truth of the religion that they had received; but that they should receive a knowledge from the Father that the religion came from him, that the Gospel came from him, and that his servants had the right and authority to administer those ordinances, so that no wind of doctrine should shake them or remove them from the path in which they were walking; so that they might be prepared for the glory that should be revealed, and be made participators therein, so that they might endure any trial or affliction that it should be the will of God to be brought upon them, to prepare them more fully for celestial glory; so that they should walk not in darkness, but in the light and power of God, and be raised above the things of the world, and be superior to the things around them; so that they might walk independently beneath the celestial world, and in the sight of God and heaven, as free men, pursuing that course that should be marked out to them by the Holy Ghost; that course by which they could elevate themselves to knowledge and power, and thus prepare themselves to receive the glory that God proposed to confer upon them, and to occupy the exalted position to which God designed to raise them.
In view of this, Jesus told the young man who came to him and wished to know what he should do to inherit eternal life, to "keep the commandments." The young man replied that he had kept these commandments referred to from his youth upward. The Savior, looking upon him, saw there was still something lacking. The young man had kept the moral law, the law given to Moses, and for this Jesus loved him, but saw that there was one thing lacking. He was a rich man, and held influence in the world in consequence of his superior wealth. Jesus knew that before he could elevate him, or any other man, to the celestial world, it was necessary that he should be submissive in all things, and view obedience to the celestial law of the utmost importance. Jesus knew what was required of every man to gain a celestial crown—that nothing should be held dearer than obedience to the requirements of heaven. The Savior saw in this young man a cleaving to something that was not in accordance with the law of the celestial kingdom. He saw peradventure, a disposition in him to adhere in his feelings to that which was injurious to him, and would render a compliance to all the demands of the Gospel disagreeable or impossible, therefore he told him that he should go and sell all that he had, "and give to the poor, and follow him." This commandment made the young man feel sad and sorrowful. He looked upon riches as the great object in life, as bringing him the influence of the world, and all things that were desirable; as procuring him the blessings and enjoyments of life, and as the means of lifting him to high positions in society. He could not conceive the idea of a person's securing the blessings, enjoyments and privileges of life, and such things as his nature craved, independent of his wealth. But the Gospel was of a nature that provided for everything that was necessary to fulfil the wants and requirements of man and to make him happy. Riches were not so calculated; and the Lord desired him to give up these ideas, and to dislodge them from his mind and feelings, so he might secure him as his servant in all things. He desired this man to be wholly devoted to his service, and to go into his work with full purpose of heart, and follow the dictates of the Holy Spirit, and prepare himself for celestial glory. But this young man was not willing; it was too great a sacrifice. And the Savior said upon this occasion, "how hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of heaven. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." The disciples "were astonished out of measure" at this, "saying among themselves, who then can be saved?" They thought that no man could possess riches and be saved in the kingdom of God. This was the idea they received from the remarks of the Savior. But Jesus answered, "With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible."
Now, we want to look and see how this is possible. I have read in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants the revelations that have been given in these days to the Latter-day Saints, setting forth the requirements of God in relation to temporal affairs. Here are remarks that are pretty straight, which I have read, on page 337—"If any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion according to the law of my Gospel, he shall lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment." Now this is straight language, and looks perhaps, rather severe. When the Lord revealed his Gospel in these latter times to the world, he commenced teaching the people what was required of them in their temporal affairs, as he taught the young man and as he taught many others, and as the apostles were taught and others who received the Gospel under their administration. The greatest trouble that has ever been, probably that the Lord has had, with the people in any age, has been in reference to their temporal affairs, their financial matters. The Latter-day Saints at the present day, are very united in reference to their spiritual principles and doctrines. We see eye to eye in regard to principles that pertain to the doctrinal portion of the religion we have espoused; but when it comes to our temporal, our earthly possessions, and our conduct in relation to them, we seem to be little confused in reference to what is right and wrong, and more or less, we feel disposed to pursue our own course in regard to these matters and, as in the days of judges, "every man is doing what seems right in his own eyes." We seem to forget that the Lord has distinctly pointed out our duties, and that there is a little book, Doctrine and Covenants, that God has given by direct revelation in regard to these matters, by which we should be governed; we forget these things as it is natural for us to forget the things of God. We sometimes think of the many good things that we do, and imagine, perhaps, that because of these good acts, we are excusable in not bothering ourselves in reference to some other things that we do not perform. In giving his revelations to us in regard to these matters the Lord took certain individuals and made them examples to the Saints, and he wished the Saints to look upon these individuals and follow their examples. The Lord did not propose at first to call upon all the people at once and tell them what to do in relation to these temporal matters, because they were very ignorant and more or less covetous. In march 1830, one month before the organization of this Church, the Lord commenced to instruct, or lay down principles which should govern the people of God in all their temporal affairs. The foundation was raised as a standard, or beacon shining in a dark place, that every Latter-day Saint might look at and judge for himself what would be required. The first revelation that I recollect of that was given in regard to the temporal obligations of the Saints, or what should be required of them, was given to Martin Harris. You will find it on page 111, Book of Doctrine and Covenants. Martin Harris was a man who possessed considerable wealth, or at least was tolerably well of. The Lord gave him a revelation touching temporal affairs, the same as Jesus gave the rich young man. The Lord said to Martin Harris, "Impart a portion of thy property; yea, even part of thy lands, and all save the support of thy family." This revelation applied simply to Martin Harris, and not to everybody, only as you consider it an example to Latter-day Saints. But on page 161, Book of Doctrine and Covenants, there is a general commandment in connection with the divine law which was given in this revelation. It applies to everybody, as, for instance, "Thou shalt not lie," is a general commandment, and applicable to every Latter-day Saint. Here is the commandment, verse 55—"And if thou obtainest more than that which would be for thy support, thou shalt give it into my storehouse, that all things may be done according to that which I have said." In connecton with this subject, we find on page 233 that the Lord called together six of his Elders, and gave them commandments and revelation, and appointed unto them a stewardship: "Behold, and hearken, O ye inhabitants of Zion, and all ye people of my Church." Now this was quite extensive. "All ye people of my Church." The Lord was going to speak, here, something that concerned all the Saints, wherever they might be, whether in New York, Ohio, Missouri, Indiana or any other part of the world. "Hearken, O ye inhabitants of Zion, and ALL ye people of my Church, who are afar off." Now here is something which concerned all the Latter-day Saints, and which the Lord considered of vast importance to everybody worthy to be called by that name. He wanted all the inhabitants of Zion to pay particular attention to what he was going to say to these six of his Elders. It concerned everybody. The fact in the case was that he took these six Elders and made them an example to all the Saints. The revelation continues:
"Hear the word of the Lord which I give unto my servant Joseph Smith, jun., and unto my servant Martin Harris, and also unto my servant Oliver Cowdery, and also unto my servant John Whitmer, and also unto my servant Sidney Rigdon, and also unto my servant William W. Phelps, by way of commandment unto them;
"I, the Lord, have appointed them, and ordained them to be stewards over the revelations and commandments which I have given unto them, and which I shall hereafter give unto them."
Now this was a matter of some importance, especially to these six elders, to be appointed stewards over those things from which should accrue great temporal advantages. Perhaps some people might be jealous, or were jealous at that time, and supposed that they had reasonable grounds to be jealous, that the Lord should bestow such great advantages upon these elders, which they might use to the great disadvantage of the people of God. But we will discover that these matters were strictly guarded of the Lord, as also would every man who was appointed a steward in the kingdom of God be held in check.
"And an account of this stewardship will I require of them in the day of judgment."
Now, perhaps I do not believe as some do in regard to the United Order—that everybody is to come together and throw all their substance into a heap, and then come and take of it as they please, or that one man who does not understand temporal affairs at all should be placed as a steward over extensive concerns. I believe that there is an order in these things—a pleasing and an agreeable order—and that these things are arranged by the Lord in such a way that when people properly understand them they will be satisfied and admire them. It is because we do not get to understand the requirements of God that we are dissatisfied. God fixes these matters up and arranges them in such a way as will tend to the exaltation of every Latter-day Saint who is disposed to honor them. It is because of our ignorance that we are displeased with the requirements of the Lord.
Now, I believe in the independence of men and women. I believe that men and women have the image of God given them—are formed after the image of God, and possess Deity in their nature and character, and that their spiritual organization possesses the qualities and properties of God, and that there is the principle of God in every individual. It is designed that man should act as God, and not be constrained and controlled in everything, but have an independency, and agency, and the power to spread abroad and act according to the principle of godliness that is in him, act according to the power and intelligence and enlightenment of God, that he possesses, and not that he should be watched continually, and be controlled, and act as a slave in these matters. But that the law of God should proceed forth from him, and the constitution of the Most High God should be in him, and he should act in accordance with that. And, as the Lord has said—"I will write my name in the hearts of the people"—the law should proceed forth from their hearts.
And so far as the law of tithing is concerned, there is about it something that is not of the same nature and character as the law of the United Order. It was added because the people were not willing to comply with this noble and high celestial law, whereby they could act according to the light that is in them, and the power of the Almighty, by which they should be inspired. I read on:
"Wherefore I have appointed unto them, and this is their business in the Church of God, to manage them and the concerns thereof.
Now, was it designed that these six men should go and build fine houses, and spread abroad and obtain immense treasures of the earth, independent of the obligations devolving upon them to other people? There was great latitude given them, but they were held accountable unto the Lord. "I give you this latitude to exercise, but, remember, you are accountable; and an account of your stewardship will I require of you in the day of judgment." Some of these Elders had seen God and talked with him face to face, and angels had laid their hands upon their heads. They knew that there was a God in heaven. This was made clear to them by the power of the Almighty, and by angels making their appearance unto them, and talking with them as one man talks with another. Now, when we consider what the Lord said to these men that were thus enlightened, and had this wonderful experience, we see that it required a man to be a little careful how he acted in regard to these temporal affairs that were given to him in charge.
"Nevertheless, inasmuch as they receive more than is needful for their necessities and their wants, it shall be given into my storehouse." Now here was wherein they were limited. But yet in this matter they were left to their own judgment and philanthropy, which should be enlightened. But their philanthropy would be the philanthropy of God, and their intelligence, the intelligence of heaven.
"And the benefits shall be consecrated unto the inhabitants of Zion, and unto their generations, inasmuch as they become heirs according to the laws of the kingdom.
"Behold, this is what the Lord requires of every man in his stewardship, even as I, the Lord, have appointed, or shall hereafter appoint unto any man.
"And, behold, none are exempt from this law who belong to the Church of the living God."
Now this law should continue as long as salvation continued. (See page 337 1st verse) It never has been repealed. The law of tithing could not repeal this law. The law of tithing is a lower law, and was given of God. But the law of tithing does not forbid us obeying a higher law, the law of celestial union in earthly things. And the fact that we do not feel satisfied in simply obeying the law of tithing shows that it is a lesser law. Do you feel justified simply in obeying the law of tithing? Why, then, do you contribute to our temples and to bringing the people from the old countries, and to this object, and that, in thousands of ways, after you have properly and justly complied with the law of tithing? The fact that you do these things shows that you are not satisfied in merely obeying the law of tithing. In these contributions you are acting just as God designed you should act—by the light of the Holy Ghost that is in you. Now, this law is very distinctly portrayed, and the Lord has made it so plain that he is determined that no man shall misunderstand him. When he speaks he speaks in such a manner that there can be no dispute. He is not satisfied with telling it over once, he tells it the second and the third time; so that there can be no misunderstanding in regard to the mind of the Lord with reference to this law of a man's giving all, except that which is needed for his support, unto the Lord's storehouse. And observance of this law is what he says is required of every man in his stewardship. So that if the Latter-day Saints are appointed unto stewardships, or are satisfied to act as stewards before the Lord, this law is in force, and this law they should observe. I believe many do walk in the spirit of this law to a certain extent; and have complied with it, no doubt in a manner in which they are justified before God, while some, perhaps, have paid no regard to it whatever. Some so far ignore these principles that they become very miserly and covetous, and gather around them and their families what they consider they need now, and then lay up for future generations, when there is distress around them, and thousands of Saints in Europe and other parts who are groaning in poverty, under the iron hand of tyranny, not knowing from day to day where they are going to obtain a meal of victuals. Yet here are men among us who call themselves Latter-day Saints, who do not impart of their substance according to the law of the Gospel. I say God is displeased with such covetousness, and he will never prosper the Latter-day Saints who are guilty of such miserly conduct.
But as regards the law of tithing, it is in force upon the poor as well as the rich, and it seems that it acts almost unequally in some respects.
There is a widow, whose income is ten dollars; she pays one for tithing, and then has to appeal to the Bishop for support. Here is a rich man who has an income of one hundred thousand dollars, and pays ten thousand for his tithing. There remains ninety thousand, and he does not need it, but the poor widow requires much more than she had before complying with the law of tithing.
Now what would be the operation of the celestial law? The widow has not enough for her support, therefore nothing is required of her by the celestial law, or the law of the United Order. This rich man, with his ninety thousand dollars, continues to increase his riches, pays his tithing fully, and yet wholly disregards the law of stewardship, or the law of temporal union. I cannot believe that a Latter-day Saint is justified in ignoring the higher law. For, as we have read, "behold none are exempt from this law who belong to the Church of the living God." There is not a man within the sound of my voice who is exempt from this law, nor will he ever be until Jesus, the Son of God, comes in the clouds of heaven to set all things right: "yea, neither the Bishop, neither the agent who keepeth the Lord's storehouse, neither he who is appointed in a stewardship over temporal things." This will apply to the Bishops who reported here yesterday, and to every Latter-day Saint. We are under this law. We should act in the spirit of this law according to the light of God that is within us.
"It is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeably to this law which he has given, that he may tithe his people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names, enrolled with the people of God."
Now, this might be considered rather strong language, but this is a revelation of God that we profess to believe.
"Neither is their genealogy to be kept, or to be had where it may be found on any of the records or history of the Church;
"Their names shall not be found, neither the names of the fathers, nor the names of the children written in the book of the law of God, saith the Lord of Hosts."
That is, those that were not willing to abide the law of stewardship and consecration should be debarred of these blessings. It is the same today, and it has been so since the days of Adam in relation to these matters.
Now, when the Lord established this Church, he was very anxious to bring the people to this order of things; and we find some thirteen revelations in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that are given to explain these principles of the United Order—the law of consecration and stewardship. Men were to have their stewardship—to have possession of property—but they were to hold it as servants of God, not as their own individual property, particularly, but they were to be made stewards over that property, after they had consecrated to the Lord, and to receive according to their abilities, and manage according to the gifts of God that were within them in regard to temporal affairs. If a man was capable of managing merchandise to the amount of one hundred thousand dollars, it would be proper that he should be made a steward over that amount. If a man was not capable of managing extensive concerns, it would be improper to make him steward over a large business. But every man would receive a stewardship in proportion to his capacity to oversee it for the general good.
Now a whole people, enlightened by the principles of High Heaven in regard to these matters—filled with the Spirit of God, with the spirit of understanding, the spirit of philantrophy, every man seeking the interest of his neighbour, having an eye single to the glory of God, putting his means into the Lord's treasury, and no man saying that anything is his, except as a steward before God—would be a pillar of financial strength, a sublime picture of holy union and fraternity, and equal to the most extreme emergencies. Then when any misfortune befalls a man, such as the burning of his property, or failure or trouble in his department of business, he could go to the treasurer and say, "I have need of a certain amount to assist me in my stewardship. Have I not managed the affairs of my stewardship in a wise manner? Can you not have confidence in me? Have I ever misused the means put into my hands? Has it not been wisely controlled? If so, give me means to help me in my stewardship or to build up this industry that is needed for the general interests of the whole." Well, it is to be given to him. There is confidence reposed in him because of his past conduct, and the course which he has pursued. He has due right in exercising his talents according to the light of the spirit that is within him. He understands fully the circumstances in which he is placed, and governs himself according to the obligations that rest upon him. He is found to be a wise, economical manager; and he is assisted in his stewardship to the extent of the means that he should have.
Now, were the Saints all acting in the spirit of these revelations, what a happy community we would be!We would all be safe, and no man would need remain awake at night thinking what he should do for his family to keep them from begging their bread, or going to the Bishop, which perhaps is only one degree better. And there would be a union that would be in accordance with the union of Enoch and his people, when they were taken to the world above—a union pleasing to the Almighty, and according to the principles of the celestial world.
But now how is it with us, with the people of Ogden and in other places? We distrust one another. Every man feels that he has no security in his neighbour in time of misfortune. We distrust our neighbors, because neighbors are not seeking the interest of one another. Every man is seeking how he can best help himself. This is too much so with the Latter-day Saints.
Now, this law, the United Order, was given in 1831-2. Men were commanded consecration of property. Bishop Partridge, seeing there was some misunderstanding, wrote to Joseph for an explanation in regard to the matter. Joseph in answer, says that in matters of consecration it should be left to the judgment of the consecrator how much he should give and how much retain for the support of his family, and not exclusively to the Bishop, for, if so, it would give the Bishop more power than a king possessed. There should be a mutual understanding between them, otherwise it should be left to a council of twelve High Priests. Now where is the Latter-day Saint, that cannot see a liberality, a generosity, in this matter, and be willing to submit to this tribunal. I would be willing to submit to the high council of this Stake of Zion, or the high council of any other Stake of Zion, and say, "Here is my property, say how much I ought to retain for my wives and children, and how much shall go into the common property of the Church?" But I think my bishop and myself could settle the business at once. Joseph says in that explanation, "it is not necessary that you should descend to particulars in regard to these matters.
I see I am occupying more time than I intended. There are many things that should be said in relation to these matters. The time is now that the Latter-day Saints should awake. These laws were given to govern the Saints. The Saints in misfortune would not obey them, and they were driven out.
We have been harassed from the beginning unto this day, and I fear will be, until we conform to this law, and are willing that God shall rule in regard to these temporal matters.
Let every man who stands in an official station, on whom God has bestowed his holy and divine priesthood, think of what the Savior said to the Twelve Apostles just before he went into the presence of his Father—"Feed my sheep." And he continued to say this until his apostles felt sorrowful that he should continue to call upon them in this manner. But, said he—"Feed my sheep." That is "Go forth with your whole heart, be devoted wholly to my cause. These people in the world are my brethren and sisters. My feelings are exercised towards them. Take care of my people. Feed my flock. Go forth and preach the Gospel. I will reward you for all your sacrifices. Do not think that you can make too great a sacrifice in accomplishing this work." He called upon them in the fervor of his heart to do this work. And now I call upon all who hold this priesthood, the presiding officers of this stake, and the bishops, and the high council, to go forth and feed the flock. Take an interest in them. Did you ever lose a child, and the parting struck keenly into your souls? Transfer a little of this deep feeling to the interests of the Saints over whom you are called to preside, and in whose interests you have received the holy priesthood. Work for them, and do not confine your thoughts and feelings to your personal aggrandizement. The God will give you revelation, inspiration upon inspiration, and teach you how to secure the interests of the Saints in matters pertaining to their temporal and spiritual welfare.
May God bless you, in the name of Jesus. Amen.