Builders of the Kingdom: “All this and heaven too?”

Builders of the Kingdom: “All this and heaven too?”

This article originally appeared in Pioneer Magazine, 2010 Vol.57 No.1

We have nothing else to do but…Build Up the Kingdom of God


January 27, 1883

The devil in different ages has made war against the Saints and overcome them; and he has tried his best to destroy this Church and Kingdom. As I have said, Joseph and the first Elders met with the fiercest kind of opposition; but, with some exceptions, we have stood it all, and are the better today for having passed through the fire. When we went upon our first foreign mission, Joseph said to us, “No matter what may come upon you, round up your shoulders and bear it, and always sustain and defend the interests of the Church and Kingdom of God.” When we took our departure, his demeanor in parting was something that I had never noticed or experienced before.

After crossing the Mississippi River I crawled to the side of a house and lay down upon a side of sole leather, while suffering from the chills and fever. While resting there the Prophet Joseph came along and saw me. He gave me some parting advice in answer to some remarks made, and then told me to get up and go on, and all would be well with me. That is the way I parted with him upon that occasion. From that day to this I have noticed the steady growth and increase of this people. We have nothing else to do but to build up the Kingdom of God. If we do this He will keep us and provide for us. We want to labor as a body of Priesthood, to enter into the holy of holies; we want to come before God, and pray until we get the spirit of this work, until we comprehend our calling before God.

There has never been such a dispensation upon the earth as the present one. In other dispensations men had to lay down their lives, and others to hide up in dens and caves of the earth, and wander in sheep skins and goat skins, for the word of God. We have had a taste of the same treatment in our day. And we have also seen days of poverty. When, for instance, we left to go on our first English mission, two dollars would have bought everything I left to feed and clothe my wife and children. I hardly had a day’s provisions in my house. It was a good deal so with my brethren; but we did not stay to nurse our wives.

Those were the days of our poverty; and we never knew what it was to be comfortably well off until we came to these valleys of the mountains. We had a great many trials in those days or what we called trials. I want to get this principle into your minds, that God Almighty is guiding the course of this Church and Kingdom, and not we; and He has organized it for this day and generation and it never will be rooted out of the earth again.

The Prophet Joseph knew what he was doing; in fact, he knew much more than he dared to tell on account of the prejudice, traditions, and unbelief of the people. I used to have peculiar feelings about his death and the way in which his life was taken. I felt that is, with the consent and good feelings of the brethren that waited on him after he crossed the river to leave Nauvoo, Joseph could have had his desire, he would have pioneered the way to the Rocky Mountains. But since then I have been fully reconciled to the fact that it was according to the programme, that it was required of him, as the head of this dispensation, that he should seal his testimony with his blood, and go hence to the spirit world, holding the keys of this dispensation, to open up the mission that is now being performed by way of preaching the Gospel to the “spirits in prison.”

But those who shed his blood, and the people and nation who sanctioned it in their hearts, have that to meet, and they can more escape the death of the body. My views and feelings in regard to the Twelve and leading men of this Church have been this, that when they leaven this stage of action they will be permitted to lie down in peace surrounded by their families and friends; and also, that God will never require them to stain their hands with the blood of their fellow men, in order to protect themselves from violence; but, that the Lord will fight our battles, and frustrate the measures that would lead to such an issue. And the wisdom of this is manifested in the fact that part of our duty is to build Temples, and officiate in the same; and this we could not do so acceptably to God if our hands were stained with the blood of our fellowmen, even in our own defense.

Hence, I believe that God will cause the wicked to slay the wicked; and that He will cut off our enemies by judgment from time to time, as it shall be deemed prudent by Him. All is peace in Zion, and I thank God for it. I am reminded of a saying made by Brother Cannon upon entering the well furnished parlor of one of President Merrill’s houses, of Richmond, in Cache County. “What,” he said, “all this and heaven too?” Yes, God intends to give to His Saints the good things of the earth, as well as the blessings of heaven, as they shall become able to use them properly.

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