Called Unto Liberty, 19th Century Sermons, John Taylor
I have had it asked me by philosophers, “Is this the only way you propose to ameliorate the condition of the human family-faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, baptism for the remission of sins and the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost?” Yes, that is God’s way of doing it; that is the way He has pointed out. I remember, on one occasion, being in the city of Paris, and a gentleman came to me to inquire concerning the Gospel. He was associated with a system of socialism, very common in France, called Icarianism. A company of them went to Nauvoo after we left. This gentleman was a philosopher, and the society was trying to carry out its philosophy in France, and they aimed to bring about the Millennium. They never prayed to God, they were going to do it by human intelligence. This gentleman, whose name was Krolikrosky, called upon me, when after a lengthy conversation on the principles of our faith, said he, referring to faith, repentance, baptism and the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, the first principles of our Gospel: “Is this all you propose to ameliorate the condition of the world?” “Yes.” He answered, “I hope you will succeed, but I am afraid you will not.” “Permit me,” I said, “to draw your attention to one or two things. I am a religionist.” “Yes.” “I profess to have had revelation from God; you do not.” “That is so,” said he. “You have sent out to Nauvoo a number of your most intellectual men, well provided with means of every kind and with talent of the first order. Now what is the result? They have gone to a place that we have deserted; they found houses built, gardens and farms enclosed, nothing to do but to take possession of them?” “Yes. They found buildings of all kinds, public and private, in which they could live and congregate.” “Yes. Was there ever a people better situated in regard to testing your natural philosophy? You could not have hit upon a better place. It is a fertile country, on the banks of the most magnificent stream in the United States-the Mississippi. Houses built, gardens made, fields enclosed and cultivated. You have wise men among you-the wisest, the creme de la creme of your society, yet with all this and the favorable circumstances under which your people commenced there, what have you done? Every time that I take up a paper of yours the cry from there is, ‘Send us means;’ ‘we want means;’ ‘we are in difficulty;’ ‘we want more money.’ This is their eternal cry, is it not?” “Yes.” “Now,” said I, “on the other hand, we left our farms, houses, gardens, fields, orchards, and everything we had, except what we took along in the shape of food, seeds, farming utensils, wagons, carts, and we wandered for from ten to fifteen hundred miles, with hand-carts, ox teams and any way we could, and settled, finally, among the red savages of the forest. We had no fields to go to and no houses built; when we went there it was a desert-a howling wilderness, and the natives with which we were surrounded were as savage as the country itself. Now then, what is the result? We have only been there a few years, but what are we doing? We are sending money to bring in our emigration; we are sending hundreds of thousands of dollars, and have expended half a million a year in teams to bring in our poor from the nations. But what of you wise men who know not God, and think you know better than He does, what are you doing-you philosophers, intelligent men and philanthropists, crying out eternally, ‘Send us help?” Which is the best?” Said he, “Mr. Taylor, I have nothing to say.”
Source: John Taylor. An excerpt from his sermon, “How to Know the Things of God,” delivered at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on May 6, 1870, as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, Volume 13, p. 221.
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