Chapter 48: A Call for Unity, a Testimony, and a Blessing

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 352–59


In his youth Brigham Young searched for a religion that would satisfy his spiritual longings, but he was unable to find one. After being introduced to the Book of Mormon in 1830 and subsequently studying the restored gospel for almost two years, he knew that he had found the truth. He was baptized into the Church, and from that time forward he was unwavering in his testimony of the gospel, which, he said, “embraces all truth in heaven and on earth. … Wherever these principles are found among all the creations of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and His order and Priesthood, embrace them” (DNSW, 5 May 1866, 2). His strong testimony and complete devotion to the Church inspired the early Saints to meet the challenge of establishing homes in the wilderness and to unite in obeying the Lord’s command to build His Church and preach His gospel throughout the world. He proclaimed: “God, angels and good men being my helpers, I will never cease to contend, inch by inch, until we gain the ground and possess the Kingdom. That is my feeling and faith, and we will accomplish it, I will prophesy, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we will possess the Kingdom of God upon the whole earth” (DBY, 453). President Brigham Young’s testimony continues to inspire us today as we work together to build the kingdom of God.

Teachings of Brigham Young

True disciples of Jesus Christ strive to be united—of one heart and one mind.

We have come here to build up Zion. How shall we do it? I have told you a great many times. There is one thing I will say in regard to it. We have got to be united in our efforts. We should go to work with a united faith like the heart of one man; and whatever we do should be performed in the name of the Lord, and we will then be blessed and prospered in all we do (DBY, 284).

The faith of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is calculated to unite the people in one, and to bring them back to the unity and faith of those who obeyed the Gospel anciently, and finally to bring them back to glory (DBY, 283).

I pray, my brethren, the Bishops, the Elders, the Seventies, the Apostles, yea, every man and woman and child who has named the name of Christ, to be of one heart and of one mind, for if we do not become of one heart and mind we shall surely perish by the way [see Moses 7:18] (DBY, 281).

A perfect oneness will save a people, because intelligent beings cannot become perfectly one, only by acting upon principles that pertain to eternal life. Wicked men may be partially united in evil; but, in the very nature of things, such a union is of short duration. The very principle upon which they are partially united will itself breed contention and disunion (DBY, 282).

The religion of heaven unites the hearts of the people and makes them one. You may gather a people together, and no matter how widely they differ in politics, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will make them one, even if among them were found members of all the political parties in the country (DBY, 285).

We have not in our society an aristocratic circle. Whether a brother wears a coon skin cap or a fine beaver hat is all the same to us. If a person is a faithful servant of God we do not object to his coming to meeting, though he has only a piece of buffalo skin to wear on his head. We partake of the Sacrament with him, hail him in the street as a brother and a friend, converse with him, meet him in social parties and greet him as an equal (DBY, 283–84).

The Savior sought continually to impress upon the minds of His disciples that a perfect oneness reigned among all celestial beings—that the Father and the Son and their Minister, the Holy Ghost, were one in their administration in heaven and among the people pertaining to this earth. … If the heavenly hosts were not one, they would be entirely unfit to dwell … with the Father and Ruler of the universe (DBY, 282).

Jesus … prayed the Father to make His disciples one, as He and His Father were one. He knew that if they did not become one, they could not be saved in the celestial Kingdom of God. If persons do not see as He did while in the flesh, hear as He heard, understand as He understood, and become precisely as He was, according to their several capacities and callings, they can never dwell with Him and His Father [see John 17:20–21; 3 Nephi 19:23] (DBY, 281).

How is it that the Latter-day Saints feel and understand alike, are of one heart and one mind, no matter where they may be when they receive the Gospel, whether in the north, or the south, the east or the west, even to the uttermost parts of the earth? They receive that which was promised by the Savior when He was about to leave the earth, namely, the Comforter, that holy function from on high which recognizes one God, one faith, one baptism [see Ephesians 4:5], whose mind is the will of God the Father, in whom there dwelleth unity of faith and action, and in whom there cannot be division or confusion; when they received this further light, it matters not whether they have seen each other or not, they have at once become brothers and sisters, having been adopted into the family of Christ through the bonds of the everlasting covenant, and all can then exclaim, in the beautiful language of Ruth, “Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God”! [Ruth 1:16] (DBY, 282–83).

If we were one, we should then prove to heaven, to God our Father, to Jesus Christ our Elder Brother, to the angels, to the good upon the earth, and to all mankind that we are the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are not one, we are not in the true sense of the word the disciples of the Lord Jesus [see D&C 38:27] (DBY, 281).

Tabenacle for Brigham Young's funeral

The Salt Lake Tabernacle draped for the funeral of President Brigham Young.

President Young continually bore testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The gospel of salvation is expressly designed to make Saints of sinners, to overcome evil with good, to make holy, good men of wicked, bad men, and to make better men of good. Wherein we are wicked, wherein we have evil passions, the Gospel will aid us in overcoming evil. It gives us the influence, the power, the knowledge, the wisdom, and the understanding to overcome our weaknesses and to purify ourselves before the Lord our God (DBY, 448–49).

Our religion teaches us truth, virtue, holiness, faith in God and in his Son Jesus Christ. It reveals mysteries, it brings to mind things past and present—unfolding clearly things to come. It is the foundation of mechanism; it is the Spirit that gives intelligence to every living being upon the earth. All true philosophy originates from that fountain from which we draw wisdom, knowledge, truth, and power. What does it teach us? To love God and our fellow creatures; to be compassionate, full of mercy, long suffering, and patient to the froward [disobedient] and to those who are ignorant. There is a glory in our religion that no other religion that has ever been established upon the earth, in the absence of the true priesthood, ever possessed—It is the fountain of all intelligence; it is to bring heaven to earth and exalt earth to heaven, to prepare all intelligence, that God has placed in the hearts of the children of men, to mingle with that intelligence which dwells in eternity, and to elevate the mind above the trifling and frivolous objects of time which tend downward to destruction. It frees the mind of man from darkness and ignorance, gives him that intelligence that flows from Heaven, and qualifies him to comprehend all things (DNW, 1 June 1859, 1).

Our belief will bring peace to all men and good will to all the inhabitants of the earth. It will induce all who sincerely follow its dictates to cultivate righteousness and peace; to live peaceably in their families; to praise the Lord morning and evening; to pray with their families, and will so fill them with the spirit of peace that they will never condemn or chasten any one unless it is well deserved. They will rise in the morning with their spirits as smooth and serene as the sun that is rising and giving life and heat to the world; just as calm and as smooth as the breeze on a summer evening. No anger, no wrath, no malice, contention or strife (DBY, 449–50).

When people receive this Gospel, what do they sacrifice! Why, death for life. This is what they give: darkness for light, error for truth, doubt and unbelief for knowledge and the certainty of the things of God (DBY, 450).

The Saints in all ages have been protected, sustained and upheld by an Almighty Power in their sufferings, and the power of the religion of Jesus Christ has ever sustained them (DBY, 450).

Our religion has been a continual feast to me. With me it is Glory! Hallelujah! Praise God! instead of sorrow and grief. Give me the knowledge, power, and blessings that I have the capacity of receiving, and I do not care how the Devil originated, nor anything about him; I want the wisdom, knowledge, and power of God. Give me the religion that lifts me higher in the scale of intelligence—that gives me the power to endure—that when I attain the state of peace and rest prepared for the righteous, I may enjoy to all eternity the society of the sanctified (DBY, 451).

I feel happy. “Mormonism” has made me all I am, and the grace, the power, and the wisdom of God will make me all that I ever will be, either in time or eternity (DBY, 451).

The Lord has blessed me; he has always blessed me; from the time I commenced to build up Zion, I have been extremely blessed. I could relate circumstances of so extraordinary a character in regard to the providences of God to me, that my brethren and sisters would say in their hearts, “I can hardly give credence to this.” But my heart has been set in me to do the will of God, to build up his Kingdom on the earth, to establish Zion and its laws, and to save the people. … I do not love, serve or fear the Lord for the sake of getting rid of being damned, nor for the sake of getting some great gift or blessing in eternity, but purely because the principles which God has revealed for the salvation of the inhabitants of the earth are pure, holy and exalting in their nature. In them there is honor and eternal increase, they lead on from light to light, strength to strength, glory to glory, knowledge to knowledge, and power to power (DBY, 452).

I am so thankful … that I have the privilege of associating with the Saints, and of being a member in the Kingdom of God, and that I have friends in the Church of the Living God (DBY, 452).

“Mormonism” has done everything for me that ever has been done for me on the earth; it has made me happy; … it has filled me with good feelings, with joy and rejoicing. Whereas, before I possessed the spirit of the Gospel I was troubled with that which I hear others complain of, that is, with, at times, feeling cast down, gloomy, and despondent; with everything wearing to me, at times, a dreary aspect (DBY, 452).

But since I have embraced the Gospel not for one-half minute, to the best of my recollection, has anything worn to me a gloomy aspect (DBY, 453).

When surrounded by mobs, with death and destruction threatening on every hand, I am not aware but that I felt just as joyful, just as well in my spirits, as I do now. Prospects might appear dull and very dark, but I have never seen a time in this Gospel but what I knew that the result would be beneficial to the cause of truth and the lovers of righteousness, and I have always felt to joyfully acknowledge the hand of the Lord in all things (DBY, 453).

God, angels, and good men being my helpers, I will never cease to contend, inch by inch, until we gain the ground and possess the Kingdom. That is my feeling and faith, and we will accomplish it. I will prophesy, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we will possess the Kingdom of God upon the whole earth, and possess the earth (DBY, 453).

President Young promised blessings to the faithful Saints.

Brethren and sisters, inasmuch as I have the right and privilege, through the Priesthood, I bless you in the name of the Lord, and say, be you blessed. These are my feelings to the Latter-day Saints, and would be to all the human family, if they would receive my blessings (DBY, 456).

God bless every good man. God bless the works of nature, God bless his own work, overthrow the wicked and ungodly and them that would destroy their fellow beings, that war and contentions may cease on the earth. O Lord, remove these from office and place good men at the head of the nations, that they may learn war no more, but go to, like rational and civilized beings, sustain peace on the earth and do good to each other [see Isaiah 2:4] (DBY, 456).

I feel to bless you continually; my life is here, my interest, my glory, my pride, my comfort, my all are here, and all I expect to have, to all eternity is wrapped up in the midst of this Church (DBY, 456).

If I had power, I certainly would bless the people with everything their hearts could wish if they would not sin. … And if it were in my power I would bless all the inhabitants of the earth, with everything in which they could glorify God, and purify their own hearts (DBY, 457).

If the Lord had a people on the earth that he had perfect confidence in, there is not a blessing in the eternities of our God, that they could bear in the flesh, that he would not pour out upon them. Tongue cannot tell the blessings the Lord has for a people who have proved themselves before him [see 1 Corinthians 2:9–14] (DBY, 455).

Instead of the righteous being bound tighter and tighter, they will continue to have more and more liberty, as we are more and more faithful, and obtain more power with the heavens and more of the power of God upon us. Let us seek diligently unto the Lord, until we obtain the faith of Jesus in its fulness, for those who possess this are free indeed (DBY, 455).

I wish the people could realize that they walk, live, and abide in the presence of the Almighty. The faithful shall have eyes to see as they are seen, and you shall behold that you are in the midst of eternity and in the presence of holy beings, and be enabled ere long to enjoy their society and presence. You are greatly blessed (DBY, 454–55).

Do just as well as you know how in all things, never permitting yourself to commit an act unless the Spirit of God within you justifies you in doing it [see Moses 6:60]. And if you live every day of your lives according to the best light and understanding you possess, glorifying God, our Heavenly Father, just as far as your knowledge extends, I will promise you eternal life in the Kingdom of God (DBY, 455).

May God bless you! Peace be upon you! Be fervent in spirit, humble, teachable, and prayerful, taking care of yourselves, endeavoring to save yourselves, and all you have any influence over, which is my continual prayer for you, in the name of Jesus. Amen (DBY, 456).

Suggestions for Study

True disciples of Jesus Christ strive to be united—of one heart and one mind.

  • What does it mean for followers of Christ to “become perfectly one,” or “be of one heart and of one mind”? (See also John 17:20–21.)

  • Why is it essential that the Saints be united if we are to build up the kingdom of God? Why can’t any of us be saved in the celestial kingdom if we do not become one with each other?

  • How does the gospel enable Church members with social, economic, political, and cultural differences to be united in the work of the Lord?

  • How can we become truly “of one heart and of one mind” with our fellow Saints and with our Savior, Jesus Christ?

President Young continually bore testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • What effects of the gospel did President Young describe? How have you seen these effects occur in your life or the lives of those around you?

  • In what ways does the gospel help us “bring heaven to earth and exalt earth to heaven”?

  • President Young referred to his religion as “a continual feast.” How can we feast on the gospel? What teachings of President Young in this course of study have helped you better understand and appreciate the gospel?

  • How has the gospel of Jesus Christ filled you with joy and rejoicing?

President Young promised blessings to the faithful Saints.

  • How can members of the Church prove themselves before the Lord and show that they are worthy of the great blessings He has for them?

  • How does being “more and more faithful” lead to “more and more liberty” and power? Why do obedience and faith make us free?

  • How can you “live every day of your lives according to the best light and understanding you possess”?

  • How have President Young’s unwavering testimony and enthusiasm for the gospel influenced your life?