FairMormon is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of LDS doctrine, belief and practice.
Journal of Discourses/16/8
MEETING OF ADAM WITH HIS POSTERITY IN THE VALLEY OF ADAM-ONDI-AHMAN—LOCATION OF THE VALLEY—THE COVENANT WITH ENOCH—RECORDS OF GOD'S DEALINGS WITH MEN FROM THE PERIOD OF THE CREATION—METHOD OF PRESERVING THE RECORDS OF ANCIENT PROPHETS—CHRIST'S ADVENT AMONG THE NEPHITES—FULFILLMENT OF GOD'S PURPOSES AND THE FULLNESS OF TIMES
|Unbelief—the Saints Require Constant Instruction—Contrast Between the Gospel of Christ and the Religions of Men—Evil Would Cease Among the Saints If They Would Live Their Religion—Gathering the Poor—Tithing—Knowledge of God—Progress of the Work is Due to the Operations of the Spirit||
A FairMormon Analysis of: Journal of Discourses 16: MEETING OF ADAM WITH HIS POSTERITY IN THE VALLEY OF ADAM-ONDI-AHMAN—LOCATION OF THE VALLEY—THE COVENANT WITH ENOCH—RECORDS OF GOD'S DEALINGS WITH MEN FROM THE PERIOD OF THE CREATION—METHOD OF PRESERVING THE RECORDS OF ANCIENT PROPHETS—CHRIST'S ADVENT AMONG THE NEPHITES—FULFILLMENT OF GOD'S PURPOSES AND THE FULLNESS OF TIMES, a work by author: Orson Pratt
|Improved Circumstances of the Saints in Utah—Potency of the Law of Tithing|
8: MEETING OF ADAM WITH HIS POSTERITY IN THE VALLEY OF ADAM-ONDI-AHMAN—LOCATION OF THE VALLEY—THE COVENANT WITH ENOCH—RECORDS OF GOD'S DEALINGS WITH MEN FROM THE PERIOD OF THE CREATION—METHOD OF PRESERVING THE RECORDS OF ANCIENT PROPHETS—CHRIST'S ADVENT AMONG THE NEPHITES—FULFILLMENT OF GOD'S PURPOSES AND THE FULLNESS OF TIMES
Summary: DISCOURSE BY ELDER ORSON PRATT, DELIVERED IN THE TABERNACLE, OGDEN, SUNDAY MORNING, MAY 18, 1873 (Reported by James Taylor)
Having been requested to speak this forenoon, and to continue the subject upon which we were addressed yesterday afternoon, I cheerfully do so, hoping that I may have the attention of the congregation, as far as possible, that I may be able to make all hear.
The subject upon which brother Taylor addressed the congregation yesterday afternoon, and upon which a few words were said by those who followed him, is one of very great importance in its bearings upon the present generation; for all things that have once been revealed, and which are now lost, will be revealed anew, in order to fulfill that passage of Scripture recorded in the 11th chap. of Isaiah and 9th verse, "The knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea." Things of all former dispensations will be made manifest and revealed anew in the great dispensation of the fullness of times. And in order to understand more clearly the things that are to be revealed and made manifest again to the inhabitants of the earth, it may not be amiss for me to refer to some of the past records of antiquity that were revealed from heaven for the benefit of past generations. The first one that occurs to my mind will be found in the Book of Covenants, page 79, paragraph 29:
"And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation, and notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest genera-
tion. These things were all written in the Book of Enoch, and are to be testified of in due time."
Adam was the first personage placed on the earth, in the Garden of Eden, and having transgressed, and having been cast out of the Garden of Eden, and having fulfilled a long probation, amounting to almost a thousand years, he concluded to gather together his children, which he did three years previously to his death. As recorded on the same page, he gathered Seth, Enos, Cainaan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch and Methuselah, who were successive descendants, making eight generations in all, including himself, into the valley of Adam-ondi-ahman. This was nearly a thousand years after Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden, seven generations of his children, or the righteous portion thereof, were gathered together in that valley. And here it may not be amiss for me to say a few words in relation to the location of that interesting meeting or conference.
The valley of Adam-ondi-ahman, according to the views and belief of the Latter-day Saints, was located on the western hemisphere of our globe. (I would here say, that as the greater portion of this congregation are Latter-day Saints, the proofs and evidences which I shall bring forth, in relation to the matters before me, will be selected from those books which are believed by them, which may not be particular evidence to strangers, but to the Latter-day Saints they will be undisputed evidence.) Adam-ondi-ahman, the Valley of God, where Adam dwelt, was located about fifty miles north of Jackson County, in the State of Missouri. The Lord has revealed to us that Adam dwelt there towards the latter period of his probation. Whether he had lived in that region of country from the earliest period of his existence on the earth, we know not. He might have lived thousands of miles distant, in his early days. It might have been upon what we now term the great eastern hemisphere, for in those days the eastern and Western hemispheres were one, and were not divided asunder till the days of Peleg. Adam might have migrated from the great east, gathered up with the people of God in connection with the Church of Enoch, and formed a location in the western boundaries of Missouri. This is not revealed.
The object of this grand meeting of our great ancestors, was that Adam might bestow a great Patriarchal blessing upon his descendants. Hence the righteous of his posterity were gathered on that occasion. He pronounced upon them his last blessing. They were favored on that occasion, for the Lord appeared unto them. This meeting was very interesting in its nature, and the Lord was very much interested, as well as the people. He appeared to this vast congregation, and imparted comfort to Adam in his old age. And Adam was filled with the Holy Ghost. Notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being filled with the Holy Ghost, he predicted what should come to pass among his posterity to the latest generations. Hence he must have spoken concerning all the following dispensations, that were to be revealed from time to time to the children of men. He must have spoken concerning the spreading of his posterity after the days of Noah, and of the great work of God being established on the earth in the latter days, and concerning the second advent of the Son of God, concerning the great day of rest, the period when Satan should be bound. All these things were written in the Book
of Enoch, who was present on that occasion. And this book is to be testified of, in due time, to the Saints of the last days. This will be one of the means by which God will fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah, that "the knowledge of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the great deep."
Saying nothing about the prophecies of Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel and Jared, we will next come down to the days of Enoch. Enoch prophecied of all things, as well as his great ancestor, Adam. A few of his words are translated, and brought to light by the Prophet Joseph Smith, and published in the various publications of this Church—in the "Evening and Morning Star," the "Pearl of Great Price," etc. This prophecy, though very short, as far as it has been revealed, unfolds marvelous principles, showing that his eyes were opened to see things that were past, and things in the future, all of which were recorded in the Book of Enoch, which is to be brought to light and revealed in the latter times. Among the things revealed to Enoch was the knowledge of the flood, which was to take place. And the Lord made a covenant with Enoch, that He would set His bow in the clouds—just as it afterwards was given to Noah—not as a mere token alone that the Lord would no more drown the world, but as a token of the new and everlasting covenant that the Lord made with Enoch. The words of this covenant I will repeat, as far as my memory will serve: "I will set my bow in the clouds, and I will look upon it, and remember the everlasting covenant I have made with you. That in the latter days, when men shall keep all my commandments, Zion shall look upwards and the Heavens shall look downwards," etc. The bow that was set in the clouds was to be a token, between God and the inhabitants of the earth, of the bringing again of Zion, and of the assembling of the Saints of all dispensations. Therefore, when I have seen the bow in the clouds, it causes me to remember the covenant that God made in those early ages, and which is soon to be fulfilled in the last dispensation of the fulness of times. How great and how important is this covenant with the Zion which was built up by Enoch, which was to be taken up into heaven and remain sanctified as a place of the Lord's abode forever! where he should dwell in the midst of his people, and where he should behold their faces, and they should behold his face. That this ancient Zion, and all the inhabitants thereof, should come from heaven and reign on the earth, and that Jesus should come with them. And for fear that the Saints should forget this, a beautiful bow was placed in the clouds, that they might remember that the Lord was looking upon them, and that he would remember his covenant with Enoch in regard to bringing his Zion again. This we find in the periodicals of the Church. When this time shall come that the Lord will bring again ancient Zion, this will assist in filling the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the great deep; and will serve to put us in possession of the history of Zion, of the order of that ancient people, when they walked in righteousness three hundred and sixty-five years before they were prepared for a translation to heaven.
When we come to converse with Enoch and his city face to face, and hear from their own mouths the declaration of their own history, and the preaching of the Gospel in that age of the world, it will unfold a vast amount of knowledge in
regard to the events before the flood.
We come down to the days of Noah. He was a righteous man, and called of God to preach the Gospel among the nations as it was revealed to his forefathers, and before the days of the flood, so great was the faith of many of the people, after the days that Enoch's city was caught up, that the Holy Ghost fell upon them, and they were caught up by the power of heaven into the midst of Zion—the Zion of Enoch. Thus we have further knowledge revealed to us.
Noah, after having preached the Gospel and published glad tidings among the nations, was commanded to build an ark. He had a Urim and Thummim by which he was enabled to discern all things pertaining to the ark, and its pattern. He was a great Prophet, and predicted many things, and his records, no doubt, were hidden up, and will come forth in due time, when the Lord shall cover the earth with his knowledge as the waters cover the great deep.
Many people have supposed that Moses was the first man, and the people of his day the first generation that knew anything about written characters, and that all the people, from the days of Adam down to Moses, did not know how to put their thoughts in the form of writing; but let me inform you how writing commenced. We read in the Book of Enoch, in the "Pearl of Great Price," that the Lord taught Adam how to write records by the inspiration of his Spirit. And it was given him concerning the mode of placing his thoughts in the form of writing. This is recorded in the Book of Enoch, and the "Pearl of Great Price."
The people before the flood did not lose the art of writing, but they wrote their revelations, visions, etc., in the language of Adam—the first language given to man. This knowledge was retained through the flood.
We come down to the days of the building of the Tower of Babel, soon after the flood. About the time of Abraham the Tower of Babel was built. The people being of one language, gathered together to build a tower to reach, as they supposed, the crystalized heavens. They thought that the City of Enoch was caught up a little ways from the earth, and that the city was within the first sphere above the earth; and that if they could get a tower high enough, they might get to heaven, where the City of Enoch and the inhabitants thereof were located. They went to work and built a tower. They had this tradition, that there had been a translation of people from the earth, and they were anxious to become acquainted with them; but the Lord saw that they were one, and that they all had one language, and that nothing would be restrained from them which they imagined to do; and, as a curse, he sent a variety of tongues—took from them their own mother-tongue. The language of Adam was all forgotten in a moment; and independently of taking away from them the knowledge of their own tongue, he gave them a multitude of other tongues, so that they could not understand one another. In those days there were a few righteous individuals living at the Tower, among whom was Jared, a very good man, and his brother. When they understood, by the spirit of prophecy, that the Lord was about to scatter the people to the four corners of the earth, the brother of Jared called upon the Lord, by the request of Jared, that the Lord might lead them to a choice land. Did they come
upon this great western hemisphere without a knowledge of God? No. Without any written record? No. Read the Book of Mormon, page 530, or, in other words, the Book of Ether, and you will find there recorded, several generations after the Israelites came from the Tower of Babel and landed upon this continent, that there was a certain woman, the daughter of one of the ancient men of note, that referred her father to those records which their fathers brought from the Tower of Babel; told her father what was recorded in them. "Hath my father not read the record which our fathers brought across the great deep? Behold, is there not an account concerning them of old; that they, by their secret plans did obtain kingdoms and great glory." She put it in the heart of her father, Jared, to follow those wicked acts which were entered into by Cain. It shows that the Jaredites did not come here without a record of the things from the days of Adam, down; they had it with them. They kept it with them, and multiplied copies in the midst of their nation. But you may ask, how do we know about this first colony that came to this continent? How came we in possession of this knowledge? It was by the records which they themselves kept. The Jaredites, acquainted with the art of writing, kept their records. And among the host of records kept by them, were twenty-four plates of pure gold, which were kept by the Prophet Ether, some 1600 or 1800 years after their colony came to this land, from the Tower of Babel. He kept a record. These records were carried by Ether from the hill Ramah, afterwards called Cumorah, where the Jaredites were destroyed, as well as the Nephites. He carried them forth towards South America, and placed them in a position north of the Isthmus, where a portion of the people of King Limhi, about one hundred years before Christ, found them. I will read you a little description of their being found. On page 161, Book of Mormon, it appears that the people of Limhi were a certain colony that had left the main body of the Nephites, and had settled in the land where Nephi built and located his little colony, soon after their landing on the western coast of South America. After landing, and after the death of his father Lehi, Nephi was commanded of God to take those who would believe in the Most High, and flee out from his brethren. And they traveled many days' journey to the northward, and located in a land which they called the Land of Nephi, and dwelt there some four hundred years. And then because of the wickedness of the people they were threatened with a great destruction. The Lord led Mosiah out of the Land of Nephi, and led him still further north, some twenty days' journey, and they located on the River Sidon, now called Magdalena, which runs from the south to the north. And there they found a people called the people of Zarahemla. And some of the Nephites desired to return to the Land of Nephi, which they did. In about a century afterwards, there being no communication between the colonies, they sent out a number of men to see if they could find the people of Zarahemla. And they were lost, and came to a part of a country covered with bones. This is what I am going to read. And as a testimony that these things were true they brought twenty-four plates of gold, and breast-plates of brass and copper, and swords, &c.
Book of Mormon, page 161:
"And it came to pass that after
King Limhi had made an end of speaking to his people, for he spake many things unto them, and only a few of them have I written in this Book, he told his people all the things concerning their brethren who were in the land of Zarahemla, and he caused that Ammon should stand up before the multitude, and rehearse unto them all that had happened unto their brethren from the time that Zeniff went up out of the land. And he also rehearsed unto them the last words which King Benjamin had taught them, and explained them to the people of King Limhi, so that they might understand all the words which he spake. And it came to pass that after he had done all this, that King Limhi dismissed the multitude, and caused that they should return, every one unto his own house."
"And it came to pass that he caused that the plates which contained the record of his people, from the time that they left the land of Zarahemla should be brought before Ammon, that he might read them. Now, as soon as Ammon had read the record, the king inquired of him to know if he could interpret languages, and Ammon told him that he could not. And the king said unto him, being grieved for the afflictions of my people, I caused that forty and three of my people should take a journey into the wilderness, that thereby they might find the land of Zarahemla, that we might appeal unto our brethren to deliver us out of bondage; and they were lost in the wilderness for the space of many days, yet they were diligent, and found not the land of Zarahemla, but returned to this land, having traveled in a land among many waters; having discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, &c., and was also covered with the ruins of buildings of every kind; having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel. And for a testimony that the things that they have said are true, they have brought twenty-four plates which are filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold. And behold, also, they have brought breast plates, which are large, and they are of brass and of copper, and are perfectly sound. And again, they have brought swords, the hilts thereof have perished, and the blades thereof were cankered with rust; and there is no one in the land that is able to interpret the language or the engravings that are on the plates. Therefore I said unto thee canst thou translate? And I say unto thee again, knowest thou of any one that can translate? for I am desirous that these records should be translated into our language; for, perhaps, they will give us a knowledge of a remnant of the people, who have been destroyed, from whence these records came; or perhaps they will give us a knowledge of this very people who have been destroyed; and I am desirous to know the cause of their destruction."
"Now Ammon said unto him, I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded lest he should look for that he ought not, and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them is called seer. And behold, the king of the people, who is in the land of Zarahemla is the man who is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God."
I have read this to give you an idea how the Israelites that inhabited this continent, before the days of Christ, came to the knowledge of the first colony that came from the Tower of Babel. This company, that was lost in the wilderness, brought these plates, with breast plates and swords, the hilts thereof having perished, and the blades thereof having cankered with rust.
Now Mosiah, the king, that dwelt in the land of Zarahemla, was the man that was called of God to translate. He had the gift and power given to him to translate these twenty-four plates. We have an account, on another page of the Book of Mormon, of his translating these plates; and that it gave an account of the people from the days of Adam down to the flood,—to the days of the Tower of Babel, and down to the days they were destroyed.
Now will this record ever be brought to light to help fill the earth with the knowledge of God? Let me refer you to what is recorded in the Book of Ether, page 516:—
"And now I, Moroni, proceed to give an account of those ancient inhabitants who were destroyed by the hand of the Lord upon the face of this north country. And I take mine account from the twenty and four plates which were found by the people of Limhi, which is called the Book of Ether. And as I suppose that the first part of this record, which speaks concerning the creation of the world, and also of Adam, and an account from that time even to the great Tower, and whatsoever things transpired among the children of men until that time, is had among the Jews, therefore I do not write those things which transpired from the days of Adam until that time;" (Now notice the next sentence;) "but they are had upon the plates; and whoso findeth them, the same will have power that he may get the full account."
They are not yet found. We have the Book of Ether, that is not one-hundredth part of the contents of those twenty-four plates. But a very short account. Whose findeth these twenty-four plates will have power to get the full account; for they give a history from the days of Adam through the various generations to the days of the flood, from the days of the flood down to the days of Peleg, and from the days of Peleg to the Tower, which was very nearly cotemporary with Peleg. And from that time for some sixteen or eighteen centuries after they landed on this continent. The prophecies of their Prophets in different generations, who published glad tidings of joy upon the face of all the northern portion of this continent. Their records and doings are all to come to light, and these will help to fulfill the words of our text that the knowledge of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the great deep.
But we will pass along and come to the second colony, that the Lord brought out of Jerusalem, six hundred years before Christ. Did they bring any records with them? Had they the art of writing? Yes. When they lived among the Jews the art of writing was extensively known among the Jews. It was their art to write in the Egyptian language, as Nephi testifies on the first page of the Book of Mormon. "Therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days; yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians." A language which their forefathers learned, while they dwelt in Egypt, and which they were familiar with, but probably lost it in some measure, but still re-
tained a portion of it, and wrote their records in the same.
Now if you will appeal to Biblical history you will find that the Israelites did write their records, in ancient times, upon metallic plates, and that these plates were connected together, with rings, passing through the leaves. Through the whole a stick was placed for carrying the record. This description we have given by those who have deeply studied concerning the Scriptures and the ancient doings of the Israelites. When Lehi left Jerusalem, there was a certain man that lived in Jerusalem, that had kept records upon brass plates. And these records, we are informed had been handed down from the early ages of the Israelites, until Lehi left Jerusalem. They contained a copy of the genealogy of the tribe of Joseph in the land of Palestine. Laban being a descendent of Joseph, the records had fallen into his hands. Lehi was commanded to send his sons to obtain these records; for he had pitched his tent on the eastern borders of the Red Sea. The history of his obtaining them you will find recorded in the Book of Mormon. On the 10th page it reads—"And it came to pass, that they did rejoice exceedingly, and did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings unto the Lord; and they gave thanks unto the God of Israel. And after they had given thanks unto the God of Israel my father Lehi took the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and he did search them from the beginning. And he beheld that they did contain the five books of Moses, which gave an account of the creation of the world, and also of Adam and Eve, who were our first parents; and also a record of the Jews from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah; and also the prophecies of the holy Prophets, from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, and also many prophecies which have been spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah."
"And it came to pass that my father Lehi also found upon the plates of brass, a genealogy of his fathers; wherefore he knew that he was a descendant of Joseph; yea, even that Joseph who was the Son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt, and who was preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he might preserve his father Jacob and all his household from perishing with famine. And they were also led out of captivity and out of the land of Egypt, by that same God who had preserved them. And thus my father Lehi did discover the genealogy of his fathers. And Laban also was a descendant of Joseph, wherefore he and his fathers had kept the records."
"And now when my father saw all these things, he was filled with the spirit, and began to prophecy concerning his seed; that these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people who were of his seed. Wherefore he said that these plates of brass should never perish, neither should they be dimmed any more by time. And he prophecied many things concerning his seed."
I have read this in order to come to another thing that has a bearing upon our text. These plates of brass, contained the prophecies of all the holy Prophets from the beginning—from the days of Adam; hence they must have contained the prophecies of Enoch, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph in Egypt. The prophecies of Isaiah and many others of the holy Prophets were contained upon these plates of brass. Notwithstanding brass is a metallic
substance capable of being dissolved and crumbling back, in a few years to the elements, yet there was a miracle wrought upon these plates of brass. The Prophet said that these plates of brass should not be dimmed by time, that God would preserve them to the latest generations. What for? In order that they might come forth and their contents be translated by the Urim and Thummim, that these contents might be declared to all nations, and kindreds, and tongues, and people, who were the descendants of Lehi upon the face of all this continent, from the frozen regions of the north to the very utmost extremities of South America. That all these nations should come to a knowledge of the things contained on those plates of brass.
Now the Lord did many things of this kind in ancient days. If there should be any strangers present let me show you how the Lord can do many wonderful things. Let me refer you to the pot of manna the substance of which would not keep over twenty-four hours, except on Sunday, and then it was preserved from becoming nauseous. But on a certain occasion the children of Israel were to collect a pot of this manna, and it was placed in the Tabernacle of the congregation, and instead of becoming nauseous, it remained just as fresh in future generations, as on the morning it was gleaned up.
Certain rods were gathered up to represent the twelve tribes of Israel, and Aaron's rod budded and blossomed in one night; and that was handed down from generation to generation. And hence we see that God did work miracles for his people on the eastern continent. Is it any more marvelous that he should preserve the brass plates from being dimmed by time? No. They exist, and in the own due time of the Lord, he will inspire a mighty seer, and give him the Urim and Thummim, and enable him to bring forth these sacred scriptures.
Now, to show you the value of the scripture of the brass plates, over the Jewish records, translated by King James, let me refer you to the Book of Mormon. On the 24th page, speaking of the coming forth of these records, the angel said to Nephi, "The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy Prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many." That is, there are not so many prophecies and revelations contained in the Jewish Bible of our day as there were upon the plates of brass. Nevertheless they contained the covenants of the Lord, which he has made with the House of Israel; therefore they are of great worth unto the children of men.
If you will turn to the Book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon, page 122, you will find a lengthy prophecy, or parable of the olive tree, quoted from the brass plates, by which the house of Israel is represented—a parable of their being planted in the Lord's vineyard; a parable of the great work of the Lord in the last days, when his servants should be called to labor and gather these young branches and graft them into their own olive tree. This parable was revealed to the Prophet Zenos, and gives great instruction. We could also refer you to some four or five other places where Zenos and Zenock prophecied concerning the restoration of all the house of Israel in the latter days; and concerning
the descendants of Joseph. And Lehi, being of the seed of Joseph, was interested in relation to his future generations, and therefore understood the whole history of these remnants of Joseph, and prophecied concerning them; a few quotations being given in the Book of Mormon. They understood concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus in the flesh, his crucifixion and resurrection from the dead; and the signs shown forth to the remnants of Israel scattered to the four corners of the earth and the islands of the sea; and the great destruction which should come upon the people because of their wickedness.
I will refer you to the prophecies of Joseph in Egypt. In order to show you what is said concerning him, as a Prophet, I will refer you to page 62, Book of Mormon. "And now, I, Nephi, speak concerning the prophecies of which my father hath spoken, concerning Joseph, who was carried into Egypt. For behold he truly prophecied concerning all his seed, and the prophecies which he wrote, there are not many greater. And he prophecied concerning us, and our future generations; and they are written upon the plates of brass."
Search all the records you can find, and you will find that Joseph has prophecied concerning as great things as any other prophet that ever lived. Now these plates of brass were handed down. We have an account of them by Alma, the Prophet. And concerning the Urim and Thummim, they were also handed down.
But we will now come down to the days of Jesus. From the time that Lehi left Jerusalem to the days of Jesus, there were a great many records kept by the remnant of Joseph, upon this land. The book of Mormon does not contain one hundredth part of the records of these prophets. Now did they keep all of them on plates, or did they multiply them by thousands of copies on this land? Let me refer you to page 388, of the Book of Mormon. "And now behold all those engravings which were in the possession of Helaman, were written and sent forth among the children of men throughout all the land, save it were those parts which had been commanded by Alma should not go forth. Nevertheless these things were to be kept sacred, and handed down from one generation to another." What period of time was this? Only fifty-two years before the birth of Christ. Fifty-four years before Christ as we find on page 387, (Book of Mormon), there was a large company of men, 5,400 with their wives and children, went out of the land of Zarahemla, to the land northward, and in a few years afterwards, as you will find on pages 393 and 394, they went forth by thousands, and also sent forth colonies by sea, and timber to build cities; and they built houses of cement; and many cities of timber. And the people became very numerous. Now to confine the sacred records in one place, and to keep the people in ignorance in regard to their contents, would not be reasonable. Hence we are informed that they were written and sent forth throughout all the land, and this will account for the extracts from the Scriptures written in ancient Hebrew, discovered in the mounds that have been opened in Ohio, among which were the ten commandments. The people of this land were well acquainted with the Scriptures.
Go to the City of Amonihah in the northern part of South America. They had become wicked, yet they had the Holy Scriptures; and they brought them forth and burned them
with fire, and all that believed in them were burned in the fire. (See Book of Mormon, page 249.) Showing that the people had many copies of the Scriptures. And, again we find that the Nephite missionaries who went among the Lamanites, carried with them copies of the Scriptures; and that by the means of these copies they convinced the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers.
When Jesus came to this continent he taught the people several days. And these things were written upon the plates of Nephi. But Mormon made an abridgement of these writings, and he states, on page 484: "And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people; but behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people; and these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people, and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken. And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it so be that they shall believe these things, then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them. And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation. Behold I was about to write them all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbid it, saying, I will try the faith of my people; therefore I, Mormon, do write the things which have been commanded me of the Lord. And now I, Mormon, make an end of my sayings, and proceed to write the things that have been commanded me; therefore I would that ye should behold that the Lord did truly teach the people, for the space of three days; and after that, he did show himself unto them oft, and did break bread oft, and bless it, and give it unto them."
Thus we perceive that we have not the one-hundreth part of the teachings of the greatest of all prophets, even our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,—the words that he delivered to the ancient Nephites. The Nephites understood all these marvelous things. No doubt there were many instructions—a vast amount of instructions—in regard to their property; for they had all things common, both in North and South America, among the millions of this land, for one hundred and sixty-seven years. After which, in the year two hundred and one after the birth of Christ, they began to withdraw from this order, and began to be divided into different classes, &c. Now, if we had all the teachings of Jesus, we would find the order of things that preserved equality upon this continent during all that period of time; which would give us a vast amount of knowledge concerning the things which we must enter into.
But will these things be brought to light? Yes. The records, now slumbering in the hill Cumorah, will be brought forth by the power of God, to fulfill the words of our text, that "the knowledge of God shall cover the earth, as the waters cover the great deep."
Again, Jesus, on the last visit to the Nephites, called up his twelve disciples and pronounced a certain blessing upon them, and especially upon three of them. Mormon says, concerning these three that were to tarry, that great works shall be wrought by them before the great
day of the Lord shall come. Then he says, that if you had all the Scriptures, you would know that these things would be fulfilled. We would know a great many things if we only had these Scriptures and revelations. They are to be revealed to fill our earth with the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the great deep.
Not only the records of the ancient inhabitants of this land are to come forth, but the records of those who slept on the eastern hemisphere. The records of John, him who baptized the Lamb of God, are yet to be revealed. We are informed in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, page 245, that the fullness of the record of John, is to be revealed to the Latter-day Saints.
But shall we stop with these records? No. Let me repeat to you the words of the Lord. The Lord said to Nephi, speaking of the latter days, that the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews, and the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews; and I will gather the people from the four quarters of the earth; and my words shall be gathered in one, (See Book of Mormon, page 108), the records of the Nephites upon this land. And the numerous people that have been planted on the islands of the sea, are to be gathered in one; for they were righteous in some of their earlier generations; and that knowledge is yet to be brought forth; and when these islands shall deliver up their people, their records shall be gathered in one.
And again, concerning what the people say, "we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible." "Know ye not that I am the same God, yesterday and forever; and it shall come to pass, that I shall speak to the Jews, and they shall write it. I shall speak to the lost tribes of Israel, and they shall write it. I will speak to all the nations of the earth, and they shall write it. And by my words that are spoken, shall the children of men be judged according to their deeds. All these things shall come forth to fill the earth with the knowledge of God.
We go to the book of Doctrine and Covenants, where we find that the Lord is to reveal many of his great and marvelous purposes, that have been kept hid from the foundation of the world; and things that have not been revealed to any former generation. It is not enough that these different records referred to should be revealed, and that the islands of the sea should deliver up their knowledge, but it is necessary that the heavens should give the knowledge which was before our earth was created. And you are students in this great university, which God has established, to study concerning God, and get a knowledge of things in the heavens and things that are past and present, and things that are to come—a knowledge that comes through the power and inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
But this is not all; God has said that he "will pour out his Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophecy." Young men and old men shall receive knowledge from the heavens. Again, it is written in Isaiah: "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord." It will not be necessary for one man to say to his neighbor, know ye the Lord, for all shall know him. Then it will not be
necessary for us to preach so much, because the Lord our God will teach them from on high. Old and young, male and female, will receive knowledge; and our little children will utter forth their voices, and speak forth that which is not now lawful to utter, but it will be uttered to the human family by the mouths of babes and sucklings. Amen.