Journal of Discourses / Journal of Discourses, Volume 4 / Brigham
          Young, February 8, 1857
                           Brigham Young, February 8, 1857
                                 SHEDDING OF BLOOD.
                       A Discourse by President Brigham Young, 
                            Delivered in the Tabernacle,
                       Great Salt Lake City, February 8, 1857.
          I feel myself somewhat under obligations to come here and talk to
          the people, inasmuch as I have absented myself for some time, and
          others have occupied this stand.

          Perhaps I will not talk to you long, but I desire to pursue some
          of the ideas that brother Cummings has just laid before you. I
          can testify that every word he has spoken is true, even to the
          advancement of the Saints at a "small gallop." Though that is
          rather a novel expression, still it is true, as well as all the
          rest which he advanced.

          The items that have been advanced are principles of real
          doctrine, whether you consider them so or not. It is one of the
          first principles of the doctrine of salvation to become
          acquainted with our Father and our God. The Scriptures teach that
          this is eternal life, to "know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus
          Christ whom thou hast sent;" this is as much as to say that no
          man can enjoy or be prepared for eternal life without that
          You hear a great deal of preaching upon this subject; and when
          people repent of their sins, they will get together, and pray and
          exhort each other, and try to get the spirit of revelation, try
          to have God their Father revealed to them, that they may know Him
          and become acquainted with Him.

          There are some plain, simple facts that I wish to tell you, and I
          have but one desire in this, which is, that you should have
          understanding to receive them, to treasure them up in your
          hearts, to contemplate upon these facts, for they are simple
          facts, based upon natural principles; there is no mystery about
          them when once understood.

          I want to tell you, each and every one of you, that you are well
          acquainted with God our heavenly Father, or the great Eloheim.
          You are all well acquainted with Him, for there is not a soul of
          you but what has lived in His house and dwelt with Him year after
          year; and yet you are seeking to become acquainted with Him, when
          the fact is, you have merely forgotten what you did know. I told
          you a little last Sabbath about forgetting things.

          There is not a person here to-day but what is a son or a daughter
          of that Being. In the spirit world their spirits were first
          begotten and brought forth, and they lived there with their
          parents for ages before they came here. This, perhaps, is hard
          for many to believe, but it is the greatest nonsense in the world
          not to believe it. If you do not believe it, cease to call Him
          Father; and when you pray, pray to some other character.

          It would be inconsistent in you to disbelieve what I think you
          know, and then to go home and ask the Father to do so and so for
          you. The Scriptures which we believe have taught us from the
          beginning to call Him our Father, and we have been taught to pray
          to Him as our Father, in the name of our eldest brother whom we
          call Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world; and that Saviour,
          while here on earth, was so explicit on the point that he taught
          his disciples to call no man on earth father, for we have one
          which is in heaven. He is the Saviour, because it is his right to
          redeem the remainder of the family pertaining to the flesh on
          this earth, if any of you do not believe this, tell us how and
          what we should believe. If I am not telling you the truth, please
          to tell me the truth on this subject, and let me know more than I
          do know. If it is hard for you to believe, if you wish to be
          Latter-day Saints, admit the fact as I state it, and do not
          contend against it. Try to believe it, because you will never
          become acquainted with our Father, never enjoy the blessings of
          His Spirit, never be prepared to enter into His presence, until
          you most assuredly believe it; therefore you had better try to
          believe this great mystery about God.

          I do not marvel that the world is clad in mystery, to them He is
          an unknown God; they cannot tell where He dwells nor how He
          lives, nor what kind of a being He is in appearance or character.
          They want to become acquainted with His character and attributes,
          but they know nothing of them. This is in consequence of the
          apostacy that is now in the world. They have departed from the
          knowledge of God, transgressed His laws, changed His ordinances,
          and broken the everlasting covenant, so that the whole earth is
          defiled under the inhabitants thereof. Consequently it is no
          mystery to us that the world knoweth not God, but it would be a
          mystery to me, with what I now know, to say that we cannot know
          anything of Him. We are His children.
          To bring the truth of this matter close before you, I will
          instance your fathers who made the first permanent settlement in
          New England. There are a good many in this congregation whose
          fathers landed upon Plymouth Rock in the year 1620. Those fathers
          began to spread abroad; they had children, those children had
          children, and their children had children, and here are we their
          children. I am one of them, and many of this congregation belong
          to that class. Now ask yourselves this simple question upon
          natural principles, has the species altered? Were not the people
          who landed at Plymouth Rock the same species with us? Were they
          not organized as we are? Were not their countenances similar to
          ours? Did they not converse, have knowledge, read books? Were
          there not mechanics among them, and did they not understand
          agriculture, &c., as we do? Yes, every person admits this.

          Now follow our fathers further back and take those who first came
          to the island of Great Britain, were they the same species of
          beings as those who came to America? Yes, all acknowledge this;
          this is upon natural principles. Thus you may continue and trace
          the human family back to Adam and Eve, and ask, "are we of the
          same species with Adam and Eve?" Yes, every person acknowledges
          this; this comes within the scope of our understanding.

          But when we arrive at that point, a vail is dropt, and our
          knowledge is cut off. Were it not so, you could trace back your
          history to the Father of our spirits in the eternal world. He is
          a being of the same species as ourselves; He lives as we do,
          except the difference that we are earthly, and He is heavenly. He
          has been earthly, and is of precisely the same species of being
          that we are. Whether Adam is the personage that we should
          consider our heavenly Father, or not, is considerable of a
          mystery to a good many. I do not care for one moment how that is;   <----- Here
          it is no matter whether we are to consider Him our God, or
          whether His Father, or His Grandfather, for in either case we are
          of one species--of one family--and Jesus Christ is also of our

          You may hear the divines of the day extol the character of the
          Saviour, undertake to exhibit his true character before the
          people, and give an account of his origin, and were it not
          ridiculous, I would tell what I have thought about their views.
          Brother Kimball wants me to tell it, therefore you will excuse me
          if I do. I have frequently thought of mules, which you know are
          half horse and half ass, when reflecting upon the representations
          made by those divines. I have heard sectarian priests undertake
          to tell the character of the Son of God, and they make him half
          of one species and half of another, and I could not avoid
          thinking at once of the mule, which is the most hateful creature
          that ever was made, I believe. You will excuse me, but I have
          thus thought many a time.

          Now to the facts in the case; all the difference between Jesus
          Christ and any other man that ever lived on the earth, from the
          days of Adam until now, is simply this, the Father, after He had
          once been in the flesh, and lived as we live, obtained His
          exaltation, attained to thrones, gained the ascendancy over
          principalities and powers, and had the knowledge and power to
          create--to bring forth and organize the elements upon natural
          principles. This He did after His ascension, or His glory, or His
          eternity, and was actually classed with the Gods, with the beings
          who create, with those who have kept the celestial law while in
          the flesh, and again obtained their bodies. Then He was prepared
          to commence the work of creation, as the Scriptures teach. It is
          all here in the Bible; I am not telling you a word but what is
          contained in that book.
               Things were first created spiritually; the Father actually
          begat the spirits, and they were brought forth and lived with
          Him. Then He commenced the work of creating earthly tabernacles,
          precisely as He had been created in this flesh himself, by
          partaking of the course material that was organized and composed
          this earth, until His system was charged with it, consequently
          the tabernacles of His children were organized from the coarse
          materials of this earth.

          When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come
          into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and
          favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any
          other man do it. The Saviour was begotten by the Father of His
          spirit, by the same Being who is the Father of our spirits, and
          that is all the organic difference between Jesus Christ and you
          and me. And a difference there is between our Father and us
          consists in that He has gained His exaltation, and has obtained
          eternal lives. The principle of eternal lives is an eternal
          existence, eternal duration, eternal exaltation. Endless are His
          kingdoms, endless His thrones and His dominions, and endless are
          His posterity; they never will cease to multiply from this time
          henceforth and forever.

          To you who are prepared to enter into the presence of the Father
          and the Son, what I am now telling will eventually be no more
          strange than are the feelings of a person who returns to his
          father's house, brethren, and sisters, and enjoys the society of
          his old associates, after an absence of several years upon some
          distant island. Upon returning he would be happy to see his
          father, his relatives and friends. So also if we keep the
          celestial law when our spirits go to God who gave them, we shall
          find that we are acquainted there and distinctly realize that we
          know all about that world.

          Tell me that you do not know anything about God! I will tell you
          one thing, it would better become you to lay your hands upon your
          mouths and them in the dust, and cry, "unclean, unclean."

          Whether you receive these things or not, I tell you them in
          simplicity. I lay them before you like a child, because they are
          perfectly simple. If you see and understand these things, it will
          be by the Spirit of God; you will receive them by no other
          spirit. No matter whether they are told to you like the
          thunderings of the Almighty, or by simple conversation; if you
          enjoy the Spirit of the Lord, it will tell you whether they are
          right or not.

          I am acquainted with my Father. I am as confident that I
          understand in part, see in part, and know and am acquainted with
          Him in part, as I am that I was acquainted with my earthly father
          who died in Quincy, Illinois, after we were driven from Missouri.
          My recollection is better with regard to my earthly father than
          it is in regard to my heavenly Father; but as to knowing of what
          species He is, and how He is organized, and with regard to His
          existence, I understand it in part as well as I understand the
          organization and existence of my earthly father. That is my
          opinion about it, and my opinion to me is just as good as yours
          is to you; and if you are of the same opinion you will be
          satisfied as I am.
          I know my heavenly Father and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and
          this is eternal life. And if we will do as we have been told this
          morning, if you will enter into the Spirit of your calling, into
          the principle of securing to yourselves eternal lives, eternal
          existence, eternal exaltation, it will be well with you. But if,
          after being put into a carriage and placed upon the road, after
          having everything prepared for the journey that infinite wisdom
          could devise, this people stroll into the swamp, get into the
          woods among the brambles and briars, and wander around until
          night overtakes them, I say, shame on such people.

          I am ashamed to talk about a reformation, for if you have entered
          into the spirit of your religion, you will know whether these
          things are so or not. If you have the spirit of your religion and
          have confidence in you, walk along and continue to do so, and
          secure to yourselves the life before you, and never let it be
          said, from this time henceforth, that you have wakened out of
          your sleep, from the fact that you are always awake.

          We talk about the reformation, but recollect that you have only
          just commenced to walk in the way of life and salvation. You have
          just commenced in the career to obtain eternal life, which is
          that which you desire, therefore you have no time to spend only
          in that path. It is straight and narrow, simple and easy, and is
          an Almighty path, if you will keep in it. But if you wander off
          into swamps, or into brambles, and get into darkness, you will
          find it hard to get back.

          Brother Cummings told you the truth this morning with regard to
          the sins of the people. And I will say that the time will come,
          and is now nigh at hand, when those who profess our faith, if
          they are guilty of what some of this people are guilty of, will
          find the axe laid at the root of the tree, and they will be hewn
          down. What has been must be again, for the Lord is coming to
          restore all things. The time has been in Israel under the law of
          God, the celestial law, or that which pertains to the celestial
          law, for it is one of the laws of that kingdom where our Father
          dwells, that if a man was found guilty of adultery, he must have
          his blood shed, and that is near at hand. But now I say, in the
          name of the Lord, that if this people will sin no more, but
          faithfully live their religion, their sins will be forgiven them
          without taking life.

          You are aware that when brother Cummings came to the point of
          loving our neighbours as ourselves, he could say yes or no as the
          case might be, that is true. But I want to connect it with the
          doctrine you read in the Bible. When will we love our neighbour
          as ourselves? In the first place, Jesus said that no man hateth
          his own flesh. It is admitted by all that every person loves
          himself. Now if we do rightly love ourselves, we want to be saved
          and continue to exist, we want to go into the kingdom where we
          can enjoy eternity and see no more sorrow nor death. This is the
          desire of every person who believes in God. Now take a person in
          this congregation who has knowledge with regard to being saved in
          the kingdom of our God and our Father, and being exalted, one who
          knows and understands the principles of eternal life, and sees
          the beauty and excellency of the eternities before him compared
          with the vain and foolish things of the world, and suppose that
          he is overtaken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin
          that he knows will deprive him of that exaltation which he
          desires, and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding of
          his blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will
          atone for that sin, and be saved and exalted with the Gods, is
          there a man of woman in this house but what would say, "shed my
          blood that I may be saved and exalted with the Gods?"
          All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by
          an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That
          would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will
          you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have
          committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of
          their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed
          their blood? That is what Jesus Christ meant. He never told a man
          or woman to love their enemies in their wickedness, never. He
          never intended any such thing; his language is left as it is for
          those to read who have the Spirit to discern between truth and
          error; it was so left for those who can discern the things of
          God. Jesus Christ never meant that we should love a wicked man in
          his wickedness.

          Now take the wicked, and I can refer to where the Lord had to
          slay every soul of the Israelites that went out of Egypt, except
          Caleb and Joshua. He slew them by the hands of their enemies, by
          the plague, and by the sword, why? Because He loved them, and
          promised Abraham that He would save them. And He loved Abraham
          because he was a friend to his God, and would stick to Him in the
          hour of darkness, hence He promised Abraham that He would save
          his seed. And He could save them upon no other principle, for
          they had forfeited their right to the land of Canaan by
          transgressing the law of God, and they could not have atoned for
          the sin if they had lived. But if they were slain, the Lord could
          bring them up in the resurrection, and give them the land of
          Canaan, and He could not do it on any other principle.
          I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been
          righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins. I have seen
          scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a
          chance (in the last resurrection there will be) if their lives
          had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground as a smoking
          incense to the Almighty, but who are now angels to the devil,
          until our elder brother Jesus Christ raises them up--conquers
          death, hell, and the grave. I have known a great many men who
          have left this Church for whom there is no chance whatever for
          exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled, it would have
          been better for them. The wickedness and ignorance of the nations
          forbid this principle's being in full force, but the time will
          come when the law of God will be in full force.

          This is loving our neighbour as ourselves; if he needs help, help
          him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his
          blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it. Any
          of you who understand the principles of eternity, if you have
          sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto
          death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be
          spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is
          the way to love mankind.

          Christ and Belial have not become friends; they have never shaken
          hands; they never have agreed to be brothers and to be on good
          terms; no, never; and they never will, because they are
          diametrically opposed to each other. If one conquers, the other
          is destroyed. One or the other of them must triumph and utterly
          destroy and cast down his opponent. Light and darkness cannot
          dwell together, and so it is with the kingdom of God.

          Now, brethren and sisters, will you live your religion? How many
          hundreds of times have I asked you that question? Will the
          Latter-day Saints live their religion? I am ashamed to say
          anything about a reformation among Saints, but I am happy to
          think that the people called Latter-day Saints are striving now
          to obtain the Spirit of their calling and religion. They are just
          coming into the path, just waking up out of their sleep. It seems
          as though they are nearly all like babies; we are but children in
          one sense. Now let us begin, like children, and walk in the
          straight and narrow path, live our religion, and honour our God.
          With these remarks, I pray the God of Israel to bless you forever
          and ever, for you are the best people on earth. I can say that I
          am happy that you are doing so well as you are. Continue to
          increase in all the graces of God's Spirit until the day of His
          coming, which I desire with all my heart, in the name of Jesus
          Christ. Amen.