Excerpts from Brigham Young – Journal of Discourses vol 3 – The Gifts of Prophecy and Tongues—The Former Circumstances and Present Condition of the Saints Contrasted—Trials and Temptations Necessary to Exaltation—The Condition of Disembodied Spirits—Redemption of the Dead

I gave up highlighting this talk. It has too many interesting parts. It covers the spirit world in great detail.

Many of the people in these valleys  have no experience in these things, and I would be very glad to have such persons escape those trials, if they could receive the same glory and exaltation that they would if they had passed through them.
I look upon the people, and as I frequently say, I have compassion upon them, for all have not experience. It was told you this morning that you could not be made perfect Saints in one day, that is impossible. You might as well undertake to learn a child every branch of English literature during its first week’s attendance at school, this cannot be done.
We are not capacitated to receive in one day, nor in one year, the knowledge and experience calculated to make us perfect Saints, but we learn from time to time, from day to day, consequently we are to have compassion one upon another, to look upon each other as we would wish others to look upon us, and to remember that we are frail mortal beings, and that we can be changed for the better only by the Gospel of salvation.
As it was observed this morning, we ought to be ourselves and not anybody else. We do not wish to be anybody else, neither do we wish to be anybody but Saints. We wish the Gospel to take effect upon each one of us; and we can change in our feelings, in our dispositions and natures, to the extent that was observed by brother Kimball in the comparison which he made.

But we cannot clear ourselves from the power of Satan; we must know what it is to be tried and tempted, for no man or woman can be exalted upon any other principle, as was beautifully exhibited in the life of the Savior.
The history of Joseph and Mary is given to us by their best friends, and precisely as we will give the history of the Prophet Joseph. We know him to have been a good man, we know that he performed his mission, we know that he was an honorable man and dealt justly, we know his true character.
But let his enemies give his character, and they will make him out one of the basest men that ever lived. Let the enemies of Joseph and Mary give their characters to us, and you would be strongly tempted to believe as the Jews believe.

I will give you a figure that brother Hyde had in a dream. He had been thinking a great deal about time and eternity; he wished to know the difference, but how to understand it he did not know. He asked the Lord to show him, and after he had prayed about it the Lord gave him a dream, at least I presume He did, or permitted it so to be, at any rate he had a dream; his mind was opened so that he could understand time and eternity. He said that he thought he saw a stream issuing forth from a misty cloud which spread upon his right and upon his left, and that the stream ran past him and entered the cloud again. He was told that the stream was time, that it had no place where it commenced to run, neither was there any end to its running; and that the time which he was thinking about and talking about, what he could see between the two clouds, was a portion of or one with that which he could not perceive.
So it is with you and I; here is time, where is eternity? It is here, just as much as anywhere in all the expanse of space; a measured space of time is only a part of eternity.
We have a short period of duration allotted to us, and we call it time. We exist here, we have life within us, let that life be taken away and the lungs will cease to heave, and the body will become lifeless. Is that life extinct? No, it continues to exist as much as it did when the lungs would heave, when the mortal body was invigorated with air, food and the elements in which it lived, it has only left the body. The life, the animating principles are still in existence, as much so as they were yesterday when the body was in good health. Here the inquiry will naturally arise, when our spirits leave our bodies where do they go to?
I will tell you. Will I locate them? Yes, if you wish me to. They do not pass out of the organization of this earth on which we live. You read in the Bible that when the spirit leaves the body it goes to God who gave it. Now tell me where God is not, if you please; you cannot. How far would you have to go in order to go to God, if your spirits were unclothed? Would you have to go out of this bowery to find God, if you were in the spirit? If God is not here, we had better reserve this place to gather the wicked into, for they will desire to be where God is not. The Lord Almighty is here by His Spirit, by His influence, by His presence. I am not in the north end of this bowery, my body is in the south end of it, but my influence and my voice extend to all parts if it; in like manner is the Lord here.
It reads that the spirit goes to God who gave it. Let me render this Scripture a little plainer; when the spirits leave their bodies they are in the presence of our Father and God, they are prepared then to see, hear and understand spiritual things. But where is the spirit world? It is incorporated within this celestial system. Can you see it with your natural eyes? No. Can you see spirits in this room? No. Suppose the Lord should touch your eyes that you might see, could you then see the spirits? Yes, as plainly as you now see bodies, as did the servant of Elijah. If the Lord would permit it, and it was His will that it should be done, you could see the spirits that have departed from this world, as plainly as you now see bodies with your natural eyes; as plainly as brothers Kimball and Hyde saw those wicked disembodied spirits in Preston, England. They saw devils there, as we see one another; they could hear  them speak, and knew what they said. Could they hear them with the natural ear? No. Did they see those wicked spirits with their natural eyes? No. They could not see them the next morning, when they were not in the spirit; neither could they see them the day before, nor at any other time; their spiritual eyes were touched by the power of the Almighty.
They said they looked through their natural eyes, and I suppose they did. Brother Kimball saw them, but I know not whether his natural eyes were open at the time or not; brother Kimball said that he lay upon the floor part of the time, and I presume his eyes were shut, but he saw them as also did brother Hyde, and they heard them speak.
We may enquire where the spirits dwell, that the devil has power over? They dwell anywhere, in Preston, as well as in other places in England. Do they dwell anywhere else? Yes, on this continent; it is full of them. If you could see, and would walk over many parts of North America, you would see millions on millions of the spirits of those who have been slain upon this continent. Would you see the spirits of those who were as good in the flesh as they knew how to be? Yes. Would you see the spirits of the wicked? Yes. Could you see the spirits of devils? Yes, and that is all there is of them. They have been deprived of bodies, and that constitutes their curse, that is to say, speaking after the manner of men, you shall be wanderers on the earth, you have got to live out of doors all the time you live.
That is the situation of the spirits that were sent to the earth, when the revolt took place in heaven, when Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, was cast out. Where did he go? He came here, and one-third part of the spirits in heaven came with him. Do you suppose that one-third part of all the beings that existed in eternity came with him? No, but one-third part of the spirits that were begotten and organized and brought forth to became tenants of fleshly bodies to dwell upon this earth. They forsook Jesus Christ, the rightful heir, and joined with Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, and came to this earth; they got here first. As soon as Mother Eve made her appearance in the garden of Eden, the devil was on hand.
You cannot give any person their exaltation, unless they know what evil is, what sin, sorrow, and misery are, for no person could comprehend, appreciate, and enjoy an exaltation upon any other principle. The devil with one-third part of the spirits of our Father’s Kingdom got here before us, and we tarried there with our friends, until the time came for us to come to the earth and take tabernacles; but those spirits that revolted were forbidden ever to have tabernacles of their own. You can now comprehend how it is that they are always trying to get possession of the bodies of human beings; we read of a man’s being possessed of a legion, and Mary Magdalene had seven.
You may now see people with legions of evil spirits in and around them; there are men who walk our streets that have more than a hundred devils in them and round about them, prompting them to all manner of evil, and some too that profess to be Latter-day Saints, and if you were to take the devils out of them and from about them, you would leave them dead corpses; for I believe there would be nothing left of them.
I want you to understand these things; and if you should say or think that I know nothing about them, be pleased to find out and inform me. You can see the acts of these evil spirits in every place, the whole country is full of them, the whole earth is alive with them, and they are continually trying to get into the taber nacles of the human family, and are always on hand to prompt us to depart from the strict line of our duty.
You know that we sometimes need a prompter; if anyone of you was called by the government of the United States to go to Germany, Italy, or any foreign nation, as an Ambassador, if you did not understand the language somebody would have to interpret for you. Well, these evil spirits are ready to prompt you. Do they prompt us? Yes, and I could put my hands on a dozen of them while I have been on this stand; they are here on the stand. Could we do without the devils? No, we could not get along without them. They are here, and they suggest this, that, and the other.
When you lay down this tabernacle, where are you going? Into the spiritual world. Are you going into Abraham’s bosom. No, not anywhere nigh there, but into the spirit world. Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes, they do. Do they both inhabit one kingdom? Yes, they do. Do they go to the sun? No. Do they go beyond the boundaries of this organized earth? No, they do not. They are brought forth upon this earth, for the express purpose of inhabiting it to all eternity. Where else are you going? Nowhere else, only as you may be permitted.
When the spirits of mankind leave their bodies, no matter whether the individual was a Prophet or the meanest person that you could find, where do they go? To the spirit world. Where is it? I am telling you. The spirit of Joseph, I do not know that it is just now in this bowery, but I will assure you that it is close to the Latter-day Saints, is active in preaching to the spirits in prison and preparing the way to redeem the nations of the earth, those who lived in darkness previous to the introduction of the Gospel by himself in these days.
He has just as much labor on hand as I have; he has just as much to do. Father Smith and Carlos and brother Partridge, yes, and every other good Saint, are just as busy in the spirit world as you and I are here. They can see us, but we cannot see them unless our eyes were opened. What are they doing there? They are preaching, preaching all the time, and preparing the way for us to hasten our work in building temples here and elsewhere, and to go back to Jackson County and build the great temple of the Lord. They are hurrying to get ready by the time that we are ready, and we are all hurrying to get ready by the time our Elder Brother is ready.
The wicked spirits that leave here and go into the spirit world, are they wicked there? Yes.
The spirits of people that have lived upon the earth according to the the best light they had, who were as honest and sincere as men and women could be, if they lived on the earth without the privilege of the Gospel and the Priesthood and the keys thereof are still under the power and control of evil spirits, to a certain extent. No matter where they lived on the face of the earth, all men and women that have died without the keys and power of the Priesthood, though they might have been honest and sincere and have done everything they could, are under the influence of the devil, more or less. Are they as much so as others? No, no. Take those that were wicked designedly, who knowingly lived without the Gospel when it was within their reach, they are given up to the devil, they become tools to the devil and spirits of devils.
Go to the time when the Gospel came to the earth in the days of Joseph, take the wicked that have opposed this people and persecuted them to the death, and they are sent to hell. Where are they? They are in the  spirit world, and are just as busy as they possibly can be to do everything they can against the Prophet and the Apostles, against Jesus and his kingdom. They are just as wicked and malicious in their actions against the cause of truth, as they were while on the earth in their fleshly tabernacles.
Joseph, also, goes there, but has the devil power over him? No, because he held the keys and power of the eternal Priesthood here, and got the victory while here in the flesh.
When the faithful Elders, holding this Priesthood, go into the spirit world they carry with them the same power and Priesthood that they had while in the mortal tabernacle. They have got the victory over the power of the enemy here, consequently when they leave this world they have perfect control over those evil spirits, and they cannot be buffeted by Satan. But as long as they live in the flesh no being on this earth, of the posterity of Adam, can be free from the power of the devil.
When this portion of the school is out, the one in which we descend below all things and commence upon this earth to learn the first lessons for an eternal exaltation, if you have been a faithful scholar, and have overcome, if you have brought the flesh into subjection by the power of the Priesthood, if you have honored the body, when it crumbles to the earth and your spirit is freed from this home of clay, has the devil any power over it? Not one particle.
This is an advantage which the faithful will gain; but while they live on earth they are subject to the buffetings of Satan. Joseph and those who have died in the faith of the Gospel are free from this; if a mob should come upon Joseph now, he has power to disperse them with the motion of his hand, and to drive them where he pleases. But is Joseph glorified? No, he is preaching to the spirits in prison. He will get his resurrection the first of anyone in this kingdom, for he was the first that God made choice of to bring forth the work of the last days.
His office is not taken from him, he has only gone to labor in another department of the operations of the Al mighty. He is still an Apostle, still a Prophet, and is doing the work of an Apostle and Prophet; he has gone one step beyond us and gained a victory that you and I have not gained, still he has not yet gone into the celestial kingdom, or if he has it has been by a direct command of the Almighty, and that too to return again so soon as the purpose has been accomplished.
No man can enter the celestial kingdom and be crowned with a celestial glory, until he gets his resurrected body; but Joseph and the faithful who have died have gained a victory over the power of the devil, which you and I have not yet gained. So long as we live in these tabernacles, so long we will be subject to the temptations and power of the devil; but when we lay them down, if we have been faithful, we have gained the victory so far; but even then we are not so far advanced at once as to be beyond the neighborhood of evil spirits.
The third part of the hosts of heaven, that were cast out, have not been taken away, at least not that I have found out, and the other two-thirds have got to come and take bodies, all of them who have not, and have the opportunity of preparing for a glorious resurrection and exaltation, before we get through with this world; and those who are faithful in the flesh to the requirements of the Gospel will gain this victory over the spirits that are not allowed to take bodies, which class comprises one-third of the hosts of Heaven.
Those who have died without the Gospel are continually afflicted by those evil spirits, who say to them—”Do not go to hear that man Joseph Smith preach, or David Patten, or any of their associates, for they are deceivers.”
Spirits are just as familiar with spirits as bodies are with bodies, though spirits are composed of matter so re fined as not to be tangible to this coarser organization. They walk, converse, and have their meetings; and the spirits of good men like Joseph and the Elders, who have left this Church on earth for a season to operate in another sphere, are rallying all their powers and going from place to place preaching the Gospel, and Joseph is directing them, saying, go ahead, my brethren, and if they hedge up your way, walk up and command them to disperse. You have the Priesthood and can disperse them, but if any of them wish to hear the Gospel, preach to them.
Can they baptize them? No. What can they do? They can preach the Gospel, and when we have the privilege of building up Zion, the time will come for saviors to come up on Mount Zion. My brother Joseph spoke of this principle this forenoon. Some of those who are not in mortality will come along and say, “Here are a thousand names I wish you to attend to in this temple, and when you have got through with them I will give you another thousand;” and the Elders of Israel and their wives will go forth to officiate for their forefathers, the men for the men, and the women for the women.
A man is ordained and receives his washings, anointings, and endowments for the male portion of his and his wife’s progenitors, and his wife for the female portion.
Then in the spirit world they will say, “Do you not see somebody at work for you? The Lord remembers you and has revealed to His servants on the earth, what to do for you.”
Is the spirit world here? It is not beyond the sun, but is on this earth that was organized for the people that have lived and that do and will live upon it. No other people can have it, and we can have no other kingdom until we are prepared to inhabit this eternally. In the spirit world those who  have got the victory go on to prepare the way for those who live in the flesh, fulfilling the work of saviors on Mount Zion.
To accomplish this work there will have to be not only one temple but thousands of them, and thousands and tens of thousands of men and women will go into those temples and officiate for people who have lived as far back as the Lord shall reveal. If we are faithful enough to go back and build that great temple which Joseph has written about, and should the Lord acknowledge the labor of His servants, then watch, for you will see somebody whom you have seen before, and many of you will see him whom you have not seen before, but you will know him as soon as you see him.
This privilege we cannot enjoy now, because the power of Satan is such that we cannot perform the labor that is necessary to enable us to obtain it.
When we commence again on the walls of the temple to be built on this Block, the news will fly from Maine to California. Who will tell them? Those little devils that are around here, that are around this earth in the spirit world; there will be millions of them ready to communicate the news to devils in Missouri, Illinois, California, Mexico, and in all the world. And the question will be, “What is the news? There is some devilish thing going on among the ‘Mormons’ and I know it. Those ‘Mormons’ ought to be killed.” They do not know what stirs them up to this feeling, it is those spirits that are continually near to them.
We all have got spirits to attend us; when the eyes of the servant of Elijah were opened he saw that those for them were more than those that were against them. There are two-thirds for us, and one-third against us; and there is not a son or daughter of Adam but what will be saved in some kingdom and receive glory and an exaltation to a degree, except those who have had the privilege of the Gospel and rejected it and sinned against the Holy Ghost, they will become servants to devils.
How long will they exist? I do not know, neither do I care. Every one of this people, with the Saints that have lived before us, from the days of Adam until now, and those that may come after us, all say, “Build up the kingdom of God.” What for? To save the inhabitants of the earth, to get them all back into some kind of a kingdom where they can be administered to, and not have this organized matter return again to its native element, for we wish this work to be preserved.
You know that when you make a farm you dislike to see it overrun with weeds, and it would hurt your feelings to see your houses, barns, and other property destroyed. True, you can make more, but how do you suppose the Lord feels, who is much more compassionate than we are, when He sees the devil gaining an advantage over His creatures to lead them away to destroy them? Do you not suppose that the bowels of His compassion yearn over this people, and that He is angry with the wicked? Do you not suppose that He often feels like saying, “O, my children, why do you not hearken to what I tell you, and take hold of the principles of life, and cease pursuing a course that is calculated to destroy you? I have labored to bring forth this organization, and I do not wish to lose my labor, but I desire to have you hearken to the counsel I give to you and prepare yourselves to endure forever and come into my presence, and if you cannot do that and abide a celestial law, at least abide the law of a kingdom where I can send angels to you, and I will send and comfort you and administer unto you and will raise you up and make  you glad and happy, and will fill you with joy and with peace.”

I do not believe that the city of Enoch made greater advancement, in the same period of time, than this people have done in the twenty-six years of their career, which is saying a great deal for them. Who else would live here? Nobody. Put Gentiles here and tell them that they had to be confined here, and they would consider themselves in a worse prison than a penitentiary.
Do some of the brethren murmur a little, and say if it were not for “Mormonism,” they would do thus and so? What of that? Is there any other people who would do as well as you do? No, not another.
When I find fault with the people for not hearkening to counsel, it is because I want them to live so as speedily to obtain the reward of righteousness, and not have to wait so long for it.

Here sits a man I can now look upon who says I am a greater despot than the Emperor of Russia. Maybe I am, for should I see the poor suffering, I could knock open flour barrels better than Alexander II, and give the contents to the poor with a better heart than he could.

If a person is honest before God and has more than he needs for his own use, and does not covet it, he will make a distribution to those who have not, and there need not any person go without necessary food. I know that there are many here who have given out much flour, and they have by no means suffered on account of their liberality. There is a man sitting on the stand who says that his wife scraped the bottom of the flour barrel, and on the next morning has gone to scrape again, to give out more to the poor, and found it half full. She asked him “If he had put it there.” He answered, “No.” “Well,” said she, “I scraped it out last night.”
The Lord wishes to try you; shall we say that we will hoard up the blessings of God, that we may be able to say that we have a large amount to ourselves? No, but divide them out, and do so with an honest heart, in all humility; and let those who receive blessings receive them with an honest heart, in all humility and thankfulness. Some who have, will withhold, and some of the poor are covetous and will grab a little here and there and lay it up, or waste it. If you continue in covetousness, your substance will shrink and waste away.
Let the poor, those who have to depend upon their brethren for bread, after they have done all they can to obtain it themselves be thankful, and take no more than they require to use in a frugal manner. By taking such a course, no person would suffer.
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