Brigham Young – Virtue is found in resisting temptation; those who take confidence in misbehavior because not excommunicated apt to be cut off

To say that we are a perfect people, I cannot do it, neither can I say that I am a perfect man. I am just as full of weaknesses as any other man, and so are my brethren with whom I associate; but the Elder of Israel, no matter how great his weaknesses, who humbly trusts in God and continually strives to overcome evil and to do only that which is right, will be enabled to triumph and be faithful to the end. What matters it if a man likes whiskey, if he does not drink it? I do not care how much a man in this Church likes it, if he does not drink it, it makes no difference. I do not care how much he loves tobacco, or this, that or the other, that is not good, if he brings his actions and feelings into subjection to the dictates of the Spirit of God. I do not care how much a man loves property, it will not harm him if he does not set his heart upon it so that he could not sacrifice it, if required to do so, to promote the interests of God’s kingdom upon the earth. I remember once, when a boy, Jedediah M. Grant saw me chewing tobacco, and said he, “You chew tobacco, do you?” “Yes, sir.” “Well, I never had any taste for it; it is no virtue in me that I do not use it, I tried hard enough, but it made me sick.” The virtue, brethren, is in putting away or overcoming habits which you know would impede your progress in the kingdom of God. It was not a virtue in Bro. Grant that he did not chew tobacco, he tried to learn how, but could not do it. I tried, and succeeded. But, brethren and sisters, the idea is, to bring our actions, thoughts and feelings into complete subjection to the dictates of the Holy Spirit, and to be on hand at all times to labor as we are directed for the building up of the kingdom of God upon the earth; that should be the object with us. It is no use for a man to say, “I am a Latter-day Saint, and they have not cut me off yet. I have almost feared it sometimes, because I did not do that which I knew to be right; but I am still within the pale of the kingdom, and I hope to slip along with the balance.” This is just as great folly as for a man to claim the right to go a journey by railway when he has no ticket and no means to pay his fare. He may hang around, and declare that he is one of the crowd, and that he is going along with them on that train; but, ignorant of the time it starts, and destitute of the means to pay his way, he strays off for a short time, and in the meanwhile the train starts and leaves him behind. It is just so with an unfaithful Elder in this kingdom—he is not prepared for events as they transpire, and, lacking the spirit of the Gospel, is liable to be left behind.
(Brigham Young, “Gods ways not mans ways…” Journal of Discourses vol 15, discourse 21, pages 139-145)

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John Robertson

I am nothing more than a regular member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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