The Love Of Our Father

An address given by John W. Taylor, son of the prophet John Taylor, of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles SALT LAKE TABERNACLE, about 1888

Church Historian’s office of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City

How wonderful the old Patriarch Lehi must have felt at the time this great crisis was laid before him and his sons, and Nephi turned to him and said, “And it came to pass that I Nephi said unto my father, I will go and do this thing which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save He shall prepare a way beforehand that they may accomplish the thing that He commanded them.”

We could rehearse all night the fulfillment of this prophecy in the lives of the ancient saints and prophets; of Abraham who was called to offer up his son Isaac; of Jesus Christ when he knelt in the Garden alone; of the Prophets of this dispensation; nearly every one of their acts testify to the divined promise which the Lord has made; and happy is the man or woman who can say, “I will go and do the work which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that He will not command us to do anything but what He has already prepared the way for us to do it!”

I would like to bring this down to our lives. Our Prophet now has commanded us to do certain things. How many of us have gone to him either mentally, or in our spirits, or physically and said, “I will go and do the thing which the Lord has commanded, for I know that He has commanded it for my eternal salvation.” How many of us have taken this attitude regarding the things our prophet and our Father has commanded us to do at the present time, or how many of us are treating lightly the things our Father is commanding us?

How many have the attitude that the Lord does not understand our position or He would not talk like that, if He understood our present position and needs, He would not ask us to do these things. How many have such thoughts going through their minds at the present time regarding the things our prophet has asked us to do? Yet ancient Nephi testified of this principle, that it would be foolish for our Father to ask a thing which is impossible for us to accomplish, for we would lose faith in Him and withdraw from Him. Just like it would be foolish for you fathers to ask your children to do an impassible thing. They would lose faith in your spirit and right and power of parenthood, even in a test.

The severest test Father could command us to do even if it were nothing more than a test, He has already prepared the way for us to accomplish it before the command is given, and yet we appear slow to receive things that our prophet has commanded us to do. He has commanded us to get our lives in order by preparing ourselves to magnify the Priesthood and commanded us to receive the keys of direction in our every day and personal activity. He has commanded us to forsake our enemies, our kindred, and our lands which are not compatible with this particular work, and commanded us to get out of debt and to be honest with our contributions, and as husbands to love our wives and to teach them and set before them an example of perfectness.

Jesus Christ said, “FOLLOW ME!” When He said “follow me,” He was completely prepared to walk straight, for if He was advising or challenging His people to follow Him, he knew that if He did not set a perfect sample, He would be leading them astray, and it would be a crime. So how can you justly say to your wife or children, “Come follow me” if you do not fully expect them to follow your vices as well as your virtues? What position of intelligence could you assume to think your followers will not follow your vices as well as your virtues?

So how can you say, “Follow me” unless you are able and willing and prepared to walk straight, or otherwise, what are you asking them to do is to IMITATE you. That is what Father is asking us to do, to imitate Him. And so we ask those beneath is to do the same thing, and then we rise in a state of indignation when we find they have imitated our vices. How foolish can we become, brothers and sisters? So our prophet has said, you brethren must get yourself in a position to receive the inspiration of the mind and will of God so when you ask your people to imitate you, they will be imitating the principles pertaining to the Celestial Kingdom and not your vices.

Once you have taught your people to participate in the vice it is very hard for them to return to perfection. So there is no place where Father can ever say “I will take time out to let my hair down,” because He knows He has asked His children to imitate Him in all things and He is preparing Himself -has prepared Himself- by sacrifice and diligent and hard labor to walk straight. Now our prophet asks is to do this by laying aside the foolish traditions and the follies that surround us and he has asked these fine girls to follow the direction of these fine men and to submit and follow this perfect law of their husbands, and of the Priesthood, and of our Father in Heaven. He has commanded us to be lords in DEED, not only in name, and I could go on and relate all the commandments given us in the last few months.

I accuse us of what I do because that every indication of our lives proves we have treated lightly the things of God. We have received it with MENTAL RESERVATION, and too many of us say, “Well, they just don’t understand my needs or they would not ask me to do this thing; they do not understand my problems, my condition, my desires, and the problems that face me or they would not ask me to do this thing.” That is what we are talking about; this is what goes on through our minds, or others say, “We have heard these things for a long while, maybe I can wait awhile for I have a few things to do before I entirely surrender all to these divine principles,” so when our prophet commanded on not to have any intercourse for business dealings with the devil, many of us said, “Now that is all right, but I think a better policy would be to keep the devil friendly in case I should need him in the moment I know not!”

Nephi did not know what he would be required to do when he said to his faithful patriarchal father, “Father, I will go and obtain these plates from the house of Laban, for I will go in the strength of the Lord; his armies of fifties are nothing against the power of God, so I will go and obtain these plates for I know Father commanded as to do it and He has already set up machinery and a way for me to do it!”

Could he dream in his innocence, a boy who had never shed a drop of blood that he would have to kill a man, chop off his head with his own sword in order to do the thing Father commanded him to do? Perhaps not, but he was prepared to do it and when he said the Spirit of the Lord told me to take his sword and cut off his head, it was against every tradition and teaching he had received, for God had said, “Thou shalt not kill”‘ but he said, “God commanded me to do it and I did!”

Now brothers and sisters, we talk about the OFFICE OF ADAMHOOD AND EVEHOOD like we talk about driving to the theatre, in those simple terms. We talk about having conferred upon us the office of Adam or Eve as though it is as simple and easy as eating a fine tasty morsel. This is not the case, brothers and sisters. If we have desires and callings in our hearts to become Adams and Eves, we will have to be proved under every conceivable and inconceivable fashion BY THOSE WHO ARE DIRECTING US!

 We think of Father Adam living in a peaceful condition, a place filled with music and love and good times. Do you really think Father Adam at this moment dwells in such a place? No! He is fighting, working, and laboring to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. Think for a moment as I recite these things what you have to do to become an Adam or an Eve.

The scriptures say that Father so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, and that no greater love can one have, but He not only gave His Only Begotten Son, but He so loved the world that He GAVE HIMSELF! Think, after walking through this mortal state Himself and having finally won the prize and had the Ancients lay Their hands upon His head and confer upon Him the office of Adam, and after having lived in glory and grandeur, together with His wives, and having begotten beautiful spirit children, and having become a God, He so loved the Plans of the Gods and this great work that He was willing to come to a condition of corruption, of pain and distress again to start us out with these mortal bodies!”

Talk about love and labor! How many of you suppose that your labors will cease tonight because you pass on to the other side? There will be no cessation of labor or trials or tears. Instead, our labor will be so intensive that our eyes have not seen or ears heard or minds conceived, until this earth is brought up to a Celestial condition and all the patriarchs and gods are crowned, and peace and sanctity reign. We will not obtain that condition until then. The Scriptures speak often of the Lord bowing His head and weeping. They said that the Lord was Adam our Father and God.

Love? What kind of love do we have for this work when we compare it with that very act, just one single act of our Father Adam, who left His perfect God-like sphere to step downward to become mortal to grovel in the dust again to teach His children and to set an example to them, and bear the heat of the day and the darkness of the night, and have one of His sons turn upon another and slay him; to labor again upon the earth like this for over nine hundred years of sorrow?

Love! This is the type of man whom we call God, who has body, parts and passions; and did His love stop there? No. Time and time again through the past six thousand years He has manifested His love and devotion for His work and the work of His Fathers that were before him.

Now when we speak of becoming an Adam or an Eve, my dear children, we speak of doing these things, of living like Them upon this earth and living like They are living now. We speak of this great capacity to make this work the very character within us. This is not a work you can cut in half and retain a part and destroy a part. This is a work that must be loved by you to the deepest depth of your character. If there are any of the principles of our Father that you dislike, you are not now capable or prepared to receive the office of Adam or of an Eve.

If there is any portion of the work—if you do not like the principles of the United Order, if not, you are not as near to God as you think you are, or, of the principle of Celestial marriage, if you dislike it, you are a long ways from the Father; etc. To the extent that you love these principles are you prepared to stand up to the Father Adam and His Father’s children, because He loves them all, they are a part of His character, His very fibers; the fibers of His spirit and body are made up of these divine principles. He cannot divorce Himself from any of them in the least degree.

Now how much of this do we have in our hearts and in our characters? How many of us still feel our religion is a Sunday responsibility and during the week we can dwell without the spirit and power of our Father? If you do, you are not living up to what you have received, or been told. For you have got to be able to be prepared to do the work our Father Adam did when He was upon an earth like this, and like Christ did.

Why should you suppose, you intelligent men and women, that you will be joint-heirs with Jesus Christ? You say, “I will be a joint-heir with my brother Jesus Christ!” In order to do this, we have got to do the work He did! No, we cannot be the lamb without blemish that was to hang on the cross, but all the other work He did to prepare Himself we must do.

We think of dwelling with the Prophet Joseph Smith, walking with his and enjoying his companionship, yet our minds are a long way from his bloody battle. From the time the Lord showed Himself and His Son to him, he did not have a peaceful day physically, and finally ended up being a martyr. From the last time that Jesus Christ began His ministry, He did not have a peaceful day as far as the earth is concerned. Of course a flood of peace filled their bosoms as to the things of God. “Have you forgotten who I am? Because of your weaknesses and always [being] worried about the foolish traditions of your people, wist you not I must be about my Father’s business?”

So we expect that we will lightly skip and jump around the feet of Jesus Christ yet wait until we are fifty years old to begin the work that He did. This is impossible! We have got to begin to work if we will be Adams and Eves; we have got to be able to perform our labors here and not shun this great and glorious battle. There are very few people in this room tonight who actually feel that this is a battlefield we are on. You have taken up this work with the idea you will be able to know more and do more at more rapid speed than others who do not accept it. How foolish, but this is why most of you have come into the work.

Mentally you have said to our Father, “Now, Father, I think your plan is well organized, and I really would like to take it upon myself if you can possibly arrange it so it will not interfere with my life!” So we have taken it to us and tried to cut it here and there and have it tailored in order to fit our activities. So the sound of our voices comes to the prophet’s ears, “I have never had a peaceful day since I joined up! This is a terrible cross Father has placed upon us, but I supposed it is necessary or He would not have done it, so I will labor with it all the days of my life.”

My what ingratitude and what accusation and what indignity to heap upon our Father! Who after He has labored on such an earth as this and come back and labored over nine hundred years in order to give us a start and set an example and pattern perfectly before us, and descending below all things, and yet we have the gall to accuse Him of giving us laws that are calculated to make us unhappy! We are accusing Him of giving us laws not calculated to make us happy but to bring us distress. How would you feel after having done all this for your children and they turn to you and make this accusation? You would feel bad, wouldn’t you? So this spirit of ingratitude is nothing more than the spirit of the devil. If not checked, from the spirit of ingratitude grows all other evils.

Do you suppose for one minute that Father Adam and His wives are unhappy? Can you suppose for one minute that They dwell in Their everlasting burnings in a condition of despair and the spirit of being forsaken and despondent because They have been asked to take upon Themselves the principles pertaining to the Celestial Kingdom? Do you suppose that They are unhappy in it? No! Our intelligence will not let us suppose such a thing for a moment.

Then what is the root of our contention and unhappiness? It is vice, not virtue. There is nothing but perfection in every law and principle that governs the Celestial Kingdom, and nothing but progress, beauty, and eternal life from the smallest doctrine to the greatest exalting principle that pertains to the Celestial world; so these conditions on it indicate that we are incapable and have not received and have treated lightly the things we have been given, and that instead of purging our characters and our minds of every worldly spirit, we have tried to bring them with us and incorporate them in the principles of the Gospel, and then as the spirit of the world dictates, we begin to accuse the principles that have a divine source, we begin to accuse our Father who has expressed His love beyond comprehension for us, instead of accusing our own unbelief, ingratitude, selfish desires and carnal tendencies, which are all connected with the fruits of the spirit of the devil, we turn and accuse the principles of everlasting lives and we feel that our Father should understand us perfectly and be gracious to bear with us and forgive us and look over these weaknesses, sins, and vices we have, and be ready at a moment’s notice to come and sweep us out of our terrible conditions!

How long do we want to kid ourselves and make these foolish expressions to our Heavenly Father? When we realize where He dwells is only a short distance away, an exalted man with body, parts and passions. He had trod on earth-life and through His faithfulness and sacrifices His brethren have said, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” and laid hands upon His head and gave Him the power of Adamhood and He took His wives to His kingdom and there under the direction of those over Him, He began to learn and began to have His spiritual offspring. This exalted man while on the earth suffered all that we can hope to and more and now reigns a short distance from us in His Kingdom, a God with body, parts and passions!

Who among you can say, “I know one experience of testing that Father has not gone through?” Can you think of one test that He has not gone through? Of course you cannot, and yet you are bold to say that Father does not understand! Do you think He understands love, the heartache of being left alone? You young girls, don’t you think Father understands how you feel when you fall in love and He says, “It is not right.”? Don’t you think He fully knows the beat of your heart, brethren, when you cannot obtain that which you think you should have and He says, “Patience.”? This exalted personage can say, “Yes, my dear, I understand,” and what a crime it would be for us to turn our faces to Him and say, “Do you really, Father?” What an expression of ignorance and ingratitude, when we know who our Father is what made Him our Father.

He understands these things and He sometimes will say, “I would do anything if I could take your hand and help you through this!” He sometimes expressed Himself to Mother Eve, “I would do anything if I could bear this burden because I am strong,” as we would say to one another, “I would be glad if I could do this for you.” But Father knows that we have to walk this path alone.

Do you think it was easy for Him to watch His Son suffer, this noble and good boy, so faithful in the spirit world, when one brother raised up and said, “I will save all your children and bring all back, and for this work give me Your honor and glory and kingdoms!” This, noble Son stood up and said, “Brethren, I will follow the way of our God and unto Him will be given the honor and glory forever!” This noble Son who prepared Himself as a Lamb without blemish, whose Father came to Mary at the age of fourteen and sired Him. This Son He left alone in the final hour of trial. Don’t you think our Father would have given anything to have taken His place or stood by His side at the cross, but that was the plan and the only way for that beloved and Noble Son to get what He wanted, and to finally receive as His reward the guardianship and kingdoms of this world; so Father had to bow His head, and in my estimation, He wept as hard as His Son wept through those moments of agony.

Let us bring our Father to what He is in our lives and then let us begin to realize what we have to do to be honored and blessed by Him—to imitate Him! That is what He wants us to do, and how proud and grateful He is when He finds that we are imitating Him and becoming proficient in this thing. We have got to love these principles with every ounce of strength we have. We may not always be able to say why we love them or able to fully explain our feelings.

As for myself, I have got to know within myself, my own feelings, and when I say, “Father, I am so grateful beyond mortal expression for these things,” I have got to know how I feel and that I am not making these expressions because He commanded me to. These feelings must beat in my breast, and I would rather die, brothers and sisters, than to accuse my Father of any wrongdoing in commanding me to do something that brought misery to my life. I want to say that if He never had commanded anything that was not calculated to bring joy to me and everlasting life, and if I have sorrow in this work, I know it is because of my vices and not because of His commandments. When we say, “We love you, Father,” I want to tell you we should mean it.

This is the work of the Father. It is a work that is soul satisfying, that has everything to it. It is worth dying for and living for and worth coming down again as our Father did and living nearly a thousand years again on this earth. It is worth everything, and we look to the time when all the kingdoms of this earth will become the kingdoms of our Father and His Christ. We are looking for the time when this earth shall become Celestialized, and only those who have become Celestialized shall have a right to dwell on it, and who will work and bring their spirit children into life.

The sweat and gore of battle is as frightening and as extensive in the spirit world as here, for it is a part of this earth and right about us, and if the veil was drawn you could shake hands as one man does with another. It would be that easy. I want to tell you the labor there is frightening! We think the battlefield is bloody here and tiring, but I want to tell you, brothers and sisters, on the other side they are working day and night without rest.

Our wonderful Redeemer, Jesus Christ, knows He cannot rest in His glory until He has trodden the wine press to the limit, and until every man and woman who has been given a body upon this earth is accounted for and has had an opportunity. Talk about the work that lies before Him; and then we complain that our backs are weary and our spirits tired and we wish to go home!

Good heavens, children, where is home? All your spirit is transferred to is a battlefield more intensive than our minds can comprehend, so what do you mean when you say you are tired? You must mean that you are tired of vice and fighting against God. If so, give these things up, and your labor will be filled with peace and joy. The thing that gives you life is your spirit and mind that will have to keep working and working.

The brethren are so busy they cannot come to give us consolation. In the early days they asked Br. Joseph and he said, “I have no time to even press the hands of my brethren!” Yet we say, “God give us rest.” We are speaking out of ignorance, for He cannot give us rest.

We can lay our bodies down but this spirit which is what it is, speaking to you tonight, cannot lay down but will have to continue working. After you are taken around to meet some of your brethren and sisters, you must thean start working.

That is why I am going there when I go or else they may just as well keep me here, but there will be a time of peace, rest, joy and glory, but I will not rest as I have told you many times until every spirit bows in reverence to our Father and to Jesus His Son… (with deep emotion) … and to Joseph, the Prophet. I will not rest until that trinity is placed in its proper place and praise and glory given to them forever and forever.

Now brothers and sisters, I love you! I love you enough to scold and accuse you in an effort to bring you back again into the presence of our Father. That is how much I love you! I love these faithful good brethren. My words are inadequate to express my love for my brethren sitting here behind me and those in the audience who are my brethren. Great and noble spirits—nobility in the pre-existence, in their day, and now they’re nobility here upon the earth. Could I have one ounce of ingratitude toward them? Of course not, they have succored, nourished and strengthened me; in their patience I have survived, in their love I have received strength. It breaks my heart when I see them ill attended and ill spoken of.

Can you imagine Brother Johnson destroying anything? The birds do not fear him; they will light upon his hand; the animals have no fear of his presence; where is there a man or woman living who can say that he has tried to rob them of their money or tried to rob them of their virtue? Or, where is there a woman, young or old, for whom he would not give his life in defending, or a man who can accuse him of placing him in bondage and robbing him of his goods or of his good name? This is the character of the man that the world clamors to kill and some want to imprison him and others to kill him.

This is the character of such a man, but he can rejoice and be exceedingly glad for our Father has said, “Do not fear, my brethren, for when these things are happening to you, when evil men and women despitefully use and accuse you and bring you and your name and character into disrepute, remember, they did this to me before they did it to you.” This is a wonderful consolation, that they did this to Father Adam, to Jesus Christ, to Joseph Smith, before they have done it to us. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you; but shame, shame, SHAME, upon the unworthy world that is unworthy of their presence and administration.

Now what condition are we in if we take sides with the wicked and contribute in a small or great way to this persecution? What have you done and what are you doing for your Father in Heaven? This is a question you should ask yourself and begin to answer it truthfully and begin to do something for Him, brothers and sisters.

I feel grateful, I want to tell you, beyond all my power to express myself of my love for my Heavenly Father, and I do not feel that I am abusing my rights or belittling His high and glorious calling and place of residence, when I call Him Father Adam and place Him on such a personal basis and relationship. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for having been born by Him and my Mother in the spirit world or of having the way opened up in being one of those rowdy, runny-nosed sons of Jacob’s polygamous kids. I cannot pay sufficient honor to the powers that be for thus organizing my life and setting me in the light of the sunshine of these eternal and exalting principles. I want to say that I am grateful to my Father Adam… I am grateful… (pronounced emotion) …and I know Father, that You are a great God and a King above kings; I know that in Your hands are all the corners of this earth, and the strength of the hills are Yours, and the sea is Yours for You made it, and Your hands have prepared the dry land. Who among the Mighty, Father, can be likened unto You? Yea, who among the Mighty can he likened unto You!… (Emotional pause.)

These are tears of joy, dear people. I seldom have tears of sadness, but I have wept worlds of tears of joy for this great work; and I feel like shouting to all and wish my words to be heard, HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH, GLORY BE TO ADAM OUR FATHER AND OUR GOD, TO JESUS CHRIST HIS SON, AND TO THEIR BELOVED JOSEPH! FOREVER AND FOREVER, AMEN AND AMEN! Now, dear Saints, Saints of God, rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for there is nothing but joy and glory awaiting you; but I want to say to you slothful and backward sons and daughters of Jacob to wake up and arise out of your condition of lethargy, and do not suppose for one moment that because you are not feeling and seeing things unspeakable—because you cannot see or feel the power of God—that all these things and more are not being enjoyed at the present moment by others! God bless you. Amen.

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