The Seer/Volume 1/Number 1/Celestial Marriage
|←The Pre-Existence of Man||The Seer by
Volume 1, Number 1, Celestial Marriage
|The Seer, Vol. 1, No. 1, January 1853|
A REVELATION ON THE PATRIARCHAL ORDER OF MATRIMONY, OR PLURALITY OF WIVES. Given to Joseph Smith, the Seer, in Nauvoo, July 12th, 1843.
1. Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have enquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines: Behold! and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter: Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto themmust obey the same; for behold! I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant, and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant, and be permitted to enter into my glory; for all who will have a blessing at my hands, shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as was instituted from before the foundations of the world: and as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof, must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.
2. And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into, and sealed, by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment, through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power, (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time, on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred,) are of no efficacy, virtue, or force, in and after the resurrection from the dead: for all contracts that are not made unto this end, have an end when men are dead.
3. Behold! mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion. Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name! Or, will I receive at your hands, that which I have not appointed! And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was! I am the Lord thy God, and I give unto you this commandment, that no man shall come unto the Father, but by me, or by my word which is my law, saith the Lord; and everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me, or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God: for whatsoever things remaineth, are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me, shall be shaken and destroyed.
4. Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me, nor by my word; and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world, and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world; therefore, when they are out of the world, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory; for these angels did not abide my law, therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not Gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.
5. And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time, and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me, or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid, neither of force, when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world, it cannot be received there, because the angels and the Gods are appointedthere, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory, for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.
6. And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power, and the keys of this priesthood, and it shall be said unto them, ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths, then shall it be written in the Lamb's Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity, and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the Gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
7. Then shall they be Gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.
8. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory; for straight is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world, neither do ye know me. But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation, that where I am, ye shall be also. This is eternal lives, to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am He. Receive ye, therefore, my law. Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the death; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.
9. Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder, wherein they shed innocent blood,—yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation, but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan, unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.
10. The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world, nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder, wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law, can in nowise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord.
11. I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law of my Holy Priesthood, as was ordained by me, and my Father, before the world was. Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation, and sitteth upon his throne.
12. Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins,—from whose loins ye are, viz., my servant Joseph,—which were to continue, so long as they were inthe world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world, they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the sea-shore, ye could not number them. This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law are the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself. Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law, and ye shall be saved. But if ye enter not into my law, ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham.
13. God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises. Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it. Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written, Thou shalt not kill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.
14. Abraham received concubines, and they bare him children, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law: as Isaac also, and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones; and are not angels, but are Gods. David also received many wives and concubines, as also Solomon, and Moses my servant; as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation, until this time; and in nothing did they sin, save in those things which they received not of me.
15. David's wives and concubines were given unto him, of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me, save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.
16. I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things; ask what ye will, and it shall be given unto you according to my word; and as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed. If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery; and if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery; and if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent, and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her, and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery, but hath been faithful, for he shall be made ruler over many; for I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time.
17. And verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth, shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name, and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sinsyou remit on earth, shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth, shall be retained in heaven.
18. And again, verily I say, whomsoever you bless, I will bless; and whomsoever you curse, I will curse, saith the Lord; for I, the Lord, am thy God.
19. And again, verily I say unto you, my servant Joseph, that whatsoever you give on earth, and to whomsoever you give any one on earth, by my word and according to my law, it shall be visited with blessings, and not cursings, and with my power, saith the Lord, and shall be without condemnation on earth, and in heaven; for I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity: for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father. Behold, I have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you: go, therefore, and I make a way for your escape, as I accepted the offering of Abraham, of his son Isaac.
20. Verily I say unto you, a commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself, and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham; and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice: and let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God! for I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph, that he shall be made ruler over many things, for he hath been faithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.
21. And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment, she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law; but if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him, and give unto him an hundredfold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds. And again, verily I say, let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses, and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses, wherein she has trespassed against me; and I, the Lord thy God, will bless her, and multiply her, and make her heart to rejoice.
22. And again, I say, let not my servant Joseph put his property out of his hands, lest an enemy come and destroy him, for Satan seeketh to destroy; for I am the Lord thy God, and he is my servant; and behold! and lo, I am with him, as I was with Abraham, thy father, even unto his exaltation and glory.
23. Now as touching the law of the priesthood, there are many things pertaining thereunto. Verily, if a man be called of my Father, as was Aaron, by mine own voice, and by the voice of him that sent me, and I have endowed him with the keys of the power of this priesthood, if he do anything in my name, and according to my law, and by my word, he will not commit sin, and I will justify him. Let no one, therefore, set on my servant Joseph; for I will justify him; for he shall do the sacrifice which I require at his hands, for his transgressions, saith the Lord your God.
24. And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood: If any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouseanother, and the first give her consent; and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery, for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him, and to none else; and if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him; and they are given unto him:— therefore is he justified. But if one, or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.
25. And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things; then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law. Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law, when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife. And now, as pertaining to this law: Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.
PLURALITY OF WIVES is a doctrine very popular among most of mankind at the present day. It is practised by the most powerful nations of Asia and Africa, and by numerous nations inhabiting the islands of the sea, and by the Aboriginal nations of the great Western Hemisphere. The one wife system is confined principally to a few small nations inhabiting Europe, and to those who are of European origin inhabiting America. It is estimated by the most able historians of our day, that about four-fifths of the population of the globe believe and practice, according to their respective laws, the doctrine of a Plurality of Wives. If the popularity of a doctrine is in proportion to the numbers who believe in it, then it follows that the Plurality system is four times more popular among the inhabitants of the earth than the one wife system. Those nations who practice the Plurality doctrine consider it as virtuous and as right for one man to have many wives, as to have one only. Therefore, they have enacted laws, not only giving this right to their citizens, but also protecting them in it, and punishing all those who infringe upon the chastity of the marriage covenant by committing adultery with any one of the wives of his neighbour. Those nations do not consider it possible for a man to commit adultery with any one of those women to whom he has been legally married according to their laws. The posterity raised up unto the husband through each of his wives, are all considered to be legitimate, and provisions are made in their laws for those children, the same as if they were the children of one wife. Adulteries, fornications, and all unvirtuous conduct between the sexes, are severely punished by them. Indeed, Plurality among them is considered, not only virtuous and right, but a great check or preventative against adulteries and unlawful connections, which are among the greatest evils with which nations arecursed, producing a vast amount of suffering and misery, devastation and death; undermining the very foundation of happiness, and destroying the frame-work of society, and the peace of the domestic circle.
Some of the nations of Europe who believe in the one wife system, have actually forbidden a plurality of wives by their laws; and the consequences are, that the whole country among them is overrun with the most abominable practices; adulteries and unlawful connections prevail through all their villages, towns, cities, and country places, to a most fearful extent. And among some of these nations these sinks of wickedness, wretchedness, and misery, are licensed by law; while their piety would be wonderfully shocked to authorise by law the Plurality system, as adopted by many neighbouring nations.
The Constitution and laws of the United States, being founded upon the principles of freedom, do not interfere with marriage relations, but leave the nation free to believe in and practice the doctrine of a Plurality of wives, or to confine themselves to the one wife system, just as they choose. This is as it should be: it leaves the conscience of man untrammelled, and so long as he injures no person, and does not infringe upon the rights of others, he is free by the Constitution to marry one wife, or many, or none at all, and becomes accountable to God for the righteousness or unrighteousness of his domestic relations.
The Constitution leaves the several States and Territories to enact such laws as they see proper in regard to Marriages, provided that they do not infringe upon the rights of conscience and the liberties guaranteed in that sacred document. Therefore, if any State or Territory feels disposed to enact laws guaranteeing to each of its citizens the right to marry many wives, such laws would be perfectly constitutional; hence, the several States and Territories practice the one wife system out of choice, and not because they are under any obligations so to do by the National Constitution. Indeed, we doubt very much whether any State or Territory has the constitutional right to make laws, prohibiting the Plurality doctrine in cases where it is practised by religious societies, as a matter of conscience or as a doctrine of their religious faith. The first Article of the Ammendments to the Constitution, says, expressly, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Now, if even Congress itself has no power to pass a law “prohibiting the free exercise of Religion,” much less has any State or Territory power to pass such an act. The doctrine of a Plurality of Wives was believed and practised by Abraham, the father of the faithful; and we find that while in this practice the angels of God frequently ministered to him, and at one time dined with him; and God manifested Himself to him, and entered into familiar conversation with him. Neither God nor His Angels reproved Abraham for being a Polygamist, but on the contrary, the Almighty greatly blessed him and made promises unto him, concerning both Isaac and Ishmael, clearly showing that Abraham practised what is called Polygamy, under the sanction of the Almighty. Now if the father of the faithful was thus blessed, certainly it should not be considered irreligious for the faithful, who are called his children, to walk in the steps of their father Abraham. Indeed, if the Lord Himself, through His holy prophets, should give more wives unto his servants, as He gave them unto the prophet David, it would be a great sin for them to refuse that which He gives. In such a case, it would become a matter of conscience with them, and a part of their religion, and they would be bound to exercise their faith in this doctrine, and practice it, or be condemned; therefore, Congresswould have no power to prohibit the free exercise of this part of their religion; neither would the States or Territories have power, Constitutionally, to pass a law “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Now a certain religious society, called Shakers, believe it to be wrong for them to marry even one wife; it certainly would be unconstitutional for either the congress or the States to pass a law, compelling all people to marry at a certain age, because it would infringe upon the rights of conscience among the Shakers, and they would be prohibited the free exercise of their religion.
From the foregoing Revelation, given through Joseph the Seer, it will be seen that God has actually commanded some of His servants to take more wives, and has pointed out certain duties In regard to the marriage ceremony, showing that they must be married for time and for all eternity, and showing the advantages to be derived in a future state by this eternal union, and showing still further, that, if they refused to obey this command, after having the law revealed to them, they should be damned. This revelation, then, makes it a matter of conscience among all the Latter-day Saints; and they embrace it as a part and portion of their religion, and verity believe that they cannot be saved and reject it. Has Congress power, then, to pass laws “prohibiting” the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “the free exercise” of this article of their religion? Which the Church of the Saints conscientiously and sincerely believe to be essential to their salvation? No: they have no such right.
The Latter-day Saints have the most implicit confidence in all the revelations give through Joseph the Prophet; and they would much sooner lay down their lives and suffer martyrdom, than to deny the least revelation that was ever given to him. In one of the revelations through him, we read that God raised up wise men and inspired them to write the Constitution of our country, that the freedom of the people might be maintained, according to the free agency which He had given to them; that every man might be accountable to God and not to man, so far as religious doctrines and conscience are concerned. And the more we examine that sacred instrument, framed by the wisdom of our illustrious fathers, the more we are compelled to believe that an invisible power controlled, dictated, and guided them in laying the foundation of liberty and freedom upon this great Western Hemisphere. To this land the Mahomedan—the Hindoo—the Chinese—can emigrate, and each bring with him his score of wives and his hundred children, and the glorious Constitution of our country will not interfere with his domestic relations. Under the broad banner of the Constitution, he is protected in all his family associations; none have a right to tare any of his wives or his children from him. So likewise, under the broad folds of the Constitution, the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah have the right to pass laws regulating their matrimonial relations, and protecting each of their citizens in the right of marrying one or many wives, as the case may be. If Congress should repeal those laws, they could not do so on the ground of their being unconstitutional. And even if Congress should repeal them, there still would be no law in Utah, prohibiting the free exercise of that religious right: neither do the citizens of Utah feel disposed to pass such an unconstitutional act which would infringe upon the most sacred rights of conscience. Tradition and custom have great influence over nations. Long established customs, whether right or wrong, become sacred in the estimation of Mankind. Those nationswho have been accustomed from time immemorial to the practice of what is called Polygamy, would consider a law abolishing it, as the very height of injustice and oppression; the very idea of being limited to the one wife system, would be considered not only oppressive and unjust, but absolutely absurd and ridiculous; it would be considered an innovation upon the long established usages, customs, and laws of numerous and powerful nations; an innovation of the most dangerous character, calculated to destroy the most sacred rights and privileges of family assocations—to upset the very foundations of individual rights, rendered dear and sacred by being handed down to them from the most remote ages of antiquity.
On the other hand, the European nations who have been for centuries restricted by law to the one wife theory, would consider it a shocking innovation upon the customs of their fathers to abolish their restrictive laws, and to give freedom and liberty, according to the plurality system. It is custom, then, in a great degree, that forms the conscience of nations and individuals in regard to the marriage relationships. Custom causes four-fifths of the population of the globe to decide that Polygamy, as it is called, is a good, and not an evil practice; custom causes the balance, or the remaining fifth, to decide in opposition to the great majority.
Those individuals who have strength of mind sufficient to divest themselves entirely from the influence of custom, and examine the doctrine of a Plurality of Wives, under the light of Reason and Revelation, will be forced to the conclusion that it is a doctrine of Divine origin; that it was embraced and practised under the Divine sanction, by the most righteous men who ever lived on the earth: holy Prophets and Patriarchs, who were inspired by the Holy Ghose—who were enwrapt in the visions of the Almighty—who conversed with holy angels—who saw God face to face, and talked with Him as a man talks with his friend—were “Polygamists,” that is, they had many wives—raised up many children by them—and were never reproved by the Holy Ghost, nor by angels, nor by the Almighty, for believing in and practising such a doctrine; on the contrary, each one of these “Polygamists” received, by revelation, promises, and blessings, for himself, for his wives, and for his numerous children, born unto him by his numerous wives. Moreover, the Lord himself gave revelation to different wives belonging to the same man, revealing to them the great blessings which should rest upon their posterity; angels also were sent to comfort and bless them; and in no instance do we find them reproved for having joined themselves in marriage to a “polygamist.” Indeed, the Lord himself gave laws, not to prohibit “Polygamy,” but showing His will in relation to the children raised up by the different wives of the same man; and furthermore, the Lord himself actually officiated in giving David all the wives of Saul; this occurred, too, when David already had several wives which he had previously taken: therefore, as the Lord did actually give into David’s own bosom all the wives of Saul, He must not only have sanctioned “Polygamy,” but established and instituted it upon a sure foundations, by giving the wives himself, the same as he gave Eve to Adam. Therefore, those who are completely divested from the influence of national customs, and who judge concerning this matter by the word of God, are compelled to believe that the Plurality of Wives was once sanctioned, for many ages, by the Almighty; and by a still further research of the Divine oracles, they find no intimations that this Divine institution was ever repealed. It was an institution, not originated under the law of Moses, but it was a far more ancient date; and instead of being abolished by that law, it was sanctioned and perpetuated:and when Christ came to fulfil that law, and to do it away by the introduction of a better covenant, He did not abolish the plurality system: not being originated under that law, it was not made null and void when that law was done away. Indeed, there were many things in connection with the law that were not abolished when the law was fulfilled; as, for instance, the ten commandments which the people under the Gospel covenant were still obliged to obey; and until we can find some law of God abolishing and prohibiting a plurality of wives, we are compelled to believe it a Divine institution; and we are, furthermore, compelled to believe, that if this institution be entered into now, under the same principles which governed the Holy Prophets and Patriarchs, that God will approbate it now as much as He did then; and that the persons who do thus practise it conscientiously and sincerely, are just as honourable in the sight of God as those who have but one wife. And that which is honourable before God should be honourable before men; and no one should be despised when he acts in all good conscience upon any principle of doctrine; neither should there be laws in any of these States or Territories to compel any individual to act in violation to the dictates of his own conscience; but every one should be left in all matters of religion to his own choice, and thus become accountable to God, and not to his fellow man.
If the people of this country have generally formed different conclusions from us upon this subject; and if they have embraced religions which are more congenial to their minds than the religion of the Saints, we say to them, that they are welcome to their own religious views; the laws should not interfere with the exercise of their own religious views; the laws should not interfere with the exercise of their religious rights. If we cannot convince you by reason nor by the word of God, that you religion is wrong, we will not persecute you, but will sustain you in the privileges guaranteed in the great Charter of American Liberty: we ask from you the same generosity,—protect us in the exercise of our religious rights—convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the word of God, and we will be ever grateful for the information, and you will ever have the pleasing reflection that you have been the instruments in hands of god of redeeming your fellow beings from the darkness which you may see enveloping their minds. Come, then, let us reason together, and try to discover the true light upon all subjects connected with our temporal or eternal happiness; and if we disagree in our judgements, let us impute it to the weakness and imperfections of our fallen natures, and let us pity each other, and endeavour with patience and meekness to reclaim from error, and save the immortal soul from an endless death.