Chapter 24 Practical Religion

ARTICLE 13 -- We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul -- We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Religion of Daily Life -- In this article of their faith, the Latter-day Saints declare their acceptance of a practical religion; a religion that shall consist, not alone of professions in spiritual matters, and belief as to the conditions of the hereafter, of the doctrine of original sin and the actuality of a future heaven and hell, but also, and more particularly, of present and every-day duties, in which proper respect for self, love for fellow men, and devotion to God are the guiding principles. Religion without morality, professions of godliness without charity, church-membership without adequate responsibility as to individual conduct in daily life, are but as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals -- noise without music, the words without the spirit of prayer. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." FN Honesty of purpose, integrity of soul, individual purity, freedom of conscience, willingness to do good to all men even enemies, pure benevolence -- these are some of the fruits by which the religion of Christ may be known, far exceeding in importance and value the promulgation of dogmas and the enunciation of theories. Yet a knowledge of things more than temporal, doctrines of spiritual matters, founded on revelation and not resting on the sands of man's frail hypotheses, are likewise characteristic of the true Church.

The Comprehensiveness of Our Faith must appeal to every earnest investigator of the principles taught by the Church, and still more to the unprejudiced observer of the results as manifested in the course of life characteristic of the Latter-day Saints. Within the pale of the Church there is a place for all truth -- for everything that is praiseworthy, virtuous, lovely, or of good report. The liberality with which the Church regards other religious denominations; the earnestness of its teaching that God is no respecter of persons, but that He will judge all men according to their deeds; the breadth and depth of its precepts concerning the state of immortality, and the gradations of eternal glory awaiting the honest in heart of all nations, kindred, and churches, civilized and heathen, enlightened and benighted, have already been set forth. We have seen further that the belief of this people carries them forward, even beyond the bounds of knowledge thus far revealed, and teaches them to look with unwavering confidence for other revelation, truths yet to be added, glories grander than have yet been made known, eternities of powers, dominions, and progress, beyond the mind of man to conceive or the soul to contain. We believe in a God who is Himself progressive, whose majesty is intelligence; whose perfection consists in eternal advancement FN -- a Being who has attained His exalted state by a path which now His children are permitted to follow, whose glory it is their heritage to share. In spite of the opposition of the sects, in the face of direct charges of blasphemy, the Church proclaims the eternal truth: "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be." With such a future, well may man open his heart to the stream of revelation, past, present, and to come; and truthfully should we be able to say of every enlightened child of God, that he "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." FN As being incidental to the declaration of belief embodied in this Article, many topics relating to the organization, precepts, and practise of the Church suggest themselves. Of these the following may claim attention.

Benevolence -- Benevolence is founded on love for fellow men; it embraces, though it far exceeds charity, in the ordinary sense in which the latter word is used. By the Christ it was placed as second only to love for God. On one occasion certain Pharisees came to Christ, tempting Him with questions on doctrine in the hope that they could entangle Him and so make Him an offender against the law. Their spokesman was a lawyer; note his question and the Savior's answer: "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." FN The two commandments, here spoken of as first and second, are so closely related as to be virtually one, and that one: "Thou shalt love." He who abideth one of the two will abide both; for without love for our fellows, it is impossible to please God. Hence wrote John, the Apostle of Love, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. * * * If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." FN

But perhaps the grandest and most sublime of the apostolic utterances concerning the love that saves, is found in the epistle of Paul to the saints at Corinth. FN In our current English translation of the Bible, the virtue that the apostle declares to be superior to all miraculous gifts, and which is to continue after all the rest have passed away, is designated as charity, but the original word meant love, and Paul had in mind something more than mere almsgiving, as is evident from his expression: "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, * * * and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." Though a man speak with the tongue of angels; though he possess the power of prophecy, the greatest of the ordinary gifts; though he be versed in knowledge and understand all mysteries; though his faith enable him to move mountains; and though he give his all, including even his life -- -yet without love is he nothing. Charity, or almsgiving, even though it be associated with the sincerest of motives, devoid of all desire for praise or hope of return, is but a feeble manifestation of the love that is to make one's neighbor as dear to him as himself; the love that suffers long; that envies not others; that vaunts not itself; that knows no pride; that subdues selfishness; that rejoices in the truth. When "that which is perfect" is come, the gifts theretofore bestowed in part only will be superseded. "Perfection will then swallow up imperfection; the healing power will then be done away, for no sickness will be there,; tongues and interpretations will then cease, for one pure language alone will be spoken; the casting out of devils and power against deadly poisons will not then be needed, for in heaven circumstances will render them unnecessary. But charity, which is the pure love of God, never faileth; it will sit enthroned in the midst of the glorified throng, clothed in all the glory and splendor of its native heaven." FN If man would win eternal life, he cannot afford to neglect the duty of love to his fellow, for "Love is the fulfilling of the law." FN

Benevolent Works of the Church -- The Church of the present day can point to a stupendous labor of benevolence already accomplished and still in progress. One of the most glorious monuments of its work is seen in the missionary labor which has ever been a characteristic feature of its activities. Actuated by no other motives than pure love for humanity and a desire to fulfil the commands of God respecting mankind, the Church sends out every year hundreds of missionaries to proclaim the Gospel of eternal life to the world, and that too without money or price. Multitudes of these devoted servants have suffered contumely and insult at the hands of those whom they sought to benefit; and not a few have given their lives with the seal of the martyr upon their testimony and work.

The charity that manifests itself in material giving is not neglected in the Church; indeed this form of benevolence is impressed as a sacred duty upon every Latter-day Saint. While each one is urged to impart of his substance to the needy, in his individual capacity, a system of orderly giving has been developed within the Church; and of this some features are worthy of special consideration.

Freewill Offerings -- It has ever been characteristic of the Church and people of God, that they take upon themselves the care of the poor, if any such exist among them. To subserve this purpose, as also to foster a spirit of liberality, kindness, and benevolence, voluntary gifts and free-will offerings have been asked of those who profess to be living according to the law of God. In the Church today a systematic plan of giving for the poor is in operation. Thus, in almost every ward or branch, an organization of women, known as the Relief Society, is in operation. Its purpose is in part to gather from the society, and from the members of the Church in general, contributions of money and other property, particularly the commodities of life, and to distribute such to the deserving and needy under the direction of the local officers in the Priesthood. But the Relief Society operates also on a plan of systematic visitation to the houses of the afflicted, extending aid in nursing, administering comfort in bereavement, and seeking in every possible way to relieve distress. The good work of this organization has won the admiration of many who profess no connection with the Church; its methods have been followed by other benevolent associations, and the society has been accorded a national status in the United States.

Fast Offerings represent a still more general system of donation. The Church teaches the efficacy of continual prayer and of periodical fasting, as a means of acquiring humility meet for divine approval; and a monthly fast-day has been appointed for observance throughout the Church. The first Sunday in each month is so designated. The saints are asked to manifest their sincerity in fasting by making an offering on that day for the benefit of the poor; and, by common consent, the giving of at least an equivalent of the meals omitted by the fasting of the family is expected. These offerings may be made in money, food, or other usable commodity; they are received by the bishopric, and by the same authority are distributed to the worthy poor of the ward or branch. Special fasts are called by the presiding authorities, as occasion may require, as in times of wide-spread illness, war conditions or other exigency as a feature of these seasons of supplication. In these and in numerous other ways do the Latter-day Saints contribute of their substance to the needy, realizing that the poor among them may be the "Lord's poor"; and that, irrespective of worthiness on the part of the recipient, want and distress must be alleviated. The people believe that the harmony of their prayers will become a discord if the cry of the poor accompany their supplications to the throne of Grace.

Tithing -- The Church today follows the doctrine of tithe-paying, similar in all of its general provisions to that taught and practised of old. Before considering the present authorized procedure in this matter, it may be instructive to study the ancient practise of tithe-paying. Strictly speaking, a tithe is a tenth, and such proportion of individual possessions appears to have been formerly regarded as the Lord's due. FN The institution of tithing antedates even the Mosaic dispensation, for we find both Abraham and Jacob paying tithes. Abraham, returning from a victorious battle, met Melchizedek king of Salem and "priest of the most high God"; and, recognizing his priestly authority, "gave him tithes of all." FN Jacob made a voluntary vow with the Lord to render a tenth of all that should come into his possession. FN

The Mosaic statutes were explicit in requiring tithes: "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord. * * * And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord." FN The tenth was to be paid as it came, without search for good or bad; under some conditions, however, a man could redeem the tithe by paying its value in some other way, but in such a case he had to add a fifth of the tithe. The tenth of all the property in Israel was to be paid to the Levites, as an inheritance given in acknowledgment of their service; and they in turn were to pay tithing on what they received, and this tithe of the tithe was to go to the priests. FN A second tithe was demanded of Israel to be used for the appointed festivals; and a third tithe payable once in three years was devoted to the support and entertainment of the needy, the widows and fatherless and the Levites. FN

It is evident, that while no specific penalty for neglect of the law of tithing is recorded, the proper observance of the requirement was regarded as a sacred duty. In the course of the reformation by Hezekiah, the people manifested their repentance by an immediate payment of tithes; FN and so liberally did they give that a great surplus accumulated, observing which, Hezekiah inquired as to the source of such plenty: "And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the Lord hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store." Nehemiah took care to regulate the procedure in tithe-paying; FN and both Amos FN and Malachi FN admonished the people because of their neglect of this duty. Through the prophet last named, the Lord charged the people with having robbed Him; but promised them blessings beyond their capacity to receive if they would return to their allegiance: "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." FN In visiting the Nephites after His resurrection, the Savior told them of these sayings of Malachi, repeating the words of the Jewish prophet. FN The Pharisees, at the time of Christ's ministry, were particularly scrupulous in the matter of tithe paying, even to the neglect of the "weightier matters of the law," and for this inconsistency they were rebuked by the Master. FN

In the present dispensation the law of tithing has been given a place of great importance, and particular blessings have been promised for its faithful observance. This day has been called by the Lord "a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned." FN In a revelation, given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, July 8, 1838, the Lord has explicitly set forth His requirement of the people in this matter. FN

Consecration and Stewardship -- The law of tithing, as observed by the Church today, is after all but a lesser law, given by the Lord in consequence of human weaknesses, selfishness, covetousness, and greed, which prevented the saints from accepting the higher principles, according to which the Lord would have them live. Specific requirements regarding the payment of tithes were made through revelation in 1838; but, seven years prior to that time, the voice of the Lord had been heard on the subject of consecration, FN or the dedication of all one's property, together with his time, and talents, to the service of God, to be used as occasion may require. This again is not new; to the present dispensation the law of consecration is given as a reenactment; it was recognized and observed with profit in olden times. FN Even in the apostolic period the doctrine of consecration of property and common ownership was old, for thirty-four centuries before that time the same principle had been practised by the patriarch Enoch and his people, and with such success that "the Lord came and dwelt with his people; * * * And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them." FN In each of the instances cited -- that of the people of Enoch, and that of the saints in the early part of the Christian era -- we learn of the unity of purpose and consequent power acquired by the people who lived in this social order; they were "of one heart and one mind." Through the spiritual strength so attained the apostles were able to perform many mighty works; FN and of Enoch and his followers we read that the Lord took them unto Himself.

The people of whom the Book of Mormon gives us record also attained to the blessed state of equality, and with corresponding results. The disciples, whom Christ had personally commissioned, taught with power and "they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another." FN Further, we read of a general conversion by which the people came to a condition of ideal peace; "there were no contentions and disputations among them. * * * And they had all things common among them; therefore they were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift." FN They were so blessed, that of them the prophet said:. "Surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God." FN But after nearly two centuries of this blessed condition the people gave way to pride; some of them yielded to a passion for costly apparel; they refused to longer have their goods in common; and straightway many classes came into existence; dissenting sects were established; and then began a rapid course of disruption, which led to the extinction of the Nephite nation. FN

Stewardship in the Church -- A system of unity in temporal matters has been revealed to the Church in this day,; such is currently known as the Order of Enoch, FN or the United Order, FN and is founded on the law of consecration. As already stated, in the early days of the latter-day Church the people demonstrated their inability to abide this law in its fulness, and, in consequence, the lesser law of tithing was given; but the saints confidently await the day in which they will devote not merely a tithe of their substance but all that they have and all that they are, to the service of their God; a day in which no man will speak of mine and thine, but all things shall be the Lord's and theirs.

In this expectation they indulge no vague dream of communism, encouraging individual irresponsibility and giving the idler an excuse for hoping to live at the expense of the thrifty; but rather, a calm trust that in the promised social order, such as God can approve, every man will be a steward in the full enjoyment of liberty to do as he will with the talents committed to his care; but with the sure knowledge that an account of his stewardship shall be required at his hands. As far as the plan of this prospective organization has been revealed, it provides that a person entering the order shall consecrate to the Lord all that he has, be it little or much, giving to the Church a deed of his property sealed with a covenant that cannot be broken. FN The person thus having given his all is to be made a steward over a part of the property of the Church, according to his ability to use it.

The varying grades of occupation will still exist; there will be laborers, whose qualifications fit them best for unskilled toil; and managers who have proved their ability to lead and direct; some who can serve the cause of God best with the pen, others with the plow; there will be engineers and mechanics, artizans and artists, farmers and scholars; teachers, professors, and authors -- every one laboring as far as practicable in the sphere of his choice, but each required to work, and to work where and how he can be of the greatest service. His stewardship is to be assured him by written deed, and as long as he is faithful to his charge, no man can take it from him. FN Of the proceeds of his labors, every man may use as he requires for the support of himself and his family; the surplus is to be rendered to the Church for public and general works, and for the assistance of those who are justifiably deficient. FN As further illustrative of the uses to which the surplus is to be devoted, we read: "All children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance until they are of age. And after that, they have claim upon the church, or in other words, upon the Lord's storehouse, if their parents have not wherewith to give them inheritances. And the storehouse shall be kept by the consecrations of the church; and widows and orphans shall be provided for, as also the poor." FN Any faithful steward, requiring additional capital for the improvement of his work, has a claim for such upon the custodians of the general fund, they in turn being held accountable for their management, which constitutes their stewardship. FN

Equal rights are to be secured to all. The Lord said: "And you are to be equal, or, in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just -- And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord's storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church." FN

Freedom of agency is to be secured to every individual; if he be unfaithful he will be dealt with according to the prescribed rules of church discipline. A corresponding power of self-government will be exercised by the several stakes or other divisions of the Church, each having independent jurisdiction over its own storehouses and its affairs of administration, FN all being subject to the General Authorities of the Church. Only the idler would suffer in such an order as is here outlined. Against him the edict of the Almighty has gone forth: "Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer." FN "The idler shall not have place in the church, except he repents and mends his ways." FN "And the inhabitants of Zion also shall remember their labors, inasmuch as they are appointed to labor, in all faithfulness; for the idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord." FN

Social Order of the Saints -- In view of the prevailing conditions of social unrest, of the loud protest against existing systems whereby the distribution of wealth is becoming more and more unequal -- the rich growing richer from the increasing poverty of the poor, the hand of oppression resting more and more heavily upon the masses, the consequent dissatisfaction with governments, and the half-smothered fires of anarchy discernible in almost every nation -- may we not take comfort in the promise of a better plan, a plan that seeks without force or violence to establish a stable equality, to aid the lowly and the poor, FN and to give every man an opportunity to live and labor in the sphere to which he is adapted? From the tyranny of misused wealth, as from every other form of oppression, the truth will make men free. To be partakers of such freedom mankind must subdue selfishness, which is one of the most potent enemies of godliness.

The Church teaches the necessity of proper organization, in harmony with the laws of the land; the sanctity of the institution and covenant of marriage as essential to the stability of society; the fulfilment of the divine law with respect to the perpetuation of the human family; and the importance of strict personal purity.

Marriage -- The teachings of the scriptures concerning the necessity of marriage are numerous and explicit. "The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone;" FN this comprehensive declaration was made concerning Adam, immediately after his establishment in Eden. Eve was given unto him, and the man recognized the necessity of a continued association of the sexes in marriage, and said: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." FN Neither of the sexes is complete in itself as a counterpart of Deity. We are expressly told that God is the Father of spirits, FN and to apprehend the literalness of this solemn truth we must know that a mother of spirits is an existent personality. FN Of the creation of humankind we read: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." FN The purpose of this dual creation is set forth in the next verse of the sacred narrative: "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." FN Such a command would have been meaningless and void if addressed to either of the sexes alone; and without the power of perpetuating his kind, the glory and majesty of man would be insignificant; for small indeed are the attainments of any individual life in mortality.

Grand as may seem the achievements of a man who is truly great, the culmination of his glorious career lies in his leaving posterity to continue, and enhance the triumphs of their sire. And if such be true of mortals with respect to the things of earth, transcendently greater is the power of eternal increase, as viewed in the light of revealed truth concerning the unending progresssion of the future state. Truly the apostle was wise when he said: "Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord." FN

The Latter-day Saints accept the doctrine that marriage is honorable, FN and apply it as a requirement to all who are not prevented by physical or other disability from assuming the sacred responsibilities of the wedded state. They consider, as part of the birthright of every worthy man, the privilege and duty to stand as the head of a household, the father of a posterity, which by the blessing of God may never become extinct; and equally strong is the right of every worthy woman to be wife and mother in the family of mankind. Notwithstanding the simplicity, reasonableness, and naturalness of these teachings, false teachers have arisen among men declaring the pernicious doctrine that the married state is but a carnal necessity, inherited by man as an incident of his degraded nature; and that celibacy is a mark of a higher state, more acceptable in the sight of God. Concerning such the Lord has spoken in this day: "Whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man * * * that the earth might answer the end of its creation; And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made." FN

Celestial Marriage -- Marriage, as regarded by the Latter-day Saints, is ordained of God and designed to be an eternal relationship of the sexes. With this people it is not merely a temporal contract to be of effect on earth during the mortal existence of the parties, but a solemn agreement which is to extend beyond the grave. In the complete ordinance of marriage, the man and the woman are placed under covenant of mutual fidelity, not "until death doth you part," but "for time and for all eternity." A contract as far reaching as this, extending not only throughout time but into the domain of the hereafter, requires for its validation an authority superior to that of earth; and such an authority is found in the Holy Priesthood, which, given of God, is eternal. Any power less than this, while of effect in this life, is void as to the state of the human soul beyond the grave.

The Lord has said: "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, * * * 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." FN

As touching the application of the principle of earthly authority for things of earth, and eternal authority for things beyond the grave, to the sacred contract of marriage, the revelation continues: "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." FN

This system of holy matrimony, involving covenants as to time and eternity, is known distinctively as Celestial Marriage -- the order of marriage that exists in the celestial worlds. The ordinance of celestial marriage is permitted to those members of the Church only who are adjudged worthy of participation in the special blessings of the House of the Lord; for this ordinance, together with others of eternal validity, is to be administered in Temples reared and dedicated for such holy service. FN Children who are born of parents thus married are natural heirs to the Priesthood; "children of the covenant" they are called; they require no rite of adoption or sealing to insure them place in the posterity of promise. But the Church sanctions marriages for earthly time only, and bestows upon such the seal of the Priesthood, among those who are not admitted to the Temples of the Lord, or who voluntarily prefer the lesser and temporal order of matrimony. No living person can be married under the ordinances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unless every requirement of the secular law applicable to marriage has been fully complied with.

Unlawful Associations of the Sexes have been designated by the Lord as among the most heinous of sins; and the Church today regards individual purity in the sexual relation as an indispensable condition of membership. The teachings of the Nephite prophet, Alma, concerning the enormity of offenses against virtue and chastity are accepted by the Latter-day Saints without modification; and Such are to the effect: "That these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost." FN The command: "Thou shalt not commit adultery," once written by the finger of God amidst the thunders and lightnings of Sinai, has been renewed as a specific injunction in these last days; and the penalty of excommunication has been prescribed for the offender. FN Moreover, the Lord regards any approach to sexual sin as inconsistent with the professions of those who have received the Holy Spirit, for He has declared that "he that looketh on a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith." FN

Sanctity of the Body -- The Church teaches that everyone should regard his body as "the temple of God; FN and that he maintain its purity and sanctity as such. He is taught that the Spirit of the Lord dwells not in unclean tabernacles; and that therefore he is required to live according to the laws of health, which constitute part of the law of God. For the special guidance of His saints, the Lord has revealed the following: FN

1. A WORD OF WISDOM, for the benefit of the council Of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion --

2. To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days --

3. Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

4. Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation --

5. That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.

6. And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.

7. And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.

8. And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.

9. And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.

10. And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man --

11. Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.

12. Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

13. And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

14. All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;

15. And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

16. All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground --

17. Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.

18. And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

19. And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

20. And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

21. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen. FN

The Sabbath Day FN -- The Church accepts Sunday as the Christian Sabbath and proclaims the sanctity of the day. We admit without argument that under the Mosaic law the seventh day of the week, Saturday, was designated and observed as the holy day, and that the change from Saturday to Sunday was a feature of the apostolic administration following the personal ministry of Jesus Christ. Greater than the question of this day or that in the week is the actuality of the weekly Sabbath, to be observed as a day of special and particular devotion to the service of the Lord.

The Sabbath was prefigured if not definitely specified in the record of the creation, wherein we read, following the account of the six days or periods of creative effort: "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." FN

In the early stages of the exodus the Israelites were commanded to lay in a double portion of manna on the sixth day, for the seventh was consecrated as a day of rest; and this was signalized by the Lord's withholding manna on the Sabbath day. FN There is no proof that Sabbath observance by Israel at this early date was an innovation; and it may be reasonably regarded as a recognition of an established order by reenactment in the new dispensation. Later, when the decalog was codified and promulgated from Sinai, the Sabbath law was made particularly explicit, and the Lord's rest was cited as its foundation: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." FN

The keeping of the Sabbath as a day of surcease from toil and of particular devotion came to be a national characteristic of the Israelites, whereby they were distinguished from pagan nations; and rightly so, for the observance of the holy day was specified as a sign of the covenant between Jehovah and His people. FN

In the course of Israelitish history successive prophets admonished and rebuked the people for neglect or profanation of the Sabbath. Nehemiah ascribed the affliction of the nation to the forfeiture of divine protection through Sabbath violation; FN and by the mouth of Ezekiel the Lord reaffirmed the significance of the Sabbath as a mark of His covenant with Israel, and sternly upbraided those who observed not the day. FN To the detached branch of Israel, which, as the Book of Mormon avers, was transplanted to American soil, Sabbath observance was no less an imperative requirement. FN

Long before the birth of Christ the original purpose of the Sabbath and the spirit of its service had come to be largely lost sight of among the Jews; and rabbinical rules had introduced numerous technicalities, which made of the day one of discomfort and severity. This condition was strongly denounced by our Lord in reply to the many criticisms heaped upon Him because of the healings and other good works wrought by Him on the Sabbath. "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath," said He, and then continued with the profound affirmation: "The Son of Man is Lord also of the sabbath." FN

Christ came not to destroy the law of Moses but to fulfil it; and through Him the law was superseded by the Gospel. The Savior rose from the tomb on the first day of the week; and that particular Sunday, as also the next, was rendered forever memorable by the bodily visitation of the resurrected Lord to the assembled apostles and others. To the believers in the crucified and risen Savior, Sunday became the Lord's Day, FN and in time took the place of Saturday as the weekly Sabbath in the Christian churches.

The Church of Jesus Christ teaches that Sunday is the acceptable day for Sabbath observance, on the authority of direct revelation specifying the Lord's Day as such. In this, a new dispensation, and verily the last -- the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times -- the law of the Sabbath has been reaffirmed unto the Church. It is to be noted that the revelation, part of which follows, was given to the Church on a Sunday -- August 7, 1831:

"And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day. For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High. Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times. But remember that on this, the Lord's day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord. And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full." FN

We believe that a weekly day of rest is no less truly a necessity for the physical well-being of man than for his spiritual growth; but, primarily and essentially, we regard the Sabbath as divinely established, and its observance a commandment of Him who was and is and ever shall be, Lord of the Sabbath.


Religion a Personal Matter

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, etc., this man's religion is vain -- James 1:26; read verse 27.

For a summary of religious duties, and the nature of practical or genuine religion, read the General Epistle of James.

Paul to King Agrippa: After the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee -- Acts 26:5.

The Nephites sought to defend themselves, their country, their rights, and their religion -- Alma 43:47.

Blessings of the Lord attributed to a devout observance of religion -- Alma 44:3; read also verses 4 and 5.

The Title of Liberty: In memory of our God, our religion and freedom, etc. -- Alma 46:12, 13.

The freemen covenanted to maintain their rights and the privileges of their religion by a free government -- Alma 51:6.

Consider the characteristics of true religion as set forth in the Lord's Sermon on the Mount -- Matt., chaps. 5, 6, 7.

We believe that religion is instituted of God -- D&C 134:4; see also verses 9 and 10.

Faith, hope, charity, and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify men for the ministry -- D&C 4:5.

No one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, etc. -- D&C 12:8.

And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing -- D&C 18:19.

And above all things, clothe yourself with the bond of charity, as with a mantle -- D&C 88:125.

Be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish your thoughts unceasingly -- D&C 121:45.

What ye do to the poor ye do to the Lord -- D&C 42:38; read also verse 29; 44:6;52:40.

Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor -- D&C 56:16. Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, etc. -- verse 17.

Search to be made for the poor that their wants may be administered to -- D&C 84:112.

The order of the Church for the benefit of the poor -- D&C, sec. 104.

He who imparts not of his portion to the poor shall lift up his eyes in hell -- D&C 104:18.

Displeasure of the Lord on account of those who would not impart of their substance to the poor and afflicted -- D&C 105:3.

Tithes and Offerings

Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek -- Gen. 14:20.

Jacob covenanted to pay tithes to the Lord -- Gen. 28:22.

All the tithe of the land was holy unto the Lord -- Lev. 27:30; see also verse 32.

Disposition of the tithes of the children of Israel -- Num. 18:24.

Thither shall ye bring your sacrifices and your tithes -- Deut. 12:6.

Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed -- Deut. 14:22, 23.

Men commissioned to care for the tithes -- Neh. 13:11-13.

In the days of Malachi the people had robbed God in the matter of tithes and offerings -- Mal. 3:8; see also verses 9-12.

The frequent mention of offerings as distinct from tithes in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

See mention of tithes in Book of Mormon, Alma 13:15; 3 Nephi 24:810. For mention of offerings see 1 Nephi 5:9; 7:22; 2:7.

Tithing as required in the present dispensation -- D&C, sec. 119.

Verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people -- D&C 64:23.

House of the Lord to be built by the tithing of the people -- D&C 97:11, 12.

Note that the Nephites were strict observers of the law of Moses until that law was superseded by direction of the resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ, who ministered unto them in person, and declared that the law had been given by him. As shown by Biblical references herein, tithes and offerings figure conspicuously in the requirements of the Mosaic law. In proof that the Nephites did observe the requirements of the law of Moses see the following: Mosiah 3:14, 15; 12:28-37; 13:27-33; Helaman 15:5; 3 Nephi 15:2-10.

The Sabbath

Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord -- Exo. 16:23.

Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy -- Exo. 20:8-11. Note in verse 11 that the institution of the sabbath was prefigured in the events of creation: And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it -- Gen. 2:2, 3; also Moses 3:2; Abraham 5:1-3.

Six days in which to do work and the seventh on which man and animals should rest -- Exo. 23:12.

The keeping of the sabbath was made a sign between Jehovah and his people Israel -- Exo. 31:13-17; Ezek. 20:12.

The seventh day to be one of rest even in earing time and in harvest -- Exo. 34:21; see also 35:2; Lev. 23:3.

Special offerings were to be made on the sabbath -- Num. 28:9, 10.

The Israelites in the wilderness were commanded to gather an extra quantity of manna on the sixth day and none on the seventh -- Exo. 16:16-31; see also verses 4 and 5.

Blessings on the man who kept the sabbath -- Isa. 56:2; see also 58:13, 14.

Under the law of Moses the punishment for sabbath violation was death -- Exo. 35:2; Num. 15:32-36; compare Jer. 17:27.

Christ's teachings regarding the sabbath, his actions thereon, and accusations brought against him as a sabbath-breaker -- Matt. 12:1-8; also verses 10-14; compare Luke 6:1-11, and Mark 2:23-28. See instance of the woman healed on the sabbath day -- Luke 13:11-17. A man suffering from the dropsy was healed on the sabbath -- Luke 14:16. See other instances -- John 5:5-18; 7:21-24.

Therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the sabbath -- Mark 2:28; see also Matt. 12:8.

The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath -- Mark 2:27.

Paul reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath -- Acts 18:4; see also 17:2. Observe that on the first day of the week, not the seventh, the disciples are said to have come together to break bread -- Acts 20:7.

Sunday, the first day of the week, was the day on which Christ was resurrected -- Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:9.

The first day of the week came to be observed instead of the seventh day as the sabbath -- 1 Cor. 16:2. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day -- Rev. 1:10.

Let no man judge you of the sabbath days -- Colos. 2:16.

The Nephites observed to keep the sabbath day holy unto the Lord -- Jarom 5; see also Mosiah 13:16-19.

Alma commanded the people that they should observe the sabbath day, and keep it holy -- Mosiah 18:23.

Note that the observance of the sabbath was an important feature of the law of Moses; and furthermore, observe that the Nephites were strict observers of the law of Moses until the law was superseded by the gospel left to them by the resurrected Christ, who was he who had given the law -- 2 Nephi 5:10; 25:24-30; Jarom 5; Mosiah 2:3; Alma 30:3; 3 Nephi 1:24.

Go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day -- D&C 59:9, 10. Remember that on this, the Lord's day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High -- verses 12-14.

And the inhabitants of Zion shall also observe the sabbath day to keep it holy -- D&C 68:29.