November 28, 2007

"Stand so near each other that the devil cannot get between us"

Heber C. Kimball March 23, 1856 Brother Heber was emphatic on the theme of following the prophet.[1] This sermon reflected strongly his desire for people to listen to Brigham Young, and stand by him. He also emphasized that Saints are responsible for their own salvation; the every day duties of a Latter-day Saint:

Can I save you? No, I can only advise a righteous course, and encourage and aid in walking therein, it then remains for them to take the course which I advise, and I always advise people to adopt that policy which Joseph taught and advocated, and which brother Brigham now lays before us, from day to day. This is what will save you, and you cannot be saved upon any other principle. I have power to save myself, and if I do not save myself, who will save me? All have that privilege, and naught can save us but obedience to the commandments of God.
You say that you have repented and been baptized for the remission of sins, that you have received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, that you pray, pay your tithing, and day by day, fulfill all the duties required at your hands; such a course is saving in its nature.
Unity in these matters would lend more to overall unity of the Saints; an important principle for the growing Church, and an important principle for salvation. God wants a united people, a Zion people (see Moses 7:18). Heber knew division and contention leads to apostasy, and gave a "key" from the Prophet Joseph Smith:
I will give you a key which brother Joseph Smith used to give in Nauvoo. He said, that the very step of apostasy commenced with losing confidence in the leaders of this Church and kingdom, and that whenever you discerned that spirit, you might know that it would lead the possessor of it on the road to apostasy.
This principle didn't only apply to Church leadership, but to all:
If then you have got this spirit in your hearts, or in your families, and if brethren and sisters, husbands and wives are contending and quarreling one with another, I say, there is the spirit of apostasy, there is a place where the Spirit of God does not abide in its fulness. Do you suppose that God, His Son, the Holy Ghost, or angels will dwell in a house where there is quarreling and loss of confidence in the leaders of His appointing? Would you stay in such a habitation? Then let us banish all strife and contention; let no children contend against their parents, nor wives against their husbands, nor any one against the authorities which God has established. This should be the course in every family, and in every quorum, and let all be actuated and governed by the pure spirit and principles of eternal truth. Let my family take my counsel, as I take the counsel of my President, and they will go into celestial glory, where I am bound to go by walking in that path.
The scriptures contain multiple pleadings for unity and love. The Lord warned "if ye are not one, ye are not mine," (D&C 38:27) and commanded the Nephites that they must cease all disputations (see 3 Nephi 11:28-30). In the great intercessory prayer of Christ, he plead that his disciples could be one, as He is one with the Father (see John 17:11-23). Paul told the people of Corinth to have no divisions among them, and to be perfectly joined together (see 1 Corinthians 1:10) just as Alma's church in the wilderness had their hearts knit together in unity and love (see Mosiah 18:21). Heber believed the unifying principle was love; and it would fortify all against the danger of falling:
I desire to stand in my place, to be beneficial to the Saints, to go in and out before the house of Israel, pure and holy. This is my character, and these are my wishes, notwithstanding my weaknesses, which I admit; and this is the character of brother Brigham, and I know it. God bless his soul forever, and he shall live forever, and go into the courts of glory, and enjoy the society of the Father, of Jesus, and all the Apostles; and I will be along with him there, and so will my brethren who are faithful. We will stand so near each other that the devil cannot get between us, and let all our brethren do the same. Every family should do so, and if they all did, what trouble would there be? What could the wicked do if all the Saints stood faithful in their own places?
What could the wicked do? Footnotes: [1] Another post based on a Heber sermon about following the prophet is "He that receiveth you receiveth me".

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