The Means of Escape, or Existing Evils and Their Cure,
"Now learn a parable of the fig tree: When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh; So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors."—Matt, xxiv, 32—33.
We live in strange times. Human affairs are hastening to a crisis. International struggles are imminent, "nation rising against nation," for supremacy and existence. Civilized governments are threatened by an internal and destructive agency, in the form of communism. This secret combination assumes different names and forms, according to the fancy of its devotees and the various stages of its advancement. It is Communism in France, Socialism in Germany, Internationalism in Spain and Italy, Nihilism in Russia, and similar sentiments and principles are cloaked under a variety of titles in America and the United Kingdom of great Britain. These societies are opposed in spirit to all the restraints of law; they, are an increasing power, causing thrones to totter and soon through their agency, governments will crumble and fall.
On February 9th, 1831, the great Prophet of the latter-days received a revelation from God, on this subject. He was told to instruct the elders of the Church who should go to the east, to "teach them that shall be converted to flee to the west, and this in consequence of that which is coming upon the earth, and of secret combinations." The prophecies in the Book of Mormon are plain on this subject, stating that "secret combinations to get power and gain," should be among the nations in the latter times, and would be a sign that the destruction of those governments in which they should exist would be near at hand.
The prevailing conflict between capital and labor is irrepressible, strikes being of almost daily occurrence. The increase of labor-saving machinery is creating over-stocked markets. This and other causes create a decline in trade for which there is no cure. Consequently the condition of the poorer classes grows from bad to worse. They will continue in that situation until driven, by desperation, to deeds of violence, scenes of anarchy and bloodshed will ensue and Babylon shall fall. "The merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth her merchandise any more" (see Rev. chap, xviii.)
Secularism and infidelity are sweeping over the nations like a mighty flood. Having broken through the restraining influence of religious feeling, the masses are plunging into a vortex of ruin, by indulgence in every species of iniquity. Crime is increasing with such rapidity that the cities page 2 of the world are fairly reeking with corruption. The earth is in "commotion" with the news of "famines, pestilence, wars and rumors of war." It has almost come to the point when "men's hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." Luke xxi—26. The present phase of things is because the world has been for centuries and is now in apostacy from the true order of the Gospel. Isaiah (xxiv. 5,) being enabled to behold, by prophetic power, the existing" condition of affairs, said: "The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant."
Speaking of what should be previous to the second coming of Christ, Paul said (ii. Thess. ii. "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a fulling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."
The reader may say: "I can clearly see the perplexing dilemma the world has reached, but it is easier to point out an evil than the means of escape from it." It is not our intention to leave the matter in a maze of doubt, for as surely as God, through His servants, predicted the "falling away," when men should have "a form of godliness but denying the power thereof;" so also, by the voice of revelation, did he proclaim, that, in the latter times it would be restored. (Rev. xiv. 6.) "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, kindred, tongue and people." Also, in telling his disciples what should be the signs, of his coming, Christ gave as one of them: (Matt. xxiv. 14.) "And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
We make the solemn declaration that the fullness of the everlasting Gospel, with all its gifts, authority, and blessings has been restored, through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph Smith, in this age. This restoration came not by the will or power of man, but by the power of the Living God.
We extract the following from an article under the head of "Church History," written in 1842, by Joseph, the Prophet:
"I was born in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, U. S. A., on the 23d of December, A. D. 1805. When ten years old my parents removed to Palmyra, New York, where we resided about four years, and from thence we removed to the town of Manchester, U. S. A.
"My father was a farmer and taught me the art of husbandry. When about fourteen years of age, I began to reflect upon the importance of being prepared for a future state, and, upon inquiring the plan of salvation, I found that there was a great clash in religious sentiments. Believing the word of God, I had confidence in the declaration of James, 'If a man lack wisdom let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and up-braideth not, and it shall be given him,' I retired to a secret place in a grove and began to call upon the Lord. While fervently engaged in supplication, my mind was taken away from the objects with which I was surrounded, and I was enwrapped in a heavenly vision, and saw two glorious personages who exactly resembled each other in features and likeness, surrounded with a brilliant light, which eclipsed the sun at noon-day. They told me that all religious denominations were believing in incorrect doc- page 3 trines, and that none of them was acknowledged of God as His Church and Kingdom. And I was expressly commanded to 'go not after them at the same time receiving a promise that the fullness of the Gospel should at some future time be made known unto me,"
On the 21st of September, A. D., 1823, Joseph Smith was visited by an angel from the courts of glory, who instructed him further regarding the coming forth of the work of the Lord in the last days. This heavenly messenger informed him concerning certain plates that were hid in a hill, and on which was recorded the history of two races of people who had inhabited the American Continent, one descended from a small colony that was led out of Jerusalem about 600 years B. C.; and the other from a company that was led to the American Continent by the power of God, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people who built the Tower of Babel. Those records, together with the Urim and Thummim, by means of which sacred instruments he was enabled to translate them, were committed to him, producing what is known as the Book of Mormon. This record is in exact harmony with the doctrine and principles contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and embodies many prophecies that have been fulfilled, many that are now being verified and others relating to events still in the future.
On the 15th of May, 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were visited by John the Baptist, an angelic messenger from God, by whom they were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels and the gospel of repentance and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. Subsequently, by direct revelation from God, they were ordained to the Melchisedek Priesthood, which holds the keys of the laying on of the hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost. They were also commissioned to ordain others to the same great authority and to organize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was done on the 6th day of April, 1830, in the town of Fayette, Seneca County, State of New York, United States of America. From that time the work spread in every direction, the word being confirmed by signs following the believers, as it was anciently, when holy men of old went forth administering among the people by the power and authority of the God of Israel.
In ancient times nearly the whole of the Prophets, and the Saviour himself and His Apostles, were the objects of bitter persecution. The introduction of the same principles, in this age, has produced the same effect. From the time Joseph Smith received his first vision till now, the work which he was the honored instrument in establishing has met with the most intense opposition. The Saints were robbed, plundered, and many of them slain by ruthless mobs in the States of New York, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois, the Prophet himself and his brother, Hyrum Smith, having been martyred in cold blood, on the 27th of June, 1844, in the last named State. Finally the Saints, being driven from the haunts of civilization sought out a home in the north-western wilds of America, which, by the practical working out of the principles for the espousal of which they were derided, driven, and "everywhere spoken evil against," they are fast causing "blossom as the rose," by the blessing of God.
The Saints, under the organization of the Church of Christ, as it existed anciently, with Apostles and Prophets, High Priests, Seventies, El- page 4 ders, Bishops, Priests, Teachers, Deacons, Helps, Governments, etc., are establishing a purer and better order of society than exists anywhere else on the earth. They are progressing, by the application of measures for the benefit of the whole people, to that unity that will prepare them to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, whose coming we declare to be near at hand. Strikes and other evils that are distracting the social systems abroad are unknown among them. The Saints are nearing a union of sentiment and action that causes peace to abound among them and comparative plenty to prevail. Under the guiding spirit of inspiration from God, the people are being educated to a higher standard of morality in its broadest sense, including the business relations of life. By the gradual introduction of co-operative institutions, involving mutual interests, they are successfully progressing to the desirable point of unity in temporal as well as spiritual things. They are building up settlements, towns and cities, in which peace prevails and the hum of industry and song of rejoicing are heard. They are erecting Temples and Tabernacles for the administration of the sacred ordinances and the worship of the True and Living God. This noble work is being done by people of a great variety of nationalities, heretofore of different customs and habits, speaking different languages, but infused with one spirit, into which they have been baptized, which is the Spirit of Christ.
The Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not hirelings, who "divine for money." At the call of the Saviour, they cheerfully sacrifice the interests of business and the comforts and endearments of home, going forth, like the disciples of old, to every part of the world where they can find an opening. Their message is to call upon the people to believe in God, the Eternal Father and in his Son, Jesus Christ; to repent of their sins, be baptized in water, by immersion, for the remission of the same, receive the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost and obey the great command—"Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. xviii., 4.)
Many thousands are heeding the warning and are gathering from the nations with the Church year by year, for this is the ark of safety provided for the righteous from the abominations and calamities of the last days.
Hear it, O ye inhabitants of the earth, for we bear witness, in the name of Jesus Christ, that God has again spoken from the heavens and revealed the everlasting Gospel, for the salvation of all who believe and obey. It is a law of the scriptures that "in the mouths of two or three witnesses shall every word be established," and there are tens of thousands who can testify to the truth of these things.
November 15th, 1878.
∵ Church publications on sale at this Office, and at all our meeting-house throughout Great Britain.
Printed and Published by William Budge, at the Latter-day Saints' Printing, Publishing, and Emigration Office, 42, Islington, Liverpool.