Saturday, January 28, 2012

Questions and Answers with Orson Pratt

The following is an interesting Q&A session printed in the Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star 28/33 (18 August 1866): 516-519. The questions were all posed by an English Latter-day Saint named William Wolstenholme, and answers were provided by Orson Pratt.
Mr. William Wolstenholme, of Preston, has addressed fourteen questions to Elder O. Pratt, touching items of considerable interest in relation to doctrine, future events, &c., requesting answers through the medium of the STAR. The following are the questions with Elder Pratt's answers.

Question 1st. - "How does it happen that the Elders who have gone to different nations and different peoples, have not preached the Gospel to them in their own language, without learning the same?"

Answer. - One of the great objects with the gift of tongues, is to preach the Gospel to different nations in their own language. This gift, like all other gifts of the Spirit, is obtained by faith. When a servant of God is called to go to a foreign nation, he is not only to exercise faith enough to perform the journey, but when he arrives he is also to exercise faith to speak in a foreign tongue. Without faith and exertion, he could not properly obtain the gift of preaching, by the power of the Holy Ghost, even in his own tongue; much less, without mighty faith and great exertion or works, could he expect to speak by the inspiration of the Comforter in a foreign language. It is, however, an indisputable fact, that many of our missionaries, acquire this great gift, in so marvellous a manner, that within a very short period they find themselves preaching to large congregations in a foreign language. This often occurs to the astonishment of themselves, and to the astonishment of their hearers. Others, whose faith has been weak, have been longer: but in almost all cases the gift has been given, in an incredibly short time. I have heard young and timid Elders, who formerly were without experience in public speaking, testify that within a few weeks, after arriving among a people of another tongue, they have called upon God in fervent prayer, and ventured to arise before a congregation, and have been filled with the Holy Ghost to that degree, that they have spoken with ease and great fluency; words, before unknown to them, have been given at the very moment, and their tongues seemed to be operated upon by a power which could only have come from God. It is not to be expected that all will have the same faith; but it is an invariable rule, that God fulfils his promises, according to the faith of his people. Missionaries have been sent to almost all the principal nations of Europe: and in many cases the Elders arrived without purse or scrip among a strange people of a strange language: and as a testimony that God has been with them, they have succeeded in building up churches in their midst. The Lord has not only helped them to speak, but has confirmed the word by giving the Holy Ghost to the obedient, and by healing their sick. If Mr. Wolstenholme, will read section 85, paragraphs 3 and 4, of the book of Doctrine and Covenants, he will learn that the missionaries who are sent with this great latter-day message, are destined to "go forth unto the ends of the earth, unto the Gentiles first, and then behold, and lo, they shall turn unto the Jews; and then cometh the day when the arm of the Lord shall be revealed in power in convincing the nations, the heathen nations, the house of Joseph, of the Gospel of their salvation. For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the Gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them, for the revelation of Jesus Christ." By this extract from modern revelation, it will be perceived that we do not look for the full manifestations of the Lord's power, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Although we now look for the blessings and signs, promised to believers, yet we know that there will be a manifold increase of these precious gifts and powers, when the day alluded to shall arrive. We are thankful to obtain blessings even in a small degree; and when we see these blessings increasing from year to year, in proportion to our faith and diligence, we are still more encouraged to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints, believing that as the gifts ceased gradually, and not all at once, in proportion to the decrease of faith, so they will be restored gradually in proportion to the increase of faith.

Question 2nd. - "What are we to understand by the saying of our Savior, John 10:1. 'He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber?' Does the door spoken of mean water baptism or our Savior?

Answer. - In the 7th verse, Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep." None can enter the sheepfold, through and by the authority of Jesus, only those who obey the whole plan as given by our Savior; and that plan embraces, true faith, true repentance, water baptism, and the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost through the ministrations of an authorized servant, commissioned by revelation. Jesus is the only door, and the Gospel is the only means of entrance through the door.

Question 3rd. - "When will the second coming of our Savior take place, and the Millennium commence? And will the first resurrection immediately precede the Millennium?"

Answer. - Both ancient and modern revelations testify that the exact time of the second coming of Christ is unknown. The word of the Lord, given in March 1831, reads as follows: "Thus saith the Lord, for I am God, and have sent mine only begotten Son into the world for the redemption of the world, and have decreed that he that receiveth him shall be saved, and that he that receiveth him not shall be damned. And they have done unto the Son of Man even as they listed; and he has taken his power on the right hand of his glory, and now reigneth in the heavens, and will reign till he descends on the earth to put all enemies under his feet, which time is nigh at hand. - I, the Lord God, have spoken it; but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes." Doctrine and Covenants, page 217. Although we are precluded from knowing the hour and day, yet we are not left in uncertainty in regard to the period or age. Again, let me refer you to a new revelation given in answer of the question, "What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelations?" Answer - We are to understand that as God made the world in sixth days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth; even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels, are the preparing, and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years; - the preparing of the way before the time of his coming." Pearl of Great Price, page 34. The seventh Millennium will commence at the beginning of the seventh thousand years; in the morning of this period the seven angels will sound. The first resurrection will take place soon after the first angel of the seven sounds: but the whole seven must sound before the preparations are complete; after which Jesus and his Saints will reign on the earth with power and great glory. But before this universal reign, Jesus will suddenly come to his temple upon mount Zion, and will be manifested in a cloud and flaming fire upon all the dwellings of Zion.

Question 4th. - "Will the Latter-day Saints return to Jackson county, Missouri, within ten or twelve years from this time?"

Answer. - I do not know the exact time. They will most certainly return and build a temple upon the consecrated spot in that county, before all the generation who were living in 1832, have passed away.

Question 5th. - "Will a good Methodist, or Roman Catholic, or devotee of the Church of England, who have been privileged to live, where the Gospel, as taught by the Latter-day Saints, is preached from Sabbath to Sabbath, ever attain to a telestial salvation, and if they do, will they attain to any higher state or kingdom and afterwards die?"

Answer. - All who reject the everlasting Gospel, now sent forth for the last time, will be thrust down to hell, to suffer the wrath of Almighty God, in the society of the Devil and his angels, and there remain until the last resurrection, which will take place at or near the time of the passing away of the earth; when, if they repent, they can be saved in a telestial kingdom: whether they will, in the lapse of ages, ever attain to a higher kingdom is not revealed: but it is revealed that "where God and Christ are, they cannot come worlds without end."

Question 6. - "When will the Government of the United States be changed from a human to a divine Theocracy."

Answer. - Never.

Question 7th. - "How is it that the American war has terminated, without any or all of the nations being drawn into it? How is it that Great Britain has not been called by the Southern States to assist them against the Northern States? And how is it that the slaves have not arise en mass in accordance with the revelation and prophecy given to Joseph Smith? For there are no slaves in America now, the Civil Rights Bill having passed both houses of Congress."

Answer. - First, there is nothing in the revelation, alluded to, which either indicates or declares that all nations, or even one foreign nation should be drawn into the American war. Second, The Southern States did, by their representatives sent to England expressly for the purpose, call most earnestly upon Great Britain to assist them against the North: but Great Britain did not yield to their entreaties. Third, There is no revelation that the slaves should arise "en mass;" but it reads thus: "And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshalled and disciplined for war." Before the termination of the American war, the North brought into the field on Southern soil about one hundred thousand of marshalled and disciplined slaves to fight against their masters. But the greatest terrors of the American Republic are yet to come. And the black race who one third of a century ago, were called slaves in the prophecy, in contradistinction to their masters the white race, will "after many days" inaugurate a scene of general massacre far more horrible than anything that has yet occurred. Moreover, the Lord gave us a sign that we might know the beginnings of a war which would eventually become universal. Or as the revelation expressed it: "The days will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at that place," meaning South Carolina mentioned in the previous sentence. England is mentioned by name as being one of the participators in the general calamity. The days will come when every jot and tittle of this great modern revelation will be fulfilled; when Zion, in America, will be the only people upon all the face of the earth dwelling in peace. For further information on this subject, you are referred to an article in the 32nd No. of the present Vol. of the STAR, entitled "THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE LATTER-DAY WARS."

Question 8th. - "Will the wicked be destroyed at our Savior's second coming, and will none but those who obey and believe the true Gospel live and reign with our Savior during the Millennium?"

Answer. - "For behold the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall leave them neither root nor branch." (Malachi 4:1.) "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power: when he shall come to be glorified in his Saints." (2 Thess 1:7, 8, 9 and 10.)

Question 9th. - "Will Zion and Jerusalem both be built up between this time and the expiration of the Millennium? Will both be caught up from the earth, while the earth is cleansed by fire?"

Answer. - Both cities will be commenced before the coming of Christ; but how far they will be finished when he comes is not revealed. They may receive some additions during the thousand years. Before the earth passes away by fire, both cities will be caught up. For further particulars see my pamphlet entitled "New Jerusalem," also the Book of Ether.

Question 10th. - "What is the price of your new work on Equations?"

Answer. - 8 shillings.

Question 11th. - "What is meant by the second death, recorded in the Revelations of St. John?"

Answer. - To answer this, I will refer you to a new revelation, which reads thus: "Wherefore, it came to pass that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook the forbidden fruit and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation. Wherefore, I the Lord God caused that he should be cast out from the garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death, even that same death which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked, when I shall say - Depart ye cursed." Doctrine and Covenants, page 116. Also see Book of Alma, chap. 9: par. 3.

The 12th question, as to whether any one can be saved without obeying the ordinances of the Gospel, is so clearly answered in all our writings, that it would seem almost superfluous to give a repetition of the doctrine.

Question 13th. - "When will the great Pacific railway through Salt Lake City be completed?"

Answer. - It is to be hoped that it will be finished within four or five years. Perhaps sooner. When done, it will greatly facilitate the gathering of the Saints, and place it within their power to emigrate to their mountain home, at all seasons of the year.

In answer to Question 14th, in relation to a prophecy concerning a seven years' famine, we would say that we have never been made acquainted with the supposed prophecy. That there will be great and terrible famines, during the present dispensation, is most certainly true. And it becomes all Saints to humbly incline their hearts to receive the warning message, and depart out from among the wicked, if they would escape the approaching calamities, and be made partakers of the great blessings of this last dispensation.

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