Previously, we mentioned that the 1868 General Conference focused on preparing the Saints to support a church-wide roll-out of the Brigham City system of cooperatives with ZCMI as its centerpiece. Let’s look at relevant ideas the prophet discusses in one of his talks at that conference. It shows that his motivation was to lead the Saints in become economically independent of the world’s corrupt economy.
- President Brigham Young began his talk by pointing out that
the Kingdom of God is as much concerned about our temporal salvation as our spiritual. “The object of the teachings at this Conference, and I may say for years past, has been to teach the people how to save themselves daily, in a temporal point of view, and also spiritually, that when the morrow comes they may be saved that day, and the next day, and so continue in a state of salvation every day that they live.”
- He then points out that the Lord wants us to leave Babylon. He said, “We are called upon to come out from among the wicked, as it is written, ‘Come out of her, O my people,’ that is, come out of Babylon. What is Babylon? Why, it is the confused world: come out of her, then, and cease to partake of her sins, for if you do not you will be partakers of her plagues.”
- His next point was about how the Saints were repeatedly expelled from their homes in the States by corrupt religious and political leaders because the Saints believed in living by modern revelation. Then he asks, “Well, is there any harm in our gathering out and living according to the revelations that have been given to us? Not the least. Do we injure any person in so doing? No, we do not.”
- The next point he makes is that the Saints must become economically self-sustaining as a people because God has revealed that Babylon, the world’s corrupt political, religious, economic system, is destined to fall. Apparently Brigham believed that Babylon’s fall would greatly reduce the world’s population because he then asked, “Will there be anybody left on the face of the earth? Yes, probably millions. Who will they be? Why the servants and handmaidens of the Almighty, those who love and serve Him.”
He then reiterates the point that the Saints must become economically self-sustaining. He states,
“Now, I will ask the question, suppose this is true concerning the gathering out of the Saints, and that Babylon, or a confused and wicked world, will cease its operations as they are now going on, and the time spoken of shall have come, when the merchants will mourn and weep because there is no one to buy their merchandise, will the inhabitants of Zion go down to buy their silks and satins and keep up his trade? No. By and by there will be a gulf between the righteous and the wicked so that they cannot trade with each other, and [interstate commerce] will cease.”
Then in the same lengthy paragraph, “We want you henceforth to be a self-sustaining people. Hear it, O Israel! Hear it neighbors, friends and enemies, this is what the Lord requires of this people.”
Brigham then asks a very important question applicable to us today, “But if this is the Kingdom of God and if we are the Saints of God… are we not required to sustain ourselves and to manufacture that which we consume, to cease our bartering, trading, mingling… and joining with all the filth of Babylon?” Tough question.
How would you respond Brigham’s call that the Saints become economically self-sustaining?