A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, June 15, 1856.
I will speak a little more upon placing your affections on beings who are not worthy of them. Take a Prophet, an Apostle, a man of God, one who is just as good in his calling and capacity as Jesus Christ was in his, a man who has adorned the doctrine of his profession, until he is sealed up unto eternal lives by the power of the Priesthood, one who is sure of a glorious resurrection, and let him desire to have a wife. Now suppose that he gains the affection of a lovely woman and marries her, how much shall that righteous man love that woman? Shall he say, “I love this woman to such a degree that I will go to hell rather than not have her, I will do even this rather than lose my wife?” No, for you ought to love a woman only so far as she adorns the doctrine you profess; so far as she adorns that doctrine, just so far let your love extend to her. When will she be worthy of the full extent of your affection? When she has lived long enough to secure to herself a glorious resurrection and an eternal exaltation as your companion, and never until then.
Elders, never love your wives one hair’s breadth further than they adorn the Gospel, never love them so but that you can leave them at a moment’s warning without shedding a tear. Should you love a child any more than this? No. Here are Apostles and Prophets who are destined to be exalted with the Gods, to become rulers in the kingdoms of our Father, to become equal with the Father and the Son, and will you let your affections be unduly placed on anything this side that kingdom and glory? If you do, you disgrace your calling and Priesthood. The very moment that persons in this Church suffer their affections to be immoderately placed upon an object this side the celestial kingdom, they disgrace their profession and calling. When you love your wives and children, are fond of your horses, your carriages, your fine houses, your goods and chattels, or anything of an earthly nature, before your affections become too strong, wait until you and your family are sealed up unto eternal lives, and you know they are yours from that time henceforth and forever.
I will now ask the sisters, do you believe that you are worthy of any greater love than you bestow upon your children? Do you believe that you should be beloved by your husbands and parents any further than you acknowledge and practice the principle of eternal lives? Every person who understands this principle would answer in a moment, “Let no being’s affections be placed upon me any further than mine are on eternal principles—principles that are calculated to endure and exalt me, and bring me up to be an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ.” This is what every person who has a correct understanding would say.
Owing to the weaknesses of human nature you often see a mother mourn upon the death of her child, the tears of bitterness are found upon her cheeks, her pillow is wet with the dews of sorrow, anguish, and mourning for her child, and she exclaims, “O that my infant were restored to me,” and weeps day and night. To me such conduct is unwise, for until that child returned to its Father, was it worthy of your fullest love? No, for it was imperfect, but now it is secure in the bosom of the Father, to dwell there to all eternity; now it is in a condition where it is worthy of your perfect love, and your anxiety and effort should be that you may enter at the same gate to immortality.
When the wife secures to herself a glorious resurrection, she is worthy of the full measure of the love of the faithful husband, but never before. And when a man has passed through the veil, and secured to himself an eternal exaltation, he is then worthy of the love of his wife and children, and not until then, unless he has received the promise of and is sealed up unto eternal lives. Then he may be an object fully worthy of their affections and love on the earth, and not before.
I will now briefly call your minds to the principle of being one. Do you not comprehend that you ought to have your affections concentrated in the kingdom of God on the earth? As I observed here last Sabbath, I do not reflect much whether I have friends or foes, or care one groat about it. I do not care whether you take my counsel or not, provided you take the counsel of the Almighty. I do not care what the people do, if they will only serve God and build up this kingdom. I do not care what become of the things of this world, of the gold, of the silver, of the houses and of the lands, so we have power to gather the house of Israel, redeem Zion, and establish the kingdom of God on the earth. I would not give a cent for all the rest. True, these things which the Lord bestows upon us are for our comfort, for our happiness and convenience, but everything must be devoted to the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth. I may say that this Gospel is to spread to the nations of the earth, Israel is to be gathered, Zion redeemed, and the land of Joseph, which is the land of Zion, is to be in the possession of the Saints, if the Lord Almighty lets me live; and if I go behind the veil somebody else must see to it. My brethren must bear it off shoulder to shoulder. We must be of one heart and one mind and roll forth this kingdom; and when we get the first Presidency, the Twelve, and so on, shoulder to shoulder to forward the kingdom, wives and children, what are you going to do? Will you pull another way? No, but let your affections, faith, and all your works be with your husbands, and be obedient to them as unto the Lord. And husbands, serve the Lord with all your hearts, and then we shall be a blessed people, and be of one heart and mind, and the Lord will withhold no good thing from us, but we shall put down the power of Satan, walk triumphantly through the world, preach the Gospel and gather the Saints. I say then, let us be faithful, and may God bless you. Amen.