“Our lives have already become jeopardized by revealing the wicked and bloodthirsty2 purposes of our enemies; and for the future we must cease to do so. All we have said about them is truth, but it is not always wise to relate all the truth. Even Jesus, the Son of God, had to refrain from doing so,3 and had to restrain His feelings many times for the safety of Himself and His followers,4 and had to conceal the righteous purposes of His heart5 in relation to many things pertaining to His Father’s kingdom.6 When still a boy7 He had all the intelligence necessary to enable Him to rule and govern the kingdom of the Jews,8 and could reason with the wisest and most profound doctors9 of law and divinity, and make their theories and practice to appear like folly compared with the wisdom He possessed; but He was a boy only, and lacked physical strength even to defend His own person; and was subject to cold, to hunger and to death.10 So it is with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; we have the revelation of Jesus,11 and the knowledge within us is sufficient to organize a righteous government upon the earth, and to give universal peace to all mankind, if they would receive it, but we lack the physical strength, as did our Savior when a child, to defend our principles, and we have a necessity to be afflicted, persecuted and smitten,12 and to bear if patiently13 until Jacob is of age,14 then he will take care of himself.” TPJS p. 392
- Prov. 29:10 Enos 1:20 Mosiah 9:2
- Isa. 53:7 Matt. 27:12
- Luke 4:30 John 8:59
- Matt. 13:11 Luke 2:19,51
- D&C 138:51
- Luke 2:40,52
- Isa. 9:6-7
- Luke 2:46-47
- Mosiah 15:7
- Gal. 1:12 Rev. 1:1 D&C 84:1 D&C 128:8
- Isa. 53:4 1 Ne. 21:13
- D&C 98:23-26
- Gen. 25:33
Heber C. Kimball, JD 4:180-181
Brethren and sisters, do not be the aggressors, always act on the defensive. I never will touch any of you, I never will offend or scold at you, nor injure you in any way, if you will not harm me but live your religion. I never will strike one of you, without you first strike me; but when you strike me, I shall be justifiable in striking you. I want you to remember what you read in the Book of Mormon, where Alma tells his son not to be the aggressor; Alma 39:9 also what Moroni said to Zerahemnah, at the time Nephites and Lamanites fought by the river Sidon. Alma 44:1-7
And now, Zerahemnah, I command you, in the name of that all-powerful God, who has strengthened our arms that we have gained power over you…I command you by all the desires which ye have for life, that ye deliver up your weapons of war unto us, and we will seek not your blood, but we will spare your lives, if ye will go your way and come not again to war against us….
That shows the mercy and compassion of our God; although his enemies are in his hands, he will have mercy upon them. In the book of Doctrine and Covenants it is said, if thine enemy comes upon thee and falls into thine hand, forgive him, if he repent; and if he comes upon thee the second time, forgive him, if he repent; but if comes upon thee the third time, thou mayest do with him as seemeth thee good, still, if thou shalt forgive him, I will add glory unto thee for thy mercy. D&C 98:23-31 Just look at it, and see what kind of a God we are serving. That God is talking to you, through me, today.
I have had a good time here today. How nice it feels; there are good feelings here. Brethren, cultivate the spirit of compassion; if any man has committed adultery, have mercy on him and pity him, if he repents. You may say, “O Lord God, I thank thee that I never fell into that sin.” Have compassion on those who have, if they will repent.
You leading members of the Church, you Twelve, High Priests, Seventies, Bishops, &c., go ahead, press forward, and we will gain the victory. We will overcome, because with those that do repent, if there are not more than three hundred men, Judg. 7:7 we will whip out the unrighteous, for, says the Lord, everything that can be shaken shall be, and that which cannot be shaken will remain. Hag. 2:6-7 Heb. 12:27 D&C 132:13-14 Amen.
Joseph Smith, Jr., JD 2:164-169
I want you to hear and learn, O Israel! this day, what is for the happiness and peace of this city and people. If our enemies are determined to oppress us, and deprive us of our constitutional rights and privileges as they have done; and if the authorities that are on the earth will not sustain us in our rights, nor give us that protection which the laws and constitution of the United States, and of this State, guarantee unto us, then we will claim them from a higher power—from Heaven—yea, from God Almighty.
I have dragged these men here by my hand, and will do it again; but I swear I will not deal so mildly with them again; for the time has come when forbearance is no longer a virtue; and if you or I are again taken unlawfully, you are at liberty to give loose to blood and thunder. D&C 98:28-31 But be cool, be deliberate, be wise, act with almighty power, and when you pull, do it effectually—make a sweepstakes for once! ….
But before I will bear this unhallowed persecution any longer—before I will be dragged away again, among my enemies for trial, I will spill the last drop of blood in my veins, and will see all my enemies IN HELL! To bear it any longer would be a sin, and I will not bear it any longer. Shall we bear it any longer? [One universal “No!” ran through all the vast assembly, like a loud peal of thunder.]
I restrain you not any longer: I say, in the name of Jesus Christ, by the authority of the Holy Priesthood, I this day turn the key that opens the heavens to restrain [p. 166a] you no longer from this time forth. I will lead you to battle; and if you are not afraid to die, and feel disposed to spill your blood in your own defense, you will not offend me. Be not the aggressor—bear until they strike you on the one cheek; then offer the other and they will be sure to strike that; then defend yourselves, and God will bear you off, and you shall stand forth clear before His tribunal. D&C 98:23-31 If any citizens of Illinois say we shall not have our rights, treat them as strangers and not friends, and let them go to hell and be damned! Some say they will mob us; let them mob and be damned! If we have to give up our chartered rights, privileges, and freedom, which our fathers fought, bled, and died for, and which the Constitution of the United States, and of this State, guarantee unto us, we will do it only at the point of the sword and bayonet.
The city council have passed an ordinance “that no citizen of this city shall be taken out of this city by [p. 167b] any writ, without the privilege of a writ of Habeas Corpus.” There is nothing but what we have power over, except where restricted by the Constitution of the United States. “But,” say the mob, “what dangerous powers!” Yes, dangerous, because they will protect the innocent, and put down mobocrats. The Constitution of the United States declares that the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be denied. Deny me the right of Habeas Corpus, and I will fight with gun, sword, cannon, whirlwind, and thunder, until they are used up like the Kilkenny cats.
We have more power than most charters confer, because we have power to go behind the writ, and try the merits of the case.
If these powers are dangerous, then the Constitution of the United States, and of this State, are dangerous; but they are not dangerous to good men; they are only so to bad men who are breakers of the laws. So with the laws of the country, and so with the ordinances of Nauvoo; they are dangerous to mobs, but not to good men who wish to keep the laws….
Let them not meddle with our affairs, but let us alone. After we had been deprived of our rights and privileges of citizenship, driven from town to town, place to place, and State to State, with the sacrifice of our homes and lands, our blood has been shed, many having been murdered; and all this because of our religion—because we worship Almighty God according to the dictates of our own consciences. A of F 1:11 Shall we longer bear these cruelties, which have been heaped upon us for the last ten years in the face of heaven, and in open violation of the Constitution and laws of these United States, and of this State? God forbid! I will [p. 168a] not bear it: if they take away my rights, I will fight for them manfully and righteously until I am used up. We have done nothing against the rights of others. You speak of lawyers; I am a lawyer too, but the Almighty God has taught me the principle of law; and the true meaning and intent of the writ of Habeas Corpus is to defend the innocent, and investigate the subject. Go behind the writ, and if the form of one that is issued against an innocent man is right, he should not be dragged to another State, and there be put to death, or be in jeopardy of life and limb, because of prejudice, when he is innocent. The benefits of the Constitution and Laws are alike for all; and the great Eloheim has given me the privilege of having the benefits of the Constitution, and the writ of Habeas Corpus, and I am bold to ask for this privilege this day; …
If the Legislature have granted Nauvoo the right of determining cases of Habeas Corpus, it is no more than they ought to have done, or more than our fathers fought for.
Furthermore, if Missouri continues her warfare, and to issue her writs against me and this people unlawfully and unjustly as she has done, and to take away and trample upon our rights, I swear in the name of Almighty God, and with uplifted hands to heaven, D&C 88:132 I will spill my heart’s blood in our defense. They shall not take away our rights; and if they don’t stop leading me by the nose, I will lead them by the nose; and if they don’t let me alone, I will turn up the world—I will make war. When we shake our own bushes, we want to catch our own fruit.
John Taylor, JD 22:15-16
We talk sometimes about justice; and I have noticed the spirit manifested among us sometimes, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” Deut. 19:21 Ex. 21:24 Matt. 5:38 This is something that really does not belong to us. We are full of infirmities. We pray to the Father to forgive our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us. Matt. 6:12 Matt. 6:14-15 How often do we sin against God? Many times, and ask His forgiveness. How often should I forgive my brother? I hear people say, “here is such and such a man, he has wronged me, and I cannot forgive him.” Then you have not the true spirit of the Gospel. “But he has acted so meanly towards me, he has injured my reputation, and he sought to do it.” Bless your soul, he cannot injure your reputation if it is good; on the contrary, by taking a correct course, according to the spirit of the Gospel, he that has traduced you will respect you and will be the sufferer, not you. It is our duty to forgive our brother seven times, yes, seventy times seven, D&C 98:40 when he turns to you and seeks your forgiveness; D&C 98:39 and we should forgive men in our hearts D&C 64:8 whether they ask our forgiveness or not. And what about our enemies? What shall we do with them? Offer them peace and forgive them the first time. And what then? Go again the second time and forgive them? Yes, if they ask forgiveness. And the third time? D&C 98:23-37 Yes; but the fourth time the Lord says thine enemy is in thine hand, D&C 98:31 do with him as seemeth thee good. You have then fulfilled the law; D&C 98:39-48 and even then, if you are merciful, it is said it shall be accounted to you for righteousness. This is the law of the Gospel. John Taylor, JD 22:15-16