Our Father in Heaven

Brigham Young

From Discourses of Brigham Young
(Compiled by John A. Widtsoe. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978), pp.18-25

[Note: The numbers at the end of various paragraphs refer to the volume and page number in the Journal of Discourses (Edited by George D. Watt, et al. 26 vols. Liverpool: F. D. Richards, et al., 1854-1886), the original source of these teachings.]
 

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Let every person be the friend of God. 4:372.

Some believe or conceive the idea that to know God would lessen him in our estimation; but I can say that for me to understand any principle or being, on earth or in heaven, it does not lessen its true value to me, but on the contrary, it increases it; and the more I can know of God, the dearer and more precious he is to me, and the more exalted are my feelings towards him. 13:57.

There is a Power that has organized all things from the crude matter that floats in the immensity of space. He has given form, motion and life to this material world; has made the great and small lights that bespangle the firmament above; has allotted to them their times and their seasons, and has marked out their spheres. He has caused the air and the waters to teem with life, and covered the hills and plains with creeping things, and has made man to be a ruler over his creations. All these wonders are the works of the Almighty Ruler of the universe, in whom we believe and whom we worship. 11:120.

All the creations are his work, and they are for his glory and for the benefit of the children of men; and all things are put into the possession of man for his comfort, improvement and consolation, and for his health, wealth, beauty and excellency. 13:151.

He is a God of system, order, law, science, and art; a God of knowledge and of power. 13:309.

He is the Father, God, Savior, Maker, Preserver, and Redeemer of man. He holds in his hands the issue of all things and will judge every man according to his works. 3:259-260.

God is the source, the fountain of all intelligence, no matter who possesses it, whether man upon the earth, the spirits in the spirit-world, the angels that dwell in the eternities of the Gods, or the most inferior intelligence among the devils in hell. All have derived what intelligence, light, power, and existence they have from God -- from the same source from which we have received ours. 8:205.

Every good and perfect gift cometh from God. Every discovery in science and art, that is really true and useful to mankind has been given by direct revelation from God, though but few acknowledge it. It has been given with a view to prepare the way for the ultimate triumph of truth, and the redemption of the earth from the power of sin and Satan. We should take advantage of all these great discoveries, the accumulated wisdom of ages, and give to our children the benefit of every branch of useful knowledge, to prepare them to step forward and efficiently do their part in the great work. 9:369.

He is our Heavenly Father; he is also our God, and the Maker and upholder of all things in heaven and on earth. He sends forth his counsels and extends his providences to all living. He is the Supreme Controller of the universe. At his rebuke the sea is dried up, and the rivers become a wilderness. He measures the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meteth out heaven with a span, and comprehendeth the dust of the earth in a measure, and weigheth the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance; the nations to him are as a drop in a bucket, and he taketh up the isles as a very little thing; the hairs of our heads are numbered by him, and not a sparrow falleth to the ground without our Father; and he knoweth every thought and intent of the hearts of all living, for he is everywhere present by the power of his Spirit -- his minister, the Holy Ghost. He is the Father of all, is above all, through all, and in you all; he knoweth all things pertaining to this earth, and he knows all things pertaining to millions of earths like this. 11:41.

Whether they make good or bad use of it, all power is ordained of God and is in his hand. He sets up a kingdom here, and pulls down another there at his pleasure. He breaks the nations like a potter's vessel; he forms a nucleus, and around it builds up a kingdom or nation, permitting the people to act upon their own agency, that they may do right, or corrupt themselves, as did the Children of Israel; and after they have become ripe for destruction, they will be scattered to the four winds. If the people of God in ancient days had continued holy they would have continued in power and authority to this day. 7:148.

If there is anything that is great and good and wise among men, it cometh from God. If there are men who possess great ability as statesmen, or as philosophers, or who possess remarkable scientific knowledge and skill, the credit thereof belongs to God, for he dispenses it to his children whether they believe in him or not, or whether they sin against him or not; it makes no difference; but all will have to account to him for the way and manner in which they have used the talents committed unto them. If we believe the plain, broad statements of the Bible, we must believe that Jesus Christ is the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; none are exempt. 11:123

The fulness of the heavens and the earth is the Lord's -- the gold and the silver, the wheat, the fine flour, and the cattle upon a thousand hills; and when we fully understand his works, we shall know that he is in all the earth, and fulfills his will among the children of men, exalting and debasing them according to his pleasure, for the systems, creeds, thrones, and kingdoms of the world are all under his control. 1:49.

We believe that God is round about all things, above all things, in all things, and through all things. To tell about empty space is to tell of a space where God is not, and where the wicked might safely hide from his presence. There is not such a thing as empty space. 1:276.

He is compassionate to all the works of his hands, the plan of his redemption, and salvation, and mercy is stretched out over all; and his plans are to gather up, and bring together, and save all the inhabitants of the earth, with the exception of those who have received the Holy Ghost, and sinned against it. With this exception, all the world besides shall be saved. 3:92.

When the Lord fights the battles of the Saints, he does it so effectually that nobody gets nervous but the enemy. 8:325.

No person deceives the Lord. 16:163.

It is written that God knows all things and has all power. He has the rule and command of this earth, and is the Father of all the human beings that have lived, do live and will live upon it. If any of his children become heirs to all things, they in their turn can say, by-and-by, that they know all things, and they will be called Supreme, Almighty, King of kings, Lord of lords. All this and more that cannot enter into our hearts to conceive is promised to the faithful, and are but so many stages in that ceaseless progression of eternal lives. This will not detract anything from the glory and might of our Heavenly Father. For he will still remain our Father, and we shall still be subject to him, and as we progress in glory and power, the more it enhances the glory and power of our Heavenly Father. This principle holds good in either state, whether mortal or immortal. 10:5.

All that the Lord requires of us is a perfect submission in our hearts to his will. 18:238.

The Lord gives us little by little and is ever willing to give us more and more, even the fulness, when our hearts are prepared to receive all the truths of heaven. This is what the Lord desires, what he would delight in doing, for his children. 18:217.

Our Father in heaven wishes us to preserve that which he gives to us. 9:169.

He presides over the worlds on worlds that illuminate this little planet, and millions on millions of worlds that we cannot see; and yet he looks upon the minutest object of his creations; not one of these creatures escapes his notice; and there is not one of them but his wisdom and power has produced. 1:39.

I believe in a God who has power to exalt and glorify all who believe in him, and are faithful in serving him to the end of their lives, for this make them Gods, even the sons of God, and in this sense also there are Gods many, but to us there is but one God, and one Lord Jesus Christ -- one Savior who came in the meridian of time to redeem the earth and the children of men from the original sin that was committed by our first parents, and bring to pass the restoration of all things through his death and suffering, open wide to all believers the gates of life and salvation and exaltation to the presence of the Father and the Son to dwell with them for evermore. 11:122.

As I said once to my brethren in the School of the Prophets, I have not asked you, I dare not ask you to fulfil almost the first requirement of the Kingdom of Heaven, almost the simplest principle, and one of the first things that should be observed. I have not asked the people to perform this great labor, I will say it is a great labor, and if I were to refer it to you, you would say the same. You may ask what it is? It is to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself. Now, is this not almost one of the first requirements that God has made of his people? And I have not yet required it of the people. Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and then speak evil of thy neighbor? No! No! Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and speak that which is not true? No, oh, no! Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and take that which is not thy own? No, no, no! Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and seek after riches of the world and forsake your religion? No! Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and take his name in vain, curse and swear? No, never! If the love of God was really in the hearts of all who call themselves Latter-day Saints, there would be no more swearing, no more lying, no more deceiving, no more speaking evil of one another, no more running after the ungodly nor dealing with the enemies of Zion, no more running after the gold mines; nothing would be sought after, only to build up the Kingdom of God. This we have not yet asked. But we do ask some things. Let us forsake those sins that are so grievous, and let us try to do right before the Heavens and with each other. 12:229.

He has not committed the keys of the results of the acts of the nations of the earth to any man on the earth; but that power he retains to himself. 8:31.

What is commonly termed idolatry has arisen from a few sincere men, full of faith and having a little knowledge, urging upon a backsliding people to preserve some customs -- to cling to some fashions or figures, to put them in mind of that God with whom their fathers were acquainted, without designing or wishing the people to worship an idol -- to worship stocks, stones, beasts, and birds. Idols have been introduced, which are now worshiped, and have been for centuries and thousands of years; but they were not introduced at once. They were introduced to preserve among the people the idea of the true God. 6:194.

We are nothing, only what the Lord makes us. 5:343.

Cease bringing the names of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ into disrespect and learn to reverence those names. 7:147.

The Lord operates upon the principles of continuing to organize, of adding to, gathering up, bringing forth, increasing and spreading abroad; while the opposite power does not. It shows the nature of his opposition to that peculiar trait of Christianity, based upon the principles of eternal duration, increase, power, glory, and exaltation; and points out the difference between the two adverse powers. 1:117.

Unless God blesses our exertions we shall have nothing. It is the Lord that gives the increase. 3:331.

The God that I serve is progressing eternally, and so are his children: they will increase to all eternity, if they are faithful. 11:286.

It is written, "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good." Refuse evil, choose good, hate iniquity, love truth. All this our fathers have done before us; I do not particularly mean Father Adam, or his Father; I do not particularly mean Abraham, or Moses, the Prophets, or Apostles, but I mean our fathers who have been exalted for millions of years previous to Adam's time. They have all passed through the same ordeals we are now passing through, and have searched all things, even to the depths of hell. 9:243.

The great architect, manager and superintendent, controller and dictator who guides this work is out of sight to our natural eyes. He lives on another world; he is in another state of existence; he has passed the ordeals we are now passing through; he has received an experience, has suffered and enjoyed, and knows all that we know regarding the toils, sufferings, life and death of this mortality, for he has passed through the whole of it, and has received his crown and exaltation and holds the keys and the power of this Kingdom; he sways his scepter, and does his will among the children of men, among Saints and among sinners, and brings forth results to suit his purpose among kingdoms and nations and empires, that all may redound to his glory and to the perfection of his work. 11:249.

How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and when men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through. That course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be to all eternity.

You cannot comprehend this, but when you can, it will be to you a matter of great consolation. 7:333.

Wherever the human family dwell upon the face of the earth, whether they are savage or civilized, there is a desire implanted within them to worship a great Supreme Ruler, and not knowing him they suppose that through offering worship and sacrifice to their idols they can conciliate his anger which they think they see manifested in the thunder, in the lightning, in the storm, in the floods, in the reverses of war, in the hand of death, etc., etc.; thus they try to woo his protection and his blessing for victory over their enemies, and at the termination of this life for a place in the heaven their imaginations have created, or tradition has handed down to them. I have much charity for this portion of the human family called heathens or idolators; they have made images to represent to their eyes a power which they cannot see, and desire to worship a Supreme Being through the figure which they have made. 11:120.

We believe in one God, one Mediator and one Holy Ghost. We cannot believe for a moment that God is destitute of body, parts, passions, or attributes. Attributes can be made manifest only through an organized personage. All attributes are couched in and are the results of organized existence. 10:192.

The Lord is perfectly independent. He has received his glory, he reigns supreme and omnipotent. He is not dependent upon you and me. If every one of us should apostatize and go down to hell, it would neither add to nor diminish from his glory. He would mourn at our folly in turning away from the holy commandments and suffering the wrath of the Almighty to come upon us; the heavens would weep over us, but still the Lord has his glory, and you and I are not laboring for his benefit. For whose benefit are we laboring? For our own. All my preaching, laboring and toils in this Kingdom have been for myself, to get into the Celestial Kingdom of God. I have been laboring for that and nothing else. 13:315.

Read the history of any kingdom or nation, and trace through all the channels from the history of nations and kingdoms to that of families and individuals who have not known God nor observed his commandments, and you will find that sorrow and disappointment have been intimately mingled in all the gaiety, luxuries, and pretended enjoyments of their mortal lives. They have found a bitter sting in their happiest moments and a deadly poison in their cups. 6:39.

There is no influence, truth, or righteousness in the world, only what Bows from God our Father in the heavens. 5:78.
 

Personality and Fatherhood of God

Some would have us believe that God is present everywhere. It is not so. He is no more every where present in person than the Father and Son are one in person. 6:345.

God is considered to be everywhere present at the same moment; and the Psalmist says, "Whither shall I flee from thy presence?" He is present with all his creations through his influence, through his government, spirit and power, but he himself is a personage of tabernacle, and we are made after his likeness. 10:319.

Our God and Father in Heaven, is a being of tabernacle, or, in other words, he has a body, with parts the same as you and I have; and is capable of showing forth his works to organized beings, as for instance, in the world in which we live, it is the result of the knowledge and infinite wisdom that dwell in his organized body. His Son Jesus Christ has become a personage of tabernacle, and has a body like his Father. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of the Lord, and issues forth from himself, and may properly be called God's minister to execute his will in immensity; being called to govern by his influence and power; but he is not a person of flesh as we are, and as our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ are. 1:50.

The Kingdom of God on earth is a living, moving, effective institution, and is governed, controlled, dictated and led by the invisible God whom we serve who is an exalted, living being, possessing body, parts and passions, who listens to the prayers of his Saints, is a reasonable, merciful and intelligent being, who is filled with knowledge and wisdom, who is full of light and glory, and the foundations of whose throne are laid in eternal truth; whose personal form is perfect in proportion and beauty. He loves the good, and is angry with the wicked every day as it is written in the Scriptures. He hates the evil that is done by evildoers, and is merciful to the repenting sinner. He is beloved by all who know him for the attributes he possesses in and of himself, in common with all glorified beings who now dwell with him, and who will yet be glorified and crowned with crowns of glory, immortality and eternal lives. 11:251.

It must be that God knows something about temporal things, and has bad a body and been on an earth. Were it not so, he would not know how to judge men righteously, according to the temptations and sin they have had to contend with. 4:271.

Our Father in Heaven begat all the spirits that ever were, or ever will be, upon this earth; and they were born spirits in the eternal world. Then the Lord by his power and wisdom organized the mortal tabernacle of man. We were made first spiritual, and afterwards temporal. 1:50.

He is our Father; he is our God, the Father of our spirits; he is the framer of our bodies, and set the machine in successful operation to bring forth these tabernacles that I now look upon in this building, and all that ever did or ever will live on the face of the whole earth. 13:250.

The Apostles and Prophets, when speaking of our relationship to God, say that we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, God is our Father, and Jesus Christ is our Elder Brother, and both are our everlasting friends. 6:332.

The kingdoms he possesses and rules over are his own progeny. Every man who is faithful and gets a salvation and glory, and becomes a King of kings and Lord of lords, or a Father of fathers, it will be by the increase of his own progeny. Our Father and God rules over his own children. Wherever there is a God in all the eternities possessing a kingdom and glory and power it is by means of his own progeny. 11:262.

Many have tried to penetrate to the First Cause of all things; but it would be as easy for an ant to number the grains of sand on the earth. It is not for man, with his limited intelligence, to grasp eternity in his comprehension. There is an eternity of life, from which we were composed by the wisdom and skill of Superior Beings. It would be as easy for a gnat to trace the history of man back to his origin as for man to fathom the First Cause of all things, lift the veil of eternity, and reveal the mysteries that have been sought after by philosophers from the beginning. What then, should be the calling and duty of the children of men? Instead of inquiring after the origin of Gods -- instead of trying to explore the depths of eternities that have been, that are, and that will be, instead of endeavoring to discover the boundaries of boundless space, let them seek to know the object of their present existence, and how to apply, in the most profitable manner for their mutual good and salvation, the intelligence they possess. Let them seek to know and thoroughly understand things within their reach, and to make themselves well acquainted with the object of their being here, by diligently seeking unto a super-power for information and by the careful study of the best books. 7:284-5.

God has given this great variety of intelligence. He has also given this great variety of forms -- that eternal variety which we see upon this earth, not only among human beings, but in every class of all the creations of God; and they are all designed to be preserved to all eternity. None of them were made to be destroyed, except those that do not abide the law given them. 8:8.

I now see before me beings who are in the image of those heavenly personages who are enthroned in glory and crowned with eternal lives in the very image of those beings who organized the earth and its fulness, and who constitute the Godhead. 9:246.