Milo Refutes Gladden Bishop
After the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, several apostates endeavored to lead members away from the main body of the Church. One of these was Gladden Bishop. As President of the St. Louis Stake, Milo Andrus found it necessary to repudiate the claims of Bishop. The St. Louis Luminary for February 17, 1855, carried the following discourse dealing with apostate movements and the law of tithing.
Extracts of a Discourse by Elder Milo Andrus
There are a few in this city who would fain fall in with the doctrines of Gladden Bishop, and other apostates. I wish to speak a little on this subject, that those who step aside may understand that we know the stone on which they stumble their association with Gladden Bishop, Strang and other apostates, is merely an excuse for them to draw from the purity of the doctrines of Christ. It is not because the doctrine of the Saints is not true, nor that it is impure, nor is it from a lack of understanding of its principles; no, but because they find that within themselves that shrinks from the celestial law; they find no sympathy in their hearts towards it; and when it comes in contact with them they feel it a burden, at ‘which they shudder, and having a strong natural aversion to its strictness, they wish to escape from its influence–yet they wish to be considered honorable A few in this congregation are trying to persuade themselves into the faith of Gladden Bishop’s doctrines; but I know they cannot so persuade themselves, and if they say they can, it is because the truth is not in them. These individuals are those who cannot endure the purity of truth, as acknowledged by God, and as is manifested in the organization of this church, and who cannot appreciate and enjoy the blessings of the Lord. We would say to such, if the ways of the Lord are too strict for you, if you cannot endure the purity of our doctrines, throw them off at once, and don’t be entangled with any such tomfoolery as Gladdenism. Strike out a course of your own, and say you will go to hell on your own responsibility; say honestly the doctrines are to pure for you, but that you don’t wish to hinder others from following out the precepts of salvation, but that at present you cannot endure its laws; if you must go to hell go as honorable as you can.
As to this Gladden Bishop, I will say concerning him, he was a liar from the beginning. I am acquainted with his character. When he was sent on a mission down East, he said an angel came and ordained him to be a High Priest. He was called home, and for his lying disposition and his works of unrighteousness, he was cut off from the church. Upon a confession of his sins and promises to do better, he was re-admitted, and for his repeated acts of transgression was three times excommunicated, and was finally forbidden to enter the church again. I make these remarks on this system, not that they are worth so much notice, but for the sake of those who have not acquired proper information and instruction, that peradventure they may escape the delusions around them. I may say, for the information of some who think the tithing a hard law, that one condition of Gladdenism is that you shall give over to the Almighty all your substance, and I, Gladden, will control it. This is neither selfish nor oppressive is it? Poor fools! Poor dupes! that can be led off by such a one, whose claims to truth and honesty, even, cannot be established much less to a divine mission. Beneemyism, like Gladdenism, deserves only to be mentioned to be despised. They are akin, having one origin; and are equally ridiculous and unworthy; they need only to be united that they may receive one doom and one tomb together.
I hope you won’t be uneasy, brethren, if you have to sit a little extra to-day; make yourselves as comfortable as possible, and when you are tired of sitting, stand up. I remember sitting in the Kirtland temple a day and a night. Some are such slaves to their appetites, that they would go to their dinner if an angel of God was dealing out the words of eternal life. They would follow their appetites before their God. These are but a few, the great body of the people here love the truth, because it is true, and because it is the bread of life to them, and they feel like shouting Hosannah, Hosannah to God and the Lamb, for by the electricity of the spirit their understandings are lit up, so that they can understand pure wisdom and intelligence. One of our brethren since he came to this city, has been informed that the sine qua non of a good Latter-day Saint is to lie, cheat, steal, swear, chew tobacco, oppress and seduce the innocent. He was told that the authorities did this, and to make a first rate Latter-day Saint he must do all these things. This, I may tell you, has been misapplied; had it been applied to Gladdenism, it would have struck the rightful heirs; for it is the very essence of their spirit. It is the element they live in, will die in, and go to hell in. In dirt, filth and abomination they have fallen, and without a wonderful scouring, in that they will be resurrected.
The authorities of this church have always strove honestly for the good of this people; they have labored to bring the poor and oppressed to a land of freedom, and they offer free salvation to all mankind. The closer you approach to them, the more you will see they love you, and seek your welfare. Shall they always be rewarded with the murmurs of the discontented? I tell you nay; although it is written that "the wheat and the tares shall grow together until harvest" the harvest will be here and the tares burned a great deal sooner than many of you are aware of. Did you ever think of this?
The day will come when those who desire to serve God in righteousness will have that privilege, and will not be subject to the corrupt influences of the ungodly; but at present the righteous have more or less to suffer with the wicked. Will these things always be so? Verily, no! Our children shall have the privilege of worshipping God and working righteousness, and not be infested with the ungodly. The wicked shall not always stand among the righteous and exert their damning influence to corrupt others. I hope my discourse will scare every black-hearted scoundrel from going West. If such are not afraid of going I will tell them they have reason to be.
I now ask this congregation, do you want to be saved? How are your bodies to be prepared to receive the pure ordinances of God? The ordinances that you have received heretofore have been in rivers, brooks, and the sea. We have been at liberty to do this in water, pure or impure, so long as we got the purest we could; but the apostle had his eye upon a time when "our spirits should be cleansed and our bodies washed with pure water." The ordinances of salvation in the Lord’s house will have to be administered with pure water and with clean hands; your bodies, also, will have to be pure, before you receive the holy anointing, the sweet perfume of which will ascend up before God, and give pleasure to him, and he will roll back the veil of darkness, and cause the principles of light and truth to penetrate your hearts.
A few words on tithing. We will ask, for what do you pay your tithes? For whose benefit do we build a house unto the Lord? Is it for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets, or for Joseph? Oh, no; Jesus is exalted, has entered into his rest and sits upon his throne. These worthies paid their tithes long ago, and received their ordinances. We pay tithing that we may obtain salvation for ourselves, and our household, and that we may carry salvation to others. Suppose I ask you, husbands, if you are certain you can retain your wives in eternity? and you wives, if you are certain of your husbands? Some of you may say, yes, I was married by Elder so and so, or by such an authority of the Lord. Did you ever ask yourselves what claim you had upon each other after this life, or whether you had any claims at all? If you have not done so before, you should now consider this; and if you view the subject aright, you will see reasons in abundance why you should pay your tithes, and build a holy temple unto the Most High, herein a man can have sealed to him the wife he loves, and the children she has borne him; to have these blessings secured to you, with your posterity, for time and all eternity, is something to have a house built for. And is it impossible to secure this in any other place? Yes, it is as impossible as it would be for you to blow out the sun. You want to get the covenant that cannot be broken; an eternal covenant that shall secure to you eternal life, your wives, your children, that the blessings of the first resurrection cannot be withheld from you. Nevertheless, if a man do wickedly he shall be destroyed, in the flesh, but it shall not deprive him of the blessings whereunto he has been sealed, and no power can hold them from him, if he has made his calling and election sure to the marriage relationship, for they are given by the Almighty with an oath, and his word cannot be broken.
For want of proper information, many have come to wrong conclusions on this matter. Do you not, sisters, want to be given by Brigham Young, according to the revelations of God, to a man who shall be your saviour and head, to lead you on to eternal life, that shall be held responsible for your salvation, who shall be pledged under an oath to present you to your father. Don’t you want such a husband? Have any of you sisters used your influence against your husband paying his tithes? Saying, if you pay your tithes I shall have to suffer for the want of a new dress, a gold chain, or some piece of furniture; saying, if you pay your money in tithes the children cannot have their usual little trinkets, fine clothes, etc.
When you stand before the recording angel, when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed, shall it be said that you held back you husband from paying his tithes? That you uttered a protest in the dark, that you declared you would make a hubbub in the house, and turn all things up side down if he paid his tithes? Sisters, do you know how this matter stands? If you do not I will tell you. Br. Snow says we have to be plain and preach the things that are, and see if the people can bear it, Now, I’ll tell you in what position you will stand. If you do this you will be servants to those that will keep the law. This is the whole of the matter; you will be servants to take messages, to arrange their dominions under their directions; you will be angels, but you will never have dominion or increase. Then walk up to the law; rise above narrowness and meanness; consider yourselves somebody; if you think it oppressive, take courage and meet it bravely. Repent and come forth with an open heart before the Almighty; get your hearts filled with his principles, and talk a little more of salvation–those principles that will save you from degradation and destruction.
To those whose wishes are to abide the law of God, and honor and live by the precepts of the Gospel, their course is particularly clear. Go forth and strengthen every brother and sister that are weak, and God shall bless you. If any are in doubt, or uncertainty, instruct them; let both male and female consider the responsibility that rests upon them; let not the sisters consider that they have no responsibility. Their responsibility and influence for good is great. They have in a general way exhibited more integrity than men; and are they not held accountable for the influence they exert? Yes. And they have opportunity of doing much good, and will if their minds are rightly disposed. Get, therefore, the spirit of God, and the rich treasures of heaven, and the power of God, and he will manifest to you his good pleasure. I feel now somewhat satisfied. ! have spoken what has burdened my feelings more or less for several weeks on the subject of tithing.
To that portion of the Saints who have lately arrived, I have a word to say. They are wonderfully tried; they fancy everybody slights them; they are not taken care of. Some of them fancy there is unkindly feelings towards them. This is not correct. Remember this may be the day of your trial. If you are hungry, without habitations, or in unhealthy ones, it is not the kingdom of God that has thrown you there, you went there yourself. Do you expect your brethren, who are here in this crowded city, to find you extra accommodations free of cost? I will say in behalf of the greater portion of the brethren here, -that they have reached out to you a friendly hand to do you good, yet in too many instances I hear the spirit of grumbling. The houses are in bad order, things are in a bad condition; where such spirits are there will be sickness. Recollect you have not risked everything yet; there are others who have suffered more than you. The pioneers to the valley had more to put up with than you have had; they had no one to receive them, nor any food that they could purchase, nor had they houses to go into; they have risked their lives for the Gospel’s sake. Contrast your circumstances a little with what they have suffered in this the day of your trial, and repent or your grumbling will rob you of the blessings of the sacrifice. Let Israel cease grumbling, and let joy to the Lord, and hosannah to the Highest be shouted by all people. Let such principles as these inspire and ennoble your hearts. Come life or come death, come cold or heat, plenty or poverty, be faithful to the end and you shall be saved. This is Mormonism; it is for this you came here, not for bread, houses, or land. This growling and grunting over a johnny-cake is no Mormonism. Even poverty has its blessings; it is always more dreaded at a distance than near at hand. Poverty can teach you many lessons that you could not learn otherwise, and remember before before you can enjoy all things you must take your spell of poverty, and when you have past the ordeal, the treasures of earth could not buy your experience if it were marketable. Then put your trust in the Lord, and you shall be blessed and sustained; your bread shall be given, and your water shall be sure.
May the God of Israel bless you continually, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus, Amen.