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Brigham Young: It Will Take Time to Remove the Curse (1852)

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Brigham Young: It Will Take Time to Remove the Curse (1852)

NOTE: This is an excerpt from a discourse of Brigham Young. It was first published as Brigham Young, “To the Saints,” Deseret News, Vol. 2, No. 11 (April 3, 1852): 42 [page 2 of the issue], and was reprinted as “Diversity and Unity,” The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, Vol. 27, No. 14 (Aug. 28, 1852): 417-21 (excerpt, 417-18)

God hath made of one blood all nations, kindreds, and tongues that dwell upon the face of the whole earth. He gave, also, one language to all men, so that they would understand each other in their own tongue; but when men had corrupted their ways before the Lord, by shedding innocent blood, and committing all manner of abominations, the heavens were displeased, and the inhabitants of the earth were cursed—some with the skin of blackness, some with darkness, and all with confusion of languages; and that as a punishment, so that their evil deeds might be manifest to themselves, and each other; that they might carry the marks thereof in their faces, and hear the sound thereof in their ears continually, that if it were possible they might be led to repentance, whereby they might obtain forgiveness for the past, and be restored again to their original oneness and Godlike purity, through the redemption there is in Christ Jesus.

But how far have these judgments had their desired effect? Is there any more a oneness of colour amongst men now, than there was thousands of years ago? Are not the languages and dialects of men and nations increasing instead of diminishing? And if this increase in diversity of colour and language continues, how long will it take to restore the inhabitants of the earth back to their original oneness? Jesus said, “if ye are not one, then ye are not mine;” and the true, extended meaning of this is, one in all things—one in language, one in colour, one in faith, and one in act; for when all are of one faith, the one faith will produce oneness of action, and all will keep the commandments, and receive a like reward by restoration back again to the presence of the Eternal Father in the heavens.

These diversified appearances among men, arose through giving heed to the temptations of the devil. Eve was tempted, and deceived, and sinned. Adam was tempted, though not deceived; yet “sinned that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” If Adam had not sinned, men might not have been, and earth and joy might have remained strangers to each other; for the earth is joyful, when her children rejoice; and when all her children become one again, the earth will rejoice with her offspring in celestial glory.

But all this cannot be brought about in a moment. The citizens of the world have had six thousand years to learn to do better, to do well; but instead of learning wisdom by experience, they grow worse and worse, and more and more foolish and wicked; and instead of being more united, go further asunder: neither can man restore himself wholly, by his own acts, from the degradation into which he has fallen; hence the Holy Priesthood is committed unto man on the earth, to lead him in the right way, and enable him to do that which he alone cannot accomplish; and through obedience to this Priesthood, all men may, in the end, arrive at the greatest degree of glory and exaltation it is possible to seek for; but, at best, it will take some time to accomplish the object; and with many, and in many things, it will take a long time.

For instance, the descendants of Cain cannot cast off their skin of blackness, at once, and immediately, although every soul of them should repent, obey the Gospel, and do right from this day forward. The mark was put upon Cain, by God himself, because Cain killed his brother Abel, thereby hoping to get the birthright, and secure to himself the blessings which legally belonged to Abel. But Cain could not obtain Abel’s birthright by murder, as Jacob obtained Esau’s by purchase, by contract, paying a mess of pottage, the same as buying a farm, and paying a stipulated price. By such mutual agreement, the farm changes owners; but if one man kills another for the sake of getting his farm, the farm does not change owners, though the owner be dead; it descends to his heirs.

Cain did not obtain Abel’s birthright and blessings, though he killed him for that purpose; the blessings which belonged to Abel, descended to his posterity; and until the blessings of Abel’s birthright are fully received, secured, and realized, by his (Abel’s) descendants, Cain and his posterity must wear the mark which God put upon them; and his white friends may wash the race of Cain with fuller’s soap every day, they cannot wash away God’s mark; yet, the Canaanite may believe the Gospel, repent, and be baptized, and receive the Spirit of the Lord; and if he continue faithful, until Abel’s race is satisfied with his blessings, then may the race of Cain receive a fullness of the Priesthood, and become satisfied with blessings, and the two become as one again, when Cain has paid the uttermost farthing.

The Lamanites, through transgression, became a loathsome, ignorant, and filthy people, and were cursed with a skin of darkness, which they cannot throw off at pleasure, or in a moment, though they should all embrace the Gospel at once; yet they have the promise, if they will believe, and work righteousness, that not many generations shall pass away before they shall become a white and delightsome people; but it will take some time to accomplish this, at best.