Orson Hyde (Original Member of the Quorum of Twelve)

Delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, October 6, 1869.

Journal of Discourses: Vol. 13, p.180-181

I will tell you, brethren and sisters, the Apostleship is of some importance to the Saints of God; but I will say, furthermore, that it is very satisfactory to me when I call to mind the remarks of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I will give you my testimony. In one particular place, in the presence of about sixty men, he said,

  • "My work is about done; I am going to step aside awhile. I am going to rest from my labors; for I have borne the burthen and heat of the day, and now I am going to step aside and rest a little. And I roll the burthen off my shoulders on the shoulders of the Twelve Apostles. Now," said he, "round up your shoulders and bear off this kingdom."

Has he ever said this to any one else? I do not know; I do not care. It is enough for me to know that he said it to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. And since that time we have endeavored to do our duty and perform the work that was given us to do.

We did not consider, at the time he bore this testimony, that he was going to die or be taken from us; but we considered that as he had been borne down with excessive labors, by day and night, he was going to retire to rest and regain his health, and we should act under his direction and bear the responsibility of the work. But when the fatal news came to us, in the Eastern States, that he, with his brother Hyrum, had been massacred in Carthage jail, I will tell you it brought his words home to our minds, and we could then realize that he had spoken in sober earnest; and the twelve men upon whom he had conferred this power, then stepped forth and took their position. When the Twelve, united heart and soul, stepped forth, everything yielded before them.

Well, now, I will give it as the feelings of my heart—and if I am wrong, I can be corrected right here—that no one need be curious or anxious as to who is going to lead and guide this people. I will tell you that as long as God has a Church on the earth, He will govern it. Now I will tell you a little of my feelings in relation to it. I know that when President Young returned with the Twelve to Nauvoo, he gathered them around him, and said he, "I want you to disperse among the congregation and feel the pulse of the people, while I go upon the stand and speak."

We went among the congregation and President Young went on the stand. Well, he spoke, and his words went through me like electricity. "Am I mistaken?" said I, "or is it really the voice of Joseph Smith?" This is my testimony; it was not only the voice of Joseph, but there were the features, the gestures and even the stature of Joseph before us in the person of Brigham. And though it may be said that President Young is a complete mimic, and can mimic anybody, I would like to see the man who can mimic another in stature who was about four or five inches higher than himself. Every one in the congregation—every one who was inspired by the Spirit of the Lord—felt it. They knew it. They realized it.

I sat myself down in the midst of the congregation, with my two wives, whom Joseph had given and sealed to me. When President Young began to speak, one of them said, "It is the voice of Joseph! It is Joseph Smith!" The exclamation of the other was," I do not see him, where is he?" Well, the thought occurred to my mind respecting the Scripture which President Young has just quoted—"My sheep know my voice and follow me." Where is the one that recognized the voice of Joseph in President Young? Where is she? She is in the line of her duty. But where is the other? Gone where I wish she were not. The sheep of the good shepherd will follow the voice they know, but they will not follow the voice of a stranger.

Now this was a manifestation of the power of the Almighty—it was the power of God resting on an individual in the eyes of all the people, not only in feature and voice, but actually in stature. This is my testimony. I might go on and add many more testimonies. I recollect reading that when our Savior was baptized by John in the Jordan, the Spirit of the Lord descended and rested upon him in the form of a dove, and a voice from heaven was heard, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him."

Well, now, it did not depend upon argument, it did not depend upon reason. The voice of the Almighty—the form of a dove descending and resting upon him, were sufficient evidence to prove he was the Son of God. Argument was out of the question. Did it require argument to prove that brother Brigham Young held the position of Joseph, the martyred Prophet? Did it require proof that Joseph was there in the person of Brigham, speaking with an angel's voice? It required no argument; with those who feared God and loved truth, it required none.

Well, now, we have the consolation to know that, whatever changes may take place in the government of the Church and kingdom of God, we shall not be left in the dark nor will our destiny be suspended on the frailty of argument; but I believe that whatever changes take place will be brought about by a power that every child of God will recognize.

These are the feelings of my heart; and consequently I dismiss every anxiety in relation to it. It is for me to live my religion and honor my God, and to let Him steady His own ark. Let me do my duty and all will work for the best. This is how I feel, brethren. When I began to speak, I had quite an argument fixed up in my mind, but I cannot touch it now, and it is useless to try. I will say, however, that it is all summed up in the excellent quotation made by our President—"My sheep know my voice and will follow me; but a stranger they will not follow, for they know not the voice of strangers."