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THE BETTER WAY.
It is conceded that small matters make up the sum of life; that attention to trifles is the safeguard to business; and that if the little virtues are regarded, the character is safe. These sayings are doubtless true; but there is, on the other hand, danger that men may go to extremes in caution and care over little things; and forget, or neglect, the weightier matters of the law, the great objects about us, the leading policies in business, and the more enduring virtues of existence.
It has been said that the average man who visits the valley of the Snake River returns with a more vivid recollection of the mosquitoes that have disturbed his rest, than of the sublimity of the sweeping river, the majesty of the Tetons, or the vastness of the distances and solitudes. It is human nature for men thus to observe and remember some disagreeable little personal disadvantage rather than the grandeur of the more wonderful scenes about him. So also it appears to be human nature to think of petty ills in all things, rather than of their greater and truly uplifting qualities. This disposition in people is a deplorable characteristic, and young men who desire to advance to that perfection of character which insures the greatest happiness, should study to avoid this error. It is better to judge, in a general way, people and great institutions by their achievements, in the main, and not by their small mistakes or errors committed.
One fruitful source of apostasy from the Church comes from an inclination on the part of those who apostatize to consider the small, mostly unintentionally committed errors of its officers,
rather than the broader and more important labors which enter into their experience. Young men so inclined turn from the infinite truths of the gospel, the mighty plan of salvation, the eternal purposes of God, to carp and cavil upon the insignificant actions and the imperfect achievements of men, judging the inspiring magnitude of the former by the disagreeable and tiresome detail of the latter. Many of the serious annoyances of communal life among the Saints would be obliterated entirely if men would search for the great and noble aspirations actuating their neighbors, rather than for the imperfect sidelights that lay bare their puny shortcomings. Those who wish to advance in the world will avoid soul-destroying, mind-narrowing thoughts, and devote the days alotted to them, which, it will be found are none too numerous, in studying the greater, nobler, grander subjects that tend to build character, provide happiness, and create harmony with the mighty purposes of the Church and its founder, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us estimate our brethren by their best desires and noblest aspirations, not by their trifling shortcomings and failures. We estimate the majesty of the Wasatch by Monte Christo, Baldy, Observatory, the mighty Cottonwoods, Clayton, Timpanogos, and Nebo,-its loftiest peaks,-not by its rolling elevations or hillocky spurs, rocky ravines or trifling canyons. So also let us judge our fellows, and so the Church. It is the better way.
Instead of always dwelling upon petty thoughts, young men would better gaze often toward the mighty heights to which the Church points its members, and ponder upon its unfailing efforts to elevate mankind, enrich humanity, solve vexatious social problems, and lead the way to life eternal. These are its riches to which all should aspire; not that detail is unnecessary or to be neglected, but that we should not so let it blind us that the beauty, grandeur and glory of the perfect whole is thereby obscured to our vision. There are men who so persistently delve for the dollar that power or wisdom for its use and enjoyment dies out in their souls. So also is it possible that continually seeking trifles, we may check the natural development of faculties that assist us to comprehend the sublimity of the universe, as well as the sweet truths hidden in the scriptural sayings: The soul thirsts for God; blessed are
they who hunger and thirst for righteousness; the pure in heart shall see God.
Joseph F. Smith.
PORTRAIT OF GOVERNOR VAUGHN.
The ERA presents, in this number, the portrait of Vernon H Vaughn of Alabama, who succeeded Governor J. Wilson Shaffer, and became the eighth governor of the territory of Utah on November 1, 1870, though it was nearly a month thereafter before he took charge of the office. He continued in office only until the coming of Governor George L. Woods, his successor, who was appointed on February 2, 1871. Governor Vaughn died in Sacramento, California, on Sunday, December 1, 1878.
Several inquiries and communications have come to the editors, concerning “Answers to Questions” in No. 4, on the priesthood of Sidney Rigdon. An article in reply is in preparation, and will be printed in an early issue of the ERA.
"Some Features of Japanese Life,” an interesting, worthy, and perfectly accurate account of conditions encountered in a home in Japan, written by Elder Alma 0. Taylor, missionary, will be a feature of the April number, and there will be a variety of other entertaining and instructive reading.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS.
Relating to Degrees of Glory:
This question is from the Third ward Y. M. M. I. Association of Brigham City, through its president, Norman Lee, and is ans
wered by Elder John Nicholson. Similar questions have come from a number of other associations.
Question: Will those who inherit the telestial glory ever attain to the celestial? That is: is it possible, in the hereafter, for any resurrected being to so live that he will be entitled to and receive the glory higher than that to which he shall be assigned immediately after his resurrection?
. Answer:-We will first consider the status of the intelligences who will inherit the three eternal spheres after the resurrection. The information is principally obtainable from the 76th section of the book of Doctrine and Covenants:
The celestial:—55. They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things
56. They are they who are Priests and Kings, who have received of his fullness, and of his glory,
57. And are Priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchisedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son;
Wherefore, it is written, they are Gods, even sons of God:
62. These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ for ever.
Section 131:1. In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees:
2. And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood; (meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage;)
3. And if he does not, cannot obtain it.
4. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom.
Terrestrial:—76. These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fullness.
77. These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fullness of the Father;
These are they who receive not of his fullness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit (verse 87.) Through the administration of the celestial.
Telestial:-86. These are they who receive not of his fullness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the administration of the terrestrial.
112. And they shall be servants of the Most High, but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end.
Now, put a portion of the statements of the status of the two higher classes together.
The Celestial:—They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fullness and of his glory.
These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever.
The Terrestrial: These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fullness. They receive of the presence of the Son but not of the fullness of the Father.
These are they who receive not of his fullness in the eternal world.
Deductions:--Terrestrial-It appears that those who are assigned to the Terrestrial sphere, after the resurrection do not attain in eternity to the conditions existing in the Celestial degree.
Telestial—The following fixes the eternal permanency of the assignment of this class: “Where God and Christ dwell they cannot come: worlds without ends." They, therefore, cannot go to the sphere next above it, as it has the presence of the Son."
I am unable to find any direct statement in the revelations indicating that the inhabitants of either of the two lower spheres will graduate to the one above it. There are, however, some decided expressions in the other direction. These lead to the conclusion that the negative of the question is correct.
Doubtless the eternal spheres to which the children of God will be assigned after the resurrection will be their final habitations, and that in them they will have all the scope for progress their capacity will enable them to economize.
Having presented the statements of divine revelation I now express what appears to be its logic: If there be graduation from one degree of glory to another, the highest would be within the possibilities of the lowest, who would be traveling toward the Godhead. This elevation is barred to the telestial population"Worlds without end."
Logically this would likewise be the position of the inhabitants of the terrestrial, otherwise the situation would be unsymetrical, not to say unjust, the theory of graduation being built upon the eternally progressive nature of man.