“And now we are gathering, gathering. Did you ever read in the New Testament that the Kingdom of Heaven in the last days would be like a net cast into the sea which should gather all kinds—the good and the bad? If this is not a proof to the inhabitants of the earth that this is the Kingdom of God, why there is abundance of other evidence to prove it. But this is one true evidence to all the inhabitants of the earth—we are gathering the good and the bad of all kinds. The good, I expect, will improve until they are gathered into the garner, and the bad will be cast away, thrust overboard (Matthew 3:12)” – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 12:56



Excerpt from The Necessity of the Saints Living Up to the Light Which Has Been Given Them

A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, March 2, 1856. Journal of Discourses 3:221. Reported By: G. D. Watt.

“… Have we not given you salt enough to season you? You have been sweetened with velvet lips, until you do not know salt from anything else. Will you hear now? If I have strength and continue to feel like it, I will come here and train you every Sabbath, and I wish my sermons to be like the raining of pitchforks point foremost, until you awake out of your sleep and find out whether you are Saints or not . . .”

We have a great many gars, sharks, sheepheads, lamper eels, and every other kind of fish that is to be found, in the pond; the Gospel net has gathered them up (Matthew 13:47).

Fish Gar01

Fisherman with Gar Fish

Gar Fish:


From Wikipedia: “…Gars are found across all of North America… [They] inhabit fresh, brackish, and occasionally marine, waters of eastern North America, Central America and the Caribbean Islands. Gars have elongated bodies that are heavily armored with ganoid scales, and fronted by similarly elongated jaws filled with long, sharp teeth… They typically grow to 2 m (6.6 ft) and weigh over 45.3 kg (100 lb). Unusually, their vascularized swim bladders can function as lungs, and most gars surface periodically to take a gulp of air.

Gars tend to be slow-moving fish except when striking at their prey. They prefer the shallow and weedy areas of rivers, lakes, and bayous, often congregating in small groupsThey are voracious predators, catching their prey with their needle-like teeth, obtained with a sideways strike of the head. They feed extensively on smaller fish and invertebrates such as crabs.

Gar flesh is edible, and sometimes available in markets, but unlike the sturgeon they resemble, their eggs are highly toxic to humans. Several species are traded as aquarium fish.  The hard skin and scales of the gar were used by humans. Native Americans used the scales of the gar as arrowheads, native Caribbeans used the skin for breastplates, and early American pioneers covered the blades of their plows in gar skin. Not much is known about the precise function of the gar in Native American religion and culture, but besides using the gar, Creek and Chickasaw people have ritual “garfish dances“.

Fish Gar02

Teeth of the Gar


From Wikipedia: “… Sharks are found in all seas and are common to depths of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). They generally do not live in freshwater although there are a few known exceptions, such as the bull shark and the river shark, which can survive and be found in both seawater and freshwater. Sharks have a covering of dermal denticles that  protects their skin from damage and parasites in addition to improving their fluid dynamics. They have numerous sets of replaceable teeth… Well-known species such as the great white, tiger, blue, thresher, mako and hammerhead sharks are apex predators – organisms at the top of their underwater food chain

Until the 16th century, sharks were known to mariners as “sea dogs“. This is still evidential in several species termed “dogfish” or the porbeagle. The etymology of the word “shark” is uncertain, the most likely etymology states that the original sense of the word was that of “predator, one who preys on others” from the Dutch schurk, meaning “villain, scoundrel” (cf. card shark, loan shark, etc.), which was later applied to the fish due to its predatory behavior...

The classic view describes a solitary hunter, ranging the oceans in search of food. However, this applies to only a few species. Most live far more social, sedentary, benthic lives, and appear likely to have their own distinct personalities. Even solitary sharks meet for breeding or at rich hunting grounds, which may lead them to cover thousands of miles in a year… Sharks can be highly social, remaining in large schools…  Cross-species social hierarchies exist… When approached too closely some sharks perform a threat display.  This usually consists of exaggerated swimming movements, and can vary in intensity according to the threat level.

Porbeagle Shark

Sheepshead Fish:

From Wikipedia: “…Archosargus probatocephalus, the sheepshead, is a marine fish that grows to 76 cm (30 in), but commonly reaches 30 to 50 cm (10 to 20 in). It is deep and compressed in body shape, with five or six dark bars on the side of the body over a gray background. It has sharp dorsal spines. Its diet consists of oysters, clams, and other bivalves, and barnacles, fiddler crabs, and other crustaceans. It has a hard mouth, with  with several rows of stubby teeth – the frontal ones roughly resembling human teeth – which help crush the shells of prey

Sheepshead have a knack for stealing bait, so a small hook is necessary. Locating sheepshead with a boat is not difficult: Fishermen look for rocky bottoms or places with obstructions, jetties, and the pilings of bridges and piers.



Lamprey Eel:


From Wikipedia: “… These are any jawless fish … The adult lamprey [is] characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth. The common name “lamprey” is probably derived from Latin  lampetra, which may mean “stone licker” (lambere “to lick” + petra “stone”), though the etymology is uncertain.[3]

There are about 38 known extant species of lampreys. Parasitic species are the best known, and feed by boring into the flesh of other fish to suck their blood; but only 18 species of lampreys are parasitic.  Parasitic lampreys also attach themselves to larger animals to get a free rideAdults of the non-parasitic species do not feed; they live off reserves acquired as ammocoetes (larvae), which they obtain through filter feeding

Sea lampreys have become a major pest in the North American Great Lakes.  They are considered an invasive species, have no natural enemies in the lakes, and prey on many species of commercial value, such as lake trout…

Fish Lamprey Eel 01



Brigham continues, “. . .And what may you expect from such a mess? You may expect the best and worst of all God’s creation mingled here together. The foolish will turn from correct principles, go over to the wicked, and cease to be righteous, so that they can go to hell with the fools. I wish to have every man who rises to speak from this stand, lay aside the smooth tongue and velvet lips and let his words be like melted lead, that they may sink into the hearts of the people.

Now do not think that I have cast you off; you are my brethren, if I have any. If there are any Saints on the face of the earth they are here. I am one with you, and if you turn round and say, “Brother Brigham ought to live according to his preaching,” I answer, I live so now that you cannot keep up with me. Do not fret yourselves, I am ready to be weighed in the balance (Daniel 5:27) in all my ways, with any of you. Learn to live your religion day by day, and do right all the time. Let us strive to get more light, more of the grace and power of God, that we may increase therein, which is my prayer continually. May God bless you: Amen.




Excerpt from Gathering the Saints, Etc.

Discourse by President Brigham Young, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, April 9, 1871. Journal of Discourses 14:78. Reported By: David W. Evans

…A few words now with regard to the gathering. I will say that if unworthy people are gathered in the future, it is nothing new or strange, nothing more than we expect.If this net does not gather the good and the bad we should have no idea that it is the net that Jesus spoke about when he said that it should gather of all kinds (Matt 13:47-50).

Furthermore, there are a great many who come into the Church because they know the work is true. Their judgment, and every reasoning faculty and power of their minds tells them it is true; consequently they embrace the truth. But do they receive the love of it? That is the questionI will tell you that [there are] very few of those who receive the love of the truth, but many of those who fall away, though they know the Gospel is true, do not possess the love of the truth.

And they will not apostatize while scattered. We try to get them to do so in the old country, but they will not. Bring them over to New York and they will not apostatize. They will labor there year after year, and struggle and toil until they can get to the gathering place, they must come to headquarters, then they can apostatize, forsake the faith, and turn away from the holy commandments of the Lord Jesus. This is not our business.Our duty is to preach the Gospel and to receive all that wish to have the ordinances administered to them, and leave the result in the hands of God. This is his work, not ours. He has called us to be co-laborers with him.

I want to say for the consolation of the Elders of Israel and those who go forth to preside, you need have no trouble with regard to the building up of this kingdom, only do your duty in the sphere to which you are assigned . . .



Excerpt from The Priesthood and Satan, Etc

A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, Feb. 18, 1855. Journal of Discourses 2:179. Reported By: G. D. Watt.

“…I wish this meed of praise could be awarded to every officer in the Government, but it cannot. We have some of the most corrupt, damnable, mean curses here that ever disgraced the earth; some who even wish to carry the holy sanctuary in one hand, and a jug full of whiskey in the other, and follow a whore and have a saint trail behind them to hold up their garments to prevent their drabbling. They are like the pilot fish to the shark, serving to lead him to his victim. I despise them; and so does every good man. Show your colors, gentlemen, and let us know what and who you are, as I do, that all the earth may see and hear.”

Fish Pilot and Shark

Pilot Fish

From Wikipedia: “…The pilot fish (Naucrates ductor) is a carnivorous fish… It is widely distributed and lives in warm or tropical open seas…  The pilot fish congregates around sharks, rays, and sea turtles, where it eat ectoparasites on, and leftovers around the host species; younger pilot fish are usually associated with jellyfish and drifting seaweeds. They are also known to follow ships, sometimes for long distances… ;  Their fondness for ships led the ancients to believe that they would navigate a ship to its desired course.

The pilot fish’s color is between dark blue and blackish-silver, with the belly being lighter in color. The pilot fish is also known to have a temporary variation of color when excited; its dark-colored bars disappear, and its body turns silvery-white, with three broad blue patches on its back …

The pilot fish is edible and is said to taste good, but it is rarely available due to its erratic behavior when caught.

While pilot fish can be seen with all manner of sharks, they prefer accompanying the oceanic whitetip, Carcharhinus longimanus. The pilot fish’s relationship with sharks is a mutualist one;  the pilot fish gains protection from predators, while the shark gains freedom from parasites. It was often said by sailors that sharks and pilot fish share something like a “close companionship“; there were even tales of this fish following ships which had captured “their” shark for up to six weeks and showing signs of distress in its absence.Whatever the veracity  of such reports, it is extremely rare that a shark will feed on a pilot fish, and smaller pilot fish are frequently observed swimming into sharks’ mouths to clean away fragments of food from between their teeth …

There are a few possible, conflicting etymologies for the term “pilot fish”. One is that seafaring people erroneously believed that pilot fish, which would appear around the bow of their ships when they were close to land, were leading (or piloting) them back to port.  An alternative incorrect etymology is that pilot fish were once thought to be piloting sharks to food … Pilot fish are also used as a metaphor or simile for scavengers or looters which accompany a greater threat.

Excerpt from Civilization—Missionary Labors, Etc.

Remarks by President Brigham Young, made in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, September 16, 1860.  Journal of Discourses 8:171. Reported By: G. D. Watt.


“… Doubtless many of the Elders think that they are smarter than I am. As brother Kimball has said, some of the knowing ones marveled when we were called to the Apostleship. It was indeed a mystery to me; but when I considered what consummate blockheads they were, I did not deem it so great a wonder. When they would meet brother Kimball and myself, their looks expressed, “What a pity!” Then I would think, “You may, perhaps, make tolerably good men after a while; but I guess that you will tumble out by-and-by.” Just as they did: they could not stay in the Gospel net. They were so big and grew so fast; they became larger than the ship and slid overboard.”



Excerpts from  Gospel of Salvation, &c.


Remarks by President Brigham Young, made in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, August 5, 1860. Journal of Discourses 8:130. Reported By: G. D. Watt.

…Do our enemies love the truth? No; they love lies, and make them.It is acknowledged all the time that there are evildoers here; but are they Saints? No.

I am not going to give up the ship, or forsake my religion, because there are those who do evil. I will stick to the old ship Zion until every passenger, the crew, and every officer on board are holy and live to God; and, God and good men being my helpers (Psalm 54:4), we will conquer, and we will run the ship into harbor—the haven of rest.

Be encouraged, all good men and women, and all you grumblers and complainers, who think that you are curtailed and oppressed, and do not enjoy liberty here, go elsewhere and get all the liberty you can. We do not want you here; but if you stay, do not take the name of God in vain, nor endeavor to corrupt and abuse everybody within your reach.

We have some drunkards who halloo in the streets, and we bear with them, and intend to as long as we can; and when we can bear no longer, we will disfellowship them. We have men who are dishonest, and are, as yet, obliged to have them; for the net gathers in the good and the bad (Matthew 13:47-48).  We have the meanest and the best mixed together.

The Gospel we preach is the Gospel of salvation. It is the power of God sent down from heaven (Romans 1:16). The Spirit of life, intelligence, and revelation is in it, and all who do not possess that Spirit do not enjoy our holy religion.



Excerpt from The Gospel is Like a Net Cast into the Sea, Etc.

A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, November 9, 1856. Journal of Discourses 4:75. Reported By: G. D. Watt.

…Suppose there are wicked men here. I say the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that gathers fish both good and bad (Matthew 13:47-48), and I say this because it is true. We have in our community the worst creatures that the world can produce; the Gospel net must gather them of necessity, or the saying of Jesus, and what he knew of the kingdom in the last day would not come to pass. There are as bad men and women within the pales of this Church as there are upon this earth, and the Gospel being preached to them prepares them to become devils. As you have frequently been told, that is the only way men can become devils; they must have the knowledge to sin against the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12:31-32), or yet the day of redemption awaits them, one or the other.

Suppose I was preaching in the world, and they should allege that some of the people in Utah swore, stole, and were wicked in many ways, I would acknowledge it to be the case. They might then inquire, “Why do you say that you have got the Gospel of salvation? And why do you come to us to preach, seeing that your own people do wickedly?” I would reply that the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that gathers fish of all kinds, therefore we must have the good and the bad in Utah, or else it cannot be the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13:47).

We have some of the bad, and those who pass through our settlements, or sojourn in our midst for a brief period, become familiar with those who are wicked, but do not become acquainted with the righteous. The great majority of this people are righteous, but the worldlings seek out and mingle with the few wicked here, because both those classes love the spirit of the world.

As to the great argument against the kingdom of God, because there are some evildoers in the Church, I will take the principles and doctrines taught by Jesus and his Apostles, and show that these go to prove and substantiate the fact that this is the kingdom of God. Why? Because we can produce the meanest curses there are on the earth, those who take all the revelations given by the Almighty, and every influence and revelation they can get from the devil, and make use of them to add sin to sin. This fact is also another proof that all hell is against this people, for there is not a person in the world, that gives way to wickedness, but what has antipathy against this people.

Now hearken, O ye [who judge the Latter-day Saints]; do you say there are people here who are wicked? So we say.

Could I wish things to be otherwise? No, I would not have them different if I could. We can produce the best men and the worst, the best women and the worst, and thus prove, according to the sayings of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, that this is the kingdom of God, or at least answers to the Savior’s description of that kingdom.

Were I [with our detractors] I would say, let me tell you that I have not embraced any man on this earth, in my faith, but I have embraced the doctrine of salvation, and it is no matter what the people do in Utah. Here is the doctrine of salvation, talk against that, prove that to be false, or find a flaw in it, if you can. As for the people, they cannot save you. Never embrace a man in your faith, for that is sectarianism.

There are many of the men and women now before me who have looked for a pure people, and have supposed that that was a proof of the truth of our doctrines, but they will never find such a people until Satan is bound (D&C 45:55), and and Jesus comes to reign with his Saints (1 Thes 3:13). The doctrine we preach is the doctrine of salvation, and it is that which the Elders of this Church take to the world, and not the people of Utah.


Some of the Elders seem to be tripped up in a moment, if the wicked can find any fault with the members of this Church; but bless your souls, I would not yet have this people faultless, for the day of separation has not yet arrived. I have many a time, in this stand, dared the world to produce as mean devils as we can; we can beat them at anything. We have the greatest and smoothest liars in the world, the cunningest and most adroit thieves, and any other shade of character that you can mention. We can pick out Elders in Israel right here who can beat the world at gambling, who can handle the cards, cut and shuffle them with the smartest rogue on the face of God’s footstool. I can produce Elders here who can shave their smartest shavers, and take their money from them. We can beat the world at any game.

We can beat them, because we have men here that live in the light of the Lord, that have the Holy Priesthood, and hold the keys of the kingdom of God. But you may go through all the sectarian world, and you cannot find a man capable of opening the door of the kingdom of God to admit others in. We can do that. We can pray the best, preach the best, and sing the best. We are the best looking and finest set of people on the face of the earth, and they may begin any game they please, and we are on hand, and can beat them at anything they have a mind to begin. They may make sharp their two-edged swords, and I will turn out the Elders of Israel with greased feathers, and whip them to death. We are not to be beat. We expect to be a stumbling block to the whole world, and a rock of offense to them (Isaiah 8:14).

I never preached to the world but what the cry was, “That damned old Joe Smith has done thus and so.” I would tell the people that they did not know him, and I did, and that I knew him to be a good man; and that when they spoke against him, they spoke against as good a man as ever lived.

I recollect a conversation I had with a priest who was an old friend of ours, before I was personally acquainted with the Prophet Joseph. I clipped every argument he advanced, until at last he came out and began to rail against “Joe Smith,” saying, “that he was a mean man, a liar, money digger, gambler, and a whoremaster;” and he charged him with everything bad, that he could find language to utter. I said, “Hold on, brother Gillmore, here is the doctrine, here is the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the revelations that have come through Joseph Smith the Prophet. I have never seen him, and do not know his private character. The doctrine he teaches is all I know about the matter, bring anything against that if you can. As to anything else I do not care. If he acts like a devil, he has brought forth a doctrine that will save us, if we will abide it. He may get drunk every day of his life, sleep with his neighbor’s wife every night, run horses and gamble, I do not care anything about that, for I never embrace any man in my faith. But the doctrine he has produced will save you and me, and the whole world; and if you can find fault with that, find it. He said, “I have done.”

It is the fashion in the world to embrace men in their faith, or a fine meetinghouse, or a genteel congregation, thinking, “O, what perfect order, and how pretty they look; how straight they walk to meeting, and how long their faces are during the services; how pretty that deacon looks under the pulpit; the people are so pretty, the meetinghouse is so nice, that we want to join such pretty people.” Such feelings will take a people to hell. Embrace a doctrine that will purge sin and iniquity from your hearts, and sanctify you before God, and you are right, no matter how others act.


I wish you all to understand that no Elders go to any place among the world, but what the wicked find fault with the people of God. They found fault with Joseph Smith, and at length killed him, as they bare a great many others of the Latter-day Saints. What for? Because of his wickedness? No. But the cry was, “Away with him (John 19:15), we cannot do with this man nor with his people.” Did they hate him for his evil works? No. If he had been a liar, a swearer, a gambler, or in any way an evildoer, and of the world, it would have loved its own (John 15:19), and they would have embraced him, and nourished and kept him. If he had been a false prophet they never would have lifted a hand against him, because he could have spread still more delusion through the world around him.

We are hated, because we are righteous. If we have sinned, the people [who judge us] know nothing about it; they cannot in truth find a word of fault with the character of this people, except with the few we have on hand ready to beat them at their meanness. The Lord wants those few here to fulfil His words and purposes, and they are fit for no other place.The sheep and the goats, the calves and the pigs, are all good in their places. The Lord will make use of us to His glory; and though a good many of those who now profess to be good Latter-day Saints may meet condemnation, even their course will finally result to the glory of God. Are these ideas correct? Judge ye.



Excerpt: Dealings of the Lord With His People.

Remarks by President Brigham Young, made in Provo, August 26, 1860.

Reported By: G. D. Watt.

Do you see persons who have been in this Church for years, drinking the deathly draught put to their mouths by the wicked? Yes. Have you not seen them forfeit their right and title to the kingdom of God upon the earth, and yield to a paltry, foolish, fallen disposition to do evil? Yes; wives have been called to weep and mourn for their children and husbands, husbands for their wives and children, and children for their parents. The parable of the Savior still holds good—the net still gathers good and bad (Matthew 13:47-50).


There are families here whose husbands and fathers are now preaching the Gospel. They will return by-and-by, and will bring their sheaves with them (Psalms 126:6).  Those who have been converted through their labors will follow them, and there will be a few who will be steadfast and live their religion, but not all who are gathered from the nations; for the Gospel net will gather good and bad, and will continue so to do as long as the fishermen cast their net into the sea.

Still, a righteous person will never be discouraged, but will constantly contend against his evil passions, and against evil in his family and neighborhood; and the Lord will utterly cleanse his thrashingfloor as with the besom of destruction (Isaiah 14:23).  Be not discouraged, for it is a joyful time … Great peace have those who love the law of the Gospel, and nothing shall offend them. Great joy have they who love our Lord Jesus Christ; and great peace do those enjoy who delight in working the works of righteousness (D&C 59:23). Let the blessings of heaven attend you, is my prayer continually. Be faithful, ye Saints. Contend against evil, and cease not to take every measure to do away with all the evil that is in your midst until God shall sanctify a people and prepare them to dwell in his presence.

Marvel not that we have what are called troubles: marvel not that our enemies seek to destroy us and the kingdom of God from the earth. These persecutions are to prepare the humble and faithful to dwell in the presence of God the Father and his Son, while the vast multitudes of the earth must dwell in the kingdoms prepared for them, but cannot dwell in his presence. If you expect to gain the glory you anticipate, never grieve, nor sorrow, nor mourn at the providences of God when they cause you to suffer, or to part with every earthly object you have. If they cause fathers and mothers to separate from their children, and husbands from their wives, it matters not: God is our Father, and the offspring of Adam are our brothers and sisters. Who is my father, mother, sister, and brother? Those who do the will of my Father in heaven (Matthew 12:46-50).


Excerpts from Dependence on the Lord, Etc.

An Address by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, May 27, 1855. Journal of Discourses 2:279.  Reported By: G. D. Watt.


“…I am happy and thankful to be able to say, as far as I have received information in the midst of this people called Latter-day Saints, that there is certainly an improvement in their understanding, and an advancement in their knowledge of the things of God. A good spirit prevails, and contentment, peace, and joy seem to pervade the bosoms of those who walk humbly before God. Yet, whenever we go to meet with the Saints, we can say, as it was said in olden times, Satan is there also. We find the works and power of the enemy, we find that in the midst of the kingdom of God, or, in other words, in the net that was cast forth to gather the people, there are good and bad. So it will be, until the time comes to gather the good and throw away the bad, which is not now.

But in regard to those who desire to be Saints, and who try to be Saints, I can say there is an increase in their knowledge, in their faith, and in their understanding. And now I wish more particularly to see an increase of resignation to the will of God, of doing everything that is possible to build up this kingdom, and of submitting themselves and all their affairs into His hand; and I wish to see this done cheerfully, and a patient waiting for the result of His providences.”