Two unrelated but thought-provoking passages from the wonderful Brigham Young, brought to my attention by John Gee’s ever-interesting — and sometimes diabolically amusing — blog:
Many have tried to penetrate to the First Cause of all things; but it would be as easy for an ant to number the grains of sand on the earth. It is not for man, with his limited intelligence, to grasp eternity in this comprehension. This is an eternity of life, from which we were composed by the wisdom and skill of superior Beings. It would be as easy for a gnat to trace the history of man back to his origin as for man to fathom the First Cause of all things, lift the veil of eternity, and reveal the mysteries that have been sought after by philosophers from the beginning. What, then, should be the calling and duty of the children of men? Instead of inquiring after the origin of the Gods–instead of trying to explore the depths of eternities that have been, that are, and that will be,–instead of endeavouring to discover the boundaries of boundless space, let them seek to know the object of their present existence, and how to apply, in the most profitable manner for their mutual good and salvation, the intelligence they possess. Let them seek to know and thoroughly understand things within their reach, and to make themselves well acquainted with the object of their being here, by diligently seeking unto a superior Power for information, and by the careful study of the best books. (Brigham Young, 9 October 1859, JD 7:285).
What is our duty? To promote the kingdom of God on the earth. Every person that confines his thoughts and labours to happifying his own family and immediate friends will come far short of performing the duties devolving upon him. Every sentiment and feeling should be to cleanse the earth from wickedness, to purify the people, sanctify the nations, gather the nations of Israel home, redeem and build up Zion, redeem Jerusalem and gather the Jews there, and establish the reign and kingdom of God on the earth. Let that be the heart’s desire and labour of every individual every moment. (Brigham Young, 12 June 1860, JD 8:294).