Saturday, July 5, 2014

General Conference Highlights: April 1971

General Conferences are online going back to 1971. So I thought I'd take a look at what the prophets and future prophets were saying through the years.

APRIL 1971

HAROLD B. LEE - First Counselor in First Presidency/President of the Quorum of the 12
SPENCER W. KIMBALL - Acting President of the Quorum of the 12

Pres. JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH - "Out of the Darkness"

We are engaged in the Lord’s work; this is his church; he is the author of the plan of salvation; it is his gospel which we have received by the opening of the heavens in this day; and our desire and whole purpose in life should be to believe the truths he has revealed and to conform our lives to them. No person in or out of the Church should believe any doctrine, advocate any practice, or support any cause that is not in harmony with the divine will. Our sole objective where the truths of salvation are concerned should be to find out what the Lord has revealed and then to believe and act accordingly...

We believe with perfect surety that Christ came to ransom men from the temporal and spiritual death brought into the world by the fall of Adam and that he took upon himself the sins of all men on condition of repentance.

We testify that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the plan of salvation; and that through our Lord’s atoning sacrifice all men shall be raised in immortality, to be judged by him according to the deeds done in the flesh; and that those who believe and obey the fullness of gospel law shall be raised also unto eternal life in our Father’s kingdom.

We believe it is by grace that we are saved after all that we can do, and that building upon the foundation of the atonement of Christ, all men must work out their salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord."

JFS - "Our Responsibilities As Priesthood Holders"

We are ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our commission is to represent him. We are directed to preach his gospel, to perform the ordinances of salvation, to bless mankind, to heal the sick and perhaps perform miracles, to do what he would do if he were personally present—and all this because we hold the holy priesthood.

As the Lord’s agents we are bound by his law to do what he wants us to do regardless of personal feelings or worldly enticements. Of ourselves we have no message of salvation, no doctrine that must be accepted, no power to baptize or ordain or marry for eternity. All these things come from the Lord, and anything we do with reference to them is the result of delegated authority...

To the extent we have overcome the world we are already a holy nation and a peculiar people. But unfortunately there are those among us who have not as yet put first in their lives the things of God’s kingdom and who do not live in harmony with the standards of the Church.

I call upon the Church and all its members to forsake the evils of the world. We must shun unchastity and every form of immorality as we would a plague. We must not dam up the wellsprings of life by preventing childbirth. We must not be guilty of unrighteous and evil acts of abortion.

JFS - "A Witness And A Blessing"

I know that God lives and that he sent his Only Begotten Son into the world to work out the infinite and eternal atonement.

I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he received from his Father the power to ransom men from the spiritual and temporal death brought into the world by the fall of Adam.

I know that the Lord has set up his church and kingdom on earth for the last time; that in this latter-day kingdom are found the power and authority of the holy priesthood; and that this church administers the gospel and makes its blessings available to all who will believe and obey.

HAROLD B. LEE - "Today's Young People"

I came across a statement from the late President [Dwight D.] Eisenhower in the Reader’s Digest some years ago. He said, “Unfortunately many people nowadays have become so bemused by the excesses of a small minority of American youth, that they forget to note the decency and intelligence of the overwhelming majority. This is a great injustice to you young folks and a disservice to America."

HBL - "The Iron Rod"

Sometime ago there appeared in the Wall Street Journal a thought-provoking article, written by an eminent theologian at the Columbia University, under the subject heading “An Antidote for Aimlessness,” which you recognize as a condition that is prevalent in the world today. I quote from this article by Rabbi Arthur Herlzterg:

“What people come to religion for, is an ultimate metaphysical hunger, and when that hunger is not satisfied, religion declines … the moment that clerics become more worldly, the world goes to hades the faster.

“… Religion represents the accumulation of man’s insight over thousands of years into such questions as the nature of man, the meaning of life, the individual’s place in the universe. That is, precisely, the question at the root of man’s restlessness..."

There are many who profess to be religious and speak of themselves as Christians, and, according to one such, “as accepting the scriptures only as sources of inspiration and moral truth,” and then ask in their smugness: “Do the revelations of God give us a handrail to the kingdom of God, as the Lord’s messenger told Lehi, or merely a compass?”

Unfortunately, some are among us who claim to be Church members but are somewhat like the scoffers in Lehi’s vision—standing aloof and seemingly inclined to hold in derision the faithful who choose to accept Church authorities as God’s special witnesses of the gospel and his agents in directing the affairs of the Church...

There are those in the Church who speak of themselves as liberals who, as one of our former presidents has said, “read by the lamp of their own conceit.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine [Deseret Book Co., 1939], p. 373.) One time I asked one of our Church educational leaders how he would define a liberal in the Church. He answered in one sentence: “A liberal in the Church is merely one who does not have a testimony..."

We fervently thank the Lord for the faithfulness and devotion of many in and out of the Church who are in high places in business, in governmental circles, in the legal profession, doctors, trained social workers, nurses, and those in the fields of the sciences and the arts. Particularly are we grateful for those who accept positions of leadership in the Church, who serve as home teachers or class leaders in the priesthood or in the auxiliaries, who make themselves available for volunteer service in helping to care for the unfortunate in all lands and among minorities within and without the Church, and in giving particular attention to the needs of the widows and the orphans.

SPENCER W. KIMBALL - "Voices of the Past, of the Present, and of the Future"

Recently people on the street responded to the question “Is chastity outmoded?” The answers: “Morals have changed; virginity is on the way out. Love is in.” “Virgins are really weird.” “There are few people these days who are virtuous.” One girl said, “Chastity is outdated because in these enlightened days, people are freer.”

Yes: Free to commit sin; free to break laws. Free to contract VD. Free to shorten life; free to deny God; free to be free of all real freedoms.

We see our world sinking into depths of corruption. Every sin mentioned by Paul is now rampant in our society...

Paul speaks of continence—a word almost forgotten by our world. Still in the dictionary, it means self-restraint, in sexual activities especially. Many good people, being influenced by the bold spirit of the times, are now seeking surgery for the wife or the husband so they may avoid pregnancies and comply with the strident voice demanding a reduction of children. It was never easy to bear and rear children, but easy things do not make for growth and development. But loud, blatant voices today shout “fewer children” and offer the Pill, drugs, surgery, and even ugly abortion to accomplish that. Strange, the proponents of depopulating the world seem never to have thought of continence!

It was reported that groups of ministers and their wives attended a party given by homosexuals and lesbians to raise funds for the perversion program. The magazine quoted: “… that all Bay area schools would have to close down immediately if all homosexuals currently working in the school systems were discovered and in keeping with state law, dismissed.” (Newsweek, February 13, 1967.)

The minister quoted is reported to have said: “… two people of the same sex can express love and deepen that love by sexual intercourse.” (Ibid.)

Those are ugly voices—they are loud and raspy.

Why do we speak in this vein? Why do we call to repentance when there are such pleasant subjects? It is because someone must warn the world of its doom if life does not change directions...

Sex involvement outside of marriage locks doors to temples and thus bars the way to eternal life.

EZRA TAFT BENSON - "Life Is Eternal"

As eternal beings, we each have in us a spark of divinity. And, as one who has traveled over much of this world, on both sides of the iron curtain, I am convinced that our Father’s children are essentially good. They want to live in peace, they want to be good neighbors, they love their homes and their families, they want to improve their standards of living, they want to do what is right, they are essentially good. And I know that God loves them.

And as his humble servant, I have in my heart a love for our Father’s children. I have met them in so-called high places and low. I have visited with them in their homes, in their fields, on their small farms, in their shops, on the highways of the earth, and in the air. I have had the privilege of meeting with them in large and small meetings, worshiping with them in their churches, including a small Baptist chapel filled to overflowing in Moscow, Russia.

Again I say, our Father’s children, my brothers and sisters, are essentially good. I know the Lord loves them. And as his humble servant, I have love in my heart for them. May God bless you wherever you are and be close to you, as he can and will through his spirit...

Yes, life is eternal. Death is not the end. It is most fitting at this Easter time that our thoughts be turned to that most glorious event, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As I have gratefully testified many times—

I know that Jesus is the Christ—the Savior and Redeemer of the world—the very Son of God. He was born the Babe of Bethlehem. He lived and ministered among men. He was crucified on Calvary. On the third day he rose again.

HOWARD W. HUNTER - "Prepare Every Needful Thing"

If we are to teach one another, if we are to seek wisdom and learning by study and by faith, we must organize and prepare every needful thing. These words form the basis upon which the idea of the meetinghouse library is conceived—to “prepare every needful thing” for more effective teaching...

We encourage each member of the priesthood to make use of the meetinghouse library. Its purpose is to provide you, as well as the sisters who have teaching functions within the Church, with the materials and equipment to increase the quality of teaching.

GORDON B. HINCKLEY - "Except the Lord Build the House"

Why is it that in this country approximately one in three or four marriages ends in divorce?

Some 400,000 couples are divorced each year in the United States. They are the parents of more than half a million children. More than six million of the adults of this nation are now divorced or separated.

Even in those lands where divorce is difficult if not impossible to obtain, the same disease is evident—the same nagging, corrosive evils of domestic misery, of separation, of abandonment, and of immoral and illegal relationships...

Pearl Buck has observed, “Love cannot be forced. … It comes out of heaven, unasked and unsought.” (The Treasure Chest, p. 165.)

This respect comes of recognition that each of us is a son or daughter of God, endowed with something of his divine nature, that each is an individual entitled to expression and cultivation of individual talents and deserving of forbearance, of patience, of understanding, of courtesy, of thoughtful consideration. True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well being of one’s companion.

Companionship in marriage is prone to become commonplace and even dull. I know of no more certain way to keep it on a lofty and inspiring plane than for a man occasionally to reflect upon the fact that the help-meet who stands at his side is a daughter of God, engaged with Him in the great creative process of bringing to pass His eternal purposes. I know of no more effective way for a woman to keep ever radiant the love for her husband than for her to look for and emphasize the godly qualities that are a part of every son of our Father and that can be evoked when there is respect and admiration and encouragement. The very processes of such actions will cultivate a constantly rewarding appreciation for one another.

THOMAS S. MONSON - "Lost Battalions"

As a boy, I enjoyed reading the account of the “lost battalion.” The “lost battalion” was a unit of the 77th Infantry Division in World War I. During the Meuse-Argonne offensive, a major led this battalion through a gap in the enemy lines, but the troops on the flanks were unable to advance. An entire battalion was surrounded. Food and water were short; casualties could not be evacuated. Hurled back were repeated attacks. Ignored were notes from the enemy requesting the battalion to surrender. Newspapers heralded the battalion’s tenacity. Men of vision pondered its fate. After a brief but desperate period of total isolation, other units of the 77th Division advanced and relieved the “lost battalion.” Correspondents noted in their dispatches that the relieving forces seemed bent on a crusade of love to rescue their comrades in arms. Men volunteered more readily, fought more gallantly, and died more bravely. A fitting tribute echoed from that ageless sermon preached on the Mount of Olives: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13.)...

If you desire to see a rescue operation of a “lost battalion,” visit your city’s center for the blind and witness the selfless service of those who read to those who can’t. Observe the skills that are taught the handicapped. Be inspired by the efforts put forth in their behalf to enable them to secure meaningful employment...

No words in Christendom mean more to me than those spoken by the angel to the weeping Mary Magdalene and the other Mary as they approached the tomb to care for the body of their Lord: “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:5–6.)

With this pronouncement, the “lost battalion” of mankind—those who have lived and died, those who now live and one day will die, and those yet to be born and yet to die—this battalion of humanity lost had just been rescued.

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