General Conferences are online going back to 1971. Continuing to look at what the prophets and future prophets were saying through the years.
JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH - Prophet/President
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
EZRA TAFT BENSON - Apostle
HOWARD W. HUNTER - Apostle
GORDON B. HINCKLEY - Apostle
THOMAS S. MONSON - Apostle
All of our Church conferences are occasions to teach one another the doctrines of the gospel; to testify of the truth and divinity of those things which have come to us by the opening of the heavens; and to counsel together, and with the Lord, as to the things we should all do to fill the full measure of our creation.
We are the servants of the Lord. We have received light and truth and revelation from him. He has commanded us to proclaim his truths and live his laws. And so now, in harmony with his mind and will, and as guided by his Holy Spirit, we give counsel and direction to the Saints and to the world.
To the world I say: These are the last days. They are days of trouble and sorrow and desolation. They are days when Satan dwells in the hearts of ungodly men, when iniquity abounds, and when the signs of the times are being shown forth.
And there is no cure for the ills of the world except the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our hope for peace, for temporal and spiritual prosperity, and for an eventual inheritance in the kingdom of God is found only in and through the restored gospel. There is no work that any of us can engage in that is as important as preaching the gospel and building up the Church and kingdom of God on earth...
Remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “I am among you as he that serveth” (Luke 22:27), and choose to serve with an eye single to the glory of God. Visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and keep yourself unspotted from the sins of the world.
JFS - "Eternal Keys, and the Right to Preside"
We hold the holy Melchizedek Priesthood, which is the power and authority of God delegated to man on earth to act in all things for the salvation of men.
We also hold the keys of the kingdom of God on earth, which kingdom is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
These keys are the right of presidency; they are the power and authority to govern and direct all of the Lord’s affairs on earth. Those who hold them have power to govern and control the manner in which all others may serve in the priesthood. All of us may hold the priesthood, but we can only use it as authorized and directed so to do by those who hold the keys...
Now, brethren, I think there is one thing which we should have exceedingly clear in our minds. Neither the President of the Church, nor the First Presidency, nor the united voice of the First Presidency and the Twelve will ever lead the Saints astray or send forth counsel to the world that is contrary to the mind and will of the Lord.
An individual may fall by the wayside, or have views, or give counsel which falls short of what the Lord intends. But the voice of the First Presidency and the united voice of those others who hold with them the keys of the kingdom shall always guide the Saints and the world in those paths where the Lord wants them to be.
JFS - "A Prophet's Blessing" (his last words in GenCon before his death)
O God our Heavenly and Eternal Father, look down in love and in mercy upon this thy church and upon the members of the church who keep thy commandments. Let thy Spirit dwell in our hearts forever; and when the trials and woes of this life are over, may we return to thy presence, with our loved ones, and dwell in thy house forever, I humbly pray, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
One of the things we must do in teaching our young people is to condition them on how to meet a temptation that comes in an unguarded moment. When we teach our young boys going out into military service, we bring in those who have had experience to talk about some actual experiences they have gone through and say, “Now if you were faced with this or that temptation, what would you do? How would you react?” And there is a discussion as to just how he would react. How important that is in this day of wickedness!
The one who has the chief responsibility is the father of the boy. This doesn’t mean that the father should wake up some morning and call his boy to his bedside and in fifteen minutes tell him all the facts of life. That isn’t what the boy needs. He needs a father to answer when he wants to ask questions of a delicate nature. He is hungering to know; he is curious about things...
One thing more I should like to state. We are having come into the Church now many people of various nationalities. We in the Church must remember that we have a history of persecution, discrimination against our civil rights, and our constitutional privileges being withheld from us. These who are members of the Church, regardless of their color, their national origin, are members of the church and kingdom of God. Some of them have told us that they are being shunned. There are snide remarks. We are withdrawing ourselves from them in some cases.
Now we must extend the hand of fellowship to men everywhere, and to all who are truly converted and who wish to join the Church and partake of the many rewarding opportunities to be found therein. To those who may not now have the priesthood, we pray that the blessings of Jesus Christ may be given to them to the full extent that it is possible for us to give them. Meanwhile, we ask the Church members to strive to emulate the example of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, who gave us the new commandment that we should love one another. I wish we could remember that.
HBL - "A Time of Decision"
This is the beginning of an intense political activity, when men of every persuasion in the political arena will be clamoring for attention and acceptance by the electorate. There will be controversy, debate, conflict, and contention, which seem to be the order of a political campaign.
In its loftiest sense, controversy may mean disputations because of honest differences of opinion. In its most degrading sense it may mean quarreling, strife, and name-calling. An example of that which degrades is the bitter personal abuse that so frequently is heaped upon an opposing candidate. Name-calling is continued throughout the whole season until listeners are left with doubt and mistrust that honor and integrity are to be found in any of those who may eventually be elected. The obvious hazard is that when these elected leaders have been maligned and down-graded, the seeds of disrespect to authority and law and order are sown in the minds of youth, particularly, instead of respectful obedience to counsel and to the laws enacted by those whose integrity and honesty have been thus impugned...
Today we are constantly hearing from the unenlightened and misguided, who demand what they call free agency, by which they apparently mean, as evidenced by their conduct, that they have their agency to do as they please or to exercise their own self-will to determine what is law and order, what is right and wrong, or what is honor and virtue.
These are frightening expressions when you reflect upon what I have just quoted from the revealed word of God. A moment’s reflection will help you to see that when one sets himself up to make his own rules and presumes to know no law but his own, he is but echoing the plan of Satan, who sought to ascend to God’s throne, as it were, in being the judge of all that rules mankind and the world. There has ever been, and ever will be, a conflict between the forces of truth and error; between the forces of righteousness and the forces of evil; between the dominion of Satan and the dominion under the banner of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ...
Those who have served as public officials soon learn that there is always the imperative necessity of deciding whether or not demands on a controversial issue are being made by a well-organized loud minority or by a greater majority of those who might be less vocal but whose cause is just and in accordance with righteous principles. Always we would do well to reflect upon the counsel of a wise king of ancient times: “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore . . . do your business by the voice of the people.” (Mosiah 29:26.)
Let this counsel of that wise ancient king be our counsel to our Church members and the honorable of the earth everywhere. Be alert and active in your business and political interests. The great danger in any society is apathy and a failure to be alert to the issues of the day, when applied to principles or to the election of public officials.
SPENCER W. KIMBALL - "Keep the Lines of Communication Strong"
We are too affluent. We have too much money and other things. We have so many things. Even many poorer people have many things, and “things” become our life, and our vocabulary has been invaded with, “Let me do my thing.”
Yet the Lord has said, “… seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33.) Too often, though, we want the “things” first.
We have a great generation of youth, but as I talk to many, I am amazed and surprised at the laxity of prayers among them, especially those who are in sin. Many have nearly ceased to pray. Their communication wires are down. Also numerous young people in their early married days cease to pray with regularity; their lines are sagging.
My first question to people in trouble is, “What about your prayers? How often? How deeply involved are you when you pray? And when you pray, are you humbly thanking or are you asking?”
Israel was in deep trouble—a sustained drought.
Israel’s King Ahab demanded of the prophet Elijah:
“Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
“And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.” (1 Kgs. 18:17–18.)...
Sin comes when communication lines are down—it always does, sooner or later.
We are living in a sagging world. There has been sin since Cain yielded to Satan, but perhaps never before has the world accepted sin so completely as a way of life. We shall continue to cry repentance from this and thousands of other pulpits. We shall continue to warn the people all too ready to accept the world as it pushes in upon them.
The Lord said that “the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8.) Our wise founders seemed to understand, better than most of us, our own scripture, which states that “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority … they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” (D&C 121:39.)
To help prevent this, the founders knew that our elected leaders should be bound by certain fixed principles. Said Thomas Jefferson: “In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
These wise founders, our patriotic partners, seemed to appreciate more than most of us the blessings of the boundaries that the Lord set within the Constitution, for he said, “And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” (D&C 98:7.)
In God the founders trusted, and in his Constitution—not in the arm of flesh. “O Lord,” said Nephi, “I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; … cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.” (2 Ne. 4:34.)....
The greatest handbook for freedom in this fight against evil is the Book of Mormon.
This leads me to the second great civic standard for the Saints. For in addition to our inspired Constitution, we have the scriptures.
Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon was the “keystone of our religion” and the “most correct” book on earth. (DHC, vol. 6, p. 56.) This most correct book on earth states that the downfall of two great American civilizations came as a result of secret conspiracies whose desire was to overthrow the freedom of the people...
And so four great civic standards for the faithful Saints are, first, the Constitution ordained by God through wise men; second, the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon; third, the inspired counsel of the prophets, especially the living president, and fourth, the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
(This was his entire talk.)
Observing the clock, I fold the notes that I have prepared and place them in my inside pocket. But let me take just a moment to mention a little incident that made an impression upon me when I was a boy. This came to my mind when it was mentioned that there are with us this afternoon a large group of dedicated people who teach our youth.
It was on a summer day early in the morning. I was standing near the window. The curtains obstructed me from two little creatures out on the lawn. One was a large bird and the other a little bird, obviously just out of the nest. I saw the larger bird hop out on the lawn, then thump his feet and cock his head. He drew a big fat worm out of the lawn and came hopping back. The little bird opened its bill wide, but the big bird swallowed the worm.
Then I saw the big bird fly up into a tree. He pecked at the bark for a little while and came back with a big bug in his mouth. The little bird opened his beak wide, but the big bird swallowed the bug. There was squawking in protest.
The big bird flew away, and I didn’t see it again, but I watched the little bird. After a while, the little bird hopped out on the lawn, thumped its feet, cocked its head, and pulled a big worm out of the lawn.
God bless the good people who teach our children and our youth, I humbly pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Every man hungers for brotherhood. That desire finds a degree of fulfillment in many service clubs, trade associations, social groups, and similar organizations. And while all of these may be beneficial, there is none quite like the brotherhood of the priesthood of God.
Here will be found hundreds of thousands of men, from all honorable walks of life, endowed with authority to act in the name of God and obligated under the very nature of the sacred gift each has received to strengthen and assist one another...
In the opening of this work, in this dispensation of time, the Lord declared one of the purposes of the restoration of the gospel to be “that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world.” (D&C 1:20.)
Blessed is the man who prays with the assurance that prayers are heard and answered. Blessed is the man whose companion is the Holy Spirit. Blessed is the man who possesses the authority to speak in the name of God.
From the very beginning to the present time, a fundamental question remains to be answered by each who runs the race of life. Shall I falter or shall I finish? On the answer await the blessings of joy and happiness here in mortality and eternal life in the world to come.
We are not left without guidance to make this momentous decision. The Holy Bible contains those accounts, even those lessons, which, if carefully learned, will serve us well and be as a beacon light to guide our thoughts and influence our actions. As we read, we sympathize with those who falter. We honor those who finish.
The apostle Paul likened life to a great race when he declared: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” (1 Cor. 9:24.)
And before the words of Paul fell upon the ears of his listeners, the counsel of the preacher, even the son of David, king in Jerusalem, cautioned: “… the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. …” (Eccl. 9:11.)