Monday, July 14, 2014

General Conference Highlights: April 1974

General Conferences are online going back to 1971. Continuing to look at what the prophets and future prophets were saying through the years.

APRIL 1974

First Presidency
-Marion G. Romney - First Counselor
-N. Eldon Tanner - Second Counselor

Quorum of the 12 Apostles
-Mark E. Peterson
-Delbert L. Stapley
-LeGrand Richards
-Hugh B. Brown
-Boyd K. Packer
-Marvin J. Ashton
-Bruce R. McConkie
-L. Tom Perry

Pres. SPENCER W. KIMBALL - "Guidelines to Carry Forth the Work of God in Cleanliness"

In the press conferences an ever-recurring question has been asked us: “Mr. President, what are you going to do now that you have the leadership of the Church in your hands?”

My answer has been that for the past 30 years, as a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, I have had a little to do with the making of policies and the formation of the present extensive, full, and comprehensive program. I anticipate no major changes in the immediate future, but do hope to give increased emphasis to some of the programs already established. This is a day of consolidating our efforts, and firming up our programs, and reaffirming our policies.

We recognize our greatest problem is our rapid growth. Our increase in numbers is phenomenal, for the population has doubled in these past few years. Thirty years ago we counted our members in hundreds of thousands, and today over three million...

Along with our unprecedented growth, our next problem is definitely the world—not the high ranges and the wide valleys and the hot deserts and the deep oceans, but the pattern of life to which too many of our people gear their lives.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world,” said John. “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 Jn. 2:15–16.)

The encroachment of the world into our lives is threatening! How hard it seems for many of us to live in the world and yet not of the world....

To those who might decry marriage or postpone it or forbid it Paul spoke, condemning them. It is generally selfishness, cold and self-centered, which leads people to shun marriage responsibility. There are many who talk and write against marriage. Even some of our own delay marriage and argue against it. To all who are deceived by these “doctrines of devils,” we urge the return to normalcy. We call upon all people to accept normal marriage as a basis for true happiness. The Lord did not give sex to man for a plaything. Basically marriage presupposes a family. The psalmist said:

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

“Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them. …” (Ps. 127:3, 5.)

Certainly anyone who purposely denies himself or herself honorable parenthood is to be pitied, for the great joy of parenthood is fundamental in the normal, full life, and we remember the command of God in the beginning, “… Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it. …” (Gen. 1:28.)...

Immorality is totally selfish. Can you think of a single unselfish element in that sin? Accordingly, if two good people will discard selfishness, generally they can be compatible.

Again, abortion is a growing evil that we speak against. Certainly the terrible sin of premeditated abortion would be hard to justify. It is almost inconceivable that an abortion would ever be committed to save face or embarrassment, to save trouble or inconvenience, or to escape responsibility. How could one submit to such an operation or be party in any way by financing or encouraging? If special rare cases could be justified, certainly they would be rare indeed. We place it high on the list of sins against which we strongly warn the people...

“Motherhood is near to Divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels. To you mothers in Israel we say, God bless and protect you, and give you the strength and courage, the faith and knowledge, the holy love and consecration to duty, that shall enable you to fill to the fullest measure the sacred calling which is yours. To you mothers and mothers-to-be we say: Be chaste, keep pure, live righteously, that your posterity to the last generation may call you blessed.” (“Message of the First Presidency,” Deseret News Weekly Church Edition, October 1942, p. 5.)

SWK - "What Do We Hear?"

As we incline our hearts to our Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ, we hear a symphony of sweet music sung by heavenly voices proclaiming the gospel of peace.

As representatives of the people, we follow the suggestion of Paul, the apostle of long ago, as he urged the Colossian saints to “… Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col. 3:1–2.)

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col. 3:16.)

SWK - "Planning for a Full and Abundant Life"

The question has been often asked, Is the mission program one of compulsion? And the answer, of course, is no. Everyone is given his free agency. The question is asked: Should every young man fill a mission? And the answer of the Church is yes, and the answer of the Lord is yes. Enlarging this answer we say: Certainly every male member of the Church should fill a mission, like he should pay his tithing, like he should attend his meetings, like he should keep his life clean and free from the ugliness of the world and plan a celestial marriage in the temple of the Lord...

Let me tell you of one of the goals that I made when I was still but a lad. When I heard a Church leader from Salt Lake City tell us at conference that we should read the scriptures, and I recognized that I had never read the Bible, that very night at the conclusion of that very sermon I walked to my home a block away and climbed up in my little attic room in the top of the house and lighted a little coal-oil lamp that was on the little table, and I read the first chapters of Genesis. A year later I closed the Bible, having read every chapter in that big and glorious book.

SWK - "The Cause Is Just and Worthy"

We have a commitment to serve our Lord. We have an assurance that the cause is just and worthy. But, above all, we have a knowledge that God lives and is in his heavens and that his Son Jesus Christ has laid out a plan for us which will bring us and our loved ones eternal life if we are faithful. That life will be a busy, purposeful life with accomplishments and joys and development.

If you can think of the greatest real joys that have ever come to you in this life, then think of the next life as a projection of this one with all the purposeful things multiplied, enlarged, and even more desirable. All in these associations of our lives here have brought to you development and joy and growth and happiness. Now when life ends, we shall return to a situation patterned after our life here, only less limited, more glorious, more increased joys....

Brethren and sisters, we come now to the close of this great conference. You have heard from most of the Brethren, as I have said, and their testimonies have been inspiring. What they have told you is true. It has come from their hearts. They have this same testimony, and they know it is true. They are true servants sent to you from our Heavenly Father. I pray that you will be listening, that you will be remembering, that you will take these many truths with you to your homes and in your lives and to your families.

EZRA TAFT BENSON - "Missionary Work: A Major Responsibility

My brothers and sisters, my feelings have been made tender as have many thousands, through the passing of our beloved leader, President Harold B. Lee. For 55 years in mortal life we have been associated, and prior to that, I feel sure, in premortal life. I have received the sweet assurance also and the comforting assurance that there is no untimely passing of a prophet of God. President Lee’s impressive earthly service is finished. He has been called to further important work in the great program of the Lord, which moves forward on both sides of the veil. He was a man with deep spiritual insight, with Christlike attributes...

One hundred and forty-four years have come and gone since that first humble missionary set out to carry the message of salvation to a confused world. In fulfillment of the all-important, God-given mandate, this great work has gone forward through the years unabated. It is a dramatic chapter in the history of a “peculiar people.” But in all the annals of Christendom there is no greater evidence of courage, willingness to sacrifice, and unbounded devotion to duty. Men, women, and children all have joined in this heroic effort with no hope of material reward.

These ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ, as they firmly believe themselves to be, have trudged through mud and snow, swum rivers, and gone without the common necessities of food, shelter, and clothing in response to a call. Voluntarily fathers and sons have left homes, families, and jobs to go to all parts of the world, enduring great physical hardship and unrelenting persecution. Families have been left behind, often in dire straits, willingly laboring the harder to provide means for “their missionary.” And through it all there has been a joy and satisfaction which has caused families at home to express gratitude for special blessings received and missionaries to refer to this period as “the happiest time of my life.”

HOWARD W. HUNTER - "His Final Hours"

A few years less than 2,000 years ago this very day, the initial events of the most important week in human history began to unfold outside of Jerusalem near the little village of Bethany. Jesus of Nazareth, with scarcely a three-year ministry among his countrymen, left the home of his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus and walked resolutely toward the gates of Jerusalem. Some of the inhabitants of that ancient city considered him to be a blasphemer, a demon, a transgressor of Jewish law. Others believed him to be a prophet, the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Whatever the opinions may have been, all Judea knew of this man who taught with power and authority though he was neither Scribe nor Pharisee...

Jesus also knew of his own impending fate. He spoke in parables of grain that had to die in order to bring forth fruit, and of a chosen son sent by his father into the family vineyard only to be killed as the father’s servants before him had been killed. At times the burden seemed almost too heavy to bear.

“Now is my soul troubled;” he admitted. “… Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” (John 12:27.) His singleness of purpose and unwavering commitment to do the will of his Father carried him forward.

As his own mortal future dimmed, he gently declared: “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12:46.) Such statements were uniting his enemies against him, yet he proclaimed: “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” (John 12:49.)...

To the very end of his mortal life Jesus was demonstrating the grandeur of his spirit and the magnitude of his strength. He was not, even at this late hour, selfishly engrossed with his own sorrows or contemplating the impending pain. He was anxiously attending to the present and future needs of his beloved followers. He knew their own safety, individually and as a church, lay only in their unconditional love one for another. His entire energies seem to have been directed toward their needs, thus teaching by example what he was teaching by precept. He gave them words of comfort and commandment and caution.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” he said, for he sensed their fear and sorrow. “In my father’s house are many mansions. … I go to prepare a place for you. … I am the way, the truth, and the life. … Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do. … I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. … I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. … Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. … These things I command you, that ye love one another.” (See John 14, John 15. Passim.)

GORDON B. HINCKLEY - "The Marriage That Endures"

“In that great and moving conversation between the Savior and his apostles, wherein Peter declared, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ and the Lord responded, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.’ The Lord then went on to say to Peter and his associates, ‘And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ (Matt. 16:13–19.)

“In that marvelous bestowal of authority the Lord gave to his apostles the keys of the holy priesthood, whose power reaches beyond life and death into eternity. This same authority has been restored to the earth by those same apostles who held it anciently, even Peter, James, and John.” I continued by saying that following the dedication of the temple on the following Sunday, those same keys of the holy priesthood would be exercised in behalf of the men and women who come into this sacred house to solemnize their marriage. They will be joined in a union which death cannot dissolve and time cannot destroy...

How shortsighted so many of us are, how prone to look only at today without thought for the morrow. But the morrow will surely come, as will also come death and separation. How sweet is the assurance, how comforting is the peace that come from the knowledge that if we marry right and live right, our relationship will continue, notwithstanding the certainty of death and the passage of time. Men may write love songs and sing them. They may yearn and hope and dream. But all of this will be only a romantic longing unless there is an exercise of authority that transcends the powers of time and death.

THOMAS S. MONSON - "The Paths Jesus Walked"

We need not visit the Holy Land to feel him close to us. We need not walk by the shores of Galilee or among the Judean hills to walk where Jesus walked.

In a very real sense, all can walk where Jesus walked when, with his words on our lips, his spirit in our hearts, and his teachings in our lives, we journey through mortality.

I would hope that we would walk as he walked—with confidence in the future, with an abiding faith in his Father, and a genuine love for others.

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