General Conferences are online going back to 1971. Continuing to look at what the prophets and future prophets were saying through the years.
SPENCER W. KIMBALL - President
-Marion G. Romney - First Counselor
-N. Eldon Tanner - Second Counselor
Quorum of the 12 Apostles
EZRA TAFT BENSON - President
-Mark E. Peterson
-Delbert L. Stapley
-Hugh B. Brown
HOWARD W. HUNTER
GORDON B. HINCKLEY
THOMAS S. MONSON
-Boyd K. Packer
-Marvin J. Ashton
-Bruce R. McConkie
-L. Tom Perry
The purpose of this conference is that we may refresh our faith, strengthen our testimonies, and learn the ways of the Lord from his duly appointed and authorized servants. May we take this opportunity, then, to remind each other of our covenants and promises and commitments.
All members have been baptized by immersion in water and have received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by properly authorized men who hold the holy priesthood. We all have been received by baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ when we have humbled ourselves before God, have desired to be baptized, have come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and when we have witnessed before the Church that we are truly repentant of our sins and are willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end and thus manifest by our works that we have received the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of our sins...
We recommend to all people that there be no undue pollution, that the land be taken care of and kept clean to be productive and to be beautiful, He gave to us the herbs and the good things which come of the earth for food and raiment and houses and barns and orchards and gardens and vineyards, each in the season thereof, and all of this is given for the benefit and use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleased God that he had given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment. (See D&C 59:16–20.)...
We are appalled at the reported dishonesty in many communities in our land; that the loss through shoplifting and allied dishonest tricks runs into billions of dollars in this country alone.
The Lord told Adam’s posterity and carved it into the stone plates, “Thou shalt not steal.” (Ex. 20:15.) All parents should train their children against this deadly thing which can destroy their characters. Honesty is socially and culturally right. Liars and cheaters are both dishonest and alien to our culture. Dishonesty of all kinds is most reprehensible. “Thou shalt not steal.”
We call upon all the three and a half million members of this church to be honest, full of integrity, pay for what they get and take only that which they have properly paid for. We must teach our children honor and integrity....
When men come home to their families and women devote themselves to their children, the concept will return, that to be a mother is her greatest vocation in life. She is a partner with God. No being has a position of such power and influence. She holds in her hands the destiny of nations, for to her comes the responsibility and opportunity of molding the nation’s citizens.
SWK - "To Bear the Priesthood Worthily"
We are concerned that too many times the interviewing leader in his personal sympathies for the transgressor, and in his love perhaps for the family of the transgressor, is inclined to waive the discipline which that transgressor demands.
Too often a transgressor is forgiven and all penalties waived when that person should have been disfellowshipped or excommunicated. Too often a sinner is disfellowshipped when he or she should have been excommunicated...
Another matter that came to my attention the other day is a partial quote from Wilford Woodruff about Joseph Smith. Sometimes we find members who have an overdose of false pride. They want their way or they will quit. Have you ever seen anybody leave the ward and never “darken the door” of the ward building again because of a little altercation perhaps with the bishop or with someone there?
“We have no chance to be lifted up in the pride of our hearts,” said the Prophet, “with regard to the position we occupy. If the President of the Church or either of his counselors or, if the apostles, or any other man, feels in his heart that God cannot do without him, and that he is especially important in order to carry on the work of the Lord, he stands upon slippery ground. I heard Joseph Smith say that Oliver Cowdery who was the second Apostle in this Church, said to him, ‘If I leave this church, it will fall.’ Said he, ‘Oliver, you try it.’ Oliver tried it. He fell; but the Kingdom of God did not. I have been acquainted with other Apostles in my day and time who felt that the Lord could not do without them, but the Lord got along with His work without them. I say to all men—Jew and Gentile, great and small, rich and poor—that the Lord Almighty has power within Himself and is not dependent upon any man to carry on His work, but when He does call men to do His work, they have to trust in Him.” (Wilford Woodruff, “Discourse,” Deseret Weekly, Apr. 6, 1890, 40:559–60.)
SWK - "Why Do We Continue to Tolerate Sin?"
As we sat in a press conference a few days ago, I was asked by the pressmen, “What situation exists in our society today which causes you the greatest concern?” We had already discussed the problem of growth, for we are growing so rapidly it is a little difficult to keep the leadership ahead of the people; but we are, thankfully, making headway.
As I thought quickly over this matter, I attempted to answer the question, and I recalled the time when the world leadership was based in Assyria and Babylonia. ..
I wondered if history were repeating itself, as I pondered and thought over the condition of our own world today and its permissiveness. In reading the media today I think I see some striking and frightening similarities in the two ages. I read of great feasts in many places, of many community leaders and social leaders and VIPs in large numbers. I read of the local lords and their wives and their mistresses. I read of their drinking and their drunkenness and their extravagances and their immoralities—their shame—and then I whisper to myself, “History is repeating itself.”
I weary of discussing too much the matter of the moral situation in our world. But I read in the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord said, “Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments.” (D&C 6:9.)
The Book of Mormon was written for us today. God is the author of the book. It is a record of a fallen people, compiled by inspired men for our blessing today. Those people never had the book—it was meant for us. Mormon, the ancient prophet after whom the book is named, abridged centuries of records. God, who knows the end from the beginning, told him what to include in his abridgment that we would need for our day. Mormon turned the records over to his son Moroni, the last recorder; and Moroni, writing over 1,500 years ago but speaking to us today, states: “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.” (Morm. 8:35.)...
The Book of Mormon brings men to Christ through two basic means. First, it tells in a plain manner of Christ and his gospel. It testifies of his divinity and of the necessity for a Redeemer and the need of our putting trust in him. It bears witness of the Fall and the Atonement and the first principles of the gospel, including our need of a broken heart and a contrite spirit and a spiritual rebirth. It proclaims we must endure to the end in righteousness and live the moral life of a Saint.
Second, the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time.
Now God expects us to use the Book of Mormon in several ways. We are to read it ourselves—carefully, prayerfully—and ponder as we read, as to whether this book is the work of God or of an unlearned youth. And then when we are finished reading the things in the book, Moroni exhorts us to put them to the test in these words:
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moro. 10:4.) I have done as Moroni exhorts, and I can testify to you that this book is from God and so is verily true.
The reality of the event of the resurrection had profound meaning to every person who has the courage to believe. Is it true? Is Jesus Christ a reality? Did he actually come to earth, proclaim his gospel, and give his life for mankind? Is it true that he was resurrected from the tomb to make it possible for you and me to live again after death and have life everlasting? What evidence is there of these things? How do we gain a knowledge of the truth of them if we do not know?
I want to tell you that I believe these things with all my heart. I know they are true. I know that God lives and is literally our Heavenly Father; that Jesus Christ is his Son, the Redeemer of the world, and that through his atoning sacrifice every man who lives upon the earth, or who has lived or will live upon the earth, will be resurrected after death to live again. My belief in this regard has come in the same way as it has to others who believe. All persons could have this understanding by following the simple scriptural admonition:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matt. 7:7–8.)...
There is no tangible, concrete evidence of the existence of God or the divinity of the Master in the legal sense, but not all inquiry for truth results in proof by real or demonstrative evidence. It is fallacious to argue that because there is no demonstrative evidence of the existence of God he does not in fact exist. In the absence of evidence often thought necessary by the scientific world for positive proof, our search may take is into the realm of circumstantial evidence. We could spend hours describing the wonders of the universe, of the earth, of nature, of the human body the exactness of the laws of physics, and a thousand things, all of which dictate to the conscience of a truth seeker that there is a creator and one who rules over the universe.
What would be the situation if the existence of God could be proven by demonstrative evidence? What would happen to the element of faith as the first step or principle of the gospel? One of the burdens of the teachings of the Master was to emphasize the importance of faith. Faith is the element that builds the bridge in the absence of concrete evidence. This is exactly what the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews was talking about when he referred to faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1.) In other words, faith is the assurance of the existence of a truth even though it is not evident or cannot be proved by positive evidence.
In light of such declarations, in view of such testimony, well might many ask, as my minister friend in Arizona asked, if you profess a belief in Jesus Christ, why do you not use the symbol of his death, the cross of Calvary?
To which I must first reply, that no member of this Church must ever forget the terrible price paid by our Redeemer who gave his life that all men might live—the agony of Gethsemane, the bitter mockery of his trial, the vicious crown of thorns tearing at his flesh, the blood cry of the mob before Pilate, the lonely burden of his heavy walk along the way to Calvary, the terrifying pain as great nails pierced his hands and feet, the fevered torture of his body as he hung that tragic day, the Son of God crying out, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34.)
This was the cross, the instrument of his torture, the terrible device designed to destroy the Man of Peace, the evil recompense for his miraculous work of healing the sick, of causing the blind to see, of raising the dead. This was the cross on which he hung and died on Golgotha’s lonely summit.
We cannot forget that. We must never forget it, for here our Savior, our Redeemer, the Son of God, gave himself a vicarious sacrifice for each of us. But the gloom of that dark evening before the Jewish Sabbath, when his lifeless body was taken down and hurriedly laid in a borrowed tomb, drained away the hope of even his most ardent and knowing disciples. They were bereft, not understanding what he had told them earlier. Dead was the Messiah in whom they believed. Gone was their Master in whom they had placed all of their longing, their faith, their hope. He who had spoken of everlasting life, he who had raised Lazarus from the grave, now had died as surely as all men before him had died. Now had come the end to his sorrowful, brief life. That life had been as Isaiah had long before foretold: He was “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”...
Then dawned the first day of the week, the Sabbath of the Lord as we have come to know it. To those who came to the tomb, heavy with sorrow, the attending angel declared, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?
“He is not here. … he is risen, as he said.” (Matt. 28:6.)
Here was the greatest miracle of human history. Earlier he had told them, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25.) But they had not understood. Now they knew. He had died in misery and pain and loneliness. Now, on the third day, he arose in power and beauty and life, the first fruits of all who slept, the assurance for men of all ages that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22.)
When Jesus of Nazareth personally walked the rock-strewn pathways of the Holy Land, he, as the Good Shepherd, showed all who would believe how they might follow that narrow way and enter that strait gate to life eternal. “Come, follow me,” he invited. “I am the way.”
Little wonder that men did tarry for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. It was the gospel of Jesus Christ that was to be preached, his work that was to be done, and his apostles at the head of his church who were entrusted with the work.
History records that most men indeed did not come unto him, nor did they follow the way he taught. Crucified was the Lord, slain were the apostles, rejected was the truth. The bright daylight of enlightenment slipped away, and the lengthening shadows of a black night enshrouded the earth.
One word and one word alone describes the dismal state that prevailed: apostasy. Generations before, Isaiah had prophesied: “Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” (Isa. 60:2.) Amos had foretold of a famine in the land: “Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11.) Had not Peter warned of false teachers bringing damnable heresies, and Paul predicted that the time would come when sound doctrine would not be endured?...
Many of you have traveled long in a personal quest for that which rings true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sends forth to you an earnest appeal. Open your doors to the missionaries. Open your minds to the word of God. Open your hearts, even your very souls, to the sound of that still, small voice which testifies of truth. As the prophet Isaiah promised: “Thine ears shall hear a word … saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.” (Isa. 30:21.)