General Conferences are online going back to 1971. Continuing to look at what the prophets and future prophets were saying through the years.
HAROLD B. LEE - Prophet/President
-Marion G. Romney - First Counselor
-N. Eldon Tanner - Second Counselor
Quorum of the 12 Apostles
SPENCER W. KIMBALL - President
EZRA TAFT BENSON
-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
May I now for a few moments make some comments about a condition which is of great concern to all of us today. I speak of the shocking lack of self-respect by so many individuals, as is evidenced by their dress, their manner, and engulfing waves of permissiveness which seem to be moving over the world like an avalanche.
We see among us so many who seem to be forsaking standards of decency or an understanding of the meaning of time-honored words which, since the beginning of time, have had real meaning to our forebears; words that have made for strength of character and righteousness and harmony and unity and peace in the world.
There are eternal words which, if understood and taught and practiced, would bring salvation to every man, woman, boy and girl who does now live or has lived or will yet live in the world.
To some it may seem old-fashioned to speak of virtue and chastity, honesty, morality, faith, character, but these are the qualities which have built great men and women and point the way by which one may find happiness in the living of today and eternal joy in the world to come. These are the qualities which are the anchors to our lives, in spite of the trials, the tragedies, the pestilences, and the cruelties of war which bring in their wake appalling destruction, hunger, and bloodshed.
To those who fail to heed the warnings of those who are striving to teach these principles and choose to go in the opposite course, they will eventually find themselves in the pitiable state which you are witnessing so often among us...
Despite that calling which is spoken of in the scriptures as “foreordination,” we have another inspired declaration: “Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. …” (D&C 121:34.)
This suggests that even though we have our free agency here, there are many who were foreordained before the world was, to a greater state than they have prepared themselves for here. Even though they might have been among the noble and great, from among whom the Father declared he would make his chosen leaders, they may fail of that calling here in mortality. Then the Lord poses this question: “… and why are they not chosen?” (D&C 121:34.)
Two answers were given—First, “Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world. …” And second, they “… aspire to the honors of men.” (D&C 121:35.)
Now then, to make a summary of what I have just read, may I ask each of you again the question, “Who are you?” You are all the sons and daughters of God. Your spirits were created and lived as organized intelligences before the world was. You have been blessed to have a physical body because of your obedience to certain commandments in that premortal state. You are now born into a family to which you have come, into the nations through which you have come, as a reward for the kind of lives you lived before you came here and at a time in the world’s history, as the apostle Paul taught the men of Athens and as the Lord revealed to Moses, determined by the faithfulness of each of those who lived before this world was created...
Now, as I come to the closing of this address, I trust that I might have given to you and others who have not yet listened to such counsel, something to stimulate some sober thinking as to who you are and from whence you came; and, in so doing, that I may have stirred up within your soul the determination to begin now to show an increased self-respect and reverence for the temple of God, your human body, wherein dwells a heavenly spirit. I would charge you to say again and again to yourselves, as the Primary organization has taught the children to sing “I am a [son or a daughter] of God” and by so doing, begin today to live closer to those ideals which will make your life happier and more fruitful because of an awakened realization of who you are.
HBL - "General Priesthood Address"
We are all of one great family. And that should apply not only in political matters, but it should apply in our dealings with each other. What we may do as politicians, or as those who are engaged in competitive temporal activities, we must say, “Because I am a holder of the priesthood of the living God, I am a representative of our Heavenly Father and hold the priesthood by which He can work through me; I can’t stoop to do some of the things that I might have done otherwise because of my fellowship with the priesthood of God.”...
Now, there is another matter that I would like to talk about. There are some examples that point up an area of need which applies directly to young men in the past-25-age, who for some reason, and hard to understand, as holders of the priesthood, are shirking their responsibilities as husbands and fathers.
President Joseph F. Smith said, “The house of the Lord is a house of order and not a house of confusion; and that means,” as the Lord has said, “that the man is not without the woman in the Lord, neither is the woman without the man in the Lord; and that no man can be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God without the woman, and no woman can reach perfection and exaltation in the kingdom of God, alone. That is what it means. God instituted marriage in the beginning.” (Conference Report, April 1913, p. 118.)...
Teach those who are having problems to go to the father of the ward, their bishop, for counsel. No psychiatrist in the world, no marriage counselor, can give to those who are faithful members of the Church the counsel from one any better than the bishop of the ward. Now, you bishops don’t hesitate to say, marriage is the law of God, and is ordained by him and man and wife are not without each other in the Lord, as the apostle Paul declared.
Now, let me say just a bit more about this matter of marriage. This may sound a little bit bold to urge marriage for those who are past the marriageable age; but in some of our countries, where we are bringing in new converts, we are shocked to know that some men are delaying marriage until their later thirties or into their forties, and they have never talked of marriage. Here I have quoted from a president of the Church, President Joseph F. Smith, who has told us in plainness that today a flood of iniquities is overwhelming the civilized world and that one great reason therefore is the neglect of marriage. It has lost its sanctity in the eyes of the great majority. It is at best a civil contract, but more than often an accident, or a whim, or a means of gratifying the passions; and when the sacredness of the covenant is ignored or lost sight of, then a disregard of the marriage vows under the present moral training of the masses is a mere triviality, a trifling indiscretion....
Now don’t misunderstand me. I am not trying to urge you younger men to marry too early. I think therein is one of the hazards of today’s living. We don’t want a young man to think of marriage until he is able to take care of a family, to have an institution of his own, to be independent. He must make sure that he has found the girl of his choice, they have gone together long enough that they know each other, and that they know each other’s faults and they still love each other. I have said to the mission presidents (some of whom have been reported to us as saying to missionaries, “Now, if you are not married in six months, you are a failure as a missionary”), “Don’t you ever say that to one of your missionaries. Maybe in six months they will not have found a wife; and if they take you seriously, they may rush into a marriage that will be wrong for them.”
HBL - "Closing Remarks"
We have members of the Church in all parts of the world. One of the anxious centers right today is over in Israel, where a war is raging. As yet we don’t know very much about the extent of it, but it seems that Egypt and Syria are moving into areas of Israel. We have a number of our BYU students there, and also we have a branch of the Church organized in Jerusalem. We have had anxious parents who have been wondering, watching, waiting. The word has come to us that they are all safe and they are being watched over. You can be sure that we have shepherds of the flock, and we will continue to pray with you that no harm will come to any of them....
We have had some who, writing in the public press occasionally, are among those who have fallen by the wayside. They befoul the honored family names that they have. They have disgraced the honors that we had given to them in times past. They are trying to join the forces of the enemy against the work of the Lord. And we can say to them, as President George Albert Smith said then, “Those who have will be forgotten in the remains of mother earth, and the odor of the infamy will ever be with them, but honor, majesty, and fidelity to God, exemplified by the leaders of this church and attached to their names, will never die.”
I always remember the word of the Lord when I hear these things said by those who are trying to tear down his work. The Lord has said:
“Wherefore, confound your enemies; call upon them to meet you both in public and in private; …
“Wherefore, let them bring forth their strong reasons against the Lord.
“Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you—there is no weapon that is formed against you, shall prosper;
“And if any man lift his voice against you he shall be confounded in mine own due time.
“Wherefore, keep my commandments. …” (D&C 71:7–11.)....
Now, you Latter-day Saints, I think you have never attended a conference where in these three days you have heard more inspired declarations on most every subject and problem about which you have been worrying. If you want to know what the Lord would have the Saints know and to have his guidance and direction for the next six months, get a copy of the proceedings of this conference, and you will have the latest word of the Lord as far as the Saints are concerned. And [also] all others who are not of us, but who believe what has been said has been “the mind of the Lord, the will of the Lord, and the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.” (See D&C 68:4.)...
Sometimes when the veil has been very thin, I have thought that if the struggle had been still greater that maybe then there would have been no veil. I stand by, not asking for anything more than the Lord wants to give me, but I know that he is up there and he is guiding and directing.
I extend my blessings to you wonderful Saints. Go back to your homes now. Take the love of the General Authorities to your people. We extend to those who are not members of the Church the hand of fellowship. May we reach out to those who have lost their sense of direction and, before it is too late, try to win them back into the fold; because they are all God’s children, and he wants us to save all of them.
Peace be with you, not the peace that comes from the legislation in the halls of congress, but the peace that comes in the way that the Master said, by overcoming all the things of the world. That God may help us so to understand and may you know that I know with a certainty that defies all doubt that this is his work, that he is guiding us and directing us today, as he has done in every dispensation of the gospel, and I say that with all the humility of my soul, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
(These were the last words spoken by Lee in General Conference. He died two months later.)
SPENCER W. KIMBALL - "The Rewards, the Blessings, the Promises"
The message of the Lord was love and peace. As the Lord began to prepare his apostles for his crucifixion, he said, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12.)...
I bear witness that God has given us conditionally all these and thousands of other good things. He has organized his true church upon the earth. This is his church. He has given us the total program which will carry us forward toward perfection; and he has given us prophets to lead and guide us.
EZRA TAFT BENSON - "Prepare Ye"
My text today is from a revelation of the Lord to Joseph Smith, the Prophet, at a conference of the Church January 2, 1831, as follows: “… if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” (D&C 38:30.)
In section 1 of the great Doctrine and Covenants, a volume of modern scripture, we read these words: “Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come. …” (D&C 1:12.) Further in this same revelation are these warning words: “… I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth . …” (D&C 1:17.)
What are some of the calamities for which we are to prepare? In section 29 the Lord warns us of “a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth.” (D&C 29:16.) In section 45 we read of “an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.” (D&C 45:31.) In section 63 the Lord declares he has “decreed wars upon the face of the earth. …” (D&C 63:33.)
In Matthew, chapter 24, we learn of “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes. …” (Matt. 24:7.) The Lord declared that these and other calamities shall occur. These particular prophecies seem not to be conditional. The Lord, with his foreknowledge, knows that they will happen. Some will come about through man’s manipulations; others through the forces of nature and nature’s God, but that they will come seems certain. Prophecy is but history in reverse—a divine disclosure of future events...
The Lord desires his Saints to be free and independent in the critical days ahead. But no man is truly free who is in financial bondage. “Think what you do when you run in debt,” said Benjamin Franklin, “you give to another power over your liberty.” “… pay thy debt and live …” said Elisha. (2 Kgs. 4:7.) And in the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord says, “… it is my will that you shall pay all your debts.” (D&C 104:78.)
The stories of these people who have gone before us are ones of faith, devotion, and dedication. Although there were trials, hardships, and lack of the conveniences we think necessary in our world today, there seems to have been a happiness in their living, in their individual lives, and in their families. In their homes there was faith and prayer—faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and prayers to God asking for their needs and thanking him for his goodness to them. The Bible was read in the home and there was profound belief in its teachings. Life was more simple, but can we say that there was less happiness in simplicity?
Society has made a great effort to modernize the world in education, communication, travel, health, commerce, housing, and in many other ways, so as to increase the standard of living; but what has this socialization and modernization done to the family—the basic institution of society? Never before has there been greater instability. The divorce rate is higher now than at any time in history. Modernization has transferred the responsibility of education from the family to public institutions where modern thought has become paramount and moral principles have become abandoned. The crime rate has increased alarmingly. Drug addiction, disobedience to law, increase in venereal disease, and corruption in all forms seem to be accepted. In this day of modernization, freedom of thought and action is sponsored and promoted without consideration of the responsibilities that must accompany such freedoms if society is to be stabilized. Surely we would agree that the family institution has been seriously, if not irreparably, damaged in our society.
In the past, churches have taken a leading role in teaching men to have faith in God and to develop moral stability. What is happening to organized religion as a stabilizing force in society? Many of the largest of the Christian churches have reported losses in membership and also in income to carry on the work of their religious endeavors. Here again modernization has taken a heavy toll...
How grateful I am for my membership and association in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which takes an undeviating course in the world of change, believing in being modern, of course, but not subjecting the doctrines and truths announced by the Savior to reexamination and alteration to express “so-called” modern thought and modern progress. We take no such course.
We have sung in this conference a marvelous hymn, a hymn we have sung in conferences for more than a century: “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.” It is distinctive with us. As a people we sing some hymns that have come from other churches, and others sing some of ours. But only we can properly sing, “We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days.”...
How thankful we ought to be, my brethren and sisters, how thankful we are, for a prophet to counsel us in words of divine wisdom as we walk our paths in these complex and difficult times. The solid assurance we carry in our hearts, the conviction that God will make his will known to his children through his recognized servant is the real basis of our faith and activity. We either have a prophet or we have nothing; and having a prophet, we have everything...
God lives and is a revealer of eternal truth. Jesus Christ is our Savior and stands at the head of this Church. We have a prophet upon the earth, a seer and a revelator to teach us.
In the New Testament of our Lord, perhaps we have no more moving account of “mother blessed” than the tender regard of the Master for the grieving widow at Nain.
“And it came to pass … that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
“Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
“And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
“And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
“And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.” (Luke 7:11–15.)
What power, what tenderness, what compassion did our Master and exemplar thus demonstrate. We, too, can bless if we will but follow his noble example. Opportunities are everywhere. Needed are eyes to see the pitiable plight, ears to hear the silent pleadings of a broken heart. Yes, and a soul filled with compassion that we might communicate not only eye to eye or voice to ear, but in the majestic style of the Savior, even heart to heart. Then every mother everywhere will be “mother blessed.”..
May each of us treasure this truth; one cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.