General Conferences are online going back to 1971. Continuing to look at what the prophets and future prophets were saying through the years. Why? Well, once I'm all done, I'd like to then go back and see if I can find patterns, changing themes, etc. Plus it just interests me. The highlights I'm grabbing I think capture the gyst of their entire talk. I grab without opinion or comment until maybe I'm all the way through 2014.
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
When we are asked why we are such a happy people, our answer is: “Because we have everything—life with all its opportunities, death without fear, eternal life with endless growth and development.”
With 3.3 million members of many races and numerous lands in the north, the south, east, and west, we will soon close another year of development and growth...
Again we are approaching an election. This is most important to us. We urge you to study the platforms and acquaint yourself with the candidates. Then pray to the Lord for guidance, and go to the polls and vote.
We warn you against the so-called polygamy cults which would lead you astray. Remember the Lord brought an end to this program many decades ago through a prophet who proclaimed the revelation to the world. People are abroad who will deceive you and bring you much sorrow and remorse. Have nothing to do with those who would lead you astray. It is wrong and sinful to ignore the Lord when he speaks. He has spoken—strongly and conclusively.
We urge you to teach your children honor and integrity and honesty. Is it possible that some of our children do not know how sinful it is to steal? It is unbelievable—the extent of vandalism, thievery, robbery, stealing. Protect your family against it by proper teaching....
I remember standing by a hospital bed of a good friend of mine, and I watched him die of cancer. His physicians said it was caused by the use of tobacco. I have helped bury people who have been killed by the demon alcohol, and many other innocent people died because someone was driving who had been drinking.
The use of liquor has brought much sorrow, pain, suffering, death to innocent bystanders. Some social drinkers claim they will never become alcoholic, but how sure can they be?
Those who break the Word of Wisdom have strange and spurious excuses for the using of these obnoxious things. How can anyone ignore the revelations given through a living prophet? The Lord reiterated it through another prophet and made it a definite commandment...
When we go to places of entertainment and mingle among people, we are shocked at the blasphemy that seems to be acceptable among them. The commandment says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” (Ex. 20:7.) Except in prayers and proper sermons, we must not use the name of the Lord. Blasphemy used to be a crime punishable by heavy fines. Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcibly.
We hope that our parents and leaders will not tolerate pornography. It is really garbage, but today is peddled as normal and satisfactory food. Many writers seem to take delight in polluting the atmosphere with it. Seemingly, it cannot be stopped by legislation. There is a link between pornography and the low, sexual drives and perversions. We live in a culture which venerates the orgasm, streaking, trading wives, and similar crazes. How low can humans plunge! We pray with our Lord that we may be kept from being in the world. It is sad that decent people are thrown into a filthy area of mental and spiritual pollution. We call upon all of our people to do all in their power to offset this ugly revolution...
Now the lust of the heart and the lust of the eyes and the lust of the body bring us to the major sin. Let every man remain at home with his affections. Let every woman sustain her husband and keep her heart where it belongs—at home with her family. Let every youth keep himself from the compromising approaches and then with great control save himself from the degrading and life-damaging experience of sexual impurity. There must be an early and total and continuing repentance.
Every form of homosexuality is sin. Pornography is one of the approaches to that transgression. There is no halfway.
Some people are ignorant or vicious and apparently attempting to destroy the concept of masculinity and femininity. More and more girls dress, groom, and act like men. More and more men dress, groom, and act like women. The high purposes of life are damaged and destroyed by the growing unisex theory. God made man in his own image, male and female made he them. With relatively few accidents of nature, we are born male or female. The Lord knew best. Certainly, men and women who would change their sex status will answer to their Maker...
God bless you, our beloved people. Listen to the words of heaven. God is true. He is just. He is a righteous judge, but justice must come before sympathy and forgiveness and mercy. Remember, God is in his heavens. He knew what he was doing when he organized the earth. He knows what he is doing now. Those of us who break his commandments will regret and suffer in remorse and pain. God will not be mocked. Man has his free agency, it is sure, but remember, God will not be mocked. (See D&C 63:58.)
SWK - "The Davids and the Goliaths"
We who are in positions of authority must be careful indeed, because others watch us and find in us their examples.
Example is an important characteristic of a boy’s life. Generally there are many people who will follow and few who will lead. It is therefore important that all you young men develop the power of leadership and then all be sure to give good examples.
This will be true in your lives. If you have little brothers, remember that they watch you and listen to you, and they are likely to do about what you did and say about what you said...
Again we repeat that you will make your life what you want it to be.
An anonymous writer says this: “Be glad there are big hurdles in life and rejoice, too, that they are higher than most people care to surmount. Be happy they are numerous. It is those hurdles that give you a chance to work your way to the front of the crowd. They are your friends. For if it were not for high hurdles, many men might be able to outrun you.”
(After recounting the story of David and Goliath) Now, my young brothers, remember that every David has a Goliath to defeat, and every Goliath can be defeated. He may not be a bully who fights with fists or sword or gun. He may not even be flesh and blood. He may not be nine feet tall; he may not be armor-protected, but every boy has his Goliaths. And every boy has his sling, and every boy has access to the brook with its smooth stones.
You will meet Goliaths who threaten you. Whether your Goliath is a town bully or is the temptation to steal or to destroy or the temptation to rob or the desire to curse and swear; if your Goliath is the desire to wantonly destroy or the temptation to lust and to sin, or the urge to avoid activity, whatever is your Goliath, he can be slain. But remember, to be the victor, one must follow the path that David followed:
“David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him.” (1 Sam. 18:14.)...
And you, my fine young men, must not be just average. Your lives must be clean and free from all kinds of evil thoughts or acts—no lying, no theft, no anger, no faithlessness, no failure to do that which is right, no sexual sins of any kind, at any time.
You know what is right and what is wrong. You have all received the Holy Ghost following your baptism. You need no one to brand the act or thought as wrong or right. You know by the Spirit. You are painting your own picture, carving your own statue. It is up to you to make it acceptable.
SWK - "Ocean Currents and Family Influences"
Youth and adults are subjected to so many swirling winds that we sometimes wonder if they can survive. The winds of fashion push those about who are insecure and who require the feeling that they are in step with the crowd. The winds of sexual temptation drive some to destroy their marriage or to dash bright prospects or to degrade themselves. Bad companions, addicting drugs, the arrogance of profanity, the slough of pornography—all these and more act as influences pushing us, if we are not being carried forward by a strong, steady current toward the righteous life. The current of our lives should be determined and made strong by our parental and family life...
How long has it been since you took your children, whatever their size, in your arms and told them that you love them and are glad that they can be yours forever? How long has it been since you husbands or wives purchased an inexpensive gift as a surprise for your spouse for no other reason than just to please? How long has it been since you brought home a rose or baked a pie with a heart carved in the crust or did some other thing to make life more aglow with warmth and affection?
If there is to be a contribution to the building fund or the Red Cross or a Saturday morning spent helping the elders quorum paint a widow’s house, make sure the children are aware of it, and if it is feasible, let them have a share in the decision-making and in the implementation of the decision. All the family could attend the baptism, confirmation, and ordination of a member of the family. All of the family could root for a son who is on the ball team. All meet regularly in home evenings, at mealtime, at prayer time. Perhaps all of the family could pay tithing together, and each learns by precept and example the beautiful principle.
We live in an age when, as the Lord foretold, men’s hearts are failing them, not only physically but in spirit. (See D&C 45:26.) Many are giving up heart for the battle of life. Suicide ranks as a major cause of the deaths to college students. As the showdown between good and evil approaches with its accompanying trials and tribulations, Satan is increasingly striving to overcome the Saints with despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression.
Yet, of all people, we as Latter-day Saints should be the most optimistic and the least pessimistic. For while we know that “peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion,” we are also assured that “the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst.” (D&C 1:35–36.)...
The fellowship of true friends who can hear you out, share your joys, help carry your burdens, and correctly counsel you is priceless. For one who has been in the prison of depression, the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith have special meaning when he said, “How sweet the voice of a friend is; one token of friendship from any source whatever awakens and calls into action every sympathetic feeling.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 134.)
Ideally, your family ought to be your closest friends. Most important, we should seek to become the friend of our Father in heaven and our brother Jesus the Christ. What a boon to be in the company of those who edify you. To have friends, one should be friendly. Friendship should begin at home and then be extended to encompass the home teacher, quorum leader, bishop, and other Church teachers and leaders. To meet often with the Saints and enjoy their companionship can buoy up the heart...
Every accountable child of God needs to set goals, short- and long-range goals. A man who is pressing forward to accomplish worthy goals can soon put despondency under his feet, and once a goal is accomplished, others can be set up. Some will be continuing goals. Each week when we partake of the sacrament we commit ourselves to the goals of taking upon ourselves the name of Christ, of always remembering him and keeping his commandments. Of Jesus’ preparation for his mission, the scripture states that he “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52.)...
To lift our spirit and send us on our way rejoicing, the devil’s designs of despair, discouragement, depression, and despondency can be defeated in a dozen ways, namely: repentance, prayer, service, work, health, reading, blessings, fasting, friends, music, endurance, and goals.
Man’s knowledge has rapidly increased and scientific research accelerated at proportions never known before in the history of the world. This has come about through concentrated effort on the part of business, industry, government, and educational institutions. A large portion of the world’s wealth and income is devoted to this pursuit, and hundreds of thousands of men and women around the world are devoting time and effort to the extension of man’s knowledge and understanding of science through research. The pursuit of knowledge of the laws of the universe, which we know have always been in existence, has reached new heights, and investigation continues to increase in this search for truth.
Science is providing marvelous things to give ease and comfort to man in this modern world and is creating the highest standard of living ever known. Because we are provided with all our needs and the luxuries of life, can we turn from God, the teachings of religion, or the gospel of Jesus Christ? With the advance of knowledge has come a reliance upon scientific principles of proof, and as a consequence, there are some who do not believe in God because his existence cannot be substantiated by such proof. In reality, scientific research is an endeavor to ascertain truth, and the same principles which are applied to that pursuit are used in the quest to establish the truth of religion as well...
Whether seeking for knowledge of scientific truths or to discover God, one must have faith. This becomes the starting point. Faith has been defined in many ways, but the most classic definition was given by the author of the letter to the Hebrews in these meaningful words: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1.) In other words, faith makes us confident of what we hope for and convinced of what we do not see. The scientist does not see molecules, atoms, or electrons, yet he knows they exist. He does not see electricity, radiation, or magnetism, but he knows these are unseen realities. In like manner, those who earnestly seek for God do not see him, but they know of his reality by faith. It is more than hope. Faith makes it a conviction—an evidence of things not seen....
We have the formula for the search for God and the tools to accomplish the quest—faith, love, and prayer. Science has done marvelous things for man, but it cannot accomplish the things he must do for himself, the greatest of which is to find the reality of God. The task is not easy; the labor is not light; but as stated by the Master, “Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.” (D&C 76:6.)
I have a positive conviction that God is a reality—that he lives. He is our Heavenly Father, and we are his spiritual children. He created the heaven and the earth and all things upon the earth and is the author of the eternal laws by which the universe is governed. These laws are discovered bit by bit as man continues his search, but they have existed always and will remain unchanged forever. I bear this witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, our Savior and Redeemer by reason of his atoning sacrifice to give life everlasting to all men.
My mind drifted back 135 years. Our people were then in Commerce, Illinois, homeless and destitute, facing the bitter winter that soon followed. They had been driven from Missouri and had fled across the Mississippi seeking asylum in Illinois. Where the river makes a wide bend, they had purchased a tract of land, beautiful in its location, but so swampy that a team could not cross it without becoming mired in mud. This site, with tremendous effort and great sacrifice, was to become Nauvoo the beautiful. But in 1839 it was Commerce, a rendezvous for thousands driven from their homes and now homeless. They had left behind the labors of years—houses and barns, churches and public buildings, and hundreds of productive farms. Moreover, buried beneath the Missouri sod, they had left loved ones who had been killed by the mob. Destitute now, and dispossessed, unable to get redress from Missouri, they determined to petition the president and Congress of the United States. Joseph Smith and Elias Higbee were assigned to go to Washington.
They left Commerce October 20, 1839, riding in a light horse-drawn buggy. They arrived in Washington five weeks later. Much of their first day was spent trying to find accommodations they could afford. They noted in a letter to Hyrum Smith: “We found as cheap boarding as can be had in this city.” (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4:40.)
Calling upon the president of the United States, Martin Van Buren, they stated their case. Responded he: “Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you. … If I take up for you, I shall lose the vote of Missouri.” (History of the Church, 4:80.)
They then appealed to Congress. In the frustrating weeks that followed, Joseph returned to Commerce, much of the way by horseback. Judge Higbee remained to plead their cause, only finally to be told that Congress would do nothing.
How far the Church has come in the respect and confidence of public officials between 1839 when Joseph Smith was repudiated in Washington and 1974 when President Spencer W. Kimball is welcomed and honored. Such, in essence, were the first and last chapters of my thoughts during these past, recent, beautiful days at the Washington Temple...
Sometimes we take offense when one who is nominally a member of the Church is involved in a crime and the public press is quick to say that he is a Mormon. We comment among ourselves that if he had been a member of any other church, no mention would have been made of it.
Is not this very practice an indirect compliment to our people? The world expects something better of us, and when one of our number falters, the press is quick to note it. We have, indeed, become as a city upon a hill for the world to see. If we are to be that which the Lord would have us, we must indeed become “a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that [we] should shew forth the praises of him who hath called [us] out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Pet. 2:9.)...
Unless the world alters the course of its present trends (and that is not likely); and if, on the other hand, we continue to follow the teachings of the prophets, we shall increasingly become a peculiar and distinctive people of whom the world will take note. For instance: As the integrity of the family crumbles under worldly pressures, our position on the sanctity of the family will become more obvious and even more peculiar in contrast, if we have the faith to maintain that position.
As the growing permissive attitude toward sex continues to spread, the doctrine of the Church, as consistently taught for more than a century, will become increasingly singular and even strange to many.
As the consumption of alcohol increases each year under the mores of our society and the allurements of advertising, our position, set forth by the Lord more than a century ago, will become more unusual before the world.
As government increasingly assumes the burden of caring for all human needs, the independence of our social services, and the doctrine which lies behind that position will become more and more unique.
As the Sabbath increasingly becomes a day of merchandising, those who obey the precept of the law written by the finger of the Lord on Sinai and reinforced by modern revelation will appear more unusual.
It is not always easy to live in the world and not be a part of it. We cannot live entirely with our own or unto ourselves, nor would we wish to. We must mingle with others. In so doing, we can be gracious. We can be inoffensive. We can avoid any spirit or attitude of self-righteousness. But we can maintain our standards. The natural tendency will be otherwise, and many have succumbed to it.
I nominate to the Hall of Fame the name of Adam, the first man to live upon the earth. His citation is from Moses: “And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.” (Moses 5:5.) Adam qualifies.
For patient endurance there must be nominated a perfect and upright man whose name was Job. Though afflicted as no other, he declared: “My witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.
“My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.” (Job 16:19–20.) “I know that my redeemer liveth.” (Job 19:25.) Job qualifies.
Every Christian would nominate the man Saul, better known as Paul the apostle. His sermons are as manna to the spirit, his life of service an example to all. This fearless missionary declared to the world: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation.” (Rom. 1:16.)..
There is yet another I choose to nominate—even the Prophet Joseph Smith. His faith, his trust, his testimony are reflected by his own words, spoken as he went to Carthage Jail and martyrdom: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men.” (D&C 135:4.) He sealed his testimony with his blood. Joseph Smith qualifies.
In our selection of heroes, let us nominate also heroines. First, that noble example of fidelity—even Ruth. Sensing the grief-stricken heart of her mother-in-law, who suffered the loss of each of her two fine sons, and feeling perhaps the pangs of despair and loneliness which plagued the very soul of Naomi, Ruth uttered what has become that classic statement of loyalty: “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” (Ruth 1:16.) Ruth’s actions demonstrated the sincerity of her words. There is place for her name in the Hall of Fame.
Shall we not name yet another, a descendant of honored Ruth? I speak of Mary of Nazareth, espoused to Joseph, destined to become the mother of the only sinless man to walk the earth. Her acceptance of this sacred and historic role is a hallmark of humility. “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38.) Surely Mary qualifies.