Monday, August 4, 2014

General Conference Highlights: April 1902

I'll just pick random General Conferences through the decades. Upon Lorenzo Snow's death in 1901, Joseph F. Smith became the next President of the Church. Smith was the son of Hyrum Smith, brother of Joseph Smith, and the two of them had been murdered in Carthage Jail when Joseph F. was six years old. Also, Heber J. Grant had just returned from a year-long mission to Japan.

APRIL 1902

First Presidency
-John R. Winder -81
-Anthon H. Lund -57

Quorum of the 12 Apostles
-Brigham Young Jr. -66
-Francis M. Lyman -62
-John Henry Smith -54
-George Teasdale -70
-John W. Taylor -44
-Marriner W. Merrill -70
-Matthias F. Cowley -44
-Abraham O. Woodruff -28
-Rudger Clawson -44
-Reed Smoot -40
-Hyrum M. Smith -30

Trivia: John H. Winder was never called to be an Apostle. Hyrum M. Smith was Joseph F. Smith's eldest son, but he died at age 48, a few months before his father.

Pres. JOSEPH F. SMITH - "Righteousness Increasing"

I rejoice exceedingly in the truth. I thank God every day of my life for His mercy and kindness, and loving care and protection that has been extended to all His people, and for the many manifestations of His peculiar mercy and blessing that have been extended unto us throughout all the length and breadth of the land and through all the years since the organization of the Church, on the 6th of April, 1830.

The Lord, about that time or soon after, decreed a decree which He said His people shou'd realizes That they should begin from that very hour to prevail over all their enemies, and, inasmuch as they continued to be faithful in keeping His laws which He had given unto them, it was decreed that they should prevail until all enemies were subdued — not subdued by violence or the spirit of contention or of warfare but subdued by the power of eternal truth, by the majesty and power of Almighty God — and by the increased power of the righteous and of the upright covenanted people of God should be magnified and increased, until the world shall bow and acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, and that there is a people preparing for His coming in power and glory to the earth again...

I have to say this to my brethren and sisters: That I believe conscientiously, from all that I know, that the day never has been when Zion was more thoroughly equipped, more thoroughly furnished in good works, when there was a better spirit or a more united feeling existing among the people of God than exists today.

JFS - "Ennobling Rules of Conduct"

There are laws which we do not observe as we should; there are principles of the Gospel which are perhaps too pure and exalted for us to live them as we should; but I believe with all my heart — I cannot consistently believe otherwise — that we are growing in grace and in the knowledge of the truth, and that the day will come, and I pray that it may be hastened, when the people of God will not only be faithful in keeping the law of tithing, but that they will be faithful also in observing the Word of Wisdom, which is a law of God, and that we will be faithful in observing that most sacred and most important law of God — the law of chastity, wherein we may preserve the purity of our own persons and the chastity of our neighbors and associates as we would preserve our own lives. I would to God that the time may come, and that it is not far distant, when the Latter-day Saints will live up to the golden rule taught by the Son of God, (than whom none so perfect has ever sojourned in the flesh upon the earth,) to do unto others as we would have others do unto us; and in this way stop all fault-finding, all bickerings, all jealousies, all contentions, and all strife, and, as far as practicable, remove every possible chance for misunderstanding amongst us, that we may see as we are seen and know as we are known, that we may be true men and women in the cause of Zion and of human redemption, that God may put His holy name upon us and we bear that holy name acceptably before Him...

I believe with all my soul in God the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I believe with all my might, mind and strength in the Savior of the world, and in the principle of redemption from death and sin. I believe in the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I believe in all the truth that I know, and I believe that there are many principles of eternal truth that still lie hid from me and from the understanding of men, which will yet be revealed by the power of God unto His faithful servants. I believe that the Lord has revealed to the children of men all that they know. I do not believe that any man has discovered any principle in science, or art; in mechanism, or mathematics, or anything else, that God did not know before he did...

I love good, honorable men — even men who may be mistaken, as far as their judgment is concerned, but who try to do right; I love them for the reason that they are my brethren, the sons of my Father, and I would that they might all see the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, and accept it, and receive all the benefits of it, in time and throughout all eternity. If the Lord has revealed to the world the plan of salvation and redemption from sin, by which men may be exalted again into His presence and partake of eternal life with Him, I submit, as a proposition that cannot be controverted, that no man can be exalted into the presence of God and attain to a fulness of glory and happiness in His kingdom and presence, save and except he will obey the plan that God has devised and revealed.

My brethren and sisters, I feel in my heart that we have had a time of rejoicing during this conference. I wish we had a place big enough to hold the Latter-day Saints at conference. I do not know but we will have to build some boweries or something else on this temple block, to accommodate by overflow meetings the multitude of people who come to conference in the performance of their duty, many of whom cannot be accommodated in this Tabernacle.

HEBER J. GRANT - "Missionary Work"

I have the assurance in my soul that there is to be a wonderful work accomplished in Japan; that there will be many, yea, even thousands of that people that will receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have made no effort whatever to try and baptize people. Many have come and applied for baptism — ten young men at one time; many have written us letters and asked to be baptized into the Church; but we have realized that they did not understand the Gospel, and we had no desire to baptize and seal the Holy Ghost upon a person who would be likely to lose the Spirit and turn around and fight the Church. We have had no desire whatever to baptize people just to make a showing. We prayed earnestly every day for the guidance of the Spirit of God...

I rejoice to be here. I rejoice in the testimony of the Gospbl of Jesus Christ. I rejoice in the increased testimony that my mission has given me. I never expected that it would be possible for a man of my temperament and disposition, who from a boy of 14 years of age has been actively engaged in business, to forget it, and that I could content myself in a foreign land studying a language that put me to sleep nearly every time I tried it, and yet be happy. But I was. There was the sweet Spirit of God with us, and many times in our little meetings we shed tears of joy, because of the outflow of the Spirit of God...

It is a sorrow to me to come home and not receive the handshake of my beloved President Snow, whom I loved as dearly as life itself; but I rejoice that the son of one of the two martyrs for the cause presides over the Church of Christ. I rejoice in the knowledge that the work of God is onward and upward, and that each and every one of us who are true and faithful will be saved. I rejoice that this Gospel is going to all the nations of the earth. I rejoice in being a messenger of the plan of life and salvation. God has blessed me with a knowledge. I know that He lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.

HJG - "Testimony"

May God bless each and every one of us, that as we grow and increase we may grow in the knowledge of the Gospel, and that we shall have a determination to serve God and carry out in very deed the teachings of the Savior; to let our light so shine tnat men seeing our good works shall glorify God. If we set an example worthy of imitation it is sure to have its effects. I re- ceived a letter from a man in London, stating that the Latter-day Saints were the only people, so far as he knew, who carried their daily beliefs into their daily life, as though they believed what they taught.

HJG - "Teach Your Children"

I have heard men and women say that they were going to let their sens and daughters grow to maturity before they sought to teach them the principles of the Gospel, that they were not going to cram the Gospel down, them in their childhood, before they were able to comprehend it. When I hear men and women say this, I think they are lacking faith in the principles of the Gospel and do not comprehend it as they should. The Lord has said it is our duty to teach our children in their youth, and I prefer to take His words for it rather than the words of those who are not obeying His commandments. It is folly to imagine that our children will grow up with a knowledge of the Gospel without teaching...

Parents are deceiving themselves In imagining that their children will be born with a knowledge of the Gospel. Of course, they will have greater claim upon the blessings of God, being born under the new and everlasting covenant, and it will come natural for them to grow up and perform their duties; but the devil realizes this, and is therefore seeking all the harder to lead our children from the truth...

My brethren and sisters, if we will study the Scriptures, the plan of life and salvation, keeping the commandments of the Lord, all the promises that have been made will be fulfilled upon our heads, and we will grow and increase in light, knowledge and intelligence. There is no such thing as standing still. The Church is not standing still; we have the evidence today of its growth.

B.H. ROBERTS (Presidency of the Seventy, and Church Historian)

I say that I am happy in the reflection that the work of God, notwithstanding all the storms of opposition it has met, moves on apace in the earth, with a force that is irresistible; and I cannot help but rejoice just a little — the brethren must excuse me if there is just a little worldliness in my makeup, enough at least to rejoice in the failure of those who have assailed the work of God. Truly, it must be just a little humiliating to them when they see all their purposes thwarted, and every storm they start passes over the Saints only to leave them the stronger and the more confirmed in their faith. I cannot help but exult just a little at this condition of things.

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