Back to my highlights of random General Conferences through the decades. This was the first General Conference after the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression. This also marked the 100th anniversary of the formation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
HEBER J. GRANT -73
-Anthony W. Ivins -77
-Charles W. Nibley -81
Quorum of the 12 Apostles
-Rudger Clawson -73
-Reed Smoot -68
-GEORGE ALBERT SMITH -60
-George F. Richards -69
-Orson F. Whitney -75
-DAVID O. McKAY -57
-JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH -54
-James E. Talmage -68
-Stephen L. Richards -51
-Richard R. Lyman -59
-Melvin J. Ballard -57
-John A. Widtsoe -58
Trivia: Of the 107 men who've been ordained as Apostles in the latter days, 15 were excommunicated, 2 resigned, 1 was dropped from the Quorum after the congregation refused to sustain him, 2 were removed and then re-added with lost seniority, 4 were killed, and 16 became Presidents of the Church.
The Redeemer himself declared, notwithstanding the apparent failure of his mission and ministry as it applied to the generation to which he brought the message of salvation, that at a period of time then in the remote future, a period designated as the latter-days, the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, he would again reveal himself, would re-establish his Church upon earth, and come to reign in triumph and majesty over his people.
In humility, and with full consciousness of the responsibility involved, we bear witness to the people of the world that with the appearance of the Father and the Son to the Prophet Joseph Smith, in the early spring of 1820, the greatest gospel dispensation of all time was ushered in, a dispensation of light, radiating from the presence of God, illuminating the minds of men, increasing intelligence and knowledge, which is the glory of God, and by the application of which the past one hundred years have been made the Miracle Century of the ages.
The increase of scientific knowledge, invention, industrial development; the harnessing of the forces of the universe and adapting them to the comfort and convenience of man, have reached a degree of perfection not dreamed of by people who lived when the past century was ushered in...
By the application of scientific methods, which have been revealed during the past century, the profession of medicine and surgery has brought to the people of the world relief from the most dreaded diseases, which devastated communities and at times threatened the very existence of mankind.
Undoubtedly the greatest miracle of the century is the accomplishment by which the human voice, with the personality of the speaker, may be indefinitely preserved and reproduced with every detail of originality.
Whether uttered in the frozen arctics, or from the jungles of the tropics, without visible means of conduct, the human voice instantly circles the earth, thus overcoming the hitherto insurmountable barrier of both time and space...
The opening of a new gospel dispensation was not a thing of chance. Jesus Christ, through his messenger, had declared to John while he was upon the isle of Patmos, that an angel would come flying through the midst of the heavens, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell upon the earth, calling them back to the worship of God who is the Maker of the heavens and the earth, the sea and the fountains of water. The Redeemer himself had declared that before the time of his glorious appearance, to assume his rightful place among his people, the Gospel of his kingdom should be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, before the coming of the end.
As the time of the restoration of the Gospel was clearly indicated, so was the gathering place of those who would accept the truth definitely declared. The prophet Isaiah had said that it should come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house would be established in the top of the mountains, and be exalted above the hills, and that people from all nations would flow unto it. Many people, he declared, would go and say: "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob." For what purpose? That they might be taught the way of the Lord, and learn to walk in his paths...
Refrain from evil; do that which is good. Visit the sick, comfort those who are in sorrow, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, care for the widow and the fatherless. Observe the laws of health which the Lord has revealed, and keep yourselves unspotted from the sins of the world. Pay your tithes and offerings, and the Lord will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings until there shall not be room to contain them.
HJG - "Bless the Mothers"
One of the most earnest prayers of my heart all my life has been that I should be able to live to be worthy of such a father and such a mother as were given to me...
I pray for the blessings of the Lord upon the officers and the General Board of the Relief Society. My heart goes out in gratitude and thanksgiving to God for the organization, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, of that wonderful society...
It is our sisters who carry the burden of the work. We talk about the missionary work of the Elders who go forth to proclaim the Gospel; we talk about the great pioneer work of the early settlers of this country, but I wish to say here that it is the mothers at home who are making the sacrifice for the boys to go into the mission field. It is the mothers who stand the hardships far more than the men. Men are engaged in many activities, and without the devotion and absolute testimony of the living God in the hearts of our mothers this Church would die. May God bless the mothers of men, is my most humble prayer; and I do bless them in the name of God our Heavenly Father and in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer...
I pray for the blessings of the Lord to be abundantly with those who have been sent forth to proclaim the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, to lift up their voices in testimony that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the world, the Savior of mankind, and to bear witness that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the true and the living God, inspired of God to restore again to the earth the plan of life and salvation.
Oh, how my heart goes out to those young men and young women who go forth with this testimony burning in their very hearts for the spread of the truth. And I thank God that they have brought honest souls from all over the wide world, from every denomination under heaven, to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May God bless them and bless their parents who are making sacrifices to send them forth to proclaim the Gospel. Oh, how I do rejoice that I do not know of one son or one daughter in all Israel who has gone out into the world to proclaim the truth, that has come home to announce the truth is in some other land. Thank God for the truth and the power that goes with these young men and young women as they go forth to proclaim the restoration again to the earth of the plan of life and salvation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ that you and I have received...
I rejoice in all that we have heard here today. I rejoice and I am sure that the Prophet and the Patriarch of the living God who sealed their testimonies with their blood will rejoice at this wonderful gathering. Oh, how I did pray, how I did supplicate the Lord, that Joseph F. Smith, the son of the martyred Patriarch, might live to occupy today this position that I am occupying. Never until the night before he passed away did I give up the hope that he should have that privilege. But it has fallen to my lot without my seeking to occupy this position. By that spirit of blessing which he possessed, I bless you one and all, and all Israel, and every honest-hearted soul in all the world who is trying to do good, and I do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, and by the authority of the living God, the priesthood that I hold. Amen.
HJG - "A Marvelous Work"
As I look upon this audience I am impressed with the wonderful fulfilment of the prediction of Joseph Smith which was delivered on the west side of the Mississippi river and recorded in the journal of Brother Anson Call:
"I prophesy that the saints will continue to suffer much affliction, and will be driven to the Rocky Mountains; many will apostatize, others will be put to death by our persecutors, or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease; and some will live to go and assist in making settlements, and build cities, and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains."
What a mighty people we are! As I look upon this audience today and think of the wonderful audiences that we had at all our meetings yesterday, and when I think of the seven hundred thousand people who are now members of the Church, I rejoice in the fulfilment of this prediction by Joseph Smith.
HJG - "The Inspired Constitution"
As I said before, we are fundamentally in favor of prohibition and we feel that any man who violates the prohibition law, the Eighteenth Amendment, as long as it is in force, is encouraging anarchy and shows a lack of that patriotism which should be in the mind and heart of every true American.
I wish to say to our friends who are visiting with us here today, that the Latter-day Saints believe and have taught from the beginning that God raised up the men who wrote the Constitution of this country; that it was an inspired document, and that the Lord fought on the side of our revolutionary fathers.
A hundred years ago yesterday the Lord commenced this work. He had predicted it himself, and had called attention to the fact that it was to be a marvelous work. No man could have fulfilled that prediction, but our Heavenly Father has fulfilled his promise; and in the year 1830, on the 6th day of April, he organized his Church. I would like to emphasize that, as I believe with all my heart that it is his Church, not the Church of Joseph Smith or of Brigham Young or of John Taylor or of Wilford Woodruff or of Lorenzo Snow or of Joseph F. Smith or of Heber J. Grant; for while these men have been his faithful representatives upon earth, it is not their Church, but it is the Church of the Redeemer of mankind...
This is our Father's work. In a hundred years we have made great progress. Do you realize that in a hundred years after the organization of the Church with six members there has been more than one hundred thousand people converted for each one of those six whose names appear as the organizers of the Church? One hundred thousand for each one in a hundred years. Multiply that by our present membership, and if we should do as well in the next hundred years, considering our present membership, do you know what it would mean? Not three fourths of a million people, but more than seventy billion people would be members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Can you not see how a marvelous work and a wonder has been going forward ? Can you not see how we as individuals have only contributed our mite, but the multitude has united, and the word of the Lord has been disseminated among the children of men; not in a militant way, but in kindness and in love, with a desire to bless all mankind.
That government is best which has as its aim the administration of justice, social well-being and the promotion of prosperity among its members.
Considered politically the world is upset at the present time in its opinion as to the best form of government. We are just witnessing the downfall of monarchies. Rising from these monarchial ruins have come democracy as exemplified chiefly in Great Britain in her dominions and in the United States; the dictatorship of the proleteriat as in Soviet Russia; and the Fascist regime in Italy, with Mussolini as chief dictator. It is apparent that men are seeking for a better form of government than most nations now have. Will they find it in the government by a dictator or in the government by the people, or in a combination of both?...
Truly, from the standpoint of enhancing efficiency and progress, the Church of Christ has that form of government which the nations today are seeking.
This is because it is patterned after that order which Christ himself established. I call your attention again to the fact that the Prophet Joseph stated on the 6th day of April, 1830, that the Church was organized after that order given in the New Testament. I read recently in a book published last year by Charles A. Ellwood, Ph.D., L.L.D., author of "The Social Destiny of Man," that "The religion of the future cannot be based upon historical Christianity, but must, in order to avoid misunderstanding, go back to the teachings of Christ, as recorded in the Gospels." Isn't it significant that a young man not twenty-five years of age, unacquainted with the social systems of his age, or of any age, should have realized and declared one hundred years ago just what this thinker realizes today!
Says the sociologist of 1930: "The religion of the future must go back to the teachings of Christ, as recorded in the Gospels."
Said Joseph Smith one hundred years ago : "The Church of Jesus Christ was organized in accordance with the order of the Church as recorded in the New Testament. And the practical and beneficent workings of the organization prove its divine authenticity."
I believe in God the Father and in his Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. I believe, without any reservation, that Jesus Christ is the Son- of God and the Redeemer of the world. I believe that through the shedding of his blood he brought redemption to this earth and to all things upon its face, and, through obedience to the Gospel he has given unto all men the privilege of the remission of their sins; for he has suffered for all, that they might not suffer if they will repent. I believe that through obedience to the Gospel all who believe on his name and endure in faith to the end shall be saved in the celestial kingdom in the presence of the Father and the Son.
I believe it is the purpose of the Father to bring to pass the redemption of all men from death and from hell, except those who turn away from the light and the truth after having received it, thus becoming sons of perdition. I believe that our Father has prepared a place for every man according to his works and worthiness, but only through obedience to his laws in their fulness will men come back into the presence of the Father and the Son to receive an exaltation as sons and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.
I believe sincerely and absolutely in the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I have faith, yes, the knowledge, that he was called of God and is a prophet and that he stands at the head of this great Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. I believe he was chosen to this mission before the foundation of the world was laid, and that he filled it acceptably before the Lord, in diligence and faith, in the midst of constant persecution...
All my life I have prayed and hoped that the Lord would touch the hearts of the children of the Prophet Joseph Smith and bring them to repentance. I still pray that he may do so. No man would hold out the hand of fellowship more quickly than I would to welcome them into the fold of truth. But I cannot countenance their actions in opposition to this great work which the Lord established through the Prophet Joseph Smith. While I regret the fact that they stand aloof and in opposition to the fulness of the Gospel which that Prophet restored, yet I pray and hope that the time will speedily come when some of them, at least, will see the error of their ways, and come humbly seeking the favor of God, and membership in the Church. They who will not repent, but who persist in the opposition to the truth, may they be confounded; may that which they propose come to nought; may all their works fail and may they soon stand exposed in the full error of their ways before the world.
May the Lord bless the family of the Prophet Joseph Smith and bring them to repentance. May he bless the descendants of Hyrum Smith that they also may walk in the light of the everlasting Gospel. May they never falter nor turn from the path in which their father walked, and may they honor and uphold his good name. And so I pray for all who receive the Gospel, for we are all brothers and sisters. May the Lord guide and bless all who love the truth.