Saturday, August 9, 2014

General Conference Highlights: April 1942

Back to my highlights of random General Conferences through the decades. This was the first General Conference after Pearl Harbor, and the US had officially entered World War II.

APRIL 1942

First Presidency
-J. Reuben Clark Jr. -71

Quorum of the 12 Apostles
-Rudger Clawson -85
-George F. Richards -69
-Stephen L. Richards -63
-Richard R. Lyman -71
-John A. Widtsoe -70
-Joseph F. Merrill -73
-Charles A. Callis -76
-Albert E. Bowen -66
-Sylvester Q. Cannon -64

Pres. HEBER J. GRANT - "Opening Address"

I was intimately acquainted with Brigham Young from the time I was a little child until his death, and I came into the Quorum of the Twelve when I was a young man not quite twenty-six years of age. I was intimate of course with all the men who succeeded Brigham Young as president of the Church, and I want to bear witness to every one of you that all of those men, starting with John Taylor and coming down to President Joseph F. Smith, I know as I know that I live that they were inspired, wonderful men, that they had no ambition of any kind or description but to lead the Latter-day Saints in the paths of righteousness, to set examples worthy of imitation in all respects. They were in very deed men of God.

Perhaps the one man of all others who took the least interest in big business affairs of any kind was Brother Woodruff. He had been a farmer and a raiser of flowers and of fruits, and a man who I doubt ever engaged in any kind of business that amounted to $20,000 a year. But in the providences of the Lord, perhaps he was the greatest converter of men we have ever had in the Church. Through the inspiration of the living God, in opposition to the best judgment of some of the leading men of the Church, he insisted on building a sugar factory and establishing an institution for the benefit of the farmers. Notwithstanding myself and others during the panic of 1891 recommended the contract to build the factory be cancelled which could have been done by the Church forfeiting the $50,000 that it had already paid toward its erection, Brother Woodruff said: "We will build it. The farmers are entitled to that factory to get some of the products of the soil." In the providences of the Lord we did build it and many of us ruined ourselves by borrowing money to build it. We have been vindicated today.

GEORGE ALBERT SMITH - "Perilous Times"

These are perilous times, brethren, I have no doubt that many of you here have seen your sons depart to join the armed forces of the United States and have mourned that it was necessary for them to go. When they return, if they have kept the commandments of God, they will have witnessed His power and His strength in their preservation. This is not the Church of Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. It is not the Church of any man. This is the Church of Jesus Christ, our Lord. He has given rules to govern it and made them so plain that a wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err in following His teachings; yet there have been those in the Church who have failed, who have fallen by the wayside, who have come under the power of the adversary and surrendered to evil. But those who have kept the commandments of God, those who have stood in the places to which they have been called, those who have been the leaders in Israel from the beginning, who have kept the faith, have been magnified, honored, and sustained by our Heavenly Father until the time came for them to return to their Maker...

This is a day of proving ourselves, a day of trial. This is a day when men's hearts are failing them with fear. When the multitudes in the world are asking themselves what the end will be. A few inspired men know what the end will be. The Lord has told us what would occur, in these books that are upon this stand, this wonderful library that I hold in my hand. He has given us the information that we need to adjust our lives and to prepare ourselves that no matter what may transpire we will be on the Lord's side of the line.

DAVID O. McKAY - "The Current War"

In the face of the tragic condition among mankind, honest thinking men and women ask how is it possible to reconcile the teachings of Jesus with the participation of the Church in armed conflict.

War is basically selfish. Its roots feed in the soil of envy, hatred, desire for domination. Its fruit, therefore, is always bitter. They who cultivate and propagate it spread death and destruction, and are enemies of the human race.

War originates in the hearts of men who seek to despoil, to conquer, or to destroy other individuals or groups of individuals. Self exaltation is a motivating factor; force, the means of attainment. War is rebellious action against moral order.

The present war had its beginning in militarism, a false philosophy which believes that "war is a biological necessity for the purification and progress of nations." It proclaims that Might determines Right, and that only the strongest nations should survive and rule. It says, "the grandeur of history lies in the perpetual conflict of nations, and it is simply foolish to desire the suppression of their rivalry."...

Even though we sense the hellish origin of war, even though we feel confident that war will never end war, yet under existing conditions we find ourselves as a body committed to combat this evil thing. With other loyal citizens we serve our country as bearers of arms, rather than to stand aloof to enjoy a freedom for which others have fought and died.

One purpose of emphasizing this theme is to give encouragement to young men now engaged in armed conflict and to reassure them that they are fighting for an eternal principle fundamental to the peace and progress of mankind.


Because of the greatness of the responsibility of it, brethren, the blessing is correspondingly great, if we discharge ourselves faithfully of the responsibility; and I can say the consequences of entire neglect of this responsibility are correspondingly great.

You know how it was with the rich man, according to the parable by the Savior, who neglected to feed the poor man Lazarus. When the rich man died, he was consigned to hell and torment. I want to tell you we are rich in the things of eternal life; we know the way, we have received the saving ordinances. Our dead kindred are there in abject poverty. If we do not minister unto their needs, what may we hope for when we come to judgment before the Lord? I have said we will have to account to him. We have accepted this responsibility, and we will have to account to our kindred dead. I would have you and myself so to live and to labor and discharge ourselves of these responsibilities that there will be no disappointment on our part, and no disappointment on the part of our kindred dead. May the Lord help us to this end...

Now the question often arises, Is this earth upon which we dwell going to be one-third celestialized, one-third terrestrialized, one-third telestialized? Are all the inhabitants of the earth going to dwell upon the earth? No. This earth is going to become a celestial body and is going to be a fit abode for celestial beings only; the others will have to go somewhere else, where they belong. This earth will be reserved for those who are entitled to exaltation, and they are the meek, spoken of by our Savior, who shall inherit the earth. When the Lord said the meek shall inherit the earth, He had reference to those who are willing to keep the commandments of the Lord in righteousness and thus receive exaltation.

HAROLD B. LEE - "Patriotism"

We have been asked today to be patriotic. This Church, as has been read by President McKay, has a record of accomplishment that is a delight to all of us, and a testimony to the world of the patriotism of this people. We have been sending our boys into the army, and will continue to do so. We will buy war bonds and stamps. We will pay inordinate taxes, for the carrying on of the work for the buying of planes and munitions of war. We will produce and conserve foodstuffs, that there may be sufficient of the necessities to carry on, as we have been requested by our government.

But beyond all that, the Latter-day Saints have a responsibility, that may be better understood when we recall the prophecy of Joseph Smith who declared that "the time would come when (the destiny and) the Constitution of these United States would hang as it were by a thread, and that this people, the sons of Zion, would rise up and save it from threatened destruction." (J. of D., Vol. 7:15)

T want to ask you to consider the meaning of that prophecy, in the light of the declaration of the prophets of the Book of Mormon times, who declared that this land was a choice land above all other lands, and would be free from bondage and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of this land, even our Savior, Jesus Christ. (Ether 2:12)

This is a people whom the Lord has chosen to preach the gospel of righteousness. We talk of security in this day, and yet we fail to understand that here on this Temple Block we have standing the holy temple wherein we may find the symbols by which power might be generated that will save this nation from destruction. Therein may be found the fulness of the blessings of the Priesthood. Yesterday morning, as we assembled and heard the broadcast from that place, broadcasting to the world a message, it to me was significant of the prophecy that from this place "the law shall go forth to the world, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." The spires on the eastern towers of the temple are to represent the presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood; the spires to the west, the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood; the gilded figure of the angel Moroni symbolizes the preaching of the gospel to the world. The gospel must be preached as a witness under the direction of the holy Priesthood: "Fear God and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come." (Rev. 14:7) Therein lies the responsibility of this Church in sanctifying this people and this nation, that they might be spared the judgments that otherwise might come upon them, were it not for the preaching of the humble elders of this Church.

Albert E. Bowen - "True Christianity"

Now the answer to the question put to Peter is of the all-or-none order. The Christianity which built the western civilization was built upon Peter's answer. It was that Christianity which brought democracy into the world because it was the first to bring to man the revelation of human personality, and that is the rock upon which the democracy in which we profess ... a faith . . . rests and alone can rest. It was that Christianity upon which the declared principles of our civil order rest, and there is no other resting place for them. A belief in democracy without a belief in that Christianity is no better than a code deprived of its creed or a flower cut from its parent stem: it must ultimately wither and die. When it dies freedom dies, even if democratic forms survive. Hitler rules today under the "forms" of the Weimar constitution and Stalin under the "forms" of a constitution as "democratic" sounding as anyone could wish! The same thing could happen here under our own "forms" if we, too, should lose faith in the soul that alone can give them life...

I believe it is a safe generalization that despotism is always at enmity with the Christian religion. They rest upon inherently and irreconcilably antagonistic conceptions about man, his worth and dignity and destiny and place in the order of things; the one debases him, the other exalts; the one denies God, the other acknowledges His supreme power and bows before His majesty. The teaching of the Christian religion irritates the despot because it is a constant denial of his assumed supremacy and a rebuke to his tyrannies. Hence the despot always seeks to put religion down. The rise of Hitler in Germany heralded assaults upon the church. His Minister of Religion said, "Adolph Hitler is the true Holy Ghost," and the Minister of Culture declared, "We must proclaim a German Christ, not a lamb of God." In Russia the line was the same, "What is worrying us is not that Christianity is dying in Russia, but that it is still surviving," said the Commissioner of Justice. "The natural transition," said another, "is to bring about the death of all religion."

No comments:

Post a Comment