Tuesday, August 19, 2014

General Conference Highlights: April 1976

As I've been going through the 1970's, I've been paying attention to Thomas S. Monson and the talks he's given. Most of his talks up to this point have been anecdotal. "Here's an experience from my past or a story someone told me, and this is the gospel principal it applies to." At this point church membership was around 3.8 million.

APRIL 1976

First Presidency
-Marion G. Romney -78
-N. Eldon Tanner -77

Quorum of the 12 Apostles
-Mark E. Peterson -75
-Delbert L. Stapley -79
-LeGrand Richards -90
-Boyd K. Packer -51
-Marvin J. Ashton -60
-Bruce R. McConkie -60
-L. Tom Perry -53
-David B. Haight -69

Pres. SPENCER W. KIMBALL - "The Stone Cut Without Hands"

We believe in work for ourselves and for our children. We go to the welfare projects, and there we contribute work hours to meet our production needs. We should train our children to work, and they should learn to share the responsibilities of the home and the yard. They should be given assignments to keep the house neat and clean, even though it be humble. Children may be given assignments also to take care of the garden, and this will be far better than to have them for long hours sitting at a television.

Someone has said, “Nobody ever lost his shirt when his sleeves were rolled up.”

Too much leisure for children leaves them in a state of boredom, and it is natural for them to want more and more of the expensive things for their recreation. We must bring dignity to labor in sharing the responsibilities of the home and the yard...

Some may wonder why General Authorities speak of the same things from conference to conference. As I study the utterances of the prophets through the centuries, their pattern is very clear. We seek, in the words of Alma, to teach people “an everlasting hatred against sin and iniquity.” We preach “repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Alma 37:32, 33.) We praise humility. We seek to teach people “to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Alma 37:33.) We teach our people “to never be weary of good works.” (Alma 37:34.)

Prophets say the same things because we face basically the same problems. Brothers and sisters, the solutions to these problems have not changed. It would be a poor lighthouse that gave off a different signal to guide every ship entering a harbor. It would be a poor mountain guide who, knowing the safe route up a mountainside, took his trusting charges up unpredictable and perilous paths from which no traveler returns.

I feel a special urge today to invite all people everywhere to investigate the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with its doctrines of salvation and of exaltation.

To all who hear my voice this day I proclaim in all sincerity and truth that this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is literally the authorized kingdom of God upon the earth today...

I know it is true. I know it is divine. I know it is the little stone that was cut out of a mountain without hands. I know it will fill the earth as prophesied and commanded by the Savior Jesus Christ when, in his last moments on earth, he said to his eleven apostles, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”—to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. (See Mark 16:15.) I know it is true from the birth of Adam to the days of Daniel to the days of Joseph Smith and to this day. I know it is true and divine. We offer it to you without price.

SWK - "Boys Need Heroes Close By"

We hope, as sons, husbands, fathers, and grandfathers, that you, as holders of the priesthood, will be considerate and thoughtful of your sisters, your mothers, your wives, your grandmothers. The priesthood presides in the home, but it must preside as Jesus Christ presides over his Church—in love, in service, in tenderness, and in example.

The Lord has given to all of us, as holders of the priesthood, certain of his authority, but we can only tap the powers of heaven on the basis of our personal righteousness. Thus, for the power of the priesthood to truly be felt in a family requires the righteousness of the men and young men therein. We call to the attention of all our priesthood bearers that our relationship with our wives, mothers, and sisters is one in which we kneel together, whether at the altars of the temple or in our own homes; we serve together, side by side, a beautiful partnership...

I have enjoyed so much what has been said by those who have spoken thus far. I am impressed that our various Church programs are like keys on the keyboard of a piano. Some of the keys are used much more often than others, but all of them are needed from time to time to produce harmony and balance in our lives. So often, therefore, what we are doing in our various talks and meetings is to remind ourselves of the need for balance, the need for fresh emphasis here or there, and the need to do the things that matter most without leaving the other things undone.

Please do your duties as citizens of your communities, states, and nations. Uphold and sustain the law. Work within the law to be an influence for that which is good, as the Prophet Joseph Smith counseled us.

Please avoid, even by implication, involving the Church in political issues. It is so easy, if we are not careful, to project our personal preferences as the position of the Church on an issue.

SWK - "Seeking Eternal Riches"

The enemies of faith know no God but force, no devotion but the use of force. They tutor men in treason; they feed upon the hunger of others. Whatever defies them, they torture, especially the truth. So we move forward, all the earth around, with clear vision and sound judgment and rededicate our homes and our families to high moral and spiritual values.

Therefore, since the home is the basis for the nation, we move forward to see that our children are taught and trained and controlled, since they are the most precious possession we have; and we teach them to walk uprightly and to become worthy citizens of the kingdom of God.

We recognize the fact that the teaching of religion and morality certainly is the work of the parents of the children. It is the responsibility of the fathers and mothers.

We now invite you to return to the October general conference when we shall reemphasize the basic themes which have been taught so well and plainly in this conference. We shall continue to put in order and keep in that condition our homes, our families; and also we will continue to spread the gospel to the nations of the world.

EZRA TAFT BENSON - "The Constitution - A Glorious Standard"

This morning, I speak about the Constitution of the United States—that glorious standard raised up by the Founding Fathers. I want to pay tribute to those who laid the foundation of our Republic. I desire to bear testimony concerning one of the most vital principles that makes the work of the founders timeless and inspired.

Every Latter-day Saint should love the inspired Constitution of the United States—a nation with a spiritual foundation and a prophetic history—which nation the Lord has declared to be his base of operations in these latter days.

The framers of the Constitution were men raised up by God to establish this foundation of our government, for so the Lord has declared by revelation in these words:

“I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.” (D&C 101:80)...

I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed his stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land. I testify that the God of heaven selected and sent some of his choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government as a prologue to the restoration of the gospel and the second coming of our Savior.

HOWARD W. HUNTER - "That We May Be One"

Within this Church there is a constant need for unity, for if we are not one, we are not his. (See D&C 38:27.) We are truly dependent on each other, “and the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.” (1 Cor. 12:21.) Nor can the North Americans say to the Asians, nor the Europeans to the islanders of the sea, “I have no need of thee.” No, in this church we have need of every member, and we pray, as did Paul when he wrote to the church in Corinth, “that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

“And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Cor. 12:25–26.)

Paul’s words are as applicable to us today as they were to the saints at Corinth.

As we think of the great growth of the Church, the diversities of tongues and cultures, and the monumental tasks that yet lie before us, we wonder if there is any more important objective before us than to so live that we may enjoy the unifying spirit of the Lord. As Jesus prayed, we must be united if the world is ever to be convinced that he was sent by God his Father to redeem us from our sins.

GORDON B. HINCKLEY - "An Honest Man - God's Noblest Work"

In our childhood we were told the stories of George Washington’s confessing to chopping down the cherry tree and Abraham Lincoln’s walking a great distance to return a small coin to its rightful owner. But clever debunkers in their unrighteous zeal have destroyed faith in such honesty; the media in all too many cases have paraded before us a veritable procession of deception in its many ugly forms.

What was once controlled by the moral and ethical standards of the people, we now seek to handle by public law. And so the statutes multiply, enforcement agencies consume ever-increasing billions, prison facilities are constantly expanded, but the torrent of dishonesty pours on and grows in volume.

Of course, falsehood is not new. It is as old as man. “The Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9.)...

How rare a gem, how precious a jewel is the man or woman in whom there is neither guile nor deception nor falsehood! We have seen in recent weeks the tragedy of dishonesty as accounts of bribes have been carried on the front pages of the papers of the United States, Japan, and Europe. And as those revelations have cascaded forth we have been reminded of the words of Benjamin Franklin: “A small leak will sink a great ship,” and also of the words of Andrew Jackson: “No free government can stand without virtue in the people.”

Wrote the author of Proverbs:

“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
“A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
“An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
“A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Prov. 6:16–19.)

THOMAS S. MONSON - "Hopeless Dawn, Joyful Morning"

Few statements in scripture reveal so clearly a divine truth as does Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22.)

Frequently, death comes as an intruder. It is an enemy that suddenly appears in the midst of life’s feast, putting out its lights and gaiety. It visits the aged as they walk on faltering feet. Its summons is heard by those who have scarcely reached midway in life’s journey, and often it hushes the laughter of little children. Death lays its heavy hand upon those dear to us and at times leaves us baffled and wondering. In certain situations, as in great suffering and illness, death comes as an angel of mercy. But for the most part, we think of it as the enemy of human happiness.

The plight of the widow, for instance, is a recurring theme throughout Holy Writ. Our hearts go out to the widow at Zarephath. Gone was her husband. Consumed was her scant supply of food. Starvation and death awaited. Then came Elijah, God’s prophet, who brought to her, through her faith, heavenly peace...

Several years ago, the Salt Lake City newspapers published an obituary notice of a close friend—a mother and wife taken by death in the prime of her life. I visited the mortuary and joined a host of persons gathered to express condolence to the distraught husband and motherless children. Suddenly the smallest child, Kelly, recognized me and took my hand in hers. “Come with me,” she said, and she led me to the casket in which rested the body of her beloved mother. “I’m not crying,” she said, “and neither must you. Many times my mommy told me about death and life with Heavenly Father. I belong to my mommy and my daddy. We’ll all be together again.” To my mind came the words of the Psalmist: “Out of the mouth of babes … hast thou ordained strength.” (Ps. 8:2.)

Through tear-moistened eyes, I saw my young friend’s beautiful and faith-filled smile. For her, whose tiny hand yet clasped mine, there would never be a hopeless dawn. Sustained by her unfailing testimony, knowing that life continues beyond the grave, she, her father, her brothers, her sisters, and indeed all who share this knowledge of divine truth can declare to the world: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Ps. 30:5.)

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