SPENCER W. KIMBALL -84
-Marion G. Romney -81
-N. Eldon Tanner -80
Quorum of the 12 Apostles
EZRA TAFT BENSON -79
-Mark E. Peterson -78
-LeGrand Richards -93
HOWARD W. HUNTER -71
GORDON B. HINCKLEY -68
THOMAS S. MONSON -51
-Boyd K. Packer -54
-Marvin J. Ashton -63
-Bruce R. McConkie -63
-L. Tom Perry -56
-David B. Haight -72
-James E. Faust -58
Pres. SPENCER W. KIMBALL - "Fortify Your Homes Against Evil"
We are happy to see the further expansion of our vast Church Welfare program, with new bishops’ storehouses and production units for relief of the poor. The Savior has commanded and charged us with the care of the poor among us since the very earliest days of the Church—even to the directing of the ways in which the responsibility should be discharged—a program which has always stressed the independence of the individual by helping provide work opportunities and guiding lines for those who need rehabilitation. We feel very happy with this growth and all other growth that is being displayed in the Church in all the lands where we go.
Each of our quorums of the priesthood has increased steadily in membership, as also have our auxiliaries working especially among the children, the youth, and the women of the Church.
In all of this evidence of progress, there is cause for rejoicing, but unfortunately we cannot proclaim that “all is well in Zion.” We find that we Latter-day Saints are also vulnerable to the destructive forces of evil that are all about us in this sin-sick world. Of the greatest concern in this day are those evils which tear at the fabric of the home and family...
Home life, proper teaching in the home, parental guidance and leadership—these are the panacea for the ailments of the world and its children. They are the cure for spiritual and emotional diseases and the remedy for its problems. Parents should not leave the training of children to others.
There seems to be a growing tendency to shift this responsibility from the home to outside influences such as the school and the church, and of greater concern, to various child-care agencies and institutions. Important as these outward influences may be, they never can adequately take the place of the influence of the mother and the father. Constant training, constant vigilance, companionship, and being watchmen of our own children are necessary in order to keep our homes intact and to bless our children in the Lord’s own way...
There seems to be a growing trend against marriage from degenerate areas of the world and a very strong trend toward marriage without children. Naturally the next question is, “Why marry?” And the “antimarriage revolution” comes into focus. Arguments are given that children are a burden, a tie, a responsibility. Many have convinced themselves that education, freedom from restraint and responsibility—that is the life. And unfortunately this benighted and destructive idea is taking hold of some of our own people.
Marriage is ordained of God. It is a necessary and delightful condition. It is the only true state, and the failure of many marriages does not change the rightness of marriage.
As we enter into an eternal marriage and seek to fortify our family unit against that which would destroy our celestial happiness, let us remember also that the Lord will not leave us alone to accomplish this task.
SWK - "Preparing for Service in the Church" (from Priesthood Session)
Alma tells us that the Lord “Imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times which confound the wise and the learned.” (Alma 32:23.)
Young children are just as much entitled to the blessings of the Lord as are their parents. Joseph Smith was only fourteen years of age when the Father and the Son appeared to him to usher in this dispensation. He was seventeen when Moroni visited him and revealed to him the hiding place of the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated.
Young people should study the gospel, prepare themselves for service in the Church, and keep the commandments as diligently as it is possible to do.
SWK - "Let Us Move Forward and Upward"
Now, my brothers and sisters, it seems clear to me, indeed, this impression weighs upon me—that the Church is at a point in its growth and maturity when we are at last ready to move forward in a major way. Some decisions have been made and others pending, which will clear the way, organizationally. But the basic decisions needed for us to move forward, as a people, must be made by the individual members of the Church. The major strides which must be made by the Church will follow upon the major strides to be made by us as individuals.
We have paused on some plateaus long enough. Let us resume our journey forward and upward. Let us quietly put an end to our reluctance to reach out to others—whether in our own families, wards, or neighborhoods. We have been diverted, at times, from fundamentals on which we must now focus in order to move forward as a person or as a people...
Only as we see clearly the responsibilities of each individual and the role of families and the home can we properly understand that the priesthood quorums and the auxiliary organizations, even wards and stakes, exist primarily to help members live the gospel in the home. However, church programs should always support and never detract from gospel-centered family activities.
Members should achieve personal and family preparedness, assisting and strengthening their own family members and others temporally and spiritually in the Lord’s way.
All should work together to make home a place where we love to be, a place of listening and learning, a place where each member can find mutual love, support, appreciation, and encouragement.
Let us “be of good cheer” (D&C 78:18), for the Lord will, as he has promised, lead us along and show us the way. He will help us as we decide from day to day on the allocation of our time and talent. We will move faster if we hurry less. We will make more real progress if we focus on the fundamentals. We will even come to know more as we serve more, for as we learn to bear more we are made ready to hear more (see John 16:12 and Mark 4:33).
EZRA TAFT BENSON - "This Is a Day of Sacrifice"
To sacrifice, deny yourself all ungodliness. This applies to members and nonmembers alike, for we are all children of one Father, who desires us to become as He is. Moroni, a Book of Mormon prophet, described the way:
“Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moro. 10:32; italics added).
The Savior himself declared: “Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day” (3 Ne. 27:20; italics added).
To deny oneself of all ungodliness is to come to Christ by ordinances and covenants to repent of any sins which prevent the Spirit of the Lord from taking precedence in our lives. To deny oneself of all ungodliness is to “offer a sacrifice unto the Lord thy God … , even that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (D&C 59:8).
It is a willingness to forgo personal bad habits such as tobacco, alcohol, profanity, an unruly temper, and immorality—habits which cause us, the children of God, to be less than our destiny...
Now, I want to speak frankly to you young men and young women of the Church. When you marry, your decision not only affects you, but your future children and generations after you. Every child born to Latter-day Saint parents deserves to be born under the covenant of temple blessings...
Don’t trifle away your happiness by an involvement with someone who cannot take you worthily to the temple. Make a decision now that this is the place where you will marry. To leave that decision until a romantic involvement develops is to take a risk, the importance of which you can’t calculate now.
I would urge you further to pray about this matter. Obtain the testimony of the truth of these things before a romantic involvement can take root. Covenant with your Heavenly Father that you will do His will. Live a clean, moral life, and be worthy of His spirit to bless you.
Developing spirituality and attuning ourselves to the highest influences of godliness is not an easy matter. It takes time and frequently involves a struggle. It will not happen by chance, but is accomplished only through deliberate effort and by calling upon God and keeping his commandments.
The Apostle Paul spent much of his life teaching and encouraging spirituality in the then far-flung missions of the world. He frequently used terminology from the sports, games, and athletic contests. He said that a Saint successfully keeping the commandments is like an athlete winning his contest; that comparable degrees of training, exertion, obedience to the rules, self-discipline, and the will to win are involved. To the Corinthians he wrote words, which paraphrased, are to this effect: “You know (do you not?) that at the sports all the runners run the race, though only one wins the prize. Like them, run to win! Now every athlete goes into strict training. They do it to win a perishable wreath, but our wreath will last forever. For my part I run with a clear goal before me. (See 1 Cor. 9:24–26.)...
Part of our difficulty as we strive to acquire spirituality is the feeling that there is much to do and that we are falling far short. Perfection is something yet ahead for every one of us; but we can capitalize on our strengths, begin where we are, and seek after the happiness that can be found in pursuing the things of God. We should remember the Lord’s counsel:
“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
“Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.” (D&C 64:33–34.)
“And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” (Matt. 26:69–75; italics added.)
What pathos there is in those words! Peter, affirming his loyalty, his determination, his resolution, said that he would never deny. But the fear of men came upon him and the weakness of his flesh overtook him, and under the pressure of accusation, his resolution crumbled. Then, recognizing his wrong and weakness, “he went out, and wept.”
As I have read this account my heart goes out to Peter. So many of us are so much like him. We pledge our loyalty; we affirm our determination to be of good courage; we declare, sometimes even publicly, that come what may we will do the right thing, that we will stand for the right cause, that we will be true to ourselves and to others.
Then the pressures begin to build. Sometimes these are social pressures. Sometimes they are personal appetites. Sometimes they are false ambitions. There is a weakening of the will. There is a softening of discipline. There is capitulation. And then there is remorse, self-accusation, and bitter tears of regret...
Now, if there be any within the sound of my voice today who by word or act have denied the faith, I pray that you may draw comfort and resolution from the example of Peter who, though he had walked daily with Jesus, in an hour of extremity denied both the Lord and the testimony which he carried in his own heart. But he rose above this, and became a mighty defender and a powerful advocate. So too, there is a way for you to turn about, and add your strength and faith to the strength and faith of others in building the kingdom of God...
My beloved brethren and sisters who may also have drifted, the Church needs you, and you need the Church. You will find many ears that will listen with understanding. There will be many hands to help you find your way back. There will be hearts to warm your own. There will be tears, not of bitterness but of rejoicing. May the Lord touch you by the power of his Spirit to increase your desire. May he strengthen your resolution.
The priesthood represents a mighty army of righteousness—even a royal army. We are led by a prophet of God. In supreme command is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our marching orders are clear. They are concise. Matthew describes our challenge in these words from the Master: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:19–20.) Did those early disciples listen to this divine command? Mark records, “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them” (Mark 16:20).
The command to go has not been rescinded. Rather, it has been reemphasized. Today twenty-eight thousand missionaries are serving in response to the call. Additional thousands will soon respond. Nine new missions will be created in July, bringing the total number of missions to 175. What a thrilling and challenging time in which to live!
You who hold the Aaronic Priesthood and honor it have been reserved for this special period in history. The harvest truly is great. Let there be no mistake about it; the opportunity of a lifetime is yours. The blessings of eternity await you.