Wednesday, August 20, 2014

General Conference Highlights: October 1978

I went over every talk in this General Conference, as it was the first one after Pres. Kimball's opening of the Priesthood to all races. I included the talks of a couple Apostles I don't usually quote because I liked them, and it was McConkie who specifically addressed the lifting of the Priesthood ban. It was also the first time they held a Women's Session.


First Presidency
-Marion G. Romney -First Counselor
-N. Eldon Tanner -Second Counselor

Quorum of the 12 Apostles
EZRA TAFT BENSON -President of Q12
-Mark E. Peterson
-LeGrand Richards
-Boyd K. Packer
-Marvin J. Ashton
-Bruce R. McConkie
-L. Tom Perry
-David B. Haight
-James E. Faust

Pres. SPENCER W. KIMBALL -  "Hold Fast to the Iron Rod"

This growth is cause for thanksgiving and praise to the Lord for divine direction of this program of saving souls and bringing them into the fold of Christ. While much has been done and accomplished, much more remains to be done. We must go forward in courage and great boldness to proclaim Jesus Christ as the resurrected Lord and the Redeemer of mankind...

We see about us constant change. Even the pace of life itself has speeded up. Sometimes it seems that the world is undergoing such throes of change that people are disoriented, not knowing what is of value. Right and wrong, however, are as they always were. The principles of the gospel are unaltered. All of men’s evil speaking and all of men’s evil acting cannot alter one jot or tittle of the commandments of God.

The forces of good are clearly and continually under attack. There are times when it seems the world is almost drowning in a flood of filth and degradation. And I want to cry out, “Hold on! Hold on to what is right and true. Therein is safety. Don’t let yourself be swept away.”..

It is not enough to refrain from adultery. We need to make the marriage relationship sacred, to sacrifice and work to maintain the warmth and respect which we enjoyed during courtship. God intended marriage to be eternal, sealed by the power of the priesthood, to last beyond the grave. Daily acts of courtesy and kindness, conscientiously and lovingly carried out, are part of what the Lord expects.

It is for us to keep our hearts and minds pure, as well as our actions.

SWK - "Fundamental Principles to Ponder and Live" (from Priesthood session)

My brothers in the priesthood, it was a great thrill recently to have tens of thousands of the sisters of the Church assemble in hundreds of places around the world in a special meeting for the women of the Church. You will have had your own reports from your wives and sisters, mothers, and daughters about the meeting. We feel gratified that we were able to hold the meeting and that technology made it possible. We love the women of the Church! We have great respect for them.

In following up on that event, I want to counsel you as sons, brothers, fathers, and husbands. As you serve with the women of the Church, follow what Paul said when he urged Timothy to “intreat … the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity” (1 Tim. 5:1–2). We men of the priesthood ought to so do. We must be different than other men, and I am sure most priesthood holders are. Paul’s suggestion that we treat older women as if they were our mothers and younger women as if they were our sisters and to do so with “all purity” is excellent instruction. Men of the world may disregard women or see them only as objects of desire or as someone to be used for selfish purposes. Let us, however, be different in our conduct and in our relationships with women.

Peter urged us to give honor unto our wives. (See 1 Pet. 3:7.) It seems to me we should be even more courteous to our wives and mothers, our sisters and our daughters, than we are to others. When Paul said that a man who did not provide for his own and those of his own household was “worse than an infidel” (1 Tim. 5:8), I like to think of providing for our own as including providing them with affectional security as well as economic security. When the Lord told us in this dispensation that “women have claim on their husbands for their maintenance” (D&C 83:2), I like to think of maintenance as including our obligation to maintain loving affection and to provide consideration and thoughtfulness as well as food...

I also would like to add some of my feelings concerning the unnecessary shedding of blood and destruction of life. I think that every soul should be impressed by the sentiments that have been expressed here by the prophets.

And not less with reference to the killing of innocent birds is the wildlife of our country that live upon the vermin that are indeed enemies to the farmer and to mankind. It is not only wicked to destroy them, it is a shame, in my opinion. I think that this principle should extend not only to the bird life but to the life of all animals. For that purpose I read the scripture where the Lord gave us all the animals. Seemingly, he thought it was important that all these animals be on the earth for our use and encouragement.

President Joseph F. Smith said, “When I visited, a few years ago, the Yellowstone National Park, and saw in the streams and the beautiful lakes, birds swimming quite fearless of man, allowing passers-by to approach them as closely almost as tame birds, and apprehending no fear of them, and when I saw droves of beautiful deer [feeding] along the side of the road, as fearless of the presence of men as any domestic animal, it filled my heart with a degree of peace and joy that seemed to be almost a foretaste of that period hoped for when there shall be none to hurt and none to molest in all the land, especially among all the inhabitants of Zion. These same birds, if they were to visit other regions, inhabited by man, would, on account of their tameness, doubtless become more easily a prey to the gunner. The same may be said of those beautiful creatures—the deer and the antelope. If they should wander out of the park, beyond the protection that is established there for these animals, they would become, of course, an easy prey to those who were seeking their lives. I never could see why a man should be imbued with a blood-thirsty desire to kill and destroy animal life. I have known men—and they still exist among us—who enjoy what is, to them, the ‘sport’ of hunting birds and slaying them by the hundreds, and who will come in after a day’s sport, boasting of how many harmless birds they have had the skill to slaughter, and day after day, during the season when it is lawful for men to hunt and kill (the birds having had a season of protection and not apprehending danger) go out by scores or hundreds, and you may hear their guns early in the morning on the day of the opening, as if great armies had met in battle; and the terrible work of slaughtering the innocent birds goes on.

“I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he needs them for food, and then he should not kill innocent little birds that are not intended for food for man. I think it is wicked for men to thirst in their souls to kill almost everything which possesses animal life. It is wrong, and I have been surprised at prominent men whom I have seen whose very souls seemed to be athirst for the shedding of animal blood.” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939, pp. 265–66.)..

It is quite a different matter when a pioneer crossing the plains would kill a buffalo to bring food to his children and his family. There were also those vicious men who would kill buffalo only for their tongues and skins, permitting the life to be sacrificed and the food also to be wasted.

When asked how he governed so many people, the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.”...

There are many nations where we have not been able to get in, to get visas, or get passports; and it is very important. If we are to fulfill the responsibility given to us by the Lord on the Mount of Olives to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, then we will need to open the doors to these nations. I mentioned this the other day to the brethren in the Regional Representatives meeting. We’ve hardly scratched the surface. We need far more missionaries, and we need more countries that will think of us as being their friends and will give us an opportunity to come into their nations and give to their people the finest thing in the world—the gospel of Christ—which can be their salvation and their great happiness.

I’m hoping that every man and boy listening to me this night will make it a solemn practice in regular life to pray constantly for this great blessing to bless the brethren who are making a special effort to reach the leaders of these nations and to convince them that we have only good for their people. We will make them good citizens, we will make them good souls, and we will make them happy and joyous.

SWK - "An Eternal Hope in Christ"

We have an eternal hope in Christ. We know this life is given us to prepare for eternity, “and that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy” (D&C 130:2).

We believe, and it is our testimony, and we proclaim it to the world “that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17).

We know, and it is our testimony, and we also proclaim it to the world that to be saved men must “believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:18)....

To the testimonies of these mighty men and apostles of old—our brethren in the ministry of the same Master—I add my own testimony. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.

He is my friend, my Savior, my Lord, my God. With all my heart I pray that the Saints may keep his commandments, have his Spirit, and gain an eternal inheritance with him in celestial glory.

SWK - "Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters" (from Women's Session)

As one of the few men privileged to be with you in this momentous gathering, I come to you tonight with a message of peace and hope and love, a message of advice and counsel, a message of faith and encouragement and confidence. I trust that what I say will be helpful and beneficial to you.

May I begin with re-emphasizing some everlasting truths. My dear sisters, choose to keep the commandments of God. For men, for women, for young, for old, this is the secret to happiness, here and hereafter. Keeping them with self-mastery and personal discipline allows the real freedoms that exalt and sustain us. The basic commandments are as simple as they are true: the Ten Commandments as given by God to Moses and the addition to them of what the Savior said—to love the Lord with all your heart, mind, might and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.

Attend to your personal and family prayers and family devotions. Keep the Sabbath day holy in thought and deed. Live strictly the Word of Wisdom. Attend to all family duties. Keep your life clean and free from all unholy and impure thoughts and actions. Cultivate those associations and activities which will not threaten and lower your high, righteous standards...

Now, the General Authorities are very much aware of the fact that many of our sisters are widows. Others have become divorced. Still others have never had the privilege of temple marriage. We want all such sisters to understand that when we speak of family life, it is not done to make them feel sad or unappreciated. The leaders of the Church have said often, and clearly, that women in such circumstances include some of the most noble spirits of our Father in Heaven. Those who make the best of what life has given to them will be rewarded for all that they have done in the service of our Heavenly Father and their fellowman...

The great women of the kingdom have often been uprooted with their husbands and families and have been moved hither and yon, yet they never worried about God’s forgetting them, because they worshipped a God who governs the galaxies but who, in the midst of such vastness, continues to love each of his children perfectly, individually, and constantly.

Each of you should be grateful to be a woman! Self-pity is always a sad thing to see and especially when there is no justification for it. To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times. She has been placed here to help to enrich, to protect, and to guard the home—which is society’s basic and most noble institution. Other institutions in society may falter and even fail, but the righteous woman can help to save the home, which may be the last and only sanctuary some mortals know in the midst of storm and strife.

EZRA TAFT BENSON - "Worthy of All Acceptation"

If you have not already done so, may I encourage you to organize your immediate and grandparent families and prepare your individual and family histories.

“Let us go to and attend to our ordinances, then when we go to the spirit world and meet with father, mother, brother or sister they cannot rise up and accuse us of negligence. … These [temple] ordinances have been revealed to us; we understand them, and unless we attend to them we shall fall under condemnation.” (Wilford Woodruff, in Journal of Discourses, 13:327.)

“Shall we not,” as the Prophet Joseph Smith declared, “go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, … and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.

“… Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in His holy temple … a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation.” (D&C 128:22, 24; italics added.)

HOWARD W. HUNTER - "True Religion"

The word religion has no one generally accepted definition. Sometimes it is used in reference to worship, whether it be public or private, and sometimes to distinguish between things sacred and those that are profane or worldly. Belief in the immortality of the soul is a concept that is looked upon by some as religious, and one of the most common uses of the term is the belief in deity or deities—a worship of God. The word religion is often associated with the pursuit of what is commonly called salvation, and sometimes with revelation from a divine source...

James said: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). The wording is simple and unpretentious, yet the meaning is profound and has deep significance. The words “visit the fatherless and widows” are a reminder that we should have compassion for our neighbor—our fellowmen. This is the teaching of the Master in his frequent reference to love. The Lord said: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:39). This is what James was expressing—a love for, and devotion to, God, by compassionate service to fellowmen. He used as examples the fatherless and the widows.

The second element of the definition of religion stated by James is to keep “unspotted from the world.” To be unspotted from the world simply means being unworldly and free from the pollution of sin and unrighteousness. Paul said something about this also in his writing to the Romans: “Be not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2).

In short, James tells us that true religion is a devotion to God, demonstrated by love and compassion for fellowmen, coupled with unworldliness. Such a statement seems too simple to be sufficient, but in its simplicity it speaks an important truth. Restated it may be said that true religion consists not only in refraining from evil (that is, remaining unspotted), but in deliberately and purposefully doing acts of kindness and service to others.

GORDON B. HINCKLEY - "Behold Your Little Ones"

When I met one of my childhood friends the other day, there came a train of memories of the neighborhood in which we grew up. It was a microcosm of the world, with many varieties of people. They were a close-knit group, and I think we knew them all. I think, also, we loved them all—that is, except for one man. I must make a confession: I detested that man. I have since repented of that emotion, but as I look back, I can sense again the intensity of my feeling. His young boys were our friends, but he was my enemy. Why this strong antipathy? Because he whipped his children with strap or stick or whatever came to hand as his vicious anger flared on the slightest provocation.

Perhaps it was because of the home in which I lived, where there was a father who, by some quiet magic, was able to discipline his family without the use of any instrument of punishment, though on occasion they may have deserved it.

I have seen the fruits of that neighbor’s temper come alive again in the troubled lives of his children. I have since discovered that he was one of that very substantial body of parents who seem incapable of anything but harshness toward those for whose coming into the world they are responsible. I have also come to realize that this man, who walks in the memories of my childhood, is but an example of tens of thousands in this land and uncounted thousands across the world who are known as child abusers. Every social worker, every duty officer in the emergency room of a large hospital, every policeman and judge in a large city can tell you of them. The whole tragic picture is one of beatings, kicking, slamming, and even of sexual assault on small children. And akin to these are those vicious men and women who exploit children for pornographic purposes.

I have no disposition to dwell on this ugly picture. I wish only to say that no man who is a professed follower of Christ and no man who is a professed member of this church can engage in such practices without offending God and repudiating the teachings of his Son. It was Jesus himself who, while holding before us the example of the purity and innocence of children, declared, “Whoso shall offend one of these little ones … , it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6).

THOMAS S. MONSON - "Profiles of Faith"

Youth is not a time of ease nor of freedom from perplexing questions. It wasn’t then, and it surely isn’t today. In fact, as time passes it seems that the difficulties of youth increase in size and scope. Temptation continues to loom large on life’s horizon. Accounts of violence, theft, drug abuse, and pornography blare forth from the television screen and peer constantly from most daily newspapers. Such examples blur our vision and fault our thinking. Soon assumptions become generally accepted opinions, and all youth everywhere are categorized as “not so good as yesteryear,” or “the worst generation yet.” How wrong are such opinions! How incorrect are such statements!

True, today is a new day with new trials, new troubles, and new temptations, but hundreds of thousands of Latter-day Saint youth strive constantly and serve diligently, true to the faith, as their counterparts of earlier years so nobly did. Because the contrast between good and evil is so stark, the exceptions to the prevailing trends are magnified, observed, and appreciated by decent persons throughout the world.

Marvin J. Ashton - "Who Will Forfeit the Harvest?"

Will we forfeit the harvest because we cannot accept direction, revelation, or counsel from someone who just lives down the street, in the ward, or in the stake? Will we reject leadership from the churchman who is human, with frailties, and who has family members who may be quite human also?

While we are struggling with an “Is-not-this-the-carpenter’s-son?” attitude, we may be missing the truth, the way, and the ultimate harvest. Jesus was not accepted as the Only Begotten Son of God because thousands preferred to recognize him as “just the child of Mary.”

The worth and significance of a President Joseph Fielding Smith, Brigham Young, or Joseph Smith is not measured by his physical stature, wearing apparel, or public image. Whether eternal truths were taught by one who dwelled near the Sea of Galilee or by one who lived in upstate New York, the size, origin, image, or popularity of the teachers can not detract from the value of the truths which they shared...

If our roots are deep, we will welcome continuing revelation, change, and direction. We will develop the ability to accept releases, callings, and new challenges with enthusiasm. We will be too busy to be offended. We will be too big to be hurt. We will serve wherever we are called with anxious dedication. We will accept people for what they are and what they can and do become. Change will not only drive our roots deeper but cause them to grow into new and fertile soil.

Bruce R. McConkie - "Thou Shalt Receive Revelation"

We cannot speak of revelation without bearing testimony of the great and wondrous outpouring of divine knowledge that came to President Spencer W. Kimball setting forth that the priesthood and all of the blessings and obligations of the gospel should now be offered to those of all nations, races, and colors.

Truly, the Holy Ghost is a revelator. He speaks and his voice is the voice of the Lord. He is Christ’s minister, his agent, his representative. He says what the Lord Jesus would say if he were personally present.

Speaking “unto all those who” are “ordained unto” his “priesthood,” the Lord says: “And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:2–4).

Truly this is that promised day when “every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world” (D&C 1:20)....

even now there is no end to the revelations we may receive. “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (A of F 1:9).

To the prophets, seers, and revelators he will manifest his mind and his will concerning the Church and the world. To the presiding officers in the stakes and wards and quorums he will reveal what should be for those organizations. To fathers and mothers and children he will reveal “great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures” (D&C 89:19) to guide them along the way to perfection.

It is his will that we gain testimonies, that we seek revelation, that we covet to prophesy, that we desire spiritual gifts, and that we seek the face of the Lord.

The Lord wants all his children to gain light and truth and knowledge from on high. It is his will that we pierce the veil and rend the heavens and see the visions of eternity.

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