At this point in church history, David O. McKay had been president for nine years. Gordon B. Hinckley was serving as one of the assistants to the Twelve. Thomas S. Monson, age 32, was presiding over the Canadian mission. I also decided to include parts of every talk given.
DAVID O. McKAY -86
J. Reuben Clark -89
Henry D. Moyle -70
Quorum of the 12 Apostles
JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH -84
HAROLD B. LEE -61
SPENCER W. KIMBALL -65
EZRA TAFT BENSON -60
Mark E. Petersen -59
Delbert L. Stapley -63
Marion G. Romney -62
LeGrand Richards -74
Richard L. Evans -54
George Q. Morris -86
Hugh B. Brown -77
HOWARD W. HUNTER -52
First there was a video presentation on the church's servicemen committee, which deals with church members enlisted in the armed forces throughout the world. It was put together by Harold B. Lee and Bruce R. McConkie, then a member of the Presidency of the Seventy. McConkie also read letters they've received from different chaplains, complementing the church on how LDS soldiers conduct themselves. Then they went into regular speakers.
We are indeed preparing for the Second Coming of Christ. This is the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times...
I do not know where we can find a more wonderful description of the world today and the need for the work and the power, loyalty and devotion of the Priesthood, than we do in the 84th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants:
"And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin.Teach the gospel to your family in the most direct way, as well as give to your friends a knowledge of the gospel. This will be satisfying to you and give you the feeling that you have done your duty in large measure toward these friends and neighbors who might otherwise live and die in our midst without the benefit of having heard the gospel...
"And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me.
"For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin....
It is our feeling, brethren, that every auxiliary organization of the Church should put aside many other objectives for the moment at least, and concentrate in their auxiliary work in building up the desires of our people, certainly our parents, to have their sons and daughters go on missions. The auxiliary organizations cannot do this alone. They need the help of the home.
We are all bearers of it, the Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God. What is this Priesthood that we have? We have had our definitions. I will come to them, if I may, just a few minutes later. But I have thought that I would like to look first somewhat at the work of our Savior. His work was performed through faith. If you will examine a little bit carefully His life, you will find that in His miracles He performed many of the great functions of creation. He worked, I repeat, by the power of the Priesthood.
You will remember that He walked upon the water, thus defying and overruling, so far as we can see, the principle of gravity. You will remember that Peter asked to be bidden to come to Him. Peter being so bidden, got out of the boat and walked a short distance on the water and then becoming fearful, he began to sink and called to the Lord for help, and the Lord said to him, "O thou of little faith. . . ."
We have been given that Priesthood which carries in it this great power of faith. It has been given to us, you, me, and all who are listening in of the brethren holding the Priesthood.
What about it? Paul said, . . . faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb. 11:1, I.V.) I have never been able quite to understand that, but I can understand what has been said either by the Prophet Joseph or with his approval, found in the old "Lectures on Faith" in the Doctrine and Covenants. He said:
"By this we understand that the principle of power which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and that it is by reason of this principle of power existing in the Deity, that all created things exist; so that all things in heaven, on earth, or under the earth, exist by reason of faith as it existed in Him." (Lectures on Faith, 1:15.)
As I think about faith, this principle of power, I am obliged to believe that it is an intelligent force. Of what kind, I do not know. But it is superior to and overrules all other forces of which we know. It is the principle, the force, by which the dead are restored to life.
"Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.
"He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand. Even so. Amen."
Two things mentioned in that revelation point out important elements in the Priesthood.
First, learning one's duty, and that means learning what kind of life a man who holds the Priesthood should live, being true to himself, to his loved ones, to the Church, to God. Every individual has that duty, and particularly every individual who holds the Priesthood. If he is honest to himself he is honest with the brethren; he is fair in his dealings in business circles; in politics he speaks the truth; he merits the confidence of his associates in business, civic areas, and particularly he should live so as to merit the confidence of members of the Church who trust him.
But the Lord was not content when he gave to the individual the Priesthood. He organized those men who were true in upholding the ideals of the Priesthood into groups that they might render group service to their fellow men...
It is the duty of leaders in Priesthood quorums to watch over their members, to teach them their duty. They can do that independently of the ward bishopric. They do it because it is their own responsibility; it is their duty to have their members fit to be called into ward activity, stake activity, missionary activity.
(My thoughts: The Second Coming hasn't been brought up as much in recent decades as it used to be, from what I've read. There seemed to be this real, impending sense that it was near, but somewhere around the 1980's, there seemed to be less emphasis. Not that it won't happen, but maybe it's not as close as they once thought, as though leadership figures it could just as easily be 210 years away as 10 years away. We just don't know.
I like that Clark was speculating over the pulpit. He has this theory about the intelligence of faith he hadn't fully worked on in his mind, but he was willing to share where his mind currently was on the topic. Correlation hadn't really kicked in yet, so there was still a little more looseness to GC talks.
McKay was big on duty, and Pres. Monson was a big fan of McKay. Since joining the First Presidency, Monson's never gone two Conferences in a row without mentioning the "duty" of those who hold the Priesthood.)
==Sunday Morning Session==
DAVID O. McKAY - "We are living in perilous times." That is what they said when I was a boy. That is what people thought and said in the days of the apostles, following the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That is what people thought and said three thousand years before the Savior came to the earth, if we can rely upon writings taken from an Assyrian tablet dated 2800 years before Christ...
The daily press gives ample evidence that there seems to be a general distrust of our young folk. The great majority of them want to know what is right. I have confidence in our young people. It is our duty to show them a proper example. Most of them today will follow it, notwithstanding the fact that they are living in an age full of mysteries and discoveries never before known in the world. Man holds dominion over earth, sea, and air, and now is intent upon conquering space.
Just recently the United States sent a new messenger out among the planets. Pioneer Five, a 94.8-pound sphere only 26 inches in diameter, was the first interplanetary traveler with a far-ranging and long-lasting voice. "If all goes well, scientists will be hearing from Pioneer Five steadily for the next five months, then sporadically for years to come, as it swings back within range." ...
Yes, we are living in an interesting world. There is another side, too. We are told that 120,000 young people from Asia and Africa each year are indoctrinated with the false ideology of Communism — 120,000! There are now 400,000 trained communist missionaries in southern Asia and Africa saying to the hungry masses: "We are here to liberate you. In Russia and China we have found the way — liquidate the rich classes; take all they have; the land and the machinery will be owned by the government. Then everybody will have enough, and nobody will be oppressing the poor. Communism holds a tremendous fascination for the illiterate, hungry, desperate people of Asia and Africa." (Frank C. Laubach in a speech given in Chautauqua, N. Y. 1958.)...
It is implied in the scriptures that the purpose of membership in the kingdom of God is for the fostering of spiritual life — I repeat — and the achievement of moral and charitable ends; in other words, for the developing of the religious sentiment, the true religious spirit.
This may be done in two ways: first, by seeking the truth and living in harmony with it; and, second, by resisting every influence, every power that tends to destroy or to dwarf in any way the religious sentiment.
Life is a great search for all of us. We all have unanswered questions, and I am grateful to witness to you this day that in the gospel of Jesus Christ, as restored to earth in this day and dispensation, I have found, in the faith of my fathers, the road that leads to the answers to life's compelling questions — the road along which the search lies, that gives purpose and meaning to life, a great sense and assurance of the ultimate objectives and of the everlasting continuance of truth and intelligence and personality, and of sweet association with loved ones and all that means the most — a gospel which gives freedom: freedom for the search, freedom for the seeking of truth, freedom for learning, indeed, not only freedom for it but also a solemn charge to pursue it...
I think the young (missionaries) who found my forebears, in effect must have said to them something such as a message Cromwell once sent to some with whom he would reason and persuade from a certain course and to a certain course: "I beseech you . . . think it possible you may be mistaken."
JOSEPH L. WIRTHLIN (Presiding Bishop) - We know Joseph Smith actually saw the Father and the Son. There should be no question about that. He was the first to see the Father and the Son since the apostles were upon the earth nearly 2,000 years ago, and through his testimony we know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is his Son. Having that knowledge and also the priesthood, we, therefore, have the ability and the authority to preach the gospel to the world.
The Prophet Joseph Smith at the age of twenty-two was translating the Book of Mormon that the people of the world might have the privilege of receiving that marvelous book and becoming acquainted with the history of America, that Jesus Christ had been upon this the American continent and that he had taught the Nephites the gospel as he had taught the people in far-off Jerusalem. In translating the gold plates, he came upon a passage concerning baptism. Consequently, he made it a matter of prayer, and in answer to that prayer, there appeared a heavenly being who introduced himself as John the Baptist. If you fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers should properly teach your sons and grandsons, when they receive the Aaronic Priesthood, they will have a testimony that this great event took place, that John the Baptist who baptized the Christ appeared and bestowed the Aaronic Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery...
All of us who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood hold it because Peter, James, and John bestowed it upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. These are the only young men in the history of nearly 2,000 years who have declared that they actually saw Peter, James, and John, and who bestowed upon them the Melchizedek Priesthood.
WILLIAM J. CRITCHLOW (Assistant to Q12) - One scholarly man told me that he could not bring himself to read the Book of Mormon because of the fantastic story concerning its origin.
"Let me see those golden plates — seeing is believing — " he said.
"Perhaps," I admitted, hastening to explain that Joseph Smith returned them to the Angel Moroni who had told him that a sealed part or section of the plates would be translated at a future time when the world was better prepared to receive its message.
"Well," he smiled as he answered facetiously, "when Moroni returns them for translation, give me a ring. I'd like to ask him a few questions."
I suppose there are critics and skeptics whose attitudes toward the Book of Mormon are reflected in this man's philosophy — "seeing is believing." I suppose, too, that some of our young missionaries have wished that Moroni had left the plates with Joseph Smith so that he could have deposited them in some public place, a museum perhaps, where investigators might come to see for themselves and thus be convinced, since seeing is believing.
I wonder! And my wondering inclines me to doubt — even question the idea that — "seeing is believing" — particularly in its application to the golden plates.
Were any of our early missionaries or others ever able to support "seeing is believing" with evidence that the people who saw the papyri scrolls with the Egyptian mummies readily accepted Joseph Smith's translation of one of the scrolls as divinely inspired? The book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price constitutes this translation. Those mummies and scrolls were exhibited over a period of two years, throughout towns and cities east of the Appalachian Mountains. For another nine years they were in Joseph Smith's possession, and after his death they reportedly reposed in museums; first, in St. Louis and later in Chicago, where they were supposedly destroyed in the great fire of 1871. Thousands of people must have seen them. No one, so far as I am able to determine, ever questioned their genuineness, but how many, because they felt "seeing is believing," accepted Joseph Smith's translation as the handiwork of God and petitioned for membership in his (God's) Church? Very, very few — I'm sure. What reason have we then to suspect that seeing the Book of Mormon plates would be different? Were they available for inspection people seeing them may admit that golden plates exist, and that there are engravings upon them — which scholars cannot translate, but would that knowledge silence the attacks of skeptics who surely would impute them to be spurious? Would it abate the endless disputations about their origin, the angel, and the translation by the gift and power of God? Again, I wonder. The more I ponder the suggestion that "seeing is believing" the more convinced I am that the Lord's way was best — he kept the plates.
(My thoughts: Now that we know the translation of the Book of Abraham didn't match what was on the papyri scrolls, I'm more inclined to wish the Lord would give the golden plates back to us, not only to translate the sealed portion, but yes, in this day and age, the physical evidence would lead more to see and believe.)
America needs honor even more than it needs professions of religious piety. What good is a profession of religion in a man who has no honor? Such men lived in the days of Jesus. He called them scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.
Have you been shocked at the public display of deception and dishonesty we have seen recently from coast to coast? Are you alarmed at the lack of character which has been exhibited? Are you frightened when the public conscience is dimmed and when men and women alike strive in greed and selfishness to get all they can and give as little in return as they can?
Are you alarmed when working men laugh at the principle of giving an honest day's work for an honest day's pay? Are you shocked when large industries become involved in public scandals? Does it scare you to learn that our government was defrauded by its own citizens of five billion dollars in income tax in a single year?...
Then in the light of our national moral status, in the knowledge of our great need to teach honor and integrity, in the interest of rearing the next generation to be better than the present one, do we not need more of scouting and other agencies which teach honesty and truth?
Scouting can help make a boy an outstanding man, a good church member, a good student, a good citizen. Then why are not more parents interested in this wonderful movement?
Next Pres. McKay invited Sumner Whittier, National Administrator of Veteran Affairs, to give a few words, who mainly spoke about what a great example Ezra Taft Benson was while he was Secretary of Agriculture under Pres. Eisenhower.
Pres. McKay then read a paragraph or two of messages from different mission presidents.
==Sunday Afternoon Session==
J. REUBEN CLARK - As I have thought about what I might say or try to say, I have rather centered on the thought of the proud boast of Rome, which was, "All roads lead to Rome." And I have thought, and I may say I endorse all that has been said thus far regarding our time and its trends — I have thought how much that fundamental idea in this dictum has come to mean among us. I do not know whether we are in the beginning, in the middle, or near the end of a time when we shall see what historians of the future may call a revolution. And may I say here, and it applies frequently to all of us in principle, we of the present make history, our successors away from us write; and out of it they get things which we do not now presently see. I fear, as I have talked and heard others talk, that there may be a feeling, in fact, I know there is among some, that it does not make very much difference to what church we belong, what creed we may have, and not too much difference, within very broad limitations, what we do. We seem to be, in a way, in the presence of a trend of thought that is national, indeed worldwide, that would have us to believe that all this does not make very much difference, for we will all go to heaven anyhow, do what we will, think what we will, believe what we will, have faith as we may.
I find great fault with that, great fault, and I came across, in connection with this thought, some passages of scripture upon which I thought I might say a few words. They are taken from the Sermon on the Mount and were repeated by the Savior in that great appearance which he made on this continent after his resurrection. They are identical in words. Remember that he said when he came to this continent that he had come to teach them the things that he taught in Palestine. And these words are these:
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:I reflected a bit on where might I go to find the real words of the Savior. I knew I could not go to the Bible. We do not believe the Bible is absolutely correct. Students tell us there are 4500 different manuscripts of the Bible, and a few years ago it was estimated that there were 120,000 variations. Then it came to me almost as a revelation: Why do you not go to the Book of Mormon? So I took Third Nephi. I went over it with great care. I parallel-columned it with the parts of the New Testament concerning the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain. In the Old Testament I noted the instructions to Malachi as they were repeated by the Savior, because they had no record of Malachi, who lived after they left Jerusalem.
"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matt. 7:13-14; 3 Nephi 14:13-14.) ...
I found some differences, some omissions from the word that he was recorded as having spoken in Palestine. But I resorted to the Book of Mormon and to Third Nephi with the feeling that I was getting really what the Savior said. I commend an equal study by you brethren of those great books of the Book of Mormon and so far as the Savior's immediate mission was concerned, Third Nephi. There we may believe we have the true teachings, for the record was made by inspired men, abridged by another inspired man, and translated through the inspiration and revelation of the Lord himself. Brethren, I commend that to you, study it, if you never have done so, you will find great joy in the doing.
ANTOINE R. IVINS (of the Seventy) - Every boy who expects to go on a mission, every boy or girl who aspires to a mission, should, through the way he lives and through his study and his faith and prayer, come to a position so that he can testify to those things before he goes into the mission field.
Now, brethren and sisters, that is not our happy experience always, as directors of this great missionary work. Too often, inexperienced, almost unconverted young people respond to our suggestion. It is almost never that they fail to get that testimony, once they get into the mission field and devote themselves to the work. But cannot you imagine that if that testimony were implanted in their hearts as growing young people, that their lives would be different, so that they would always be entitled to the Spirit of God to guide them and direct them, to help them in their studies and preparation for this great work.
ELRAY L. CHRISTIANSEN (Assistant to Q12) - Brothers and sisters, there can be no substitute for the Lord's plan in redeeming our dead relatives, and no amount of side-stepping our individual responsibility will excuse us for neglecting to do these two important things, namely, identifying the dead from the records available, and then seeing to it that they have received in the temples by proxy the necessary ordinances for their salvation.
We as heads of families must not equivocate in this; we must not procrastinate; we must not assume that Aunt Martha or some other relative is doing all that needs to be done in this respect.
ALMA SONNE (Assistant to Q12) - We can receive the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ without any doubts and without any misgivings. I know of no man in history who has made a bid for world leadership except only Jesus Christ. He actually made a bid to lead the world for he said: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd," (John 10:16) and he, of course, was to be the shepherd, the only one qualified to lead the world back to the place where he and God dwell.
He said, on another occasion, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, ... for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:28-30.) He then admonished his disciples — those twelve wonderful men who went into the world and preached the gospel, revolutionizing the thinking habits of men and women everywhere, planting the seeds of freedom and democracy in the hearts of men, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15.)
Perhaps the two most frequently questioned concepts of the Church have to do with, first, our belief in a living, personal God; and secondly, our understanding of man's unique position and part in his divine plan. It is necessary that one have faith in the first before he can understand and accept the second of these tenets, namely, man's relationship to Deity. If that relationship be real, then certainly man occupies not only a unique but a Godlike status, and it is to that I should like to direct your attention for a moment.
The accomplishments of man in the last one hundred years, his ever-widening search for truth, his insatiable appetite for knowledge, his discovery and partial control of the laws of nature, are convincing evidence of man's supreme position among God's creations. Did any animal ever gaze into the heavens and wonder?...
Within the lifetime of some of us there have come into use such marvels as automobiles, airplanes, wireless communication; and later radio, television, radar, guided missiles, atomic power, etc. As we think of these things, and utilize them, scientists and scholars are turning their attention and their instruments to a consideration of the greatest phenomenon, or, as President Clark has said, God's greatest miracle — man.
We are indebted to an internationally famous scientist, Dr. Henry Eyring, for a learned discussion of man's world. He said:
"We are living in five different worlds, none of which have been fully explored. They differ from each other in the size of the units of space and time.
"1. In our every-day practical world we go along nicely with such units as feet and seconds.
"2. In the chemical world of molecules and atoms, the electrons complete their revolutions in one hundred million millionths of a second, while one hundred million atoms set side by side extend only a distance of one inch.
"3. Inside the nucleus of an atom we enter a third world where events happen a million times faster still and distances are a thousand times smaller than in the atom.
"4. In the fourth world the astronomers measure revolutions of planets in years and the unit of distance, the light year, in about ten thousand million miles.
"5. Finally we come to the spiritual world where time is measured in eternities and space is limitless, thus in thought we can travel from almost infinitesimally small to the infinitely large."
As we consider the vastness of an orderly universe governed by undeviating law, the majesty of the Organizer and the preferred place of man, we are intrigued into a re-evaluation of the meaning and purpose of life.
(My thoughts: I'm sensing a theme of asking questions and seeking truth, but also alarm at the increasing dishonesty in the world.)
== Monday Morning Session ==
HENRY D. MOYLE - There may be men who still continue to contend that there is a conflict between church and religion on one side, and science on the other, but little do they understand that all truths pertaining to science as well as to religion emanate from our Father in heaven. He has power over his truths. He can withhold them from men when there is a purpose in so doing, and likewise can inspire men to discover and recognize truths, and advocate them to their fellow men. And so, science and religion alike are entirely obligated to God, and so are we all. Neither science nor religion can successfully refute the second coming of Christ. The evidence is too complete, too convincing, too much a part of the great eternal plan of God, as much a part and as real as our mortal earth existence. We might as well deny the one as the other...
We assert and testify today ... to all the world, that Christ will return to the earth in power and in glory, and usher in an era of peace, an era during which all shall be committed, transpire, and be accomplished that yet remains to be done before our Savior, Jesus Christ, can report his mission completed here upon this earth to his Father in heaven, having subdued and brought under his feet all things.
This was revealed over thirty centuries ago to Enoch of old, for we read in the book of Moses, Pearl of Great Price: "And it came to pass that Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, in the last days, to dwell on the earth in righteousness for the space of a thousand years." (Moses 7:65.)
Now, our preaching the gospel is itself essential prior to the second coming of Christ. Matthew wrote: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14.)...
Joseph Smith once said: "When I contemplate the rapidity with which the great and glorious day of the coming of the Son of Man advances, when He shall come to receive His Saints unto Himself, where they shall dwell in His presence, and be crowned with glory and immortality: when I consider that soon the heavens are to be shaken, and the earth tremble and reel to and fro; and that the heavens are to be unfolded as a scroll when it is rolled up; and that every mountain and island are to flee away, I cry out in my heart, What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness!"
THORPE B. ISAACSON (First Counselor, Presiding Bishopric) - In Amos 3:7, we are told that, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."
Truly, the Lord does reveal himself constantly to the prophet, the President of the Church. President David O. McKay is a beloved prophet of God, a seer, and a revelator to this people, loved not alone by the people of the Church, but by many in the world who are not members of the Church...
There probably is too much talk about rights and not enough talk about responsibility. Individual responsibility both for the young and the old seems apparent and badly needed today. We have no right passing individual responsibilities on to others.
Reference has been made to scandals, cheating, fake advertising, and misrepresentation from radio and television. Chiseling, deceit, falsifying, gossiping, and talebearing are not frowned upon today as they once were.
"The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth": Those are the familiar words of the legal oath used in the English-speaking world. The whole truth seems to be the heart of the matter. Answering questions in truth and nothing but the truth is one thing, but volunteering the whole truth when it has not been asked for is something else... The television pitfalls and constant unfair advertising are only a sample of the trend of the times. Perhaps this is the first time in modern history that misrepresentation has been bought and paid for and delivered into millions of our homes with scheduled regularity. Dishonesty is sometimes glossed over, and that which we have come to look upon with admiration has turned out to be deceitful...
Have times changed? Yes! But who changed them? It may be well for us to try sorting out the parts that need changing and putting them back in their proper light and place. Let us return to the old principles — love of God and love of fellow men. Love, like all eternal principles, is infinite.
LEVI E. YOUNG (of the Seventy) - Plymouth Rock has long since become the emblem of American freedom, that freedom born of a proper respect for the rights of all men and the recognition of the permanency of religion. The Pilgrim Fathers were men of deep faith in the Providence of God. Their coming to America over the uncharted deep was an event ordered of God for the ultimate bringing in of his kingdom upon the earth. Many centuries before the birth of the Savior, the Prophet Nephi wrote these words as he looked into the future:
"And it came to pass that I looked and beheld many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren.It was by divine guidance that the Pilgrim Fathers came to America and planted here the institutions of civilization. By the Mayflower Compact they established a republic, the highest form of political institution known to man. Such a republic was unknown up to their time, and this was the only land where a nation of this kind was possible. This continent had been unknown until the right men, rightly trained, could build their homes in the wilderness and hold the ground for a purpose larger than they knew. These Christians had in mind a new city of God in the wilderness, and they made the fish the emblem of their commonwealth, which has from old been the symbol of Christian humility.
"And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.
"And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.
"And it came to pass that I Nephi beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord." (1 Nephi 13:10, 12-13, 16.)
ELDRED G. SMITH (Patriarch to the Church) - We have in the Church approximately four hundred such patriarchs, ordained to give patriarchal blessings. We have a representative group of them here with us today. These men are noble and humble, worthy men, especially ordained priesthood officers, whom the Lord has placed in his Church to serve you in giving you patriarchal blessings.
It is most desirable that they do not come to you to give you a blessing and announce that they have a blessing for you. It is more desirable that you go to them. They make themselves available. There is at least one patriarch in each stake of Zion, so that all the membership of the Church has the opportunity of receiving such blessings. Those who live in the mission field, where there are no ordained patriarchs, have the privilege of coming to the stakes and receiving blessings from stake patriarchs, or they may come to my office. And that is the primary work that I do — give blessings to those from the mission field who come to me.
STERLING W. SILL (Assistant to Q12) - We are greatly disturbed whenever evil is brought upon one person by someone else; for example we were upset when Russia closed her church doors by governmental decree. Russian leaders are presently trying to terminate any personal relationship which otherwise might exist between God and the people of Russia. But what Russia has done officially, many of us are doing individually. That is, what good does it do if our churches are open if we are not in them? Or, how much better off are we than the Russians if we do not manifest our faith by our works.
The chief representative of the great communist state which is disputing our way of life was recently invited to be our guest in this country. And as he went about among us, he talked of "burying" us and our way of life. He talked about competing with us in the manufacture of guided missiles, intercontinental rockets, and other instruments of destruction. He said nothing about competing with us in freedom or human dignity. He said nothing about competing with us in the individual welfare of people. And I thought what a stimulating thing it would be if the great nations were vigorously competing with one another for leadership in faith in God and the individual righteousness of people.
In 1958 The U.S. News & World Report carried an interesting headline: "What 22 Years of U.S.-Soviet Talks Have Produced." The article pointed out that during this period 3400 meetings had been held between high diplomatic representatives of the United States and the Soviet Union. During this time they had made fifty-two major agreements, fifty of which had already been broken by the Russians...
Nancy Hanks directed one of her blessings toward her son Abraham Lincoln. And later in his life he said, "All that I am or ever hope to be I owe to my angel mother." Jesus conferred one of his blessings upon Simon Peter and raised the life of this humble fisherman to one of great spiritual power.
We may confer as many blessings as we like, on whomever we like, by the inspiration of our own lives. We speak a great deal in the Church about our right to receive inspiration from God, and that is a tremendous blessing. But the thing we don't always understand is our right to give inspiration. Yet if there should be subtracted from each of us the good that we have received from someone else, there might not be very much of any of us left...
The creation of man is not something that was finished and done with in the Garden of Eden 6,000 years ago. The creation of man is still going on, and we are the creators; that is, we are creating the faith and the enthusiasm and the attitudes which will determine what men and women will be throughout all of eternity.
(My thoughts: You can see how the weight of the Cold War is bearing down on them. The troubling rise of Communism.)
==Monday Afternoon Session==
The world has not realized it, or they would repent of their sins. For some fifteen hundred years or more, perhaps, the world had lost the truth in relation to the Father and the Son and in the year 325, at a conclave that was held, they adopted a new idea entirely in regard to God and confused the Father and the Son, and the Christian world, from that day down until now, has looked upon the Father and the Son as being mysterious — I cannot say individuals, nor can I say substance, but some sort of spirit without separation and the idea of the separate individuals, Father and Son, from that day on ceased to exist.
Now, if the Prophet was telling a falsehood when he went into the woods to pray, he never would have come out and said that he had seen a vision of the Father and the Son and that they were separate Personages, and that the Father introduced the Son and then told the Prophet to address his question to the Son, who would give him the answer. The Prophet never would have thought of such a thing as that, had it been a fraud.
If he had come out of the woods saying he had seen a vision, had it been untrue never would he have thought of separating Father and Son, nor would he have ever thought of having the Father introduce the Son and for him to put his question to the Son to receive his answer. He never could have thought of it; for that was the farthest thing from the ideas existing in the world in the year 1820.
The very fact that the Prophet made that statement that he saw the Father and the Son and they were glorious Personages, and that the Father spoke to him and introduced the Son, but did not ask him what he wanted, is one of the most significant things that ever occurred in the history of this world. The Prophet, if he had been telling an untruth, even if he had thought that the Father and the Son were separate Personages, would have made another very serious error, if he had lied about it. More than likely he would have said he saw the Father and the Son and the Father asked him what he wanted, and the Father gave him the answer. If Joseph Smith had said a thing like that, it would have been fatal to his story. He did not make a mistake. It was Jesus who answered his question, and the Father introduced his Son, just as he did at the baptism of the Savior, and just as he did to the three, Peter, James, and John, on the Mount, and the Savior gave the answer, as all answers have come from our Father in heaven from the beginning, since Adam was driven out of the Garden of Eden, down to this day. They have all come through the Son.
Now, the Prophet made no mistake, and a boy of his age would not have known; he would have fallen into a trap, just as sure as we live, if it were untrue...
Now, let me say a few things more about the Prophet. I have that absolute confidence in every vision, in every manifestation, in every revelation that has come to us through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know he spoke the truth. And the evidence is made manifest in every act where there has been a manifestation from the heavens, either by the Son of God, himself, or by his servants the prophets of old. Everything has worked out harmoniously and according to the revelations we find in the Old Testament and in the New. There were no mistakes made.
DELBERT L. STAPLEY - I desire, my brothers and sisters, to challenge each of you to have faith in God; know that he lives, that he is the Father of our spirits, that we are created in the image of his Person, that we possess like traits, qualities, and powers, that we are in very deed his children, that he loves us and has made glorious preparation in his many mansions for our eternal well-being.
Have faith in life and its purpose; know that God has provided and planned it for our joy and happiness. Live each day wisely and fruitfully.
Have faith in Christ, our Lord, as the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, who is full of grace and truth. Have faith that he is the Babe of Bethlehem, as chronicled by gospel writers.
Have faith that Jesus is the Author of peace and salvation to the people of the world. Have faith in his gospel plan of salvation, exaltation, and glory.
Have faith in his matchless love in giving his life as an atoning sacrifice to ransom the souls of men from the grave. Have faith that he is our Redeemer, Savior, and God; that there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
CARL W. BUEHNER (Second Counselor, Presiding Bishopric) - John the Baptist was one of the most distinguished of God's servants. That he found favor with the Lord is emphasized in the Angel Gabriel's appearance in the temple to his father, Zacharias, promising him that he and his wife were to have a son who should ". . . be great in the sight of the Lord." (Luke 1:15.) The birth of few men has been foretold. He was one of this select group whose coming was made known centuries before his birth. Isaiah prophesied concerning his mission approximately seven-hundred years before he was born. (Isaiah 40:3.) He was an Elias in that he was a forerunner of Jesus. He vigorously preached the gospel of repentance to the Jews. There came to him one of the highest privileges ever accorded man — that of baptizing the Savior of the world. He was a personal witness of one of the greatest manifestations ever given. It came at the time of Jesus' baptism. As Jesus came forth out of the water, John beheld the Holy Ghost descend on him like a dove, and there came from the heavens the voice of the Father giving divine approval: ". . . This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17.)
Jesus attested to the fact that John the Baptist was one of the greatest of his servants. He paid him a glowing tribute when he said:
"For I say unto you, among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: . . ." (Luke 7:28.)
A. THEODORE TUTTLE (of the Seventy) - I see 8200 college students, who, at colleges other than Brigham Young University and Ricks College, are attending Institutes of Religion on some sixty-one campuses. I see, in addition to that, 1500 young people on thirty-six more campuses who are under the inspiration of the Deseret Club program. Add to this number of young Latter-day Saints approximately 1,000 at the Ricks College, over 10,000 at Brigham Young University, and hundreds more in the other units of the Church school program. There is in this Church a veritable army of Israel, who are receiving weekday religious education.
I call this vast program to your attention for this reason: Valuable as it is, the problem remains that we are not reaching all of our young people, either on the high school level or on the college level. Fine as the percentage of enrolment is in our seminary program, we still lack far too many young people. The early morning seminary classes are extending far and wide now. Six months ago in Orlando, Florida, I visited an early morning seminary class at six o'clock. About five hours later, on the same day and incidentally at the same hour, Brother Boyd Packer was attending a similar early morning seminary class in the Hawaiian Islands. The seminaries extend from Edmonton, Canada, to Juarez, Mexico. I would urge extending them even further into the stakes and into the missions so that all of the young people of this Church can have the opportunity of daily religious instruction.
S. DILWORTH YOUNG (of the Seventy) - I recognize that young people are faced with great stress and strain in these days. They are under great temptation. We accuse them of many things, and we think we know a lot of the answers which could keep them out of trouble. A recent great meeting in Washington, I am sure, found more answers.
But the Church has had an answer from the beginning. To our first parents, after He had married them in the holy bonds of eternal matrimony, the Lord said, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." (Gen. 1:28.) In my opinion, what he did when he said that, was to place upon a father and mother the responsibility of educating their children and keeping them in the faith. Realizing there are other influences which can have effect upon them, theirs is the prime responsibility...
Do we want children to feel that the bishop of the ward is called of God? Then let us allow no note of impatience or disloyalty to enter into our voices as we mention his name.
Do we want our children to learn spirituality? Then let us be spiritual.
Do we want them to be able to learn the whispering of the Spirit and to hear it? Then let them see that decisions made by us in their behalf have been reached because we have heard that whispering.
GORDON B. HINCKLEY (Assistant to Q12) - To me it is a significant and marvelous thing that in establishing and opening this dispensation our Father did so with a revelation of himself and of his Son Jesus Christ, as if to say to all the world that he was weary of the attempts of men, earnest though these attempts might have been, to define and describe him. Strange as it seems, we alone, among all the great organizations that worship God, have a true description and a true definition of him. The experience of Joseph Smith in a few moments in the grove on a spring day in 1820, brought more light and knowledge and understanding of the personality and reality and substance of God and his Beloved Son than men had arrived at during centuries of speculation. Notwithstanding the declaration at Jordan at the time of the Savior's baptism when the voice of the Father was heard, and notwithstanding the events on the Mount of Transfiguration when again the voice of the Father was heard, men somehow evidently had been unable to realize the separate entities of the Father and the Son, their relationship and their reality.
I want to say that when we started emphasizing in our missionary program the truth about God as a basic and fundamental and primary principle, and began to encourage those who were willing to listen to get on their knees and ask him in the name of his Son Jesus Christ concerning the truth of that teaching, we began to get converts in such numbers as we had not had in many, many years.
The second great revelation received in this dispensation was the testimony of another nation, speaking from the dust, of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ as the God of this world, our resurrected Savior and Redeemer. When we have been able to get people to read the Book of Mormon prayerfully, we have seen realized in their lives the fulfilment of the words of Moroni that they would know the truth of that record — that it is verily the word of God, and a testimony of Jesus...
A friend once asked, "Why in your missionary work do you emphasize the differences between your religion and others? Why not emphasize what you have in common with others?" We praise all that others have that is lovely, virtuous, or of good report or praiseworthy, and add to those many virtues which they now have, the great virtues which have come of the revelations of God to the Prophet Joseph Smith in this dispensation for the blessing of their lives and the lives of all who come after them who will keep the faith.
SPENCER W. KIMBALL - While most of the thousands of precious infants born every hour will never be known outside their own neighborhoods, there are great souls being born who will rise above their surroundings. We see with ". . . Abraham the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones, . . ." and we hear the Lord saying:
"These I will make my rulers. . . . Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born." (Abraham 3:22-23.)
He commanded Adam: "Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." (Gen. 1:28.)...
What mother, looking down with tenderness upon her chubby infant does not envision her child as the President of the Church or the leader of her nation! As he is nestled in her arms, she sees him a statesman, a leader, a prophet. Some dreams do come true! One mother gives us a Shakespeare, another a Michelangelo, and another an Abraham Lincoln, and still another a Joseph Smith!...
Having read the pages of history, six thousand years of it, can we not see that God sent his babies to become the teachers and prophets to warn us of our threatening fate? Cannot we read the handwriting on the wall? History repeats itself.
O mortal men, deaf and blind! Can we not read the past? For thousands of years, have plowshares been beaten into swords and pruning hooks into spears, yet war persists...
My testimony to you is, the Lord is God. He has charted the way, but we do not follow. He personally visited Joseph Smith in our world in our century. He outlined the way of peace in this world and eternal worlds. That path is righteousness. The Prophet Joseph with all his successor prophets proclaiming the ripening of this world in iniquity and the solution of all vexing problems.
==Tuesday Morning Session==
After a brief introduction from Pres. McKay, it was time for clerk Joe Anderson to give the statistical report. Back then they named every new temple president, mission president and stake president in conference. This was also the first year where they did not disclose the finances of the church, only to have the audit department confirm everything is in order.
STATISTICAL REPORT — 1959
For the Information of the Members of the Church:
The First Presidency issued the following statement concerning the condition and
operation of the Church for the year 1959.
Number of Stakes of Zion at close of 1959 290
Number of Wards 2,309
Number of Independent Branches 305
Total Wards and Indeepndent Branches at close of year 2,614
Number of Full-Time Missions at end of year 50
Church Membership, December 31, 1959:
In the Stakes 1,336,675
In the Missions 279,413
Total Membership 1,616,088
Church Growth during 1959:
Children blessed in Stakes and Missions ..53,399
Children baptized in Stakes and Missions .. 39,201
Converts baptized in Stakes and Missions .. 33,060
Thus spoke Hosea, the prophet. In keeping with the spirit of President McKay's masterful opening address, I take these words of warning as my text, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
As in Old Testament days we need knowledge today. We need to know our enemies. We must assess clearly and accurately the perils that face the free world as we enter the Missile Age. At the same time we must assure ourselves of the knowledge which brings confidence and trust in our ability and that of our friends around the world to face the future — not in fear but with vigilance. From knowledge comes strength, and from strength comes the power to preserve freedom both at home and abroad...
We must never forget exactly what communism really is. Communism is far more than an economic system. It is a total philosophy of life — atheistic and completely opposed to all that we hold dear.
We believe in an all-wise Creator. Communism teaches that everything in existence came about as a result of ceaseless motion of the forces of nature.
We believe in the dignity of man. Communism holds that human beings are but graduate beasts. Hence communism does not hesitate to destroy those who stand in its way. The Russian communists in their rise to power liquidated millions of their fellow countrymen. The Chinese communists wiped out tens of millions — perhaps as many as 30 million.
We believe in a moral code. Communism denies innate right or wrong. As W. Cleon Skousen has said in his timely book, The Naked Communist: The communist "has convinced himself that nothing is evil which answers the call of expediency." This is a most damnable doctrine. People who truly accept such a philosophy have neither conscience nor honor. Force, trickery, lies, broken promises are wholly justified.
We believe in religion as a mode of life resulting from our faith in God. Communism contends that all religion must be overthrown because it inhibits the spirit of world revolution...
Let us all rededicate our lives and our nation to do the will of God. With each of you, I love this nation. It is my firm belief that the God of heaven guided the Founding Fathers in establishing it for his particular purposes. But God's purpose is to build free people of character, not physical monuments to their material accumulations.
Nations that truly love freedom love God. History is replete with examples of once powerful nations that have forgotten God. No nation ripened in iniquity can long endure. "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34.)
May I conclude by saying that any system which deprives men of their free agency, which weakens the home and family, which depends on butchery for power, which denies all moral responsibility, which holds that man lives by bread alone, and which denies the existence of God, is of the devil.
This is the communist philosophy. There is no real evidence that it has been changed in the last forty years.
The first of these was to be the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That has already occurred, and it occurred 130 years ago. The Church speaks for itself. Its literature, its scriptures, its martyrs, over a million testimonies from lips and lives of members of the Church speak to the world and bear witness that this thing has been accomplished that the Lord has set his hand to do, and it is evident that it is spreading all over the world rapidly...
Another sign of great importance was the rise of an evil power. Brother Benson had already very impressively referred to it — communism. The Lord, in the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants, officially and formally announced to the world the restoration of the true and living Church, and called upon all people to hear and accept the messages of his servants that he was sending forth to the world.
He also said: "For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth" — that condition, I think we readily understand — "and the devil shall have power over his dominion." (D&C 1:35.)
It is that point that I think is very significant. The Savior recognized the domination of Satan over the world generally, and called him the prince of the world, but in a special way — in the way that Brother Benson has referred to — he has entered into the politics of the world among the nations of the world, and already subjugated about one billion people of the world, and by a dire, sanguinary, and deadly philosophy has brought death to millions and has brought slavery to almost a billion people.
I just want to call one point to your attention. I have not time to name others here. Brother Benson has said that they have declared for world domination, their aim the destruction of all the governments in the world.
I want to read before you God's declaration: "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." (Daniel 2:44)
I bear my witness that that decree of God will hold. It remains for us — members of the kingdom of God — to devote ourselves with singleness of purpose to his service. To love God with all our hearts, and love our fellow men as ourselves, and live and proclaim this gospel of salvation to the world is the only means that will save it.
A third item is God's promise that he would gather Jews to Jerusalem, and I think perhaps we may well now not continue saying the Jews are going to gather in Jerusalem. I think now we may well say they have gathered. The ultimate returns will come later as they develop this land and are joined by others.
MARION D. HANKS (of the Seventy) - First, I express deep appreciation for the clear and forthright and courageous expressions of conviction which have come from this pulpit at this great conference. They have not been intemperate nor unloving, but they have been firm and understandable and impressive. I mention this because there are those who seem to believe it unfashionable or even unChristian to have unconditional convictions, really to believe in something and to devote one's life and energy to those convictions. As this conference has proceeded, I have been increasingly grateful to belong to a Church, the position of which is clear and the spokesmen for which are convinced and courageous...
On the first day of May two important events will be celebrated in the United States in which Latter-day Saints should have special interest. While communist-controlled countries are using May Day to demonstrate their military might and their philosophy of rule by force and fear, the United States of America will be celebrating "Law Day" under proclamation of the President. Its objectives are:
(1) "To foster increased respect for law, enabling the nation to grow in moral strength as it grows in population, resources and world leadership.
(2) "To provide an occasion for the American people to rededicate themselves to freedom for the individual under just laws . . . and to emphasize before the world the contrast between the rule of law in the U.S., and the system of totalitarian lands."
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are committed to obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. We are under obligation to obey the law, and more — to honor and sustain it.
I count it one of the great privileges of my life to have been a student of the law for some years and to have acquired through that experience a great respect, as my father had before me, for the system of justice and the body of law which we enjoy in this land. This is not to suppose that every decision, judgment, interpretation, or application of law is good and just altogether. The workings of our appellate system, the initiation, revision, and abrogation of laws, testify that this is not so. It is to suggest that freedom and liberty rest on law, that our laws are rooted deeply in religious principles and rest on the moral law, and ultimately on the law of God, and that it is our responsibility at the ballot box, in the jury box, in civic responsibility and political leadership, in our homes and on the highways, to obey, honor, and sustain the law of the land, and to teach our children to do likewise.
(My thoughts: Three talks in a row that make it sound like the end is nigh. Really captures what it must have felt like back then.)
LeGRAND RICHARDS - I recall the words of the Savior where he said that we should "Search the scriptures; for . . . they are they which testify of me." (John 5:39.) Then he said to the Pharisees that they did err, not understanding the scriptures, and we have his testimony to the two disciples as he walked along the way to Emmaus and their eyes were holden that they did not recognize him, and he listened to their conversation about his crucifixion and he said, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken." (Luke 24:25.)
He explained the scriptures to them, and he opened their understanding that they might understand the scriptures.
My testimony to the entire world: if you believe all that is in the Bible, you would all have to be Mormons, and I come back again to the importance of the scriptures and the work of the Apostle Paul,
"For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ." (Luke 18:28.)
==Tuesday Afternoon Session==
These figures of the summary of the missionary work as done in Great Britain might give you something of an idea of what has happened in the past 123 years in that great country. In 1849 and 1851 over 8000 baptisms were performed in each year, or approximately 1000 converts to each missionary for each of those years. The total number of converts from 1837, when the work was first started, until the end of 1959 totals 136,026. The recorded number of emigrants during that same period was 57,149, and we have reason to believe that thousands of others • emigrated without any record being made.
The total number of missionaries who have labored in that field numbers 7398. Twelve of our General Authorities were British-bom, including our own Elder John Longden, who was born at Oldham, now an organized ward in the new Manchester Stake. It is the estimate of Elder Richard L. Evans, who has written an excellent history of the Church in Great Britain during the first one hundred years, that a very large percent of the total membership of the Church today trace their genealogy to Great Britain...
President McKay, I have been a personal witness in these last six months that, as the apostles of old found, we are finding today that the servants of the Living God are going forth, the Lord is working with them confirming the work, with the same signs following.
I bear personal witness that the gift of tongues to a whole congregation, which I witnessed, as in the day of Pentecost, was observed down in one of the Latin American Missions, by which this congregation understood what was said, although what was being spoken to them was in a strange tongue. I have witnessed the healing of an impotent and crippled child from birth in the Brazilian Mission. I have witnessed the healing of a blind child in the Central American Mission.
And so, enumerating all of these, more important than any of these signs, I have witnessed the reformation in the personal lives of individuals who accept the gospel and are true to its principles, which results from a true conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
MARION G. ROMNEY - In my view, the Book of Mormon is the most effective piece of missionary literature we have. I invite you to pray with me for a rich outpouring of the Holy Spirit, for I would like to stimulate you to resolve to read the Book of Mormon. As I speak, I shall have in mind particularly this fine group of young men and women who are singing for us and all others of their generation.
There are many reasons why we should read the Book of Mormon. To begin with, the Lord has put us under obligation to do so. He said that he sent Moroni to reveal it (D&C 27:5) and that through his mercy he had given the Prophet Joseph "power from on high ... to translate [it]" (see ibid., 1:29; 20:8); that it contains ". . . the truth and the word of God — " and "the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and to the Jews also." (Ibid., 19:26; 20:9.)
Nephi tells us that its contents ". . . shall go from generation to generation as long as the earth shall stand; . . . and the nations who shall possess them shall be judged of them according to the words which are written." (2 Nephi 25:22.)
For me there could be no more impelling reason for reading the Book of Mormon than this statement of the Lord that we shall be judged by what is written in it.
Moroni says that the very reason the book has been given to us is that we may know the "decrees of God" set forth therein and by obedience to them escape the calamities which are to follow disobedience. (Ether 2:11.)
JOHN LONGDEN (Assistant to Q12) - A marvelous work has come forth. In years gone by we have been on the defensive because Satan has done everything in his power to thwart the work of the Lord. We are still on the defensive for he is still endeavoring to weaken the faith and testimony of those whose lives have been touched by the gospel. If we continue working at building faith and testimony, he will not have power over this work. This is evidenced by the number of stakes that have been established in spite of his buffetings — 294 stakes, some 2400 wards, over 300 branches, in the stakes of Zion; fifty-one missions and the many branches and districts contained therein.
In all parts of the Church we have many men who are anxious and willing to bear witness to this marvelous work, that it is the work of the Lord, not a thing of man. It was deeply stirring to listen to the reports of forty-two mission presidents in the temple a week ago Tuesday — men from all vocations, willing to serve the Lord, to be shepherds, if you please, of your sons and daughters, all of whom are united in the desire to serve God, to thrust in their sickle that the inhabitants of the earth might be warned, the authority of the priesthood attested, and the authenticity of the Book of Mormon affirmed. The faithfulness of these fine men and women who are bringing to pass the fulfilment of latter-day revelation is most heart-warming. I do not underestimate what has been accomplished in the past — in fact, I salute the leaders through the years — since Joseph Smith made his declaration, "a marvelous work is about to come forth," but I recognize too that today there is just as much faith and devotion in the children of God who are willing to serve and to spread these glorious truths and to build up his kingdom.
MILTON R. HUNTER (of the Seventy) - "If a man die, shall he live again?" (Job. 14:14.)
From the beginning of human history, millions and millions of people in all nations of the earth have been confronted with this question. Deep in the heart of every person is the desire to live — not only to live a long time here in mortality, but also to rise from the grave. To have immortality, or to live forever, is an innate desire or belief in the hearts of all mortals.
Religions that have offered great satisfaction to the worshipers are those that have had strong doctrines of the immortality of man. Especially in times of sorrow and bereavements have they been able to offer comfort to those in distress.
Christianity has as its center a real, historical Personage — a Savior-God — in Jesus the Christ, the Only Begotten Son of the Eternal Father. All the pagan rivals of Christianity had mythological savior-gods. According to their myths, some of the pagan gods were not entirely moral. Thus Christianity had a great advantage over all contemporary religions.
Jesus taught, "I am the light and the life of the world." (3 Nephi 11:11; see also John 8:12.) "I am the resurrection, and the life." (John 11:25.) "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (Ibid., 1:4.)
In him we find life and that eternally; and for this purpose he came into the world.
HENRY D. TAYLOR (Assistant to Q12) - The thought occurred to me that this earth life is also a rapid flight or journey. We are traveling toward a desirable destination, that of eternal life and exaltation. Now the Lord has said, "For behold, this is my work and my glory — to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39.)
Our goal should be to become perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect. It would be well in early life to select and make secure the characteristics and traits needed for this journey of life, discarding the ones which are harmful and which might be classed as excess baggage. We can then be sure as we continue our journey, that the green light and not the red one will be flashing.
What are some of the traits which might be regarded as excess baggage on our journey toward perfection? To mention but a few: hate and anger and the holding of grudges, a hot temper and a quick tongue, envy, jealousy, and greed, a critical attitude resulting in faultfinding, backbiting, and judging harshly. All these are excess baggage and we shall have to pay dearly for them.
In contrast there are certain basic, essential characteristics or traits which are very desirable. They constitute legitimate or necessary baggage on our life's journey. One is love, love for our Father in heaven, love for fellow men and neighbors. The Savior taught, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matt. 5:44.)
HOWARD W. HUNTER - Scriptures are replete with God's promised blessings to us if we will keep His commandments and comply with His laws, but it is a fundamental principle that we are never compelled to do His will. In ancient times the Lord commanded Israel to keep all of His commandments with the promise of an abundant harvest if they would do so, but in the event they failed, His wrath would be kindled against them. He said:
"Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing if ye obey the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known." (Deut. 11:26-28.)
So it has been down through the ages. Although God has pointed the way, He has given to all men the right to think for themselves and make their own choices.
Marcus Aurelius once said, "A man's life is what his thoughts make of it." Emerson said, "A man is what he thinks about all day long." Man's mind may be likened unto a flower garden. It can be a thing of beauty and inspiration to the gardener and all who may gaze upon it, or it may be ill kept and overrun with weeds. As the plant which produces the beautiful flower grows from a seed, so every act of man springs from the hidden seed of thought. As a being of power and intelligence, and master of his own thoughts, man has the divinely given ability to make of himself what he chooses to be.
DAVID O. McKAY - One day, two men were walking near Emmaus, a town not far from Jerusalem, and a man suddenly appeared by their side. They did not recognize him. After he left them, they said, "Did not our heart burn within us . . . ?" (Luke 24:32.) Luke tells us about that incident, after he had inquired of many people who had had some intimacy with Jesus.
I think that there are many in this congregation, and I hope many who have been listening over radio and television who have had their hearts "burn within them" as they have listened not only to the inspirational singing, but to the sublime testimonies, and I hope as their hearts have burned within them, that they realized the message that went into their hearts. I hope they have an inkling, at least, of the divine truth that they are sons of God, and that that burning within them was just a touch of harmony between them and the infinite, the Spirit of God which will enlighten our minds, quicken our understandings, and bring all things to our remembrance.
If we were just animals, we should never have a feeling of that kind. That is evidence that man has a greater destiny than just a mere animal life. That is a touch of the spirit I Every man who has sensed that has a testimony himself and every woman also has a testimony herself, that man is a dual being. He has a body, just as all other animals have. But he has something that comes only from his Father in heaven, and he is entitled, is susceptible to whisperings, susceptible to influences from his Divine Parent, through the Holy Ghost, the medium between us and God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.