156th Semi-Annual General Conference – October 1986

Official Report of the
One Hundred Fifty-sixth
Semiannual General


of The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints

held in the Tabernacle
Salt Lake City, Utah

October 4 and 5, 1986

Official Report
of the

One Hundred Fifty-sixth
Semiannual General Conference


The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints

held in the Tabernacle
Salt Lake City, Utah
October 4 and 5, 1 986

Published by
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Salt Lake City, Utah

Copyright © 1 986 Corporation of the President


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

All Rights Reserved
Printed in the United States of America


The 156th Semiannual General
Conference of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints convened in
the Tabernacle on Temple Square in
Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday,
October 4, 1986, at 10:00 a.m.

The general sessions of the confer-
ence were held at 10:00 a.m. and
2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday,
October 4 and 5, 1986. The general
priesthood meeting was held in the
Tabernacle on Saturday, October 4,
1986, at 6:00 p.m.

President Ezra Taft Benson pre-
sided at all sessions of the conference
and conducted the Sunday morning ses-
sion. President Gordon B. Hinckley,
First Counselor in the First Presidency,
conducted the Saturday morning and
Sunday afternoon sessions. President
Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor
in the First Presidency, conducted the
Saturday afternoon and general priest-
hood sessions.

Television and radio stations car-
ried portions or all of some of the con-
ference sessions to large audiences
throughout the world. In addition,
the general sessions and the general
priesthood session were carried via sat-
ellite transmission to more than one
thousand stake centers. The general
priesthood session was also carried by
closed-circuit transmission to approxi-
mately nine hundred locations in many

General Authorities present

The following General Authori-
ties of the Church attended one or more
of the general sessions:

The First Presidency: Ezra Taft
Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley, and
Thomas S. Monson.

The Council of the Twelve:
‘Howard W. Hunter, Boyd K. Packer,
Marvin J. Ashton, L. Tom Perry,
David B. Haight, James E. Faust,
Neal A. Maxwell, Russell M. Nelson,

Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard,
and Joseph B. Wirthlin.

The First Quorum of the Seventy:
Presidents: Dean L. Larsen, Richard

G. Scott, Marion D. Hanks, Wm.
Grant Bangerter, Jack H. Goaslind,
Robert L. Backman, and Hugh W.
Pinnock. Additional Members of the
Seventy: A. Theodore Tuttle, Franklin
D. Richards, Theodore M. Burton,
Paul H. Dunn, Hartman Rector, Jr.,
Loren C. Dunn, Robert L. Simpson,
Rex D. Pinegar, J. Thomas Fyans,
Adney Y. Komatsu, Gene R. Cook,
Charles Didier, William R. Bradford,
George P. Lee, Carlos E. Asay, John

H. Groberg, Jacob de Jager, Vaughn J.
Featherstone, Royden G. Derrick,
Robert E. Wells, James M. Paramore,
F. Enzio Busche, Yoshihiko Kikuchi,
Ronald E. Poelman, Derek A. Cuthbert,
Rex C. Reeve, Sr., F. Burton Howard,
Ted E. Brewerton, Angel Abrea, John
K. Carmack, Russell C. Taylor, Robert
B. Harbertson, Devere Harris, Spencer
H. Osborn, Philip T. Sonntag, John
Sonnenberg, F. Arthur Kay, Keith W.
Wilcox, Victor L. Brown, H. Burke
Peterson, J. Richard Clarke, Hans B.
Ringger, Waldo P. Call, Helio da
Rocha Camargo, H. Verlan Andersen,
George I. Cannon, Francis M.
Gibbons, and Gardner H. Russell.

The Presiding Bishopric: Robert
D. Hales, Henry B. Eyring, and Glenn
L. Pace.

Emeritus General Authorities:
Eldred G. Smith, Sterling W. Sill,
Henry D. Taylor, Bernard P.
Brocicbank, Joseph Anderson, and
John H. Vandenberg.

Other authorities present

Other Church authorities in at-
tendance included Regional Represen-
tatives, presidents of stakes and their

‘President Marion G. Romney was ex-
cused due to ill health.


Saturday, October 4


First Day

counselors, presidents of temples, Many general, stake, and ward

bishops of wards, and presidencies and auxiliary officers also attended,
members of the Aaronic and Melchize-
dek priesthood quorums.



The first general session of the
156th Semiannual General Conference
convened in the Tabernacle on Temple
Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Sat-
urday, October 4, 1986, at 10:00 a.m.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, First
Counselor in the First Presidency, con-
ducted this session.

The music for the opening session
was provided by the Mormon Youth
Chorus with Robert C. Bowden con-
ducting and Clay Christiansen at the

Prior to the meeting, the Mormon
Youth Chorus sang "Hark, All Ye
Nations!" without announcement.

President Hinckley made the fol-
lowing remarks:

President Gordon B. Hinckley

With that stirring music we wel-
come you this morning where is con-
vened the first general session of the
156th Semiannual Conference of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day

We are met in the Tabernacle on
Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Our beloved prophet, President Ezra
Taft Benson, who presides at this con-
ference, has asked me to conduct this

We welcome all who are partici-
pating in the large audience assembled
in the Tabernacle and the overflow
gatherings in the nearby Assembly
Hall, where Elders Theodore M.
Burton and Hugh W. Pinnock are

seated on the stand. We also welcome
the many others who are receiving
these conference proceedings by satel-
lite transmission, radio, cable, and tele-

We acknowledge the General Au-
thorities of the Church, all of whom are
in attendance except President Marion
G. Romney (who recently celebrated
his eighty-ninth birthday). We also ac-
knowledge the Relief Society, Young
Women, and Primary general presiden-
cies who are seated on the stand. We
extend a special welcome to govern-
ment, education, and civic leaders who
are present.

The Mormon Youth Chorus, un-
der the direction of Brother Robert C.
Bowden, with Brother Clay
Christiansen at the organ, opened this
session by singing "Hark, All Ye Na-
tions!" The chorus will now sing "The
Lord Is My Shepherd." Following the
singing, the invocation will be offered
by Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., a mem-
ber of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

The chorus sang "The Lord Is My

Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., of-
fered the invocation.

President Hinckley

It will now be our privilege to lis-
ten to President Ezra Taft Benson,
President of The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints.



President Ezra Taft Benson

The Book of Mormon: A gift from
the Lord

My beloved brethren and sisters,
today I would like to speak about one
of the most significant gifts given to the
world in modern times. The gift I am
thinking of is more important than any
of the inventions that have come out of
the industrial and technological revolu-
tions. This is a gift of greater value to
mankind than even the many wonderful
advances we have seen in modern
medicine. It is of greater worth to man-
kind than the development of flight or
space travel. I speak of the gift of the
Book of Mormon, given to mankind
156 years ago.

This gift was prepared by the hand
of the Lord over a period of more than
a thousand years, then hidden up by
Him so that it would be preserved in its
purity for our generation. Perhaps there
is nothing that testifies more clearly of
the importance of this modern book of
scripture than what the Lord Himself
has said about it.

The Lord’s witness of the Book of

By His own mouth He has borne
witness (1) that it is true (D&C 17:6),
(2) that it contains the truth and His
words (D&C 19:26), (3) that it was
translated by power from on high
(D&C 20:8), (4) that it contains the ful-
ness of the gospel of Jesus Christ
(D&C 20:9, 42:12), (5) that it was
given by inspiration and confirmed by
the ministering of angels (D&C 20:10),

(6) that it gives evidence that the holy
scriptures are true (D&C 20:11), and

(7) that those who receive it in faith
shall receive eternal life (D&C 20:14).

A second powerful testimony to
the importance of the Book of Mormon
is to note where the Lord placed its
coming forth in the timetable of the
unfolding Restoration. The only thing
that preceded it was the First Vision. In
that marvelous manifestation, the

Prophet Joseph Smith learned the true
nature of God and that God had a work
for him to do. The coming forth of the
Book of Mormon was the next thing to

Think of that in terms of what it
implies. The coming forth of the Book
of Mormon preceded the restoration of
the priesthood. It was published just a
few days before the Church was orga-
nized.fhe Saints were given the Book
of Mormon to read before they were
given the revelations outlining such
great doctrines as the three degrees of
glory, celestial marriage, or work for
the dead. It came before priesthood
quorums and Church organization.
Doesn’t this tell us something about
how the Lord views this sacred work?

The Lord’s warnings

Once we realize how the Lord
feels about this book, it should not sur-
prise us that He also gives us solemn
warnings about how we receive it. Af-
ter indicating that those who receive the
Book of Mormon with faith, working
righteousness, will receive a crown of
eternal glory (see D&C 20:14), the
Lord follows with this warning: "But
those who harden their hearts in un-
belief, and reject it, it shall turn to their
own condemnation" (D&C 20:15).

In 1829, the Lord warned the
Saints that they are not to trifle with
sacred things (see D&C 6:12). Surely
the Book of Mormon is a sacred thing,
and yet many trifle with it, or in other
words, take it lightly, treat it as though
it is of little importance.

In 1832, as some early missionar-
ies returned from their fields of labor,
the Lord reproved them for treating the
Book of Mormon lightly. As a result of
that attitude, he said, their minds had
been darkened. Not only had treating
this sacred book lightly brought a loss
of light to themselves, it had also
brought the whole Church under con-
demnation, even all the children of


Saturday, October 4


First Day

Zion. And then the Lord said, "And
they shall remain under this condemna-
tion until they repent and remember the
new covenant, even the Book of Mor-
mon" (D&C 84:54-57).

Has the fact that we have had the
Book of Mormon with us for over a
century and a half made it seem less
significant to us today? Do we remem-
ber the new covenant, even the Book of
Mormon? In the Bible we have the Old
Testament and the New Testament.
The word testament is the English ren-
dering of a Greek word that can also be
translated as covenant. Is this what the
Lord meant when He called the Book of
Mormon the "new covenant"? It is
indeed another testament or witness of
Jesus. This is one of the reasons why
we have recently added the words "An-
other Testament of Jesus Christ" to the
title of the Book of Mormon.

If the early Saints were rebuked
for treating the Book of Mormon
lightly, are we under any less condem-
nation if we do the same? The Lord
Himself bears testimony that it is of
eternal significance. Can a small num-
ber of us bring the whole Church under
condemnation because we trifle with
sacred things? What will we say at the
Judgment when we stand before Him
and meet His probing gaze if we are
among those described as forgetting the
new covenant?

There are three great reasons why
Latter-day Saints should make the
study of the Book of Mormon a lifetime

Book of Mormon is the keystone

The first is that the Book of Mor-
mon is the keystone of our religion.
This was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s
statement. He testified that "the Book
of Mormon was the most correct of any
book on earth, and the keystone of our
religion" (History of the Church,
4:461). A keystone is the central stone
in an arch. It holds all the other stones
in place, and if removed, the arch

There are three ways in which the
Book of Mormon is the keystone of our
religion. It is the keystone in our wit-
ness of Christ. It is the keystone of our
doctrine. It is the keystone of testi-

The Book of Mormon is the key-
stone in our witness of Jesus Christ,
who is Himself the cornerstone of
everything we do. It bears witness of
His reality with power and clarity. Un-
like the Bible, which passed through
generations of copyists, translators,
and corrupt religionists who tampered
with the text, the Book of Mormon
came from writer to reader in just one
inspired step of translation. Therefore,
its testimony of the Master is clear,
undiluted, and full of power. But it
does even more. Much of the Christian
world today rejects the divinity of the
Savior. They question His miraculous
birth, His perfect life, and the reality of
His glorious resurrection. The Book of
Mormon teaches in plain and unmistak-
able terms about the truth of all of
those. It also provides the most com-
plete explanation of the doctrine of the
Atonement. Truly, this divinely in-
spired book is a keystone in bearing
witness to the world that Jesus is the
Christ (see title page of the Book of

The Book of Mormon is also the
keystone of the doctrine of the Resur-
rection. As mentioned before, the Lord
Himself has stated that the Book of
Mormon contains the "fulness of the
gospel of Jesus Christ" (D&C 20:9).
That does not mean it contains every
teaching, every doctrine ever revealed.
Rather, it means that in the Book of
Mormon we will find the fulness of
those doctrines required for our salva-
tion. And they are taught plainly and
simply so that even children can learn
the ways of salvation and exaltation.
The Book of Mormon offers so much
that broadens our understandings of the
doctrines of salvation. Without it,
much of what is taught in other scrip-
tures would not be nearly so plain and



Finally, the Book of Mormon is
the keystone of testimony. Just as the
arch crumbles if the keystone is re-
moved, so does all the Church stand or
fall with the truthfulness of the Book of
Mormon. The enemies of the Church
understand this clearly. This is why
they go to such great lengths to try to
disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it
can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph
Smith goes with it. So does our claim
to priesthood keys, and revelation, and
the restored Church. But in like man-
ner, if the Book of Mormon be true —
and millions have now testified that
they have the witness of the Spirit that
it is indeed true — then one must accept
the claims of the Restoration and all
that accompanies it.

Yes, my beloved brothers and sis-
ters, the Book of Mormon is the key-
stone of our religion — the keystone of
our testimony, the keystone of our doc-
trine, and the keystone in the witness of
our Lord and Savior.

Book of Mormon written for
people of today

The second great reason why we
must make the Book of Mormon a cen-
ter focus of study is that it was written
for our day. The Nephites never had the
book; neither did the Lamanites of an-
cient times. It was meant for us. Mor-
mon wrote near the end of the Nephite
civilization. Under the inspiration of
God, who sees all things from the be-
ginning, he abridged centuries of
records, choosing the stories,
speeches, and events that would be
most helpful to us.

Each of the major writers of the
Book of Mormon testified that he wrote
for future generations. Nephi said:
"The Lord God promised unto me that
these things which I write shall be kept
and preserved, and handed down unto
my seed, from generation to genera-
tion" (2 Nephi 25:21). His brother
Jacob, who succeeded him, wrote simi-
lar words: "For [Nephi] said that the
history of his people should be en-
graven upon his other plates, and that I

should preserve these plates and hand
them down unto my seed, from genera-
tion to generation" (Jacob 1:3). Enos
and Jarom both indicated that they too
were writing not for their own peoples
but for future generations (see Enos
1:15-16, Jarom 1:2).

Mormon himself said, "Yea, I
speak unto you, ye remnant of the
house of Israel" (Mormon 7:1). And
Moroni, the last of the inspired writers,
actually saw our day and time. "Be-
hold," he said, "the Lord hath shown
unto me great and marvelous things
concerning that which must shortly
come, at that day when these things
shall come forth among you.

"Behold, I speak unto you as if ye
were present, and yet ye are not. But
behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you
unto me, and I know your doing"
(Mormon 8:34-35).

If they saw our day and chose
those things which would be of greatest
worth to us, is not that how we should
study the Book of Mormon? We should
constantly ask ourselves, "Why did the
Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or
Alma) to include that in his record?
What lesson can I learn from that to
help me live in this day and age?"

And there is example after ex-
ample of how that question will be an-
swered. For example, in the Book of
Mormon we find a pattern for preparing
for the Second Coming. A major por-
tion of the book centers on the few
decades just prior to Christ’s coming to
America. By careful study of that time
period, we can determine why some
were destroyed in the terrible judg-
ments that preceded His coming and
what brought others to stand at the
temple in the land of Bountiful and
thrust their hands into the wounds of
His hands and feet.

From the Book of Mormon we
learn how disciples of Christ live in
times of war. From the Book of Mor-
mon we see the evils of secret combina-
tions portrayed in graphic and chilling
reality. In the Book of Mormon we find
lessons for dealing with persecution
and apostasy. We learn much about


Saturday, October 4


First Day

how to do missionary work. And more
than anywhere else, we see in the Book
of Mormon the dangers of materialism
and setting our hearts on the things of
the world. Can anyone doubt that this
book was meant for us and that in it we
find great power, great comfort, and
great protection?

Book of Mormon draws people
nearer to God

The third reason why the Book of
Mormon is of such value to Latter-day
Saints is given in the same statement by
the Prophet Joseph Smith cited previ-
ously. He said, "I told the brethren that
the Book of Mormon was the most
correct of any book on earth, and the
keystone of our religion, and a man
would get nearer to God by abiding by
its precepts, than by any other book"
(History of the Church, 4:461). That is
the third reason for studying the book.
It helps us draw nearer to God. Is there
not something deep in our hearts that
longs to draw nearer to God, to be more
like Him in our daily walk, to feel His
presence with us constantly? If so, then
the Book of Mormon will help us do so
more than any other book.

It is not just that the Book of Mor-
mon teaches us truth, though it indeed
does that. It is not just that the Book of
Mormon bears testimony of Christ,
though it indeed does that, too. But
there is something more. There is a
power in the book which will begin to
flow into your lives the moment you
begin a serious study of the book. You
will find greater power to resist tempta-
tion. You will find the power to avoid
deception. You will find the power to
stay on the strait and narrow path. The
scriptures are called "the words of life"
(D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that
more true than it is of the Book of
Mormon. When you begin to hunger
and thirst after those words, you will
find life in greater and greater abun-

Blessings of reading the Book of

Our beloved brother, President
Marion G. Romney, who celebrated his
eighty-ninth birthday last month and
who knows of himself of the power that
resides in this book, testified of the
blessings that can come into the lives of
those who will read and study the Book
of Mormon. He said:

"I feel certain that if, in our
homes, parents will read from the Book
of Mormon prayerfully and regularly,
both by themselves and with their chil-
dren, the spirit of that great book will
come to permeate our homes and all
who dwell therein. The spirit of rever-
ence will increase; mutual respect and
consideration for each other will grow.
The spirit of contention will depart.
Parents will counsel their children in
greater love and wisdom. Children will
be more responsive and submissive to
the counsel of their parents. Righteous-
ness will increase. Faith, hope, and
charity — the pure love of Christ — will
abound in our homes and lives,
bringing in their wake peace, joy, and
happiness" (in Conference Report,
Apr. 1980, p. 90; or Ensign, May
1980, p. 67).

These promises — increased love
and harmony in the home, greater
respect between parent and child,
increased spirituality and righteous-
ness — are not idle promises, but ex-
actly what the Prophet Joseph Smith
meant when he said the Book of Mor-
mon will help us draw nearer to God.

Response to the Book of Mormon
brings eternal consequences

Brethren and sisters, I implore you
with all my heart that you consider with
great solemnity the importance of the
Book of Mormon to you personally and
to the Church collectively.

Over ten years ago I made the fol-
lowing statement regarding the Book of

"Do eternal consequences rest
upon our response to this book? Yes,



either to our blessing or our condem-

"Every Latter-day Saint should
make the study of this book a lifetime
pursuit. Otherwise he is placing his
soul in jeopardy and neglecting that
which could give spiritual and intel-
lectual unity to his whole life. There is
a difference between a convert who is
built on the rock of Christ through the
Book of Mormon and stays hold of that
iron rod, and one who is not" (in Con-
ference Report, Apr. 1975, p. 97; or
Ensign, May 1975, p. 65).

I reaffirm those words to you this
day. Let us not remain under condem-
nation, with its scourge and judgment,
by treating lightly this great and mar-
velous gift the Lord has given to us.
Rather, let us win the promises associ-
ated with treasuring it up in our hearts.

In the Doctrine and Covenants,
section 84, verses 54 to 58, we read:

"And your minds in times past
have been darkened because of un-
belief, and because you have treated
lightly the things you have received —

"Which vanity and unbelief have
brought the whole church under con-

"And this condemnation resteth
upon the children of Zion, even all.

"And they shall remain under this
condemnation until they repent and re-
member the new covenant, even the
Book of Mormon and the former com-
mandments which I have given them,
not only to say, but to do according to
that which I have written —

"That they may bring forth fruit
meet for their Father’s kingdom; other-
wise there remaineth a scourge and

judgment to be poured out upon the
children of Zion."

Testimonies of Saints who accepted
the challenge

Since last general conference, I
have received many letters from Saints,
both young and old, from all over the
world who accepted the challenge to
read and study the Book of Mormon.

I have been thrilled by their ac-
counts of how their lives have been
changed and how they have drawn
closer to the Lord as a result of their
commitment. These glorious testi-
monies have reaffirmed to my soul the
words of the Prophet Joseph Smith that
the Book of Mormon is truly "the key-
stone of our religion" and that a man
and woman will "get nearer to God by
abiding by its precepts, than by any
other book."

This is my prayer, that the Book of
Mormon may become the keystone of
our lives, in the name of Jesus Christ,

The chorus sang "The Spirit of
God" without announcement.

President Hinckley

President Ezra Taft Benson, Presi-
dent of the Church, has just addressed
us, followed by the Mormon Youth
Chorus singing "The Spirit of God."

We shall now be pleased to hear
from Elder James E. Faust of the Coun-
cil of the Twelve Apostles.

Elder Jam

Follow the prophet’s counsel

I humbly and prayerfully hope that
what I have to say will be received in
the spirit that I would like to convey.
We have just heard the prophet of God.
He is a watchman on the tower. He has
raised a warning voice. I would urge all

> E. Faust

to listen and follow his counsel. It is
tremendously important always to be in
harmony with those who, according to
Paul, have "watch for your souls, as
they that must give account, that they
may do it with joy, and not with grief
(Hebrews 13:17).


Saturday, October 4


First Day

Isaiah spoke of a people who did
not care to listen to their prophets and
seers, who were urged, "Say to the
seers, See not; and to the prophets,
Prophesy not unto us right things,
speak unto us smooth things, prophesy
deceits" (Isaiah 30:10). Nephi ex-
plained, "The guilty taketh the truth to
be hard, for it cutteth them to the very
center" (1 Nephi 16:2).

President Spencer W. Kimball
spoke of the duty of prophets. He said:

"I am sure that Peter and James
and Paul found it unpleasant business to
constantly be calling people to repen-
tance and warning them of dangers, but
they continued unflinchingly. So we,
your leaders, must be everlastingly at
it; if young people do not understand,
then the fault may be partly ours. But,
if we make the true way clear to you,
then we are blameless" (Love Versus
Lust, Brigham Young University
Speeches of the Year, [Provo, 5 Jan.
1965], p. 6).

I wish to speak today of unwanted
messages. My purpose in doing so is to
attempt to give strength against mis-
takes, suffering, heartache, and an-

Blessing of heeding an unwelcome

May I begin by sharing with you
a personal experience from a time many
years ago when I received an un-
welcome but valuable message from
my devoted father. After World War II
was over, I was married and wanted to
get on with my life. My memorable
mission was finished before my mili-
tary service. I was not anxious to be-
come a student again and go back to the
university where I had started some
eight years before. My intended course
would require another three years of
intensive study, discipline, and pov-
erty. With all of this in mind I said to
my father, "I don’t think I will go back
to school. I’ll just get a job or start a
business and go forward in my life."
Now, my father had completed law
school after World War I as an older
student with a wife and three children.

His response was typically direct. He
said bluntly, "What can you do?" His
answer was so brutally honest that it
hurt, but I could not ignore it. I went
back to the university and completed
the course. This frank but well-
intentioned message changed my life.

Rich man disregards an unwanted
message from Jesus

In the time of Jesus, a certain ruler
asked the Savior a very significant
question and received a hard answer
which he did not want to hear. With the
hard answer came a great promise. The
meaningful question the rich man asked
was, "What shall I do to inherit eternal

Jesus answered, "Thou knowest
the commandments, Do not commit
adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do
not bear false witness, Honour thy fa-
ther and thy mother."

And the ruler answered, "All these
have I kept from my youth up."

The unwelcome answer then came
from the Master: "Yet lackest thou one
thing: sell all that thou hast, and distrib-
ute unto the poor, and thou shalt have
treasure in heaven: and come, follow

When the ruler heard this, "he was
very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

"And when Jesus saw that he was
very sorrowful, he said, How hardly
shall they that have riches enter into the
kingdom of God!" (Luke 18:18,
20 – 24).

How people handle their earthly
riches is among the great tests they have
in life.

"New doctrines" taught by Jesus
are often unpopular

This same Jesus of Nazareth spoke
much novel doctrine which seemed
hard to accept. Some said, "What new
doctrine is this?" (Mark 1:27). Jesus
did not speak of revenge nor of getting
even. He spoke of loving our enemies
and doing good to them that hate us, of
blessing those that curse us, and of



praying for those which despitefully
use us (see Luke 6:27-28). He coun-
seled his followers, when smitten on
one cheek, to "offer also the other; and
him that taketh away thy cloke forbid
[him] not to take thy coat also"
(Luke 6:29).

Another interesting new doctrine
was to go beyond loving only our own
and being good just to our friends. An-
other strange idea Jesus taught was to
lend goods and money, hoping for
nothing in return. The Master coun-
seled us to be merciful, to judge not and
condemn not, and to be kind to the
unthankful and to the evil (see
Luke 6:34-37). He also spoke of being
careful "when all men shall speak well
of you" because all men spoke well of
the false prophets (Luke 6:26).

The promise for those who can do
this is great: "Ye shall be the children
of the Highest" (Luke 6:35).

Respect the Sabbath day

May I mention two or three other
messages which seem no longer popu-
lar? One is to respect the Sabbath day.
While the Savior himself cautioned
against extreme forms of Sabbath day
observance, it is well to remember
whose day the Sabbath is. There seems
to be an ever-increasing popularity in
disregarding the centuries-old com-
mandment to observe and respect the
Sabbath day. For many it has become
a holiday rather than a holy day of rest
and sanctification. For some it is a day
to shop and buy groceries. The decision
of those who engage in shopping,
sports, work, and recreation on the
Sabbath day is their own, for which
they alone bear responsibility.

The Lord’s commandment about
the Sabbath day has not been altered,
nor has the Church’s affirmation of the
commandment to observe the Sabbath
day. Those who violate this command-
ment in the exercise of their agency are
answerable for losing the blessings
which observance of this command-
ment would bring. The Lord has spo-
ken in our day concerning the Sabbath

day. We are to keep ourselves "un-
spotted from the world" and "go to the
house of prayer." We are to rest from
our labors and pay our "devotions unto
the Most High" (D&C 59:9-10). The
Doctrine and Covenants reminds us:
"And on this day thou shalt do none
other thing, only let thy food be pre-
pared with singleness of heart that thy
fasting may be perfect, or, in other
words, that thy joy may be full"
(D&C 59:13). The blessings for those
who do righteousness are supernal.
They shall enjoy "peace in this world,
and eternal life in the world to come"
(D&C 59:23).

Honor parents

Another transcendent but often
unheeded message which peals down
from Sinai is "Honour thy father and
thy mother" (Exodus 20:12). I have
frequently walked by a rest home that
provides excellent care. But it is heart-
rending to see so many parents and
grandparents in that good care facility
so forgotten, so bereft of dignity, so
starved for love. To honor parents cer-
tainly means to take care of physical
needs. But it means much, much more.
It means to show love, kindness,
thoughtfulness, and concern for them
all of the days of their lives. It means
to help them preserve their dignity and
self-respect in their declining years. It
means to honor their wishes and desires
and their teachings both before and
after they are dead.

Some years ago I created a stake
on one of the islands in Japan. As usual,
we held many interviews with the lead-
ers to become acquainted with them.
One of the men had moved to that area
from Tokyo to take care of his aged and
ailing father and his father’s business,
which was in difficulty because of the
father’s ill health. After the father died,
the son went to his father’s creditors
and acknowledged his father’s debts.
He requested time from those creditors
so that he could assume and pay all of
his father’s outstanding obligations. In
our interview I asked him how he was


Saturday, October 4


First Day

managing to meet this responsibility.
He answered that he was getting along
quite well and that he would be able to
handle his father’s debts. The Lord saw
fit to call him to be one of the leaders
of that stake.

Besides being one of God’s com-
mandments, the kind, thoughtful con-
sideration of parents is a matter of
common decency and self-respect. On
their part, parents need to live so as
to be worthy of the respect of their

I cannot help wondering about
parents who adopt the attitude with
their children, "do as I say, not as 1 do"
with respect to using harmful sub-
stances, going to inappropriate movies,
and other questionable activities. Chil-
dren often take license from their par-
ents’ behavior and go beyond the
values the parents wish to establish.
There is one safe parental rule: do not
just avoid evil, avoid the very appear-
ance of evil (see 1 Thessalonians 5:22).

Deal honestly with others

I should like to speak of one more
strong message. It is frequently
astounding to see the dereliction of
people in keeping the standards of ordi-
nary fairness and justice. This delin-
quency manifests itself in so many
ways. It is sometimes evident in com-
mercial transactions, as well as in pri-
vate contacts. Injustice to others is
manifest even in the way automobiles
are sometimes driven. This unfairness
and injustice results principally from
one person seeking an advantage or an
edge over another. Those who follow
such a practice demean themselves
greatly. How can those of us who do
not practice ordinary fairness and jus-
tice have serious claim on the blessings
of a just and a fair God?

Do some of us seek to justify our
taking of shortcuts and advantage of
others by indulging in the twin soph-
istries, "There isn’t any justice" and
"Everybody does it"? There are many
others who seemingly prosper by vio-
lating the rules of God and the stan-

dards of decency and fair play. They
appear to escape the imminent law of
the harvest, which states, "Whatsoever
a man soweth, that shall he also reap"
(Galatians 6:7). Worrying about the
punishment we think ought to come to
others is self-defeating to us. Brigham
Young counseled that unless we our-
selves are prepared for the day of the
Lord’s vengeance when the wicked will
be consumed, we should not be too
anxious for the Lord to hasten his work.
Said he rather, "Let our anxiety be cen-
tred upon this one thing, the sanctifica-
tion of our own hearts, the purifying of
our own affections" (in Journal of Dis-
courses, 9:3).

Avoid rationalization

Many modern professors of hu-
man behavior advocate as a cure to an
afflicted conscience that we simply ig-
nore the unwanted messages. They
suggest that we change the standard to
fit the circumstances so that there is no
longer a conflict, thus easing the con-
science. The followers of the divine
Christ cannot subscribe to this evil and
perverse philosophy with impunity.
For the troubled conscience in conflict
with right and wrong, the only perma-
nent help is to change the behavior and
follow a repentant path.

The prophet Isaiah taught, "Woe
unto them that call evil good, and good
evil; that put darkness for light, and
light for darkness; that put bitter for
sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah

During all of my ministry, I have
been fascinated by the manner in which
Jesus hardened the bone and spirit of
his chief Apostle, Peter. When Jesus
told Peter that he had prayed that
Peter’s faith would strengthen, Peter
affirmed that he would go with the
Savior to prison or to death. Peter was
then told that the "cock shall not crow
this day, before that thou shalt thrice
deny that thou knowest me"
(Luke 22:34). After the predicted three
denials, the powerful, unwelcome, but
steel-hardening message came: Peter



heard the cock crow. "And he went out,
and wept bitterly" (Matthew 26:75),
but this strengthened Peter to fulfill his
calling and to die for the cause.

Listen to the still, small voice for
life-changing messages

There is one unerring voice that is
ever true. It can always be relied upon.
It should be listened to, although at
times this voice too may speak un-
welcome warning messages. I speak of
the still, small, inner voice which
comes from the divine source. As the
prophet Elijah learned, "the Lord was
not in the wind: and after the wind an
earthquake; but the Lord was not in the

"And after the earthquake a fire;
but the Lord was not in the fire: and
after the fire a still small voice"
(1 Kings 19:11-12).

One single unwanted message
may be a call to change our lives; it may
lead to the specially tailored opportu-
nity we need. I am grateful that it is

never too late to change, to make things
right, to leave old activities and habits

I wish to testify that the prophetic
messages of this conference will lead
any who will listen — and follow the
counsel given — to the promise of the
Savior, which is peace in this life and
eternal life in the world hereafter. I so
testify in the name of Jesus Christ,

President Hinckley

Elder James E. Faust of the Coun-
cil of the Twelve Apostles has just spo-
ken to us.

The chorus and congregation will
now join in singing "Put Your Shoulder
to the Wheel," following which Elder
Marion D. Hanks, a member of the
Presidency of the First Quorum of the
Seventy, will speak to us.

The chorus and congregation sang
"Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel."

Elder Marion D. Hanks

Importance of daily decisions

In the early days of the Restora-
tion, the Lord commanded one of his
servants to "declare glad tidings" and to
do this "with all humility, trusting in
me, reviling not against revilers"
(D&C 19:29-30). In the constructive
spirit of that directive, I desire to bear
my testimony this morning about the
vital effect in our lives and the lives of
others of the day-by-day decisions all
of us are making — and where we can
find help in making them.

A teacher once wrote of the un-
anticipated consequences of some of
our decisions. We didn’t really ever
intend those consequences, but we fol-
lowed the paths that led to them. "He
who chooses the beginning of a road
chooses the place it leads to," he said.
"He who picks up one end of a stick,

picks up the other." And it is not only
our own course we are affecting when
we choose the beginning of a road; we
inevitably travel with others, and some-
times we bring anguish and distress to
those we love and to other innocent

Agency a peril and a privilege

Over this pulpit President David
0. McKay taught us:

"Next to the bestowal of life itself,
the right to direct that life is God’s
greatest gift to man. . . . Freedom of
choice is more to be treasured than any
possession earth can give" (in Confer-
ence Report, Apr. 1950, p. 32).

The oppressing presence of prob-
lems all about us — personal, family,
and in our society — accentuates the


Saturday, October 4


First Day

peril as well as the privilege of free
agency. The ancient Psalmist surely
seems to be singing to our time: "Have
mercy upon me, Lord, for I am in
trouble" (Psalm 31:9).

Why is there so much trouble?
"With all that fairway, why do we
spend so much time in the rough?"
someone said.

Part of the answer is that without
opposition and testing, free agency
loses its meaning. Opposition, tribula-
tion, afflictions, the refining fire are
part of the eternal plan.

Choose sound sources of guidance

Much that happens to us in this life
we cannot control; we only respond.
But much of the pain we suffer and
inevitably impose upon others is self-
induced through our own bad judg-
ment, through poor choices. Where can
we look for help?

The ancient prophet Micah per-
haps surprisingly seemed to rule out the
nearest and most normal sources of
assistance — family, friends, and lead-
ers. Some of us have perhaps experi-
enced a measure of the deep
disappointment he felt because of Is-
rael’s rebelliousness when he declared
that "the good man is perished out of
the earth" (Micah 7:2). He spoke of
princes and judges asking for rewards,
and of great men uttering "mischievous
desire" (v. 3). For Micah, the source of
help was clear and sure: "Therefore I
will look unto the Lord," he said. "I
will wait for the God of my salvation:
my God will hear me" (v. 7).

Jeremiah warned "the man that
trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his
arm, and whose heart departeth from
the Lord" (Jeremiah 17:5). Other
prophets have similarly spoken.

Does this mean that we may never
have confidence in the integrity of oth-
ers? Must we never trust parents or
friends or caring counselors or humble
servants of God? This is obviously not
the meaning of the scriptures, which

themselves are the record of revelation
and inspired instruction; what they are
emphasizing is the care we must exer-
cise in choosing counsel or example.

Beware of unwholesome sources of

There is accessible, for those who
will accommodate it, much that is not
uplifting or wholesome, which some-
times seems so perverse in its portrayal
of marriage, and of the family, and of
personal integrity that the undiscerning
might be led to believe that this is the
normal way for people or families or
neighborhoods to behave.

Only last week a comment was
made by an assistant United States at-
torney general after she had witnessed
a popular play in which drug use was
made to appear acceptable and even
desirable: " ‘We perpetuate the
falsehood that drugs make you cute,
bold, insightful, philosophical or
chic,’ " she said (Lois Haight Herring-
ton, quoted by Godfrey Sperling, Jr.,
"Tolerance for Drugs Is Undermining
U.S. ‘War’ Commitment," Deseret
News, 24 Sept. 1986, sec. A, p. 9).
And a columnist, in quoting her, added
an interesting line: "Our society still
sanctions the use of alcohol. There is
really no more dangerous drug — and
certainly none that has done more
damage or wrecked more lives over
the years — than alcohol" (Sperling,
sec. A, p. 9).

Seek help from the Lord

But most of us also have available
sound sources of wise guidance if we
will look for them. There is great power
in trust and love, and, of course, we
must learn to trust because our confi-
dence in the integrity of man supports
our confidence in God. Yet, in matters
of lasting importance, one must not rely
only on "the arm of flesh" at the ex-
pense of looking to the Lord in scripture
and in prayer.



Perils of immature, thoughtless

In World War II, I had an experi-
ence aboard a United States naval ves-
sel in the South Pacific that was a
powerful example of the virtue of wise
choices and the peril of making deci-
sions that are immature or impetuous,
or are made in the heat of emotion, or
that go thoughtlessly along with the

The young man aboard my ship
was obviously special. He was modest
and able and promising, and it was a
blessing to be with him on the few oc-
casions when our particular duties dur-
ing wartime made it possible to be

But circumstance dictated that
much more of the time and attention of
my young associate was spent with oth-
ers with whom he worked intimately in
the compressed life of a crew aboard a
ship at sea. These associates had life-
styles and a view of values that were far
removed from those to which this
choice lad was accustomed. Gradually,
the circumstances and the daily pres-
sures began to take their toll on a not yet
fully stable young man.

One day in a far-off port, I ob-
served him almost furtively preparing
to go ashore in the company of some of
those experienced individuals who
were taking him into town for one of
their "good times," as they supposed.
In the navy, these periods off duty were
ironically called "liberty."

I had a brief moment with him as
he went over the gangway and tried to
warn him that this adventure was peril-
ous and that these men meant him no
good. His furtiveness turned to defi-
ance, and he plainly told me that he was
a big boy now, able to make up his own
mind, and that he would do as he chose.

The consequences of the decisions
he made that day — and those that were
made for him when, through their in-
iquitous "help," he had lost the power
to think for himself or govern his own
behavior — were different than he ever
intended or could imagine. In his im-

maturity, he rebelliously chose the be-
ginning of a road without thinking
where that road would lead him. The
place at which he arrived in the next
few hours was one which he would
never in his right mind have chosen.

When he returned to the ship,
overleave overseas in wartime, out of
control, and in custody of the shore
patrol, he became subject to severe dis-
cipline. I cannot forget his tearful an-
guish as he awaited his ordeal. He
could not even remember anything of
the most serious of the tragedies that
had occurred to him. All he could recall
was lifting a glass they pressed on him,
not knowing that they had drugged the
drink, and then all was blank. They had
proceeded to take him on their rounds
with them.

The charges against him, indelibly
imprinted on his previously perfect ser-
vice record, were heartbreaking. I
won’t forget his tearful anguish as he
said over and over, "What will I tell my
mom? What will I tell my girl?"

He had time now — and the dispo-
sition to listen and to think. We read
together the sweet counsel of the Lord
concerning Christ’s atoning sacrifice
and his mission of redemption and of
forgiveness and mercy (see Alma 42).

Beware of those who wield evil

About two thousand years ago, the
Apostle Peter wrote in remarkable de-
tail of our times and what is transpiring
in them as individuals, young and old,
are sometimes led into tragedy by oth-
ers who have no wholesome interest in
their happiness or their future. These
"others," and the results of their evil
influence, are clearly described. I pray
that some who sorely need it, or some
who can help those who sorely need
it, will hear these remarkable words.
They come from the book of 2 Peter,
chapter 2:

"The Lord knoweth how to deliver
the godly out of temptations, and to
reserve the unjust unto the day of judg-
ment. …


Saturday, October 4


First Day

"But chiefly them that walk after
the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and
despise government. Presumptuous are
they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to
speak evil of dignities, . . .

"… of the things that they un-
derstand not; . . .

"Having eyes full of adultery, and
that cannot cease from sin; beguiling
unstable souls: . . .

"These are wells without water,
clouds that are carried with a tem-
pest; . . .

"For when they speak great swell-
ing words of vanity, they allure through
the lusts of the flesh, through much
wantonness, those that were clean es-
caped from them who live in error.

"While they promise them liberty,
they themselves are the servants of cor-
ruption: for of whom a man is over-
come, of the same is he brought in
bondage" (vs. 9-10, 12, 14, 17-19;
italics added).

I have never been able to refer to
these powerful words without thinking
about a clean young man of strong
promise who followed bad counsel and
bad example into tragedy, with com-
promise to conscience and with heart-
break to himself and to those who loved
him. We cannot with impunity follow
the example or heed the counsels of
unwisdom or unrighteousness, or of ig-
norance or immaturity or ego or greed
or bravado.

Consequences of evil

There is no bravery in evil, no true
courage in behavior that can only result
in deep disappointment. There is no
lasting joy in the euphoria resulting
from substances taken into our bodies
which ultimately sabotage our self-
control, and overcome our capacity to
think for ourselves, and move us to act
in ways incompatible with our best un-

Reasons to seek the Lord’s counsel

We see much that is glorious and
reassuring in good human beings, but
mortal men have limitations. None of
us has ever met a mortal in whom we
could comfortably rest our salvation.
Only one qualifies for that trust, and he
is the Holy One of Israel. His love for
us was and is so great that he volun-
teered for the unspeakable burden of
carrying the weight of our sins. He is
our Mediator and our Advocate with
the Father. The prophet Micah spoke
truthfully and faithfully long ago when,
in a time of great trouble, he testified:
"I will look unto the Lord; I will wait
for the God of my salvation: my God
will hear me" (Micah 7:7).

All of us have much to learn and
need good counsel. And beyond sound
human help, beyond the "arm of flesh,"
it is written, "Counsel with the Lord in
all thy doings, and he will direct thee
for good" (Alma 37:37). "He will con-
sole you in your afflictions, and he will
plead your cause" (Jacob 3:1).

Mormon’s last words to his son
are my prayer for my children and
grandchildren also, and for the children
of men everywhere:

"My son, be faithful in Christ;
and may not the things which I have
written grieve thee, to weigh thee down
unto death; but may Christ lift thee up,
and may his sufferings and death, and
[resurrection], . . . and his mercy and
long-suffering, and the hope of his
glory and of eternal life, rest in your
mind forever" (Moroni 9:25).

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

The chorus sang "Sweet Hour of
Prayer" without announcement.

President Hinckley

Elder Marion D. Hanks, a mem-
ber of the Presidency of the First Quo-
rum of the Seventy, has addressed us,



followed by the Mormon Youth Chorus Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the
singing "Sweet Hour of Prayer." Council of the Twelve Apostles will be

our next speaker.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton

Bad habits bind like chains

Some years ago I had an acquain-
tance who had allowed himself to be-
come a compulsive user of alcohol. He
drank before he had dinner, and he would
have what he called a "bracer" before
involving himself in major business deci-
sions. During a routine physical exam-
ination one day, a doctor told him that,
for the good of his health, he should
break the drinking habit. When 1 asked
him what he intended to do, he said,
"That’s easy. I’ll just change doctors."

Another acquaintance is a lovely,
well-educated woman who has been a
very heavy smoker. She now tells us of
a few times she even woke her husband
up in the middle of the night and in-
sisted that he go to an all-night store to
get her a pack of cigarettes. This couple
came in contact with the missionaries,
believed their message, and joined the
Church. When she knew she had to quit
smoking, the woman almost immedi-
ately threw off the chains of this habit
and became free of tobacco addiction.

As I have been rereading the Book
of Mormon, following the counsel of
President Ezra Taft Benson, our be-
loved prophet, I have been even more
impressed with the counsel father Lehi
gave his family shortly before his
death. He pleads with his sons with
these words:

"Awake, my sons; put on the ar-
mor of righteousness. Shake off the
chains with which ye are bound, and
come forth out of obscurity, and arise
from the dust" (2 Nephi 1:23).

Bad habits impede happiness and

Those words apply to us today.
Who among us hasn’t felt the chains

of bad habits? These habits may have
impeded our progress, may have made
us forget who we are, may have de-
stroyed our self-image, may have put
our family life in jeopardy, and may
have hindered our ability to serve our
fellowmen and our God. So many of us
tend to say, "This is the way I am.
1 can’t change. I can’t throw off the
chains of habit."

Lehi warned his sons to "shake off
the chains" because he knew that
chains restrict our mobility, growth,
and happiness. They cause us to be-
come confused and less able to be
guided by God’s Spirit. Lehi also re-
minded his sons that their new land
should "be a land of liberty unto them;
wherefore, they shall never be brought
down into captivity; if so, it shall be
because of iniquity" (2 Nephi 1:7). He
could have said, "If so, it shall be be-
cause ye have been bound into captivity
by the chains of unrighteous living."
Samuel Johnson wisely shared, "The
chains of habit are . . . too small to be
felt until they are too strong to be bro-
ken" (International Dictionary of
Thoughts, comp. John P. Bradley [Chi-
cago: J. G. Ferguson Publishing Co.,
1969], p. 348).

The lady of whom I spoke was
able to break the chains of a bad habit
because she became committed to
change. Some of the Lamanites under
King Lamoni were able to break the
chains of their iniquities of murder, in-
dolence, and hatred when they were
taught by Ammon. They became even
more valiant than the Nephites because
they became committed to righteous-

Righteous living is a shield, a pro-
tector, an insulation, a strength, a
power, a joy, a Christlike trait. Yes,


Saturday, October 4


First Day

living a life of righteousness is a chain-

Many of us today are shackled by
the restrictive chains of poor habits. We
are bound by inferior self-images cre-
ated by misconduct and indifference.
We are chained by an unwillingness to
change for the better. Is it any wonder,
in our day as it was in Nephi’s, that
God’s pleas are "awake," "listen,"
"procrastinate no longer," "believe
me," "come back," and "seek the
straight course"?

This catchy couplet fits so many of
us. "Procrastination is a silly thing, it
only brings me sorrow, but I can
change at any time! I think I will —

Shaking off restrictive chains re-
quires action. They cannot be wished
away. A declaration will never break
chains. It requires commitment, self-
discipline, and work.

Chains weigh heavily on troubled
hearts and souls. They relegate us to
lives of no purpose or light. They cause
us to become confused and lose the
spirit. We need to arise from the dust
and enjoy the fresh air of righteousness.
We need to move forward in patience,
understanding, love, and never-ending

Chains of unrighteous dominion

Sometimes the chains of arro-
gance and domination cause priesthood
bearers to lose their way and stumble.
No man in The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints is worthy of his
priesthood powers and blessings if he
makes unrighteous demands upon his
wife or family. God forbid that any man
would find satisfaction or comfort in
exercising this type of domination.

"No power or influence can or
ought to be maintained by virtue of the
priesthood, only by persuasion, by
long-suffering, by gentleness and
meekness, and by love unfeigned"
(D&C 121:41).

Let me share some chains I have
recently observed in the lives of some
friends, chains that are causing mis-

direction, family destruction, loss of
self-respect, and sadness.

Chains of drug abuse

I am thinking of a young husband
and father who is participating in drug
abuse. He stands to lose family, em-
ployment, personal pride, and his own
life. His cries of "I’m hooked" tug at
the soul. The use of cocaine and other
drugs causes those involved to become
totally chained to their addiction.
Those who peddle drugs not only pro-
vide chains for others, but shackle
themselves with the weights of unrigh-
teousness as well. To those not in-
volved, avoid drugs in any form with
all of your might. To those involved,
seek help to remove the chains that will
drag you down and smother you. Drugs
are not a "quick fix." They are a quick
exit through a door which too often
swings only one way — toward heart-
ache and self-destruction.

Believe me when I tell you that
some of the saddest sights I have ever
witnessed in my life are people living
with drug addiction. They are prisoners
within their own bodies. Many feel to-
tally helpless, dependent, and desper-
ate. But none should feel hopeless. Lift
those chains and fight back for personal
dignity, peace, and purpose. Anyone
who tells you drug use is the "fun" way
is a liar.

Any judge who allows convicted
drug peddlers to go their ways with
only light penalties isn’t worthy of his

Chains of murmuring and gossip

I am acquainted with a wife and
mother who is chained securely at the
present time to a life-style of mur-
muring and criticism. She is the first to
point out faults in her husband or to
repeat neighborhood gossip. How dam-
aging is a habit that permits fault-
finding, character assassination, and
the sharing of malicious rumors! Gos-
sip and caustic comments often create
chains of contention. These chains may



appear to be very small, but what mis-
ery and woe they can cause!

"O that ye would awake; awake
from a deep sleep, yea, even from the
sleep of hell, and shake off the awful
chains by which ye are bound, which
are the chains which bind the children
of men, that they are carried away cap-
tive down to the eternal gulf of misery
and woe" (2 Nephi 1:13).

Chains of indifference

Listen to the words of a friend who
understands well the meaning of this
scripture, a man who was bound by the
chains of indifference. But when he
sought God’s help and turned to righ-
teous principles, those chains were not
only broken, but smashed. This letter
was received a few weeks ago.

"I was baptized into the Church in
March of 1974. At the time, I was em-
ployed in a job that required my having
to work on Sundays. This, combined
with my lack of strength in the gospel,
prevented me from becoming an active
and faithful member of the Church.
Over the years I neglected my daily
study and prayers. Throughout this
time in my life I drifted farther and
farther from the Church and the teach-
ings of the gospel. This neglect brought
disappointment after disappointment to
myself and my family. I was discour-
aged, disillusioned, and I lacked self-
respect and confidence.

"On the afternoon of April 6,
1986, my wife was scanning through
the TV channels in search of something
to pass away another lazy Sunday after-
noon when she came across the Sunday
afternoon session of general conference
about to begin. We decided to watch
and see what was going on as we had
lost complete contact with the Church,
and I, frankly, could not have told you
who the prophet was at the time.

"The message I listened to was a
gift from my Heavenly Father, one that
would turn my life around. The mes-
sage stayed with me for the next couple
of days. I commented to my wife how
much better I felt about myself and my

relationship with others as a result of
simply applying some recommended
principles. We have since returned to a
faithful and active involvement in our

What a blessing it is to rise from
the dust and the chains of indifference.

Change requires commitment and

One may ask, "What must I do to
break the chains that bind me and lead
me away from the path our Savior
would have us follow?" These chains
cannot be broken by those who live in
lust and self-deceit. They can only be
broken by people who are willing to
change. We must face up to the hard
reality of life that damaging chains are
broken only by people of courage and
commitment who are willing to
struggle and weather the pain.

It is true some people do not want
to change, even though they may say
they do. Only you can supply the moti-
vation, and only you can decide to
change. The Church, the home, the
family, friends, and those profession-
ally trained can aid, support, encour-
age, empathize, and guide, but the
work of change belongs to the person.
Most often, it is plain hard work.

To change or break some of our
chains even in a small way means to
give up some behavior or habits that
have been very important to us in the
past. Generally this is frightening.
Change involves risks. "How will
people react and respond to me if I
change and am different?" Even if our
present way of life is painful and self-
destructive, some of us think it serves
a purpose, and so we become comfort-
able with it.

Every worthy change means
risk — the risk of losing an old and
damaging habit for a new and improved
way of life.

If fear and an unwillingness to
take the risk and challenge of the better
way of life gain the upper hand, we will
not be able to change. Shakespeare in
Measure for Measure says it this way:


Saturday, October 4


First Day

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us
lose the good we oft might win, by
fearing to attempt" (act 1, scene 4, lines

Seek God’s help to gain courage to

Even the chains of fear can be bro-
ken by those who will humbly seek
God’s help and strength. It can be done
with this strengthening promise in Doc-
trine and Covenants 122:4: "Because
of thy righteousness … thy God shall
stand by thee forever and ever."

A truly wise person will con-
stantly move forward, striving for self-
improvement, knowing that daily
repentance is needed for progress. He
will realize the good life is simply con-
forming to a standard of right and jus-
tice. The joys of happiness can only be
realized by living lofty principles.

Those who are committed to im-
provement break chains by having the
courage to try. Those who live without
commitment mistakenly think it is eas-

Elder Boyd

A child’s innocence

Some years ago, Dr. Faun Hun-
saker, then president of the Southern
States Mission, was invited to stay at
the home of a member. He arrived after
the children were in bed.

He occupied the parents’ bed-
room, and during the night heard the
door open and the sound of little feet.
A little boy frightened by a bad dream
had come to his parents’ bed for com-

Sensing that something was dif-
ferent, the little boy felt Brother Hun-
saker’s face. So he spoke quietly to the
child. The startled youngster said,
"You’re not my daddy!"

"No, I’m not your daddy."

"Did my daddy say you could
sleep here?"

"Yes, your daddy said I could
sleep here."

ier to adapt their life-styles to the
weight and restrictions of chains rather
than to put forth the effort to change.

God help us to shake off and break
the chains with which we are bound.
With God’s help they can be shaken off
by faith, works, prayer, constant com-
mitment, and self-discipline. May we
have the will and strength to shake off
the chains that would control and de-
stroy our progress, I pray in the name
of Jesus Christ, amen.

The chorus sang "Oh, What Songs
of the Heart" without announcement.

President Hinckley

Elder Marvin J. Ashton has spo-
ken to us, and the chorus has sung "Oh,
What Songs of the Heart."

Elder Boyd K. Packer of the
Council of the Twelve Apostles will be
our concluding speaker for this session.

K. Packer

With that the little youngster
crawled into bed with Brother Hun-
saker and was soon asleep.

I might well conclude with that
lesson on the trust of a little child.
Nevertheless, without apology, I in-
tend to moralize about innocence and
our obligation to little children.

Scriptural teachings about children

There is much in the scriptures
about little children.

The Psalmist wrote, "Children are
an heritage of the Lord" (Psalm 127:3).

The Savior gave the ever-familiar
plea, "Suffer the little children to come
unto me, and forbid them not: for of
such is the kingdom of heaven" (Mark

When His disciples asked, "Who
is the greatest in the kingdom of
heaven? . . . Jesus called a little child



unto him, and set him in the midst of
them, and said, . . . Whosoever . . .
shall humble himself as this little child,
the same is greatest in the kingdom of
heaven. And whoso shall receive one
such little child in my name receiveth
me" (Matthew 18:1-5).

Then came this warning: "But
whoso shall offend one of these little
ones which believe in me, it were better
for him that a millstone were hanged
about his neck, and that he were
drowned in the depth of the sea" (v. 6).

To me, the most impressive lesson
is in the Book of Mormon.

Jesus "commanded that their little
children should be brought.

"So they brought their little chil-
dren and set them down upon the
ground round about him, and Jesus
stood in the midst; . . .

"… He commanded the multi-
tude that they should kneel down upon
the ground.

"And it came to pass that when
they had knelt upon the ground, Jesus
groaned within himself, and said: Fa-
ther, I am troubled because of the wick-
edness of the people of the house of
Israel. . . .

"… He himself also knelt upon
the earth; and behold he prayed unto the
Father, and the things which he prayed
cannot be written, . . .

"And no tongue can speak, neither
can there be written by any man, nei-
ther can the hearts of men conceive so
great and marvelous things as [they]
both saw and heard Jesus speak; . . .

"And they arose from the earth,
and he said unto them: Blessed are ye
because of your faith. And now behold,
my joy is full.

"And when he had said these
words, he wept, and the multitude bare
record of it, and he took their little
children, one by one, and blessed them,
and prayed unto the Father for them.

"And when he had done this he
wept again;

"And he . . . said unto them:
Behold your little ones. . . .

"… And they saw the heavens
open, and they saw angels descending

out of heaven as it were in the midst of
fire; and they came down and encircled
those little ones about, and they were
encircled about with fire; and the
angels did minister unto them"
(3 Nephi 17:11-15, 17, 20-24).

There is more, much more, in the
scriptures about little children.

Transgressions against children

There is a sorry side to this subject
as well. I wish not to dwell on that
beyond listing four transgressions
which plague mankind, all of which
inflict suffering upon little children.

First, that consummate physical
union of man and woman belonging to
the marriage covenant is now falsely
proclaimed an acceptable indulgence
for any two adults.

Second, the misuse of that pro-
creative power in degraded acts of per-
version is widely promoted as the right
of consenting adults. This selfish be-
havior carries neither the responsibility
nor the rewards of parenthood.

Third, the deliberate destruction
of the innocent and helpless by abortion
is now widely fostered — even publicly

Fourth, the bodies and minds and
morals of increasing numbers of little
children are brutalized and abused by
those who should protect them.

In it all, mankind has sown a bitter
wind and reaps heartbreak, guilt, aban-
donment, divorce, addiction, disease,
and death; and little children suffer.

If these sins remain unchecked,
civilization will be led unfailingly to

Beliefs affect behavior toward

Our behavior is not totally con-
trolled by natural impulses. Behavior
begins with belief as well.

Beliefs are born of philosophies,
of doctrines. Doctrines can be spiritual
or secular, wholesome or destructive,
true or false.


Saturday, October 4


First Day

Two doctrines misrepresent the
status of little children. Each is widely
accepted. Both are false!

False belief of infant baptism

The first holds that little children
are conceived in sin and enter mortality
in a state of natural corruption. That
doctrine is false!

Each time a child is born, the
world is renewed in innocence.

The revelations teach us that "the
glory of God is intelligence, or, in other
words, light and truth.

"Light and truth forsake that evil


"Every spirit of man was innocent
in the beginning; and God having re-
deemed man from the fall, men became
again, in their infant state, innocent be-
fore God.

"And that wicked one cometh and
taketh away light and truth, through
disobedience, from the children of
men, and because of the tradition of
their fathers.

"But I have commanded you to
bring up your children in light and
truth" (D&C 93:36-40; italics added).

Mormon taught this doctrine to his
son Moroni and hence to us. I can
present only a few sentences from his

"If I have learned the truth," Mor-
mon wrote, "there have been dis-
putations among you concerning the
baptism of your little children"
(Moroni 8:5).

He called their disputation "gross
error" and wrote: "Immediately after I
had learned these things of you I in-
quired of the Lord concerning the mat-
ter. And the word of the Lord came to
me by the power of the Holy Ghost,

"Listen to the words of Christ,
your Redeemer, your Lord and your
God. Behold, I came into the world not
to call the righteous but sinners to re-
pentance; the whole need no physician,
but they that are sick; wherefore, little
children are whole, for they are not
capable of committing sin; wherefore

the curse of Adam is taken from them
in me, that it hath no power over
them; . . .

"And after this manner did the
Holy Ghost manifest the word of God
unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I
know that it is solemn mockery before
God, that ye should baptize little chil-
dren" (Moroni 8:7-9).

Mormon told Moroni to teach re-
pentance and baptism to "those who are
accountable and capable of committing
sin" (Moroni 8:10).

Eight is established by revelation
as the age of accountability (see
D&C 68:27).

Then, in sternness unsurpassed in
scripture, Mormon warned:

"He that supposeth that little chil-
dren need baptism is in the gall of bit-
terness and in the bonds of iniquity; for
he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity;
wherefore, should he be cut off while in
the thought, he must go down to hell.

"For awful is the wickedness to
suppose that God saveth one child be-
cause of baptism, and the other must
perish because he hath no baptism.

"Wo be unto them that shall per-
vert the ways of the Lord after this
manner, for they shall perish except
they repent. Behold, I speak with bold-
ness, having authority from God"
(Moroni 8:14-16).

Read his entire epistle. It is true
doctrine. It will inspire a reverence for
little children. Thereafter, who could
even think to neglect, much less to
abuse one of them?

Study and obey God’s laws

True doctrine, understood, changes
attitudes and behavior.

The study of the doctrines of the
gospel will improve behavior quicker
than a study of behavior will improve
behavior. Preoccupation with un-
worthy behavior can lead to unworthy
behavior. That is why we stress so
forcefully the study of the doctrines of
the gospel.

The laws of God on marriage,
birth, and nurturing of little children



may seem rigid, but they are very prac-

His law decrees that the only le-
gitimate union of man and woman is
between husband and wife. For, should
that expression of love result in concep-
tion, marriage provides shelter for the
child who enters mortality innocent and
helpless. Marriage ensures security and
happiness for parents as well.

Whatever the laws of man may
come to tolerate, the misuse of the
power of procreation, the destroying of
innocent life through abortion, and the
abuse of little children are transgres-
sions of enormous proportion. For
cradled therein rests the destiny of in-
nocent, helpless children.

False belief that man is not a child
of God

Another doctrine, equally false
and widely accepted, also misrepre-
sents the status of little children. Let me

Years ago, two of our sons, then
little fellows, were wrestling on the
rug. They reached that line which sepa-
rates laughter from tears, so I worked
my foot carefully between them and
lifted the older one back to a sitting
position on the rug. As I did so, I said,
"Hey there, you little monkeys. You’d
better settle down."

To my surprise, he folded his little
arms, his eyes swimming with deep
hurt, and protested, "I not a monkey,
Daddy; I a person!"

The years have not erased the
overwhelming feeling of love 1 felt for
my little boys. Many times over the
years his words have slipped back into
my mind, "I not a monkey, Daddy; I a
person!" I was taught a profound les-
son by my little son.

He is not just a person, nor just my
little boy. He is a child of God.

The cycle of life has moved
swiftly on. Now both of those sons
have little children of their own who
teach their fathers lessons. They now
watch their children grow as we
watched them. They are coming to

know, as fathers, something they could
not be taught as sons.

All too soon their children will be
grown with little "persons" of their
own, repeating the endless cycle of life.

Perhaps now they understand
what it means to begin our prayers, as
the Lord instructed, "Our Father who
art in heaven." He is our father; we are
His children.

This secular doctrine holds that
man is not a child of God, but basically
an animal, his behavior inescapably
controlled by natural impulse, exempt
from moral judgments and unaccount-
able for moral conduct.

While many claim that this phi-
losophy could not, in the end, lead
mankind to relaxed moral behavior,
something causes it! Is it accidental that
the more widely such secular doctrines
are believed, the more prevalent im-
moral behavior becomes?

Secular philosophy versus sacred

They defend their philosophy with
collected data and say, "It is now
proven to be true. Look at all the evi-
dence on our side."

We in turn point to the sorry way
in which mankind degrades procreation
and the attendant suffering of both chil-
dren and adults and say, "Look at all the
evidence on our side."

Secular doctrines have the advan-
tage of convincing, tangible evidence.
We seem to do better in gathering data
on things that can be counted and mea-

Doctrines which originate in the
light, on the other hand, are more often
supported by intangible impressions
upon the spirit. We are left for the most
part to rely on faith.

But, in time, the consequences of
following either will become visible

Adults should repent

To you adults who repeat the pat-
tern of neglect and abuse you endured


Saturday, October 4


First Day

as little children, believing that you are
entrapped in a cycle of behavior from
which there is no escape, I say:

It is contrary to the order of heaven
for any soul to be locked into compul-
sive, immoral behavior with no way

It is consistent with the workings
of the adversary to deceive you into
believing that you are.

I gratefully acknowledge that
transgressions, even those which affect
little children, yield to sincere repen-
tance. I testify with all my soul that the
doctrine of repentance is true and has a
miraculous, liberating effect upon be-

Children should forgive

To you innocent ones who have
not transgressed, but were abused as
little children and still carry an un-
deserved burden of guilt, I say:

Learn true doctrine — repentance
and forgiveness; lay that burden of guilt

For we are all children of the same
Heavenly Father. May not each of his
children, of any age, claim the redeem-
ing sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and in so
doing, through complete repentance,
be cleansed and renewed to childlike

I said at the beginning that I might
well conclude with the account of that
trusting little child. I think I will do just

"You’re not my daddy."
"No, I’m not your daddy."

"Did my daddy say you could
sleep here?"

"Yes, your daddy said I could
sleep here."

With that, the little boy was soon
safely asleep in his arms.

God grant that all little children
will be safe with every one of us be-
cause their Father and their God and our
Father and our God said we could be
here. In the name of Jesus Christ,

President Hinckley

Elder Boyd K. Packer has just
spoken to us.

We express appreciation to the
managers and operators of the many
television and radio stations and cable
systems for offering their facilities as a
public service to bring the proceedings
of this conference to a large and appre-
ciative audience in many areas of the

The Mormon Youth Chorus will
now sing "On This Day of Joy and
Gladness," following which the bene-
diction will be given by Elder Keith W.
Wilcox of the First Quorum of the
Seventy, and this conference will be
adjourned until two o’clock this

The chorus sang "On This Day of
Joy and Gladness."

Elder Keith W. Wilcox offered the



The second general session of the
156th Semiannual General Conference
convened in the Tabernacle on Temple
Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Sat-
urday, October 4, 1986, at 2:00 p.m.

President Thomas S. Monson, Second
Counselor in the First Presidency, con-
ducted this session.

Music for this session was pro-
vided by the Murray Region Family
Choir, under the direction of Owen
Clark with John Longhurst at the organ.



At the beginning of the meeting,
President Thomas S. Monson made the
following remarks:

President Thomas S. Monson

My beloved brethren and sisters,
President Ezra Taft Benson has asked
that I conduct this, the second general
session of the 156th Semiannual Gen-
eral Conference of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We note that Elders J. Thomas
Fyans and Derek A. Cuthbert are seated
on the stand in the Assembly Hall.

We welcome all who are in attend-
ance or who are participating by means
of television, cable, or radio, and many
who are watching in stake centers
throughout the United States, Canada,
and Puerto Rico, to which the confer-
ence is being carried by satellite trans-

We are pleased to acknowledge
especially our guests who are present
this afternoon, along with general and
local Church leaders and members
from many parts of the world.

We express our appreciation to the
owners and operators of many radio
and television stations and to the own-
ers and operators of cable systems for
their cooperation in making these pro-

ceedings available to members and
friends of the Church in many coun-

The music for this session will be
provided by the Murray Region Family
Choir, under the direction of Brother
Owen Clark with Brother John Long-
hurst at the organ.

The choir will begin this service
by singing "The Happy Day at Last Has
Come." The invocation will be offered
by Elder Gene R. Cook of the First
Quorum of the Seventy.

The choir sang "The Happy Day at
Last Has Come."

Elder Gene R. Cook offered the

President Monson

This splendid choir will now sing
"Dearest Children, God Is Near You,"
following which President Gordon B.
Hinckley will present the General Au-
thorities and general officers for the
sustaining vote of the conference.

The choir sang "Dearest Children,
God Is Near You."

President Gordon B. Hinckley

Sustaining of General Authorities
and general officers

My brothers and sisters, as re-
quested by President Benson, I shall
now present to you the General Au-
thorities and general officers of the
Church for your sustaining vote.

It is proposed that we sustain
President Ezra Taft Benson as prophet,
seer, and revelator and President of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints; Gordon B. Hinckley as First
Counselor in the First Presidency; and
Thomas S. Monson as Second Coun-

selor in the First Presidency. Those in
favor may manifest it. Any opposed
may manifest it.

It is proposed that we sustain
Marion G. Romney as President of the
Council of the Twelve Apostles,
Howard W. Hunter as Acting President
of the Council of the Twelve Apostles,
and the following as members of that
council: Marion G. Romney, Howard
W. Hunter, Boyd K. Packer, Marvin J.
Ashton, L. Tom Perry, David B.
Haight, James E. Faust, Neal A.
Maxwell, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin
H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, and


Saturday, October 4


First Day

Joseph B. Wirthlin. Those in favor,
please manifest it. Any opposed may
manifest it.

As announced a few months ago,
Carlos E. Asay has been released as a
President of the First Quorum of the
Seventy in order to serve as President of
the Europe Area. In view of the action
just taken, we also release Elder Joseph
B. Wirthlin, who has been serving as a
President of the First Quorum of the
Seventy since August. Those who wish
to extend a vote of appreciation to these
Brethren for their faithful service may
do so by the uplifted hand.

We sustain as the Presidency of
the First Quorum of the Seventy: Dean
L. Larsen, Richard G. Scott, Marion
D. Hanks, Wm. Grant Bangerter, Jack
H. Goaslind, Robert L. Backman, and
Hugh W. Pinnock. All in favor, please
signify. Any opposed may so signify.

We note with sadness the passing
of Elders James A. Cullimore and O.
Leslie Stone of the First Quorum of the
Seventy. Parenthetically, I would like
to say that we note with sadness the
passing only yesterday of President
Franklin McKean of the Brazil Recife

With the exceptions which I have
noted, there have been no changes in

the General Authorities or the general
officers of the Church since the last
conference. It is proposed, therefore,
that we sustain all of the General Au-
thorities and general officers of the
Church as at present constituted. All in
favor, please manifest it. Any opposed
by the same sign.

It appears that the voting has been
unanimous in favor of the General Au-
thorities and general officers of the
Church. Thank you, brothers and sis-
ters, for your generous and prayerful

President Thomas S. Monson

It would now be appropriate for
Brother Wirthlin and Brother Pinnock
to take their places, please. Elder
Dallin H. Oaks of the Council of the
Twelve Apostles will be our first
speaker, and he will be followed by
Elders H. Verlan Andersen, George I.
Cannon, and Gardner H. Russell of the
First Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke with-
out further announcement.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Duty to live the Golden Rule

One of the consequences of mor-
tality is the necessity of earning our
daily bread (see Genesis 3:19,
Moses 4:25). We do so as employees,
as business people, and as investors. In
all of our earning activities, we have the
challenge of dealing fairly and consid-
erately with others.

Our duty is clear. The Savior gave
us the Golden Rule: "All things what-
soever ye would that men should do to
you, do ye even so to them"
(Matthew 7:12).

Satan’s position is the opposite.
He sponsors self-interest, raw and un-
refined by any other consideration. One

of his most effective tools is the temp-
tation to take unfair advantage in order
to get gain. It has been so from the

Cain set the pattern of the world.
Cain coveted the flocks of his brother
Abel, and Satan showed him how to
obtain them (see JST, Genesis 5:14, 23;
Moses 5:29, 38). Satan taught Cain
that a man could get worldly wealth by
committing some evil against its owner
(see JST, Genesis 5:16; Moses 5:31).

Cain killed Abel. The scriptures
say that he did so "for the sake of get-
ting gain" (Moses 5:50), the flocks of
his brother (JST, Genesis 5:18;
Moses 5:33). Seeing this, the Lord



asked Cain, "Where is Abel thy
brother?" Cain first attempted to cover
his sin with a lie: "I know not." Then
he added a rationalization: "Am I my
brother’s keeper?" (Genesis 4:9; see
also Moses 5:34).

Responsibility to be brothers’

Are we our brothers’ keepers? In
other words, are we responsible to look
after the well-being of our neighbors as
we seek to earn our daily bread? The
Savior’s Golden Rule says we are.
Satan says we are not.

Tempted of Satan, some have fol-
lowed the example of Cain. They covet
property and then sin to obtain it. The
sin may be murder, robbery, or theft. It
may be fraud or deception. It may even
be some clever but legal manipulation
of facts or influence to take unfair ad-
vantage of another. Always the excuse
is the same: "Am I my brother’s

Those who follow the example of
Cain fulfill a Book of Mormon proph-
ecy. Seeing our day, Nephi prophesied
that many would say, "Lie a little, take
the advantage of one because of his
words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there
is no harm in this" (2 Nephi 28:8).

Be guided by high moral standards
in the marketplace

We live in a world where many
look on the marketplace as a ruthless
arena where the buyer must beware,
where no one is obligated to do more
than the law requires, and where fraud
isn’t fraud unless you can prove it in

Members of the Church of Jesus
Christ have a higher standard. Presi-
dent Harold B. Lee said, "The stan-
dard … in the Church must be visibly
higher than the standard … in the
world" (Ye Are the Light of the World
[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co.,
1974], p. 13). We are commanded to
live the Golden Rule.

Despite that high standard, some
who profess to be Christians seek to

earn their living by systematically vic-
timizing their neighbors.

Some seize wealth by trafficking
in illegal drugs or pornography.
Traders in these products enrich them-
selves by transactions that ruin the
bodies, minds, or morals of their cus-

Other criminals live by stealing.
And not all stealing is at gunpoint or by
dark of night. Some theft is by decep-
tion, where the thief manipulates the
confidence of his victim.

The white-collar cousin of steal-
ing is fraud, which gets its gain by lying
about an essential fact in a transaction.

Scheming promoters with glib
tongues and ingratiating manners de-
ceive their neighbors into investments
the promoters know to be more specu-
lative than they dare reveal.

God will judge secret acts

Difficulties of proof make fraud a
hard crime to enforce. But the inade-
quacies of the laws of man provide no
license for transgression under the laws
of God. Though their method of thiev-
ery may be immune from correction in
this life, sophisticated thieves in white
shirts and ties will ultimately be seen
and punished for what they are. He who
presides over that Eternal Tribunal
knows our secret acts, and he is "a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of
the heart" (Hebrews 4:12, D&C 33:1).

Follow Christian standards in
financial activities

Most of us can be relatively com-
fortable when a message on the Golden
Rule in the workplace uses examples
like illegal drugs and theft by decep-
tion. What follows is more challeng-
ing. And it should be. We cannot
expect to be comfortable if we measure
our conduct against the Savior’s com-
mand, "I would that ye should be per-
fect even as I" (3 Nephi 12:48). To
follow in the footsteps of the only per-
fect person who ever lived, we must
expect to stretch our souls.


Saturday, October 4


First Day

Followers of Christ have the moral
responsibility of earning their livings
and conducting their financial transac-
tions in ways that are consistent with
the principles of the gospel and the
teachings of the Savior. Members of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-
day Saints should not be involved in
employment or other activities upon
which they cannot conscientiously ask
the blessings of the Lord.

Persons who prosecute frivolous
lawsuits do not measure up to this high
standard. Groundless litigation rewards
some plaintiffs handsomely, but it in-
jures everyone else by raising the price
of products and services.

An employee who receives the
compensation agreed upon but does not
perform the service agreed upon earns
part of his living by injuring others.

So does an employer who is unfair
to his employees. An idealistic young
professional wrote Church head-
quarters about the plight of migrant
farm workers. He had observed treat-
ment that was probably illegal and cer-
tainly unchristian. When I read his
letter, I thought of the positive example
of Jesse Knight, the great benefactor of
Brigham Young Academy. At a time
when most mine owners exploited their
workers, this Christian employer paid
his miners something extra so they
could earn their living in six days’ labor
and rest on the Sabbath. He did not
require them to patronize a company
store. He built his workers a building
for recreation, worship, and schooling.
And Brother Knight would not permit
the superintendent to question his
workers about their religion or politics
(see Jesse William Knight, The Jesse
Knight Family [Salt Lake City: Deseret
News Press, 1940], pp. 43-44; and
Gary Fuller Reese, "Uncle Jesse"
[Master’s thesis, Brigham Young Uni-
versity, 1961], pp. 26-28).

Of course, we understand that
what an employer can pay his employ-
ees is limited by what his business can
obtain for its products or services in a
competitive marketplace. Contracts

also impose limits on legitimate eco-
nomic expectations.

Follow Christian standards in
selling and advertising

Christian standards should also
apply to those who earn a living by
selling or advertising products in the

The marketplace for products and
services has many potential buyers who
are vulnerable because they are poorly
informed or excessively trusting. For
example, a friend told me of a young
student couple who didn’t have enough
money for rent, groceries, and tuition
but were persuaded to sign up for an
expensive self-improvement course.
Can a seller ever justify obtaining per-
sonal profit by persuading someone to
assume a financial burden he cannot
wisely bear in order to acquire some-
thing he does not really need? The
Prophet Joseph Smith taught that
Latter-day Saints should deal justly
with their neighbors and mercifully
with the poor (see History of the
Church, 5:401).

To cite another kind of example,
an owner who keeps his business open
on Sunday prevents his employees
from attending worship services and
being with their families on the Sab-
bath. Modern-day prophets have en-
couraged us not to shop on Sunday (see,
for example, Spencer W. Kimball, in
Conference Report, Oct. 1974, p. 6; or
Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 6). Those of us
who shop on the Sabbath cannot escape
responsibility for encouraging busi-
nesses to remain open on that day. Es-
sential services must be provided, but
most Sabbath transactions could be
avoided if merchants and customers
were determined to avoid doing busi-
ness on the Lord’s day.

Last year the Deseret News carried
an article about a Salt Lake City phar-
macist who stopped selling cigarettes in
his drugstore. He explained, "It’s just
incompatible for a profession dedicated
to saving people’s lives to sell a product
that does nothing but kill" ("S.L.
Pharmacist Using Backhoe to Snuff out
Cigarette Stock," 20 Dec. 1985, sec.



B, p. 1). That merchant was more con-
cerned about his customers’ welfare
than his personal profits.

Sister Oaks called my attention to
a similar example in the world of adver-
tising. The magazine Women’s Sports
and Fitness does not accept cigarette
ads, thus foregoing much-needed reve-
nue. A woman columnist and physi-
cian, Dr. Joan Ullyot, praised this
policy and contrasted it to the practice
of another organization:

"I am dismayed that a prominent
women’s sport, tennis, continues to
take support from a cigarette company.
Surely the top women in this sport,
none of whom smoke, have the [cour-
age] to say no to this hypocrisy and stop
lending their names and prestige to
sanction and glamorize a lethal pro-
duct. Any role model in sport who ac-
cepts support or sponsorship from a
company whose products destroy
health and fitness should take a hard
look at what she is, by association, en-
dorsing" (Women’s Sports and Fitness,
Sept. 1986, p. 12).

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this
same attitude of looking after the inter-
ests of others governed Latter-day
Saints who are making a profit from the
sale or promotion of alcoholic bever-
ages? Consider the terrible effects of
alcohol. Alcohol-related accidents are
the leading cause of death of those un-
der twenty-five. The physical, social,
and financial effects of alcohol ruin
marriages and family life. By dulling
inhibitions, alcohol leads to untold
numbers of crimes and moral transgres-
sions. Alcohol is the number one addic-
tive drug in our day.

The consumption of alcohol is in-
creasing among youth. Targeting
young audiences, advertisers portray
beer and wine as joyful, socially de-
sirable, and harmless. Producers are
promoting new types of alcoholic
beverages as competitors in the huge
soft-drink market. Grocery and con-
venience stores and gas stations stock
alcoholic beverages side by side with
soda pop. Can Christians who are in-
volved in this commerce be indifferent

to the physical and moral effects of the
alcohol from which they are making
their profits?

Other examples could be given,
but these few are sufficient to illustrate
the principle that the Golden Rule ap-
plies to our earning activities. We are
our brother’s keeper, even in the

Strive to live the full implications
of the Golden Rule

I am aware that this is a high stan-
dard which cannot be met overnight.
But it is important to recognize our re-
sponsibility and begin to work toward
it. And we should do so joyfully. The
gospel is the good news. Command-
ments lead to blessings. The Prophet
Joseph Smith told our first missionaries
that when preaching we should "warn
in compassion." We "have no right . . .
to scare mankind to repentance," he
said. We should preach the gospel as
"glad tidings of great joy unto all
people" [History of the Church, 1 :280).

We should also remember that the
principle that the Golden Rule governs
our earning activities is difficult to
apply in practice. We should not con-
sider employees responsible for poli-
cies they regret but cannot control. A
decision that is made by the owner of a
market should not inflict feelings of
guilt on a conscientious but powerless
Christian who runs the checkout stand.
Similarly, a part-owner does not have
freedom to impose his standards on
business policies if he has partners who
do not share his moral concerns. An
incorporated business may be con-
trolled by stockholders who have no
concern for the destructive human ef-
fects of a profitable product or policy.

We live in a complex society,
where even the simplest principle can
be exquisitely difficult to apply. I ad-
mire investors who are determined not
to obtain income or investment profits
from transactions that add to the sum
total of sin and misery in the world. But
they will have difficulty finding invest-
ments that meet this high standard.


Saturday, October 4


First Day

Good things are often packaged with
bad, so decisions usually involve bal-
ancing. In a world of corporate
diversification, we are likely to find
that a business dealing in beverages
sells milk in one division and alcohol in
another. Just when we think that our
investments are entirely unspotted from
the world, we may find that our life
insurance is partially funded by invest-
ments we wish to avoid. Or our savings
may be deposited in a bank that is
lending to ventures we could not ap-
prove. Such complexities make it diffi-
cult to prescribe firm rules.

Apply the Golden Rule prayerfully
and thoughtfully

We must rely on teaching correct
principles, which each member should
personally apply to govern his or her
own circumstances. To that end, each
of us should give thoughtful and
prayerful consideration to whether we
are looking after the well-being of our
neighbors in the way we earn our daily

The motive of Cain is at the head-
waters of wickedness. Cain’s sin was
murder, but his motive was personal
gain. That motive has produced all
manner of wickedness, including mur-
der, thievery, and fraud. That motive is
also at work in the legal but immoral
practices of those who get gain by prey-
ing on the weaknesses or ignorance of
their neighbors. Always such activities
involve Cain’s ancient rationalization:
"Am I my brother’s keeper?"

In contrast, the Savior taught us to
"love [our] enemies, bless them that
curse [us], do good to them that hate
[us], and pray for them who de-
spitefully use [us] and persecute [us]"
(3 Nephi 12:44). When we have that
duty toward our enemies, we cannot
allow ourselves to do less for our part-
ners, our customers, our employees,
and others with whom we deal in the

Living the Golden Rule brings

What a beautiful and happy world
this would be if all of us would strive
to live these principles to the fullest.
Our efforts and influence would affect
millions. Examples improve society
more than sermons. Most people would
rather see a sermon than hear one.

In those brilliant generations that
followed the appearance of the resur-
rected Christ in the New World, "there
were no contentions and disputations
among [the people], and every man did
deal justly one with another"
(4 Nephi 1:2). Fourth Nephi records:
"Surely there could not be a happier
people among all the people who had
been created by the hand of God"
(1:16). We should be striving to regain
that condition. As modern revelation
declares, "Zion must increase in
beauty, and in holiness" (D&C 82:14).
One of the ways prescribed to achieve
that increase is "every man seeking the
interest of his neighbor, and doing all
things with an eye single to the glory of
God" (D&C 82:19).

May God bless us to live the
Golden Rule in our earning activities.
As we seek to be our brother’s keeper,
we will be attempting to follow in the
footsteps of the Master. I testify of
Jesus Christ, our Savior, whose blood
has atoned for repented sins and whose
resurrection has broken the bands of
death for all. The fulness of the gospel
was restored through the Prophet
Joseph Smith. His successor, President
Ezra Taft Benson, holds the keys of the
everlasting gospel in our day. In the
name of Jesus Christ, amen.

President Monson

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Coun-
cil of the Twelve Apostles has just spo-
ken to us.

We shall now hear from Elders H.
Verlan Andersen, George I. Cannon,
and Gardner H. Russell, sustained last
conference as new members of the First
Quorum of the Seventy.



Elder H. Verlan Andersen

My dear brothers and sisters,
knowing as I do that this is the Lord’s
church, and sensing somewhat the
magnitude of the responsibility which
comes with my calling and assignment
as a General Authority, I have prayed
most earnestly for that divine help
which I feel so much in need of.

Missionary work in Latin America:
fulfillment of prophecy

During the past few years, my
wife and I have served as missionaries
in Latin American countries. This has
been one of the most challenging and
rewarding experiences of our lives. It
has been deeply satisfying to work with
those lovable and believing people and
to see the prophecies of the Book of
Mormon being fulfilled as hundreds of
thousands of the descendants of Lehi
join the Church. The day of the Laman-
ites has truly arrived.

The history of the Lamanites just
prior to the Lord’s first appearance on
this continent reveals an interesting
parallel between what occurred then
and what is happening today. Com-
mencing about the year 92 B.C., the
Lamanites began coming into the
Lord’s church by the tens of thousands.
That conversion miracle, which took
place just shortly before the Lord’s first
advent, is being repeated now just prior
to his second coming.

Devotion to missionary work
brings joy

There is an aspect of missionary
work upon which I would like to com-
ment briefly, and that is the joy which
comes to those who engage in it.

The Book of Mormon sums up the
whole purpose of existence in this short
sentence: "Men are, that they might
have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25).

If joy is the supreme goal of life,
then everyone should be intensely in-
terested in how it may be obtained. We
should be equally concerned about how

we may avoid its opposite, misery.
These vital topics are discussed and il-
lustrated in the Book of Mormon, and
the information concerning them is di-
rectly related to missionary work. The
book tells us that those who completely
devote their lives to the task of spread-
ing the gospel experience exquisite joy,
while those who oppose it and seek to
promulgate falsehood suffer a misery
equally intense.

The gospel, and the opportunity to
share its message, have not always
been on the earth. But when the gospel
is here, we should value it highly. The
Lord has given us his promise that if we
labor all of our days and bring save it
be one soul to him, how great shall be
our joy with him in the kingdom of our
Father (see D&C 18:15).

Lifeblood of the Church

A number of years ago, the late
President Spencer W. Kimball, who
was then a member of the Quorum of
the Twelve, visited the stake in which
I was living and made the statement that
missionary work is the lifeblood of the
Church. He also said that were it not for
missionary work, the Church would
wither and die on the vine. That state-
ment doubtless applies as much to us as
individuals and families as it does to the
Church as a whole. A failure to utilize
our endowments and fulfill our callings
as the salt of the earth may indeed cause
us to wither and die on the vine.

Blessings of sacrificing for
missionary work

I should like to discuss for a mo-
ment the enormous influence which
missionary work has had on my own
life. My parents, who grew up in Mex-
ico, had not served missions prior to
their marriage. But when a call came to
the seventies quorum to which my fa-
ther belonged for a volunteer to serve a
short-term mission, he went, even
though it meant leaving a farm and a


Saturday, October 4


First Day

large family of small children for his
wife to care for. She welcomed that
opportunity to sacrifice for Church and
family, and I well remember how hero-
ically she bore her burdens during those
difficult winter months.

Later, during the long, cruel years
of the Great Depression, even though
my parents suffered severe financial
hardship, they always kept one of their
children in the mission field.

My father passed away at a rela-
tively young age, and after he was gone
and we children had married, my
mother asked for, and was given, per-
mission to serve a mission in Mexico.

If there is honor attached to my
call to the First Quorum of the Seventy,
and indeed there is, it goes not to me,
but to those whose examples of sacri-
fice and dedication have influenced my
life so greatly. I pay tribute to them for
their tireless and unceasing devotion to
the Church and to their family. They
have wielded an immense influence
upon their ten children and their other
numerous posterity.

I must not close without express-
ing my love and appreciation for my
dear companion, who is herself a no-
table example of hard work and sacri-
fice. I think she deserves to be heard
from, and so I am going to pass on to
you the following thoughts that she
suggested I include in my address, not
expecting I would attribute them to her:

Message to grandparents

"And now a word to grandparents
on missionary work. The blessings you
receive therefrom reach down into your
families. The grandchildren will never
forget the special joy they feel at your
farewell. Then, when you get into the
mission field, letters start arriving con-
taining statements like these: ‘Grandma
and Grandpa, I keep praying for you to
be good missionaries,’ or, ‘Sometime
I’ll go on a mission just like you.’

"Grandmothers, you say you can-
not leave the grandchildren? I want to
bear you my testimony that you can be
a lasting influence for good in the lives
of those little ones by giving a year or
so of your time to the service of the
Lord in the mission field. The bonds of
love will be strengthened, and true mir-
acles will occur. Don’t deny your
grandchildren those blessings. I chal-
lenge you to put missionary work to the

Such is the message of my dear
wife, with whom I am in total agree-
ment. And now in closing, I bear you
my own witness that missionary work
truly is the lifeblood of the Church and
that we have a divine commission to
share the gospel with others both at
home and abroad. I know, nothing
doubting, that this is the work of the
Lord and that President Benson is his
prophet on earth today. This testimony
I bear in the name of Jesus Christ,

Elder George I. Cannon

My brothers and sisters, the
Lord’s work is moving forward in Asia
through the faith, prayers, and good
works of the Saints and missionaries
in many countries in that part of the
world. A spiritual awakening is taking
place, and doors are being opened. It
is a humbling and uplifting experience
for Sister Cannon and me to be called
to serve in that choice area of the

I would like to share some
thoughts with you as a father and grand-

Importance of children

First, I would like to talk to you
young children. I want you to know that
you are loved by your Father in Heaven
and your Elder Brother, Jesus Christ.
When Jesus was living upon the earth,
a very important event took place:



"Then were there brought unto
him little children, that he should put
his hands on them, and pray: and the
disciples rebuked them [or tried to stop
them from coming].

"But Jesus said, Suffer little chil-
dren, and forbid them not, to come unto
me: for of such is the kingdom of

"And [then] he laid his hands on
them" (Matthew 19:13-15).

How important each one of you is
to your Father in Heaven and to his Son,
Jesus Christ! They want you to be happy.
They have told of some things which, if
you do, will make you feel good inside.
Jesus told us to "honour [our] father and
mother" (Matthew 15:4). That means
we need to listen to our parents, ask for
their help and advice, and, as they do
what is right, follow their example.

Jesus also said, "Pray always, and
I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and
great shall be your blessing" (D&C
19:38). I hope that each morning and
evening you kneel beside your bed and
pray to your Father in Heaven. As you
start the day, ask him to help you think
good thoughts and do good deeds. As
each day ends, thank him for your
blessings, and ask that his spirit will
always be with you. I know from my
own experience that prayer can make
you a happier and better person.

I hope that you are going every
week to Primary, where you can learn
how to be happy and serve the Lord,
and that once a week your family is
holding family home evening. If your
family is not holding family home eve-
ning, ask your parents if you can start
having one, and then you help them
with it.

Challenges and opportunities of

Now I would like to speak to those
of you in your youth. This is a great
time to be young. You are living in the
most exciting period of this world’s his-
tory. You are also living in the most
challenging. We know there are many
temptations, but we have confidence in

you. The Lord has confidence and faith
in you. There is unlimited growth
ahead for you if you are willing to work
hard and earn it. Be happy! Be glad you
are you.

Follow the wise counsel of Alma
to his son Helaman given centuries ago:
"O, remember, my son, and learn wis-
dom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy
youth to keep the commandments of
God" (Alma 37:35).

In one of his last conference ad-
dresses, President David 0. McKay
gave this counsel to the youth of the

"Our body will not fulfill its
purpose — it cannot — without that life-
giving something within which is the
offspring of Deity as eternal as [your]
Father [in Heaven]. . . . That spirit
within, young man, young woman, is
the real you. What you make of your-
self depends upon you as an individual.
You are in this world to choose the right
or the wrong, to accept the right or yield
to temptation. Upon that choice will
depend the development of the spiritual
part of you" (in Conference Report,
Apr. 1967, pp. 134-35; or Improve-
ment Era, June 1967, p. 110).

O wonderful youth of Zion, pray,
study the scriptures, and serve in the
Church so that you can have that inner
peace that Christ is your Savior and the
gospel is the right way to live.

As Elder Richard L. Evans wrote:
"Oh, beloved young friends: remember
life is forever — but youth doesn’t last
very long. Live to make memories that
will bless the whole length of your life"
{Richard Evans ‘ Quote Book [Salt Lake
City: Publishers Press, 1971], p. 40).

Important roles of single adults

Now I speak to you stalwart single
adults. You are making great contribu-
tions wherever you go. You are helping
to build the individual, the home, the
Church, and the community as you
serve as missionaries, teachers, neigh-
bors, and friends to those in need. Your
enthusiasm, spirit, and faith are a bless-
ing to all of us. My fatherly counsel is


Saturday, October 4


First Day

to remind you of the importance of to-
day. This is the time in which the work
of this life is to be done. Be a partici-
pant. See that things happen. Make
commitments to yourself and the Lord.
Live outside yourself with love. A
Hindu proverb says, "Help thy
brother’s boat across, and lo, thine own
has reached the shore."

Sacred responsibilities of parents

Now I speak to you who are par-
ents. I was reminded of a cartoon
LaRue Longden, former counselor in
the YWMIA, would often share in her
talks. It shows the early morning hours
with a couple out camping. The hus-
band is fishing with a big smile on his
face. The wife puts her sleepy head out
of the tent — her hair going in all direc-
tions, the mosquitoes buzzing around
her face, her eyes barely open — and
comments to her husband, "Tell me
again, dear, how much fun I am hav-
ing." As a parent, do you need to re-
mind yourself occasionally of how
much fun you are having? Be sure and
enjoy being a parent. It is a wonderful
and sacred responsibility.

Three thoughts I would share:
First, take time for your children.
As Elder Evans counseled: "Children
are shaped and molded at a very early
age. . . . Life goes quickly. Don’t
brush them off and turn them over to
others. Take time for your children —
before they’re grown, before they’re
gone" (Thoughts for One Hundred

Days: Volume Four [Salt Lake City:
Publishers Press, 1970], pp. 34-35).

Second, live within your income.
Be frugal and wise. Pay your obliga-
tions to the Lord, your country, and
yourself, and then live on what is left.
It takes willpower to say no when you
can’t afford it, but you will sleep better
at night.

Third, remember constant court-
ship. The most important relationship
upon this earth for you is between you
and your sweetheart. Work at it, sacri-
fice for it, enjoy it. You can make your
home a bit of heaven as you build for
an eternity together.

The need for older members to

Now to those in your mature
years. "Press forward with a stead-
fastness in Christ, having a perfect
brightness of hope, and a love of God
and of all men" (2 Nephi 31:20). Con-
tinue to be living testimonies of the
gospel as you share your faith, love,
and wisdom. You are sorely needed in
the mission field. What lives you will
bless as you accept the call to serve!
There is so much for you to do in the
holy temples. Don’t retire from active
service in the Lord’s kingdom. You are

I bear my testimony that God
lives, that Jesus is the Savior, and that
the gospel is for every nation, kindred,
tongue, and people. In the name of
Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Gardner H. Russell

I think it’s wonderful to have a
calm exterior; I didn’t know my heart
could beat quite this hard. I am thrilled
to be a member of the Mexico and Cen-
tral America Area Presidency. You’ve
heard from all three of us today: Elder
Gene R. Cook in the prayer, Elder H.
Verlan Andersen, and myself.

Now, it is with humility that I
stand before you as one of the Lord’s

servants with a prayer in my heart that
someone, somewhere, will be touched
by the Spirit of the Lord which, hope-
fully, will speak through me, and his or
her heart and life will be changed.

Father’s blessings

What a wonderful experience of
love came to me just a few weeks ago



when, at my request, my ninety-one-
year-old father, Dr. Harry James
Russell, gave me a father’s blessing as
I prepared to leave for my assignment
as Second Counselor in the Mexico and
Central America Area.

Fathers everywhere, consider the
gift of love you can give your children
when you are worthy and you lay your
hands upon their heads to pronounce
inspired father’s blessings as the family
patriarch. They will feel a continuing
outpouring of your love, which will
keep them close to you and to the Lord.
You will not have to "seek them out"

Invitation to less-active members

How impressed we were by the
caring and outpouring of love evident
in last December’s message from the
First Presidency. This inspired invita-
tion to return has reached tens of thou-
sands of the Lord’s people. It is far
more than a Christmas message; it is a
clarion call for all to return to the Lord’s
church (see Ensign, Mar. 1986, p. 88).

Then, in last April general confer-
ence, that wonderful message in a spirit
of deep love, "Please come back!"
rings in our ears and has reached many
hearts (see Conference Report, Apr.
1986, p. 13; or Ensign, May 1986,
p. 10).

Responsibilities to less-active

The Lord requires us — yes, you
and me — to locate the less-active
members and help them to return to the

"For thus saith the Lord God;
Behold, I, even I, will both search
my sheep, and seek them out"
(Ezekiel 34:11).

Yes, we are to both "search my
sheep" (locate them) and then "seek
out" (bring back) less-active members
and families, with unending and un-
qualified love.

And in the process, we and they
shall learn the true meaning of "ye

shall . . . find me, when ye shall search
for me" (Jeremiah 29:13).

Servants of the Lord prepare in
humility, through study of the Book of
Mormon, prayer, and calling on the
Lord, to actually depend on the Lord so
that the Spirit of the Lord is in them.

The servants of the Lord then visit
the less-active families and assure them
of the redeeming love of the Lord and
their love for them. They speak not
only by inspiration, but by a higher
law, in which the Spirit of the Lord
speaks through them. Through constant
prayer in the heart, what is said is by the
Spirit of the Lord.

The family remembers that the
Lord truly loves them and finds that the
servants of the Lord love them as well.
Then the Lord returns the family to the

Experiences with less-active
members in Central America

In my training as a new General
Authority, I found myself in Costa Rica
with Elder F. Arthur Kay and others. In
prayer and fasting, we visited families
who were less active. The stake presi-
dent and bishops had fasted and prayed
that the Lord would indicate to them the
choice families to be visited, and the
families were then notified of the
planned visits.

We first entered the home of a
young, successful businessman with a
lovely wife and children. A former
leader, he had transgressed the laws of
the Church. As the Spirit of the Lord
spoke through his servants, tears came
to all our eyes as the couple committed
to prepare to go to the Lord’s house, the
beautiful new temple in Guatemala, to
be sealed for eternity.

Just two weeks ago, in Gua-
dalajara, Mexico, at a stake confer-
ence, I visited three families who will
be among my lifelong friends. Miracles
occurred in all their lives. In one visit,
a nonmember father, who has been do-
nating an amount equal to a full tithe
and who supports his wife and seven
sons in the Church, was asked as patri-


Saturday, October 4


First Day

arch to select someone to lead us in
kneeling prayer. He looked past the
General Authority, past the stake presi-
dent and the bishop, and with love in
his eyes asked his wife to give the
prayer. What a golden moment! What
a tribute to her love and patience.

This same man was unable to
sleep that night, and the following
morning, in a meeting with recent con-
verts and newly returned members,
gave a loving, beautiful testimony of
the gospel and pledged to be baptized in
another eight days.

Blessings of searching out and
helping less-active members

It is exciting to see the servants of
the Lord, the leaders and members,
prepare as vessels of the Spirit of God
to identify the families who have been
distracted or have transgressed and are
now less active and then to touch the
hearts of these wonderful families.
Yes, thousands of families are return-
ing to the Lord. They have received in
love the invitation to return, have un-
derstood the humble, loving plea,
"Please come back!" They have been
searched out by servants of the Lord,
then have been sought out by the Spirit
of the Lord and brought back as they
have remembered once again the word
spoken through the Lord’s servants.

In these inspired visits, I do not
know of a single instance where hearts
of families have not been touched by
the miracle of our Lord’s unconditional
love and his servants’ caring and love.

May we assure our sometimes
missing friends in the Church of our
Lord’s love for them and ask the Spirit
of the Lord to testify through us to them
of the Lord’s love for them, and our
love as well, and bring them back to the
fold in joy.

I bear my humble witness that our
leaders are inspired and receive revela-
tion for us, that the Book of Mormon
nurtures the true fountain of Christ’s
Spirit, and that this is the true, restored
church of Jesus Christ on the earth. And
I do this in the name of Jesus Christ,

President Monson

The choir and congregation will
now join in singing "Joseph Smith’s
First Prayer," following which Elder
Ted E. Brewerton of the First Quorum
of the Seventy will address us.

The choir and congregation sang
"Joseph Smith’s First Prayer."

Elder Ted E. Brewerton spoke
without further announcement.

Elder Ted 1

My thoughts at this time will be in
the form of a dialogue between me and
my fourteen-year-old son, Michael,
who resides with us in Argentina. I will
talk about how important he is and how
much the Lord and I love him. At the
same time I address these critical
thoughts to him, they would be the
same as I would express to my son
David, the eldest of my six children, or
to their four beautiful sisters, my
daughters, Michelle, Andrea, Leanne,
and Lycia.

. Brewerton

Importance of each person

Fathers, would you like to join
me and share the same thoughts as if
directed to your sons and daughters,
describing their singular importance in
the eyes of our Heavenly Father?

Hi, Michael, you know how much
I trust and love you, don’t you? Let me
try to show you who you are and how
very important you are as a literal son
of our Father in Heaven.

President Harold B. Lee said that
this understanding of who we are is "of



first importance," and without it we
lack "the basis of a solid foundation
upon which to build [our] lives" (in
Conference Report, Oct. 1973, p. 5; or
Ensign, Jan. 1974, p. 4).

Evidences of God

First, Mike, we know by reason-
ing, seeing, and the impressions of the
Spirit that the Lord is a living perfect
man. Many have seen him: for ex-
ample, Adam, Enoch, the brother of
Jared, Abraham, Moses, Joseph Smith,
Isaac, Jacob, Seth, Nephi, Isaiah,
Emer, Joshua, Manoah and his wife,
Solomon, Sidney Rigdon, Alma,
Moroni, Stephen, and John. Alma
states, "Many, exceedingly great
many" have seen him (Alma 13:12).

Now another evidence of God:
speaking of the planets and orbs, the
Lord says, "Any man who hath seen any
or the least of these hath seen God mov-
ing in his majesty and power" (D&C
88:47). "The heavens declare the glory
of God; and the firmament sheweth his
handywork" (Psalm 19:1).

God’s massive, orderly creation

Mike, let’s visualize three scenes

Scene 1. First of all, we see before
us, Michael, our solar system: our sun,
together with the earth and the eight
other heavenly bodies that revolve
around it. We see law, beauty, order,
and perfection.

Scene 2. Now, Michael, in this
next scene, we see this same solar sys-
tem in its place in our galaxy, the Milky
Way. We marvel at the order and ar-
rangement. Our planets are so small
they can’t be detected here, but our sun
and its nine planets appear as one of
these shining orbs and are situated
about two-thirds of the way from the
center, about thirty thousand light years
from the middle of the Milky Way. Our
planets move about the sun; the sun
itself moves in a circular path at a speed
of 130 miles per second, yet even at that
speed, Mike, a complete turn around
the Milky Way takes two hundred bil-

lion years. This, our star system, has
about two hundred billion blazing suns
and is one hundred thousand light years

Scene 3. Now in this next scene,
Michael, we see our galaxy, the Milky
Way, in space along with other galax-
ies. You know, Mike, it is conserva-
tively estimated that there are ten
billion star systems like these galaxies.
Incomprehensible? I should say! We
have soared out far beyond our imagi-

What is a billion, Michael? One
thousand million — that’s right.

What’s a definition of a million,
Michael? That’s good; you say a mil-
lion is like your mother telling you to
clean up your room 274 times every day
for ten years.

How fast does light travel, Mike?
That’s right: 186,000 miles per second.
Hold up your left fist as if it represented
the earth. Now whirl your right index
finger around it. If your index finger
spun around it about seven times in one
second, you have shown how fast light
would travel around the earth.

It takes about eight minutes for
light to reach the earth, and just over
one second for light to reach the moon
from the earth. Imagine how far light
could travel in one day of 86,400 sec-
onds. Wow! Then in one year … it is
beyond our ability to understand.

The Lord said: "And worlds with-
out number have I created; and I also
created them for mine own purpose;
and by the Son I created them, which is
mine Only Begotten. . . .

"And the Lord God spake unto Mo-
ses, saying: The heavens, they are many,
and they cannot be numbered unto man;
but they are numbered unto me, for they
are mine" (Moses 1:33, 37).

He further said:

"And were it possible that man
could number the particles of the earth,
yea, millions of earths like this, it
would not be a beginning to the number
of thy creations" (Moses 7:30).

Isn’t that exciting, Mike?

From The Amazing Universe we
read: "As the sum of knowledge grows,


Saturday, October 4


First Day

the astronomer continues to seek an-
swers to man’s most profound ques-
tions: What is the grand design of the
universe? How was it created? How did
we get here? . . . Are we alone?"
(Herbert Friedman, The Amazing Uni-
verse [Washington, D.C., National
Geographic Society, 1975], p. 10).

We again read, "It is impossible to
any sensitive person to look at a star-
filled sky without being stirred by
thoughts of creation and eternity"
(Friedman, p. 166). "A super-giant
elliptical [galaxy] may contain more
than ten trillion stars, and measure
300,000 light-years across.

"The sheer immensity of such sys-
tems suggests eternal qualities of sta-
bility and predictability" (Friedman,
p. 134; italics added). See, Mike, the
scientific world sees the evidence of a
supreme being.

The heavens were created for man

With all this massive, orderly cre-
ation, are you, Michael, a single human
being, important? The scriptures state:

"When I consider thy heavens, the
work of thy fingers, the moon and the
stars, which thou hast ordained;

"What is man, that thou art mind-
ful of him? and the son of man, that
thou visitest him?

"For thou has made him a little
lower than the angels, and hast
crowned him with glory and honour.

"Thou madest him to have domin-
ion over the works of thy hands; thou
hast put all things under his feet"
(Psalm 8:3-6).

Yes, you, Michael, are every-
thing; you are why the heavens were

Heirs to all that God has

Mike, you must realize a truth:
that God knows who you are and what
you may become. He knows where you
are and what he expects of you.

You, Michael, are God’s son,
hence heir to all he has. His purpose
and goal is to bring to pass your immor-
tality and eternal life. You are the most

important thing that exists — his most
important creation. So we must be mas-
ter of our beings and control ourselves,
and not be controlled by some habit or
by someone else. We must be lifters
and not leaners. Reach for the stars.

"Be a remarkable one"

You, Mike, with the Lord’s help,
have an unlimited potential. Let’s fol-
low the perfect example of the Master,
our Savior. How easy it is to have hope:
"Hope is the strongest weapon in the
spiritual arsenal of youth" (Royal Bank
Newsletter, vol. 66, no. 6).

The sun is cw star, the only source
of all light and energy for us. It makes
life possible.

One star — a remarkable one.
There are about two hundred billion
blazing ones, or suns, in our star system
alone, and over ten billion star systems;
yet one sun is a remarkable one. You,
Michael, are like a sun — a remarkable

Jesus, the Redeemer, had no of-
fice or public function, yet he shaped
the world’s history. He wishes you to
understand that you should be a re-
markable one, for the power is in you
to make things happen.

Philemon Merrill — a remarkable one

Here is a true story that relates a
simple experience of a nineteen-year-
old who became a remarkable one. He
was magnified and had great powers
beyond his natural abilities as the Lord
acted through him. There was a young
nineteen-year-old admirer of Joseph
Smith, Philemon Merrill, who had
come with other loyal followers to res-
cue their prophet from the hands of
sheriffs Reynolds and Wilson. While
returning to Nauvoo, the company
rested "in a little grove of timber." One
of the lawyers for the sheriff and the
kidnappers boasted of his wrestling
powers. He offered a wager that he
could throw any man in Illinois.
Stephen Markham, a bodyguard of
Joseph’s and a huge man, also an



experienced wrestler, took up the chal-
lenge. The boaster threw Stephen, and
a taunting shout went up from the
Prophet’s enemies.

As the taunts continued, Joseph
Smith turned to young Philemon Mer-
rill and said, "Get up and throw that

The boy was about to refuse, to
excuse himself by saying he was not a
wrestler, but the look in the Prophet’s
eye silenced his tongue. "He arose to
his feet filled with the strength of a
Samson." Philemon "lifted his arms"
and told the lawyer to take his choice of

"The man took the left side with
his right hand under," which gave him
a decided advantage. Philemon Mer-
rill’s friends protested, but young Phi-
lemon felt such confidence in the words
of the Prophet that it made little differ-
ence to him what advantage his antago-
nist took. As they began to grapple,
Joseph instructed him, " ‘Philemon,
when I count three, throw him V

"On the instant after the word
dropped from Joseph’s lips," Philemon
Merrill, "with the strength of a giant,
threw the lawyer over his left shoulder,
and he fell striking his head upon the

Little wonder it is reported that
"awe fell upon the opponents of the
Prophet when they saw this, and there
were no more challenges to wrestle dur-
ing the journey" (George Q. Cannon,
Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, [Salt
Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964],
pp. 450-51).

Joseph Smith — a remarkable one

Here’s another example of a re-
markable one, Michael.

John Taylor, in his book The Gos-
pel Kingdom, relates how the one is
magnified by the Spirit and makes
extraordinary things happen:

"Some . . . years ago, in Far
West, a mob — one of those semi-
occasional occurrences — had come
against us with evil intent, placing

themselves in position to give us
battle. … We had one fellow
who . . . ordered our people to retreat.
As soon as Joseph heard this sound, he
exclaimed, ‘Retreat! where in the name
of God shall we retreat to?’ He then led
us out to the prairie, facing the mob,
and placed us in position. And the first
thing we knew a flag of truce was seen
coming towards us. . . .

" . . .Joseph Smith, our leader,
then sent word back by this messenger.
Said he, ‘Tell your general to withdraw
his troops or I will send them to hell.’
/ thought that was a pretty bold stand
to take, as we only numbered about two
hundred to their thirty-five hundred.
But they thought we were more numer-
ous than we really were. It may be that
our numbers were magnified in their
eyes. But they took the hint and
left. . . . The Lord, through simple
means, is able to take care of and de-
liver his people, but they must put im-
plicit faith and confidence in him"
(The Gospel Kingdom, sel. G. Homer
Durham [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft,
1964], pp. 354-55).

Another example of a remarkable


Each person is grander than all the
planets and suns

Let me quote Elder James E.
Talmage, a former member of the Quo-
rum of the Twelve: "What is man [or if
I may add, what is Michael Brewerton]
in this boundless setting of sublime
splendor? I answer you: Potentially
now, actually to be, he [or Michael] is
greater and grander, more precious ac-
cording to the arithmetic of God, than
all the planets and suns of space. For
him were they created; they are the
handiwork of God; man is his son. In
this world man is given dominion over
a few things; it is his privilege to
achieve supremacy over many things"
(Aug. 9, 1931).

With the exception of the few
years when the Savior graced the earth,
this, Mike, is the most exciting time to
live. We have the gospel in its fulness,


Saturday, October 4


First Day

so many scriptures are being fulfilled,
and so much history is being made.
You are an important part of it.

Let me express my true feelings to
you about the Church. I know,
Michael, in a decisive, indelible
manner — due to the Spirit — that Jesus
is our Redeemer. He lives, as does his
Father. He is the living Son of a living
God. President Benson and the First
Presidency are his living servants
through whom His will is given to all
the world. Watch them, Mike, listen to
them, follow them. This is the only
church of Jesus Christ on the earth,
Michael, and you are just as important

as any human being in all history. You
are of infinite worth. I love you, pal. In
the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

President Monson

Elder Ted E. Brewerton of the
First Quorum of the Seventy has just
spoken to us.

We shall now hear from Elder M.
Russell Ballard of the Council of the
Twelve Apostles, and he will be fol-
lowed by President Howard W.
Hunter, Acting President of the Coun-
cil of the Twelve Apostles.

Elder M. Russell Ballard

Proclaim the gospel to all people

The Prophet Joseph Smith was of-
ten asked to inquire of the Lord to learn
what people should do. In the case of
John Whitmer, the Lord said, "And
now, behold, I say unto you, that the
thing which will be of the most worth
unto you will be to declare repentance
unto this people, that you may bring
souls unto me, that you may rest with
them in the kingdom of my Father"
(D&C 15:6).

Jesus repeatedly called upon his
disciples to preach the gospel to every
living soul. Those who would believe
were to be baptized in his name and
enter into his church. After the Savior’s
forty-day fast and the temptation by
Satan, "Jesus began to preach, and to
say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven
is at hand.

"And Jesus, walking by the sea of
Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon
called Peter, and Andrew his brother,
casting a net into the sea: for they were

"And he saith unto them, Follow
me, and I will make you fishers of men.

"And they straightway left their
nets, and followed him. . . .

"And Jesus went about all Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, and

preaching the gospel of the kingdom"
(Matthew 4:17-20, 23).

With loving patience, Jesus taught
his disciples, and especially his twelve
Apostles, to "preach the kingdom of
God" (Luke 9:2). After the three years
of his ministry, crowned by the Atone-
ment, which included his glorious res-
urrection, Jesus gathered his eleven
disciples in Galilee.

"And Jesus came and spake unto
them, saying, All power is given unto
me in heaven and in earth.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost:

"Teaching them to observe all
things whatsoever I have commanded
you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even
unto the end of the world" (Matthew

These instructions were clear.
When Peter, the chief Apostle, finally
understood them, he became a power-
ful leader. For example, on the day of
Pentecost, he stood "with the eleven,
lifted up his voice, and said unto them,
Ye men of Judea, . . .

"This Jesus hath God raised up,
whereof we all are witnesses. . . .

"Therefore let all the house of
Israel know assuredly, that God hath



made that same Jesus, whom ye have
crucified, both Lord and Christ.

"Now when they heard this, they
were pricked in their heart, and said
unto Peter and to the rest of the
apostles, Men and brethren, what shall
we do?

"Then Peter said unto them, Re-
pent, and be baptized every one of you
in the name of Jesus Christ for the re-
mission of sins, and ye shall receive the
gift of the Holy Ghost

"Then they that gladly received
his word were baptized: and the same
day there were added unto them about
three thousand souls" (Acts 2:14, 32,
36-38, 41).

When Jesus visited this continent,
Nephi went forth and bowed himself
before the Lord.

"And the Lord commanded him
that he should arise. And he arose and
stood before him.

"And the Lord said unto him: I
give unto you power that ye shall bap-
tize this people when I am again as-
cended into heaven.

"And again the Lord called others,
and said unto them likewise; and he
gave unto them power to baptize"
(3 Nephi 11:20- 22).

To every people through all ages
his message remains the same: "Preach
the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:2).

Share the message of the

The First Presidency has said that
one of the threefold missions of the
Church is to proclaim the gospel. If we
accept this mission, we should be will-
ing to center our efforts on bringing
souls unto the Lord on condition of

Two years ago I spoke on this sub-
ject, and I continue to feel an urgent
need that we must constantly remind
and help each other in our responsibili-
ties to share the message of the Restora-
tion with others.

Stories of helping others receive
the gospel

We often hear members say, "I
know I should share the gospel, but I
don’t know how to do it." Perhaps the
following success stories that have
come to me may help you. These expe-
riences resulted when members of the
Church exercised their faith and fol-
lowed some simple steps, such as set-
ting a date to have someone prepared to
be taught by the missionaries.

From England:

"In my calling as branch presi-
dent, I decided one day to invite our
whole community to join us in fasting
[and giving a fast offering] for the
people of Ethiopia. I had four thousand
leaflets produced, which we distributed
to homes in our area.

"One of the leaflets was delivered
to a nonmember, and his wife felt im-
pressed to take part. It was the name of
the Church on the leaflet which first
impressed them.

"The husband came to the chapel
with the fast offering as invited, and I
met him there. I gave him a tour of our
small building, shared my testimony
with him, and invited him to come to
church Sunday. He came, and I intro-
duced him to our missionaries, who
arranged to call on the home.

"I was privileged to join with the
missionaries on several joint teaching
visits, and I developed a close relation-
ship with the family.

"On the evening of March 2, the
night before the date I had set, I bap-
tized the wife. Her husband will follow
soon, and their daughter.

"We have now met other families
through this one, who are being taught.
As for my wife and me, we have set
another date!"

From Oregon:

"I set a date of just under two
months and proceeded to ask for divine
guidance in all of my daily prayers, and
to fast for strength not to lose sight of
my goal.

"My date came and went, with a
few pangs of guilt. However, I received


Saturday, October 4


First Day

a message one week later that an old
friend of mine that I had gone to school
with wanted me to call. I gave him a
call and invited him over that night. My
friend went with me to pick up some
pizza. As we drove into town, I told
him that I was a member of the LDS
church. He was interested, so I related
some of the many blessings I had re-
ceived. I then asked him to attend
church with me that next Sunday,
which he did.

"From the beginning, he accepted
it all. We invited him to be baptized. He
said he didn’t want to be rushed into
anything. At this time, I was impressed
to read to him from the Book of Mor-
mon, using the words that Alma used at
the waters of Mormon. As I read those
verses from Mosiah 18 to him, I paused
at each question that Alma asked and
asked him if he were willing to do it
also. He said yes to all of it. Then I read
him verse 10 and asked him, ‘What
have you against being baptized?’

"He looked at me and said,
‘You’re right, I have nothing to wait
for.’ So the date was set, and I baptized
and confirmed him a member of the

From Florida:

"As I knelt in prayer, I expressed
a sincere desire to share the gospel with
someone and asked my Heavenly Fa-
ther to please send someone to me.

"The very next morning there was
a knock on my door, and it was a neigh-
bor wanting to borrow a pan. Although
she had lived by us for some time, we
had not had much contact. Two days
later both she and her husband came
over to visit with us. During our con-
versation she mentioned that they had
been looking for a church. I told her
how my husband and I were once in that
very same position and how our church
filled that very special need we had. We
invited them to church that Sunday, and
they eagerly accepted. Afterward, we
asked them if they would be interested
in learning more by having the mission-
ary lessons in our home. They told us
that, indeed, they would be interested.

"On Christmas Day, my husband
baptized and confirmed them members
of the Church. They have grown so
strong, and they set a shining example
to all. They are looking forward to the
day when they and their new baby girl
can be sealed in the temple for time and

Then, from far-off Buenos Aires:
"In our family prayers we began to
include the names of nonmembers who
had not yet joined the Church. My chil-
dren prayed for them. Our prayers were
different. We were changing our atti-
tude toward missionary work from
waiting for opportunities to share the
gospel to asking the Lord to prepare
specific people, by name, to receive the

"We have seen one person come
into the Church who is now fully ac-
tive. Three other families, chosen with
the Lord’s help, have received the third
discussion. All have been to church at
least twice. All have been in our home
for friendshipping and encouragement.
They are receiving the opportunity to
accept or reject the gospel message."

Seek the Lord’s help in sharing the

My brothers and sisters, from the
experiences of these people and many
more like them, we learn that we can
give the saving ordinances of the gospel
to others when we allow the Lord to
help us with someone we know and
love. Sharing our feelings about God
and religion should be easy since most
Latter-day Saints are loving, sharing,
and trusting people. With a relationship
of trust established and with help from
the Lord, we generally can feel com-
fortable moving beyond the realm of
friendship and can invite our friends to
learn more about the Church.

Four steps of helping others receive
the gospel

There are many ways to share the
gospel. I know that the following four



simple steps will help you in your effort
to find and to share the gospel with
others because many members have
used them and have had successful mis-
sionary experiences.

Step one: Prayerfully set a date by
which you will have someone prepared
to hear the gospel. We must start some-
where, and this simple act of faith on
our part will serve to motivate us. Do
not worry if you do not have someone
already in mind. Let the Lord help you.

Step two: Prayerfully choose a
friend or someone you already know,
someone with whom you may have al-
ready discussed the gospel, or given a
Book of Mormon or other Church lit-
erature, or taken to church.

Step three: Share your date and
your plans with your bishopric, ward
mission leader, and the full-time mis-
sionaries. They will help you.

The most important step is step
four: With the help of the Spirit, invite
your nonmember friend to hear the mis-
sionary discussions. This step, extend-
ing an invitation to hear the gospel,
requires the most faith — faith to do as
you are prompted by the Holy Ghost.

In talking of faith and saving
souls, you should understand that when
the Spirit is present, people are not of-
fended when you share your feelings
about the gospel. By prayerfully fol-
lowing these steps, you are putting a
plan into effect that translates your faith
into action.

Preparing people to feel the Spirit

There are many good ways that
you can use to prepare someone to feel
the Spirit. A few examples are: bear
your testimony, pray together, read the
scriptures, give a Book of Mormon,
share a spiritual experience, take your
friend to church, present a gospel film
or tape, and discuss the gospel. Please
note that all of these same steps and
principles will also work when we use
them to invite the inactive member of
the Church to come back into full

In the fiftieth section of the Doc-
trine and Covenants, we are assured
that "he that receiveth the word by the
Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is
preached by the Spirit of truth.

"Wherefore, he that preacheth and
he that receiveth, understand one an-
other, and both are edified and rejoice
together" (D&C 50:21-22).

"Bring many souls unto the Lord"

The key to success in bringing
souls unto Christ is to act at a time when
you feel the Spirit and you sense that
your friend does also.

Remember, brothers and sisters,
through our faith, our trust in the Lord,
and our good works, we can bring
many souls unto the Lord. We can en-
joy the blessings of living with them in
the kingdom of our Father.

"Who will be there to greet us?"

Shortly after the death of Sister
LeGrand Richards, I was assigned to be
Elder Richards’ junior companion to
assist him in creating the Atlanta Geor-
gia Stake. As we were flying toward his
beloved Southern States Mission, he
said to me, "Brother Ballard, I am not
afraid to die; the only thing I worry
about is, will I be able to find Mommy
over there."

I was impressed to say to Elder
Richards that in his case that could be
a real problem. Immediately, I had his
full attention. He looked me directly in
the eye and said, "What do you mean
by that?"

With my emotions near the sur-
face, I answered this great missionary,
"Elder Richards, when you die, so
many people there will be anxious to
greet you because you introduced the
gospel to them that you might have
difficulty finding Mommy in the
crowd." His response was, "Oh, you
don’t mean that."

We all might ask ourselves the
question, Who will be there to greet us?


Saturday, October 4


First Day

We can succeed in sharing the

Oh, that I could have the power to
touch your hearts that you would have
the faith to take the simple steps that
will bring the light of the gospel to
many more of our Father’s children.
The more I am involved in this work,
the more I realize that Satan would have
you and me believe that we cannot suc-
ceed in sharing the gospel. He lies to
us. In fact, he is the father of all lies.
Do not listen to him. Listen to the
prompting of the Holy Ghost, and then
act in faith in sharing the gospel.

I testify to you, my brothers and
sisters, that I know the Lord lives. I
know that when we are willing to seek
his help and guidance, when we trust in
him completely, he will bless us to un-
derstand what to do and how to proceed
in the wonderful work of sharing this
glorious message with others.

We do appreciate all you have
done in the past. The leaders of the

Church have great faith that, united to-
gether, the members and the missionar-
ies of this church can do much more in
the future to build the kingdom of God.

May the Lord bless us all with
increased faith to move his work for-
ward, I humbly pray in the name of
Jesus Christ, amen.

President Monson

We have just heard from Elder M.
Russell Ballard of the Council of the
Twelve Apostles. Brother Ballard,
when Elder LeGrand Richards asked
me that same question, "Will 1 be able
to find Mommy there?" I gave him a
different answer. I said, "Brother
Richards, don’t worry about it.
Mommy will find you!"

It will now be our opportunity to
hear from President Howard W.
Hunter, Acting President of the Coun-
cil of the Twelve Apostles, who will be
our concluding speaker.

President Howard W. Hunter

In ancient times, one test of the
purity of gold was performed with a
smooth, black, siliceous stone called
a touchstone. When rubbed across the
touchstone, the gold produced a streak
or mark on its surface. The goldsmith
matched this mark to a color on his
chart of graded colors. The mark was
redder as the amount of copper or
alloy increased or yellower as the per-
centage of gold increased. This process
showed quite accurately the purity of
the gold.

The touchstone method of testing
the purity of gold was quick and was
satisfactory for most practical pur-
poses. But the goldsmith who still
questioned the purity completed a more
accurate test by using a process that
involved fire.

The Lord’s touchstone: the two
great commandments

I suggest to you that the Lord has
prepared a touchstone for you and me,
an outward measurement of inward
discipleship that marks our faithfulness
and will survive the fires yet to come.

On one occasion while Jesus was
teaching the people, a certain lawyer
approached him and posed this ques-
tion: "Master, what shall I do to inherit
eternal life?"

Jesus, the master teacher, replied
to the man, who obviously was well-
versed in the law, with a counter-
question, "What is written in the law?
how readest thou?"

The man replied with resolute
summary the two great command-
ments: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy
God with all thy heart, and with all thy
soul, and with all thy strength, and



with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as

With approval Christ responded,
"This do, and thou shalt live" (Luke

Eternal life, God’s life, the life we
are seeking, is rooted in two command-
ments. The scriptures say that "on these
two commandments hang all the law
and the prophets" (Matthew 22:40).
Love God and love your neighbor. The
two work together; they are insepara-
ble. In the highest sense they may be
considered as synonymous. And they are
commandments that each of us can live.

The answer of Jesus to the lawyer
might be considered as the Lord’s touch-
stone. He said on another occasion, "In-
asmuch as ye have done it unto one of the
least of these my brethren, ye have done
it unto me" (Matthew 25:40). He will
measure our devotion to him by how we
love and serve our fellowmen. What kind
of mark are we leaving on the Lord’s
touchstone? Are we truly good neigh-
bors? Does the test show us to be twenty-
four-karat gold, or can the trace of fool’s
gold be detected?

"Who is my neighbour?"

As if excusing himself for asking
such a simple question of the Master,
the lawyer sought to justify himself by
further inquiring, "And who is my
neighbour?" (Luke 10:29).

We all ought to be eternally grate-
ful for that question, for in the Savior’s
reply came one of his richest and most
appreciated parables, one that each of
us has read and heard over and over

"A certain man went down from
Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among
thieves, which stripped him of his rai-
ment, and wounded him, and departed,
leaving him half dead.

"And by chance there came down
a certain priest that way: and when he
saw him, he passed by on the other side.

"And likewise a Levite, when he
was at the place, came and looked on
him, and passed by on the other side.

"But a certain Samaritan, as he
journeyed, came where he was: and
when he saw him, he had compassion
on him,

"And went to him, and bound up
his wounds, pouring in oil and wine,
and set him on his own beast, and
brought him to an inn, and took care of

"And on the morrow when he de-
parted, he took out two pence, and gave
them to the host, and said unto him,
Take care of him; and whatsoever thou
spendest more, when I come again, I
will repay thee" (Luke 10:30-35).

Then Jesus asked the lawyer,
"Which now of these three, thinkest
thou, was neighbour unto him that fell
among the thieves?" (Luke 10:36).
There the Master holds out the touch-
stone of Christianity. He asks that our
mark be measured on it.

Both the priest and the Levite in
Christ’s parable should have remem-
bered the requirements of the law:
"Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or
his ox fall down by the way, and hide
thyself from them: thou shalt surely
help him to lift them up again"
(Deuteronomy 22:4). And if an ox,
how much more should one be willing
to help a brother in need. But as Elder
James E. Talmage wrote, "Excuses
[not to do so] are easy to find; they
spring up as readily and plentifully as
weeds by the wayside" (Jesus the
Christ, 3rd ed. [Salt Lake City: The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, 1916], p. 431).

The Samaritan gave us an example
of pure Christian love. He had compas-
sion; he went to the man who had been
injured by the thieves and bound up his
wounds. He took him to an inn, cared
for him, paid his expenses, and offered
more if needed for his care. This is a
story of the love of a neighbor for his

Love every neighbor

An old axiom states that a man "all
wrapped up in himself makes a small


Saturday, October 4


First Day

bundle." Love has a certain way of
making a small bundle large. The key
is to love our neighbor, including the
neighbor that is difficult to love. We
need to remember that though we make
our friends, God has made our
neighbors — everywhere. Love should
have no boundary; we should have no
narrow loyalties. Christ said, "For if ye
love them which love you, what reward
have ye? do not even the publicans the
same?" (Matthew 5:46).

Love and serve neighbors to be
justified before God

Joseph Smith wrote a letter to the
Saints, published in the Messenger and
Advocate , on the subject of loving one
another to be justified before God. He

"Dear Brethren: — It is a duty
which every Saint ought to render to his
brethren freely — to always love them,
and ever succor them. To be justified
before God we must love one another:
we must overcome evil; we must visit
the fatherless and the widow in their
affliction, and we must keep ourselves
unspotted from the world: for such vir-
tues flow from the great fountain of
pure religion. Strengthening our faith
by adding every good quality that
adorns the children of the blessed
Jesus, we can pray in the season of
prayer; we can love our neighbor as
ourselves, and be faithful in tribulation,
knowing that the reward of such is
greater in the kingdom of heaven. What
a consolation! What a joy! Let me live
the life of the righteous, and let my
reward be like this!" (History of the
Church, 2:229).

Willard Richards’s test

These two virtues, love and ser-
vice, are required of us if we are to be
good neighbors and find peace in our
lives. Surely they were in the heart of
Elder Willard Richards. While in Car-
thage Jail on the afternoon of the mar-
tyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, the jailer
suggested that they would be safer in

the cells. Joseph turned to Elder
Richards and asked, "If we go into the
cell will you go with us?"

Elder Richards’s reply was one of
love: "Brother Joseph, you did not ask
me to cross the river with you — you did
not ask me to come to Carthage— you
did not ask me to come to jail with
you — and do you think I would forsake
you now? But I will tell you what I will
do; if you are condemned to be hung for
‘treason,’ I will be hung in your stead,
and you shall go free."

It must have been with consider-
able emotion and feeling that Joseph
replied, "But you cannot."

To which Elder Richards firmly
answered, "I will" ( B. H. Roberts, A
Comprehensive History of the Church,

Elder Richards’ test was perhaps
greater than most of us will face: the
test of fire rather than of the touchstone.
But if we were asked to do so, could we
lay down our lives for our families? our
friends? our neighbors?

The touchstone of compassion is a
measure of our discipleship; it is a mea-
sure of our love for God and for one
another. Will we leave a mark of pure
gold or, like the priest and the Levite,
pass by on the other side?

May the Lord bless us in our quest
to be true disciples and good neighbors.
I pray that each of us may be good
Samaritans, in the name of Jesus
Christ, amen.

President Monson

President Howard W. Hunter,
Acting President of the Council of the
Twelve Apostles, has been our con-
cluding speaker. He meets every test of
the "touchstone."

We remind the brethren of the
general priesthood meeting which will
convene in the Tabernacle this evening
at 6:00 p.m.

The nationwide CBS Tabernacle
Choir broadcast tomorrow morning
will be from 9:30 to 10:00 a.m. Those
desiring to attend this broadcast must
be in their seats no later than 9:15 a.m.



We are grateful for the presence of
the Murray Region Family Choir and
for the inspiration the music has added
to this meeting.

The choir will now sing in closing,
"Let Earth’s Inhabitants Rejoice."

Following the singing, the bene-
diction will be offered by Elder Hans B.

Ringger of the First Quorum of the Sev-

The choir sang "Let Earth’s Inhab-
itants Rejoice."

Elder Hans B. Ringger offered the



The general priesthood meeting
convened in the Tabernacle at
6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 4,

President Thomas S. Monson,
Second Counselor in the First Presi-
dency, conducted.

The music for this session was
provided by the Tabernacle Choir and
Mormon Youth Combined Men’s Cho-
ruses, directed by Brothers Jerold
Ottley and Robert Bowden with
Brother Robert Cundick at the organ.

President Monson opened this ses-
sion with the following remarks:

President Thomas S. Monson

Brethren, it’s wonderful to meet
with you this evening. President Ezra
Taft Benson, who presides at this con-
ference, has asked me to conduct this
general priesthood session.

We extend our love and best
wishes to all of the brethren participat-
ing in this session.

These services are being relayed
by closed-circuit and satellite transmis-
sion to members of the priesthood gath-
ered in the Assembly Hall and in
locations in many countries around the
world. For those of you brethren listen-
ing in who did not have access to the
afternoon session today, may I report
that Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin was sus-
tained as a member of the Council of
the Twelve Apostles and Elder Hugh
W. Pinnock was sustained as a Presi-
dent of the First Quorum of the Sev-
enty. We welcome these brethren.

We note that Elders Charles
Didier and Robert E. Wells are seated
on the stand in the Assembly Hall, and
Jacob de Jager and William R. Brad-
ford are seated on the stand in the BYU
Marriott Center.

The singing during this session
will be furnished by the Tabernacle
Choir and Mormon Youth Combined
Men’s Choruses, under the direction of
Brothers Jerold Ottley and Robert
Bowden with Brother Robert Cundick
at the organ.

We shall begin by the choir sing-
ing that wonderful favorite, "Come,
All Ye Sons of God." Following the
singing, Elder John Sonnenberg of the
First Quorum of the Seventy will offer
the invocation.

The choir sang "Come, All Ye
Sons of God."

Elder John Sonnenberg offered
the invocation.

President Monson

The choir will now favor us with
that beautiful number, "Oh Say, What
Is Truth?" Following the choir number,
Elder David B. Haight of the Council of
the Twelve Apostles will speak to us.

The choir sang "Oh Say, What Is

Elder David B. Haight spoke
without further announcement.


Saturday, October 4


First Day

Elder David B. Haight

What a stirring sight to look upon
this vast audience of men and boys! I
can visualize grandfathers, fathers,
bishops, deacons, teachers, and priests
seated together, some as families or
quorums; also full-time missionaries,
students, and new converts — all bear-
ers of the Holy Priesthood of God. And
beyond this historical Salt Lake Taber-
nacle are hundreds more such assem-
blies of priesthood bearers anxiously
awaiting encouragement and instruc-
tion from our prophet and his noble

Miraculous rescue from a crevasse

This past summer, Clarence
Neslen, Jr., took his family to Jasper
National Park in Alberta, Canada.
They enjoyed exploring the Columbia
Icefields, jumping over crevasses in the
famous Athabasca Glacier. It was an
exciting experience until eleven-year-
old Cannon, attempting to jump across
a crevasse, missed and fell into the deep
chasm. He became wedged between
the walls of ice. As his father looked
down some thirty feet to where his son
was trapped, he was further alarmed as
he saw a river of icy water flowing
beneath the crevasse.

Several young men were also ex-
ploring the glacier. They heard the cries
for help and came running. They had a
small rope but soon realized that it was
not strong enough to pull Cannon to
safety. If it broke, Cannon would most
assuredly fall into the rushing river of
freezing water.

Sister Neslen and others ran to a
nearby lodge for help. The nearest park
ranger camp was seventy-five miles
away. They learned by telephone that
two park rangers were near the ice-
fields. Located by radio, they rushed to
the rescue. Time was short, decisions
urgent, and silent prayers were sent

Brother Neslen tried to calm his
son and soothe his fears. Hypothermia
was setting in. Young Cannon’s shirt

had been pushed up as he fell. His bare
skin was now pressed against the cold
walls of the glacier. To keep his son
from unconsciousness, the father called
down to him to keep praying, to wiggle
his fingers and toes, and to sing his
favorite songs. Over and over Cannon
sang, "I am a child of God, and he has
sent me here, has given me an earthly
home with parents kind and dear"
{Hymns, 1985, no. 301). All were
strengthened by Cannon’s faith and de-
termination. But he was beginning to
weaken. His father kept assuring him
that help would soon arrive and that his
Heavenly Father would hear his

The two rangers arrived. Spikes
were driven into the ice, and ropes were
attached to a ranger, who was lowered
to rescue Cannon. But the walls were
too narrow for him. Their only chance
was to lower a looped rope and pray he
was alert enough to grasp it and then
have the strength to hold on as they
tried to pull him out.

Brother Neslen offered the most
fervent prayer of his life, he said. He
pleaded with the Lord to save his son’s
life. "A feeling of assurance and calm
came over me," he said, "and I knew
that he would be saved."

Cannon had lapsed into uncon-
sciousness. His father called down
encouragement, rousing his son suffi-
ciently that Cannon’s icy fingers now
were able to catch hold of the rope.
"Hold on with all of your might!" his
father called down to him. Cannon was
carefully pulled up — inch by inch, foot
by foot — all thirty feet. When he was
finally pulled to safety, he was uncon-
scious. His fingers had miraculously
frozen around the rope and had to be
pried loose.

He was immediately wrapped in
blankets and rushed to a waiting ambu-
lance, but there was not enough warmth
to raise his body temperature suffi-
ciently. A paramedic undressed Can-
non, then took off his own coat and
shirt and held Cannon against his bare



chest so that his body heat would radi-
ate to the boy. Cannon slowly re-
sponded to the loving care of his
rescuers. The prayers of all had been

Young Cannon Neslen, a newly
ordained deacon, is here in this audi-
ence tonight. We thank our Father in
Heaven that his life was spared. He was
spared for a purpose. He told his father
that, while wedged in the ice, he felt a
comforting assurance that he would be
saved. He knows God loves him and
that He has a special mission for him to
perform in this life.

Rescue from spiritual crevasses

Not unlike Cannon Neslen, who
accidentally fell into a crevasse, some
of your friends — and perhaps even
some of you — have slipped into spiri-
tual crevasses.

Spiritual crevasses symbolize the
temptations and pitfalls that too many
of our youth are tragically encoun-
tering: alcohol, with its wine coolers
and keg parties, drug tampering and
dependency, R- and X-rated films and
videos, which often culminate in sexual
immorality. On the edge of those omi-
nous crevasses are parents and others
who, with fervent prayers, cry for help
and assistance. Like Cannon’s father,
they, too, pray that their sons or daugh-
ters will hold onto the extended lifeline.
Their love, and the teachings of the
scriptures and the assurance of the eter-
nal blessings of the Savior’s atone-
ment, are sure lifelines to safety.

Youth are not the only ones who
slip into crevasses.

A stake president recently told me
that a respected member who had held
Church leadership positions was en-
ticed by some business friends to try the
cocaine drug "crack." The men were
depressed. Their company was failing,
and they succumbed to the evil entice-
ment of illegal drugs.

He wasted $18,000 buying
"crack," lost his job, underwent a per-
sonality change, and finally was hospi-
talized. Through it all, his wife stayed

by him. She found a job, and they be-
gan the struggle of putting his life back
together. His Church friends helped
him get another job.

His mind is seriously affected. He
is still somewhat dependent on some
drugs. The hope and prayer of his fam-
ily is that he will be able to hold onto
the lifeline.

Satan tries to take our eyes off
dangerous crevasses

When Satan was cast down to
earth with his innumerable hosts, he
became "the father of all lies, to de-
ceive and to blind men, and to lead
them captive, . . . even as many as
would not hearken unto my voice"
(Moses 4:4).

One of Satan’s methods is to dis-
tract and entice us so that we will take
our eyes off the dangerous crevasses.
He has succeeded to such an extent that
many no longer recognize sin as sin.
Movies, television, and magazines
have glorified sin into what they think
is an acceptable life-style: "[forni-
cation], adultery, incest, . . . serial
marriages, drug abuse, violence and
double-dealing of every imaginable va-
riety, [that is] often portrayed as [nor-
mal] behavior; where people who do
good are not . . . rewarded and those
who do evil are not punished." So
stated a Los Angeles Times writer
(Mark I. Pinsky, "Why Don’t Moral
Crusaders Get into a Lather about
Sleazy Soaps?" Salt Lake Tribune,
9 Aug. 1986, sec. C, p. 7).

Assuredly we live in a time spoken
of by Isaiah when men "call evil good,
and good evil" (Isaiah 5:20).

Don’t trifle with evil

If any of you are walking in ice
fields near open crevasses, do you see
the warning signs? "Danger — don’t go
near the edge"? Don’t trifle with evil.
You will lose. We pray that you will not
display the somewhat arrogant attitude
of some who say, "I can handle it!" or
"Everyone else does it!"


Saturday, October 4


First Day

A friend, visiting relatives in
another state for a high school gradua-
tion, noticed a few students chewing
tobacco. When he asked his nephew
about it, the young man replied,
"Everybody does it!"

My friend’s nephew did not chew
tobacco, but he did believe most boys
did. Even in schools where in reality
only a few students are using drugs,
drinking alcohol, or smoking, nonusers
commonly believe that most of their
fellow students are doing it.

Everyone is not doing it. You
don’t! And you influence your friends.
And others watch you. You help set the

Young men, "put on the armor of

Young men, you are a royal
brotherhood — not because you’re bet-
ter than anyone else — but because the
Lord has blessed you with special privi-
leges and responsibilities.

You were foreordained to come to
earth at a time when the fulness of the
gospel was on the earth. You were fore-
ordained to receive his priesthood. The
Prophet Joseph Smith said, "Every man
who has a calling to minister to the
inhabitants of the world was ordained
to that very purpose in the Grand Coun-
cil of heaven before this world was"
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph
Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt
Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938],
p. 365).

You are the Lord’s special re-
source for teaching the gospel to all his
other children. You are different from
other teenagers who have neither your
understanding nor your responsibili-

You are one of his spirit sons,
singled out with a special calling. And
we know that he loves you. You have
the gift of the Holy Ghost. You can
discern good from evil. And with the
power of the priesthood, you have the
authority to represent your Heavenly

Now, my brethren, let us who
have been given this most precious

responsibility of the holy priesthood
"arise," as father Lehi declared, and
"put on the armor of righteousness"
(2Nephi 1:23).

Scriptures can help us avoid dangers

To help each of us avoid the pit-
falls and crevasses in life, the Lord has
provided the lifeline of the precious
truths in the scriptures, which, if held
onto, will allow us to escape both
physical and spiritual danger.

The Word of Wisdom was given
so that we might have clear minds and
healthy bodies; the Sermon on the
Mount, to make us sensitive to one
another’s needs; and the Ten Com-
mandments — cut in stone by the finger
of God — forbidding us to sin. He
declared, "Thou shaft not."

I urge each of you to develop
a personal companionship with the

President Kimball’s scripture
reading as a youth

President Spencer W. Kimball
read the Bible when he was fourteen
years old — all sixty-six books and
1,519 pages. "If I could do it by coal-oil
light," he said, "you can do it by elec-
tric light" (The Teachings of Spencer
W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball
[Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982],
p. 131).

President Kimball was a very spe-
cial teacher for all of us. He didn’t have
a car or a bicycle, but he did have nine
cows to milk every morning and night.

He said, "I thought, ‘What a waste
of time, to sit on a three-legged stool.
Maybe there is something else I could
do while I am milking.’ " He placed a
copy of the Articles of Faith on the
ground beside him and went through
them, over and over, until he had
memorized them. Then he repeated the
Ten Commandments over and over un-
til he learned them. He memorized im-
portant scriptures that would help him
on his mission — all while he milked
the cows. He didn’t have time to waste;
he had things to do with his life (see The



Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,
p. 131).

It would be a wonderful thing for
you young men to use your time wisely
by learning of God’s ways.

Many are accepting President
Benson’s charge

President Ezra Taft Benson has
challenged each of us to read the Book
of Mormon — the most correct of any
book on earth and the keystone of our
religion. We understand that thousands
of young men have accepted the chal-
lenge and are now reading the Book of

As the angel Moroni sealed up the
gold plates, he was inspired to promise
future generations — that is, us — that
on certain conditions God will manifest
the truth of those records by the power
of the Holy Ghost, and that — listen
carefully — "by the power of the Holy
Ghost ye may know the truth of all
things" (see Moroni 10:4-5).

Imagine such a promise. If you
desire with a sincere heart, with faith in
Christ, you can understand all things.

Book of Mormon delivered by an

Jeffrey Holland, president of
Brigham Young University, while
working on his Ph.D. at a prominent
eastern American university, got to
know well one of the reference librar-
ians who had helped him with some

One day he said, "Ilene, I need to
know how many books we have in the
university library which claim to have
been delivered by an angel."

As you can imagine, the librarian
gave him a peculiar look and said, "I
don’t know of any books that have been
delivered by angels. Swords maybe, or
chariots, but I don’t know of any

"Well, just run a check for me,

would you? It may take a little doing,
but I really would like to know."

The librarian dutifully did some
checking of the nine million books in
the library. For several days she had
nothing to report, but then one day she
smilingly said, "Mr. Holland, I have a
book for you. I found one book which,
it is claimed, was delivered by an
angel," and she held up a paperback
copy of the Book of Mormon. "I’m told
you can get them for a dollar. My good-
ness," she continued, "an angel’s book
for a dollar! You would think angels
would charge more, but then again,"
she said, "where would they spend it?"
(see Pat Holland, President’s Welcome
Assembly, Brigham Young Univer-
sity, 9 Sept. 1986).

Think of it – one book has been
delivered by an angel, and it teaches of
your eternal salvation. And each of you
owns a true copy!

"Hold onto the lifeline of the

May the Lord bless each of you
with your life’s opportunities. Put your
trust in Him to avoid the crevasses of
sin and evil. Hold onto the lifeline of
the gospel. You can make correct
choices — the ones you know in your
heart will be for your best good. We
love you and testify of the truthfulness
of the gospel of Christ. In the name of
Jesus Christ, amen.

President Monson

Elder David B. Haight of the
Council of the Twelve Apostles has just
spoken to us.

We shall now be pleased to listen
to Elder Joseph Anderson, who will
celebrate his ninety-seventh birthday
next month and who during his lifetime
served as secretary to four Presidents of
the Church, as an Assistant to the
Twelve, and then as a member of the
First Quorum of the Seventy.


Saturday, October 4


First Day

Elder Joseph Anderson

Associations with prophets of God

I feel greatly honored in being in-
vited to bear testimony regarding my
acquaintance and relationship with the
leadership of the Church during the past
nearly sixty-five years.

The major part of my life has been
devoted to association with prophets of
the living God. It was in February 1922
that I became the secretary to the Presi-
dent of the Church, President Heber J.
Grant, and I continued in that position
until he passed away in 1945.

During the administrations of his
successors, George Albert Smith,
David O. McKay, Joseph Fielding
Smith, and Harold B. Lee, I was secre-
tary to the First Presidency; and I have
served as a General Authority since
1970 with Presidents Joseph Fielding
Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W.
Kimball, and Ezra Taft Benson. Over
the years, these men have been sus-
tained by the Church as prophets, seers,
and revelators. Whenever the gospel
has been on earth, there have been
prophets of God, men holding the
priesthood of God, through whom the
Lord has made known His will.

What a glorious blessing it has
been to serve with prophets and their
associates! I think of the General Au-
thorities today. I can testify to you that
they are truly men of God. When we
meet in the quorum and other meetings
with these Brethren, the Spirit of the
Lord is there in rich measure; particu-
larly is this the case when we meet in
the temple.

Keys of former dispensations
restored through Joseph Smith

What about the Prophet Joseph
Smith? Do you believe that he was a
prophet? I want to testify that he was
perhaps the greatest prophet who ever
lived, except, of course, the Savior of
the world. He gave the world a knowl-
edge of the true and living God.
Through Joseph, the Lord introduced

this, the greatest of all dispensations,
the dispensation of the fulness of times.
John the Baptist restored the keys of the
Aaronic Priesthood, and Peter, James,
and John restored the keys of the Mel-
chizedek Priesthood. Joseph saw the
Father and the Son, and at the dedica-
tion of the Kirtland Temple, Moses,
Elias, and Elijah appeared to him and
restored to him the keys of former dis-
pensations. This is the last dispensa-
tion, a time of preparation for the
coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in
glory, His second coming. There were
given to Joseph Smith the keys for car-
rying the message of life and salvation
to the living and the dead.

The following is an excerpt from
Joseph Smith’s letter written in 1842 to
Mr. John Wentworth of Chicago:

"No unhallowed hand can stop the
work from progressing; persecutions
may rage, mobs may combine, armies
may assemble, calumny may defame,
but the truth of God will go forth
boldly, nobly, and independent, till it
has penetrated every continent, visited
every clime, swept every country, and
sounded in every ear, till the purposes
of God shall be accomplished, and the
Great Jehovah shall say the work is
done" (History of the Church, 4:540).

Living prophets given the keys to
guide Israel

Those who have succeeded the
Prophet Joseph Smith have been given
these same keys that I have mentioned.
Each of these Brethren of the General
Authorities has been called of God, by
prophecy and by the laying on of hands
by those who are in authority to preach
the gospel and administer in the ordi-
nances thereof. They are set apart from
all other men upon this earth. They are
authorized by ordination to do things
that no other men upon this earth can

President Lee said upon one occa-
sion that just as the waters are purest at



the mountain source, the purest word of
God, and the least apt to be polluted, is
that which comes from the lips of the
living prophets who are set up to guide
Israel in our own day and time.

What a great prophet is our present
President, Ezra Taft Benson, who, with
his counselors, the Council of the
Twelve, other General Authorities, and
other inspired leadership, is directing
the work of God under inspiration and
revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ,
who is our Savior and Redeemer.

President Grant’s testimonies of
early Church leaders

It has been my good fortune and
blessing to have become somewhat ac-
quainted with all the Presidents of the

During my association with Presi-
dent Grant, we did much traveling
together— on occasion going by train to
New York and other places which re-
quired our being together in a drawing
room on the train, normally for several
days at a time.

President Grant became an
Apostle in the days of John Taylor, who
was with the Prophet Joseph in Car-
thage Jail at the time of the Prophet
Joseph’s martyrdom. President Grant
knew Brigham Young, Orson Pratt,
Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and
others who served as Apostles during
the leadership of the Prophet Joseph.
President Grant retold to me on various
occasions the testimonies and experi-

ences of those great men regarding the
Prophet Joseph and the manifestations
they personally enjoyed.

It was also my privilege to have in
my custody the records of the General
Authority council meetings held in the
temple, which later council meetings I
recorded during my many years as sec-
retary. Yes, I have known all these
Brethren in a very real sense.

Prophets of this dispensation know
God and Christ

The Savior, in praying to our
Heavenly Father just before his cruci-
fixion, said, "This is life eternal, that
they might know thee the only true
God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast
sent" (John 17:3).

These Brethren to whom I have
referred know God and Jesus Christ,
whom He has sent.

I know that God lives, that Jesus
is the Christ, that these Brethren whom
I have mentioned were and^are true
prophets of the living God and have
served and do serve under the direction
of the Lord, who is the true head of the
Church. I say this in the name of our
Lord, Jesus Christ, amen.

President Monson

We have just listened to Elder
Joseph Anderson, an emeritus member
of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
President Benson has invited me to say
a few words on this occasion at ttiis
time on the program.

President Thomas S. Monson

Tonight, those who hold the
priesthood fill the Tabernacle on
Temple Square, have overflowed to the
adjacent Assembly Hall, and are as-
sembled in chapels and halls ranging in
size from the mammoth Marriott Cen-
ter at Brigham Young University to the
smallest building located many miles
away. All of you have come to be up-
lifted, to be instructed, to be inspired.

A favorite word of my nine-year-old
granddaughter describes the responsi-
bility to speak to such a vast throng:

Courage counts!

I seek your prayers; I need your
faith; I petition our Heavenly Father for


Saturday, October 4


First Day

that noble attribute of courage, for I
know courage counts!

This truth came to me in a most
vivid and dramatic manner some thirty-
one years ago. I was serving as a
bishop. The general session of our
stake conference was being held in the
Assembly Hall. Our stake presidency
was to be reorganized. The Aaronic
Priesthood, including members of
bishoprics, were providing the music
for the conference. As we concluded
singing our first selection, President
Joseph Fielding Smith, our conference
visitor, stepped to the pulpit and read
for sustaining approval the names of the
new stake presidency. I am confident
that the other members of the stake
presidency had been made aware of
their callings, but I had not. After read-
ing my name, President Smith an-
nounced: "If Brother Monson is willing
to respond to this call, we shall be
pleased to hear from him now."

As I stood at the pulpit and gazed
out on that sea of faces, I remembered
the song we had just sung. Its title was
"Have Courage, My Boy, to Say No."
That day I selected as my acceptance
theme, "Have Courage, My Boy, to
Say Yes."

Life’s journey is not traveled on a
freeway devoid of obstacles, pitfalls,
and snares. Rather, it is a pathway
marked by forks and turnings. Deci-
sions are constantly before us. To make
them wisely, courage is needed: the
courage to say no, the courage to say
yes. Decisions do determine destiny.

The call for courage

The call for courage comes con-
stantly to each of us. It has ever been
so, and so shall it ever be. The battle-
fields of war witness acts of courage.
Some are printed on pages of books or
contained on rolls of film, while others
are indelibly impressed on the human

The courage of a military leader
was recorded by a young infantryman
wearing the gray uniform of the Con-
federacy during America’s Civil War.

He describes the influence of General
J.E.B. Stuart in these words: "At a
critical point in the battle, he leaped his
horse over the breastworks near my
company, and when he had reached a
point about the center of the brigade,
while the men were loudly cheering
him, he waved his hand toward the
enemy and shouted, ‘Forward men.
Forward! Just follow me!’

"The men were wild with enthusi-
asm. With courage and resolution, they
poured over the breastworks after him
like a raging torrent, and the objective
was seized and held" (Emory M.
Thomas, Bold Dragoon: The Life of
J.E.B. Stuart [New York: Harper and
Row, 1986]).

At an earlier time, and in a land far
distant, another leader issued the same
plea: "Follow me" (Matthew 4:19). He
was not a general of war. Rather, He
was the Prince of Peace, the Son of
God. Those who followed Him then,
and those who follow Him now, win a
far more significant victory, with con-
sequences that are everlasting. But the
need for courage is constant. Courage
is ever required.

Scriptural examples of courage

The holy scriptures portray the
evidence of this truth. Joseph, son of
Jacob, the same who was sold into
Egypt, demonstrated the firm resolve
of courage when to Potiphar’s wife,
who attempted to seduce him, he de-
clared: "How . . . can I do this great
wickedness, and sin against God?
And … he hearkened not unto her"
and got out (Genesis 39:9-10).

In our day, a father applied this
example of courage to the lives of his
children by declaring, "If you ever find
yourself where you shouldn’t ought to
be, get out!"

The prophet Daniel demonstrated
supreme courage by standing up for
what he knew to be right and by demon-
strating the courage to pray, though
threatened by death were he to do so
(see Daniel 6).

Courage characterized the life of
Abinadi, as shown in the Book of Mor-



mon by his willingness to offer his life
rather than to deny the truth. (See
Mosiah 11:20, 17:20.)

Who can help but be inspired by
the lives of the two thousand stripling
sons of Helaman who taught and dem-
onstrated the need of courage to follow
the teachings of parents, the courage to
be chaste and pure? (See Alma 56.)

Perhaps each of these accounts is
crowned by the example of Moroni, who
had the courage to persevere to the end in
righteousness. (See Moroni 1-10.)

"He will not fail thee, nor forsake

All were fortified by the words of
Moses: "Be strong and of a good cour-
age, fear not, nor be afraid: … for the
Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with
thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake
thee" (Deuteronomy 31:6). He did not
fail them. He will not fail us. He did not
forsake them. He will not forsake us.

It was this knowledge that
prompted the courage of Columbus —
the quiet resolve to record in his ship’s
log again and again, "This day we
sailed on." It was this witness that mo-
tivated the Prophet Joseph to declare, "I
am going like a lamb to the slaughter;
but I am calm as a summer’s morning"
(D&C 135:4).

Have courage to stand for principle

It is this sweet assurance that can
guide you and me — in our time, in our
day, in our lives. Of course we will face
fear, experience ridicule, and meet op-
position. Let us have the courage to
defy the consensus, the courage to
stand for principle. Courage, not com-
promise, brings the smile of God’s ap-
proval. Courage becomes a living and
an attractive virtue when it is regarded
not only as a willingness to die man-
fully, but as the determination to live
decently. A moral coward is one who is
afraid to do what he thinks is right be-
cause others will disapprove or laugh.
Remember that all men have their

fears, but those who face their fears
with dignity have courage as well.

From my personal chronology of
courage, let me share with you two
examples: one from military service,
one from missionary experience.

Courage of a World War II seaman

Entering the United States Navy in
the closing months of World War II was
a challenging experience for me. I
learned of brave deeds, acts of valor,
and examples of courage. One best re-
membered was the quiet courage of an
eighteen-year-old seaman — not of our
faith— who was not too proud to pray.
Of 250 men in the company, he was the
only one who each night knelt down by
the side of his bunk, at times amidst the
jeers of the curious and the jests of
unbelievers, and, with bowed head,
prayed to God. He never wavered. He
never faltered. He had courage.

Courage of Randall Ellsworth

Missionary service has ever called
for courage. One who responded to this
call was Randall Ellsworth. While
serving in Guatemala as a missionary
for The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, Randall Ellsworth
survived a devastating earthquake that
hurled a beam down on his back, para-
lyzing his legs and severely damaging
his kidneys. He was the only American
injured in the quake, which claimed the
lives of some eighteen thousand per-

After receiving emergency medi-
cal treatment, he was flown to a large
hospital near his home in Rockville,
Maryland. While Randall was confined
there, a newscaster conducted with him
an interview that I witnessed through
the miracle of television. The reporter
asked, "Can you walk?"

The answer: "Not yet, but I will."

"Do you think you will be able to
complete your mission?"

Came the reply: "Others think not,
but I will. With the President of my
church praying for me, and through the


Saturday, October 4


First Day

prayers of my family, my friends, and
my missionary companions, I will
walk, and I will return again to Gua-
temala. The Lord wants me to preach
the gospel there for two years, and
that’s what I intend to do."

There followed a lengthy period of
therapy, punctuated by heroic yet silent
courage. Little by little, feeling began
to return to the almost lifeless limbs.
More therapy, more courage, more

At last, Randall Ellsworth walked
aboard the plane that carried him back
to the mission to which he had been
called — back to the people whom he
loved. Behind he left a trail of skeptics
and a host of doubters, but also hun-
dreds amazed at the power of God, the
miracle of faith, and the example of

On his return to Guatemala, Ran-
dall Ellsworth supported himself with
the help of two canes. His walk was
slow and deliberate. Then one day, as
he stood before his mission president,
Elder Ellsworth heard these almost un-
believable words spoken to him. "You
have been the recipient of a miracle,"
said the mission president. "Your faith
has been rewarded. If you have the nec-
essary confidence, if you have abiding
faith, if you have supreme courage,
place those two canes on my desk and

After a long pause, first one cane
and then the other was placed on the
desk, and a missionary walked. It was

halting, it was painful — but he walked,
never again to need the canes.

This spring I thought once more of
the courage demonstrated by Randall El-
lsworth. Years had passed since his or-
deal. He was now a husband and a father.
An engraved announcement arrived at
my office. It read, "The President and
Directors of Georgetown University an-
nounce commencement exercises of
Georgetown University School of Medi-
cine." Randall Ellsworth received his
Doctor of Medicine degree. More effort,
more study, more faith, more sacrifice,
more courage had been required. The
price was paid, the victory won.

My brethren, let us be active
participants — not mere spectators— on
the stage of priesthood power. May we
muster courage at the crossroads, cour-
age for the conflicts, courage to say no,
courage to say yes, for courage counts.
Of this truth I testify in the name of
Jesus Christ, amen.

President Monson

The choir and congregation will
now join in singing "High on the Moun-
tain Top," following which President
Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor
in the First Presidency, will speak to us.

The choir and congregation sang
"High on the Mountain Top."

President Gordon B. Hinckley
spoke without further announcement.

President Gordon B. Hinckley

I noted in the public press the other
day that the war between Iran and Iraq
has gone on for seven years. No one can
ever estimate the terrible suffering inci-
dent to that conflict. Lives numbered in
the tens of thousands have been lost.
The terrible wounds of war have left
bodies maimed and minds destroyed.
Families have been left without fathers.
Young boys who have been recruited as
soldiers have died in many instances,

while those yet alive have had woven
into the very fabric of their natures ele-
ments of hatred which will never leave
them. The treasure of the involved na-
tions has been wasted and will never be

To us who look upon it from afar
it seems so unnecessary and such a ter-
rible waste of human life and national
resources. Seven years is a long time.
"Will it ever end?" we ask.



The unceasing war between truth
and error

But there is another war that has
gone on since before the world was
created and which is likely to continue
for a long time yet to come. John the
Revelator speaks of that struggle:

"And there was war in heaven:
Michael and his angels fought against
the dragon; and the dragon fought and
his angels,

"And prevailed not; neither was
their place found any more in heaven.

"And the great dragon was cast
out, that old serpent, called the Devil,
and Satan, which deceiveth the whole
world: he was cast out into the earth,
and his angels were cast out with him"
(Revelation 12:7-9).

That war, so bitter, so intense, has
gone on, and it has never ceased. It is
the war between truth and error, be-
tween agency and compulsion, be-
tween the followers of Christ and those
who have denied Him. His enemies
have used every stratagem in that con-
flict. They’ve indulged in lying and
deceit. They’ve employed money and
wealth. They’ve tricked the minds of
men. They’ve murdered and destroyed
and engaged in every other unholy and
impure practice to thwart the work of

The war during biblical times

It began in the earth when Cain
slew Abel. The Old Testament is re-
plete with accounts of the same eternal

It found expression in the vile ac-
cusations against the Man of Galilee,
the Christ, who healed the sick and
lifted men’s hearts and hopes, He who
taught the gospel of peace. His ene-
mies, motivated by that evil power,
seized Him, tortured Him, nailed Him
to the cross, and spoke in mockery
against Him. But by the power of His
godhood, He overcame the death His
enemies had inflicted and through His
sacrifice brought salvation from death
to all men.

The war after Christ’s earthly

That eternal war went on in the
decay of the work He established, in the
corruption which later infected it, when
darkness covered the earth and gross
darkness the people (see Isaiah 60:2).

But the forces of God could not be
vanquished. The light of Christ touched
the heart of a man here and a man there,
and vast good came to pass notwith-
standing much of oppression and suf-

There came a time of renaissance,
with struggles for liberty — struggles
for which much of blood and sacrifice
was paid. The Spirit of God moved
upon men to found a nation wherein
freedom of worship and freedom of ex-
pression and freedom of agency were
protected. There followed then the
opening of the dispensation of the ful-
ness of times with a visit to earth of God
the Eternal Father and His Beloved
Son, the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.
This glorious event was followed by
visits of angels restoring the ancient
keys and priesthood.

The war after the Restoration

But the war was not over. It was
renewed and redirected. There was
contempt. There was persecution.
There were drivings from one place to
another. There was the murder of the
young prophet of God and of his be-
loved brother.

Our people fled their homes, their
comfortable homes, their farms, their
fields, their shops, their beautiful
temple built at such tremendous sacri-
fice. They came to these valleys, thou-
sands of them dying along the way.
They came, as President Brigham
Young said, to establish a place where
"the Devil can’t come and dig us

But the adversary has never
stopped trying. Ninety years ago, in the
October conference of 1896, President
Wilford Woodruff, then an aged man,


Saturday, October 4


First Day

standing where I stand in this Taber-
nacle, said:

"There are two powers on the
earth and in the midst of the inhabitants
of the earth — the power of God and the
power of the devil. In our history we
have had some very peculiar experi-
ences. When God has had a people on
the earth, it matters not in what age,
Lucifer, the son of the morning, and the
millions of fallen spirits that were cast
out of heaven, have warred against
God, against Christ, against the work
of God, and against the people of God.
And they are not backward in doing it
in our day and generation. Whenever
the Lord set His hand to perform any
work, those powers labored to over-
throw it" (Deseret Evening News, 17
Oct. 1896, p. 9).

President Woodruff knew
whereof he spoke. He had then only
recently passed through those difficult
and perilous days when the government
of the nation had come against our
people, determined to destroy them.
The buildings on this Temple Square,
this tabernacle in which we meet to-
night and the temple then under con-
struction, were escheated to the federal
government. Many citizens were dis-
franchised. But in faith they moved for-
ward. They kept going. They put their
trust in the Almighty, and He revealed
unto them the path they should follow.
In faith they accepted that revelation
and walked in obedience.

The war continues today

But the war did not end. It abated
somewhat, and we’re grateful for that.
Nonetheless, the adversary of truth has
continued his struggle.

Notwithstanding the present
strength of the Church, it seems that we
are constantly under attack from one
quarter or another. But we go on. We
must go on. We have gone forward,
and we will continue to go forward. In
some seasons the issues are major. At
other times they are only local skir-

mishes. But they are all part of a

Opposition to the construction of

In a few days we will dedicate the
beautiful Denver Temple.

When it was announced that we
would build a temple in that city and
had selected a site on which it should
stand, opposition rose against us. We
gave up that site and tried another.
Again we were thwarted. But we were
determined to go forward, putting our
trust in the Lord that He would guide us
in accomplishing His purposes. Two
other possible sites were selected. At
the time, President Kimball and Presi-
dent Romney were both ill, and mine
was a serious responsibility. I asked
President Benson, then President of the
Council of the Twelve, if we might go
to Denver together, and there with
Elder Russell Taylor we looked over
these sites. I give you my testimony
that we were guided by the Spirit in
choosing the ground on which that
beautiful new structure now stands. It
will be dedicated later this month as a
house of God.

We might expect that the adver-
sary of righteousness would seek to
thwart its construction and the work to
be done therein. He had done so in the
days of Kirtland when enemies threat-
ened to push over the walls which were
then being laid. He did so in the days
of Far West when enemies drove our
people from the state of Missouri. It
was so in Nauvoo, where the temple
had barely been completed when we
were driven out. It was so here on this
Temple Square when, during the forty
years of the temple construction, there
was one threat after another. I could
describe problems in other places
where today stand or will stand beauti-
ful houses of the Lord.

We must be united in battle

Opposition has not come only in
the construction of temples. It has been



felt in the undying efforts of many, both
within and without the Church, to
destroy faith, to belittle, to demean, to
bear false witness, to tempt and allure
and induce our people to practices in-
consistent with the teachings and stan-
dards of this work of God.

Brethren, the war goes on. It is as
it was in the beginning. There may not
be the intensity, and I am grateful for
that. But the principles at issue are the
same. The victims who fall are as pre-
cious as those who have fallen in the
past. It is an ongoing battle. We of the
priesthood are all part of the army of the
Lord. We must be united. An army that
is disorganized will not be victorious. It
is imperative that we close ranks, that
we march together as one. We cannot
have division among us and expect
victory. We cannot have disloyalty and
expect unity. We cannot be unclean and
expect the help of the Almighty.

Young men, keep your minds and
bodies strong

You boys who are here, you dea-
cons, teachers, and priests, are all a part
of this. The Lord has laid upon you in
your priesthood offices the duty to
preach the gospel, to teach the truth, to
encourage the weak to be strong, to
"invite all to come unto Christ"
(D&C 20:59).

You cannot afford to partake of
things that will weaken your minds and
your bodies. These include cocaine,
"crack," alcohol, tobacco. You cannot
be involved in immoral activity. You
cannot do these things and be valiant as
warriors in the cause of the Lord in the
great, everlasting contest that goes on
for the souls of our Father’s children.

Melchizedek Priesthood holders, be

You men of the Melchizedek
Priesthood, you cannot be unfaithful or
untrue to your wives, to your families,
to your priesthood responsibilities if
you are to be valiant in moving the

work of the Lord forward in this great
battle for truth and salvation. You can-
not be dishonest and unscrupulous in
your business affairs without tarnishing
your armor.

In our meetings, we occasionally
sing an old hymn:

Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

Now is the time to show.

We ask it fearlessly:

Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

We wage no common war,

Cope with no common foe.

The enemy’s awake;

Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

(Hymns, 1985, no. 260.)

Commitment and devotion needed
to win the war

I had a letter from a friend in the
East the other day. He spoke of a con-
versation he had had with another
member of the Church. He had asked
his associate whether he felt close to his
Heavenly Father. He replied that he did
not feel close. Why not? He said, "Can-
didly, because I don’t want to." Then
he went on to say, "If I were close to
Heavenly Father, He would probably
want some commitment from me, and
I am not ready for that."

Think of it — a man who has taken
upon himself the name of the Lord in
baptism, a man who has renewed his
covenants with the Lord in his sacra-
ment meetings, a man who has ac-
cepted the priesthood of God and yet
has said that if he were close to his
Heavenly Father, some commitment
might be expected of him, and he was
not ready for that.

In this work there must be com-
mitment. There must be devotion. We
are engaged in a great eternal struggle
that concerns the very souls of the sons
and daughters of God. We are not los-
ing. We are winning. We will continue
to win if we will be faithful and true.
We can do it. We must do it. We will
do it. There is nothing the Lord has
asked of us that in faith we cannot


Saturday, October 4


Firu Dny

Move forward in faith

I think of the children of Israel
when they fled Egypt. They camped
beside the Red Sea. Looking back, they
saw Pharaoh and his armies coming to
destroy them. Fear gripped their hearts.
With the armies behind them and the
sea before them they cried out in terror.

"And Moses said unto the people,
Fear ye not, stand still, and see the
salvation of the Lord, which he will
shew to you to day: for the Egyptians
whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see
them again no more for ever.

"The Lord shall fight for you, and
ye shall hold your peace.

"And the Lord said unto
Moses, . . . speak unto the children of
Israel, that they go forward"
(Exodus 14:13-15; italics added).

The sea parted, and the children of
Israel moved to their salvation. The
Egyptians followed to their own

Shall we not also in faith move
forward? He who is our eternal leader,
the Lord Jesus Christ, has challenged
us in words of revelation. Said He:

"Wherefore, lift up your hearts
and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and
take upon you my whole armor, that ye
may be able to withstand the evil
day. . . .

"Stand, therefore, having your
loins girt about with truth, having on
the breastplate of righteousness, and
your feet shod with the preparation of
the gospel of peace, which I have sent
mine angels to commit unto you;

"Taking the shield of faith where-
with ye shall be able to quench all the
fiery darts of the wicked;

"And take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of my Spirit, … and be
faithful until I come, and ye shall be
caught up, that where I am ye shall be
also" (D&C 27:15-18).

Each of us is involved in the war,
and we are winning

The war goes on. It is waged
across the world over the issues of

agency and compulsion. It is waged by
an army of missionaries over the issues
of truth and error. It is waged in our
own lives, day in and day out, in our
homes, in our work, in our school asso-
ciations; it is waged over questions of
love and respect, of loyalty and fidel-
ity, of obedience and integrity. We are
all involved in it — men and boys, each
of us. We are winning, and the future
never looked brighter.

God bless us, my beloved brethren
of the priesthood, in the work that is so
clearly laid out before us. May we be
faithful. May we be valiant. May we
have the courage to be true to the trust
God has placed in each of us. May we
be unafraid. "For [to quote the words of
Paul to Timothy] God hath not given us
the spirit of fear; but of power, and of
love, and of a sound mind.

"Be not thou therefore ashamed of
the testimony of our Lord" (2 Timothy

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

President Monson

We have just listened to President
Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor
in the First Presidency.

President Ezra Taft Benson, our
beloved prophet leader, will be our
concluding speaker.

Before President Benson speaks,
we note that the nationwide CBS Tab-
ernacle Choir broadcast will be from
9:30 to 10:00 Sunday morning. Those
desiring to attend must be in their seats
before 9:15 a.m.

As you leave this priesthood meet-
ing tonight, we remind you to obey
traffic rules, to use caution, and to be
courteous in driving.

We are grateful to you brethren of
the Tabernacle Choir and Mormon
Youth Combined Men’s Choruses for
your inspiring music and express sin-
cere thanks for the service you have
given here tonight.

Following President Benson’s
closing remarks, the choir will sing



"The Priesthood of Our Lord." The Elder Waldo P. Call of the First Quo-
benediction will be pronounced by rum of the Seventy.

President Ezra Taft Benson

Privilege and responsibility of
holding the priesthood

My beloved brethren: This night,
as I look out over this great body of
priesthood holders and think of the
similar congregations throughout the
world, I am stirred with a great sense of
gratitude and joy for the blessings our
Heavenly Father has given us.

The privilege of holding the
priesthood, which is the power and au-
thority to act in God’s name, is a great
blessing and privilege and one that car-
ries with it equally great obligations
and responsibilities. When I ponder
what kind of men and boys we should
be as priesthood holders, I cannot help
but think of the Savior’s questions to
the Nephite twelve when He asked,
"Therefore, what manner of men ought
ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as
I am" (3 Nephi 27:27).

Our charge to be like the Savior

To be like the Savior — what a
challenge for any person! He is a mem-
ber of the Godhead. He is the Savior
and Redeemer. He was perfect in every
aspect of His life. There was no flaw
nor failing in Him. Is it possible for us
as priesthood holders to be even as He
is? The answer is yes. Not only can we,
but that is our charge, our responsibil-
ity. He would not give us that com-
mandment if He did not mean for us to
do it.

The Apostle Peter spoke of the
process by which a person can be made
a partaker "of the divine nature"
(2 Peter 1:4). This is important, for if
we truly become partakers of the divine
nature, we shall become like Him. Let
us examine closely what Peter teaches

us about this process. Here is what he

"And beside this, giving all dili-
gence, add to your faith virtue; and to
virtue knowledge;

"And to knowledge temperance;
and to temperance patience; and to pa-
tience godliness;

"And to godliness brotherly kind-
ness; and to brotherly kindness charity"
(2 Peter 1:5-7).

The virtues outlined by Peter are
part of the divine nature, or the Savior’s
character. These are the virtues we are
to emulate if we would be more like
Him. Let us discuss a few of these
important traits.

Faith — the foundation for building
a godlike character

The first characteristic, to which
all the others are added, is faith. Faith
is the foundation upon which a godlike
character is built. It is a prerequisite for
all other virtues.

When I think of how we show
faith, I cannot help but think of the
example of my own father. I recall viv-
idly how the spirit of missionary work
came into my life. I was about thirteen
years of age when my father received a
call to go on a mission. It was during an
epidemic in our little community of
Whitney, Idaho. Parents were encour-
aged to go to sacrament meeting, but
the children were to remain home to
avoid contracting the disease.

Father and Mother went to sacra-
ment meeting in a one-horse buggy. At
the close of the meeting, the store-
keeper opened the store just long
enough for the farmers to get their mail,
since the post office was in the store.
There were no purchases, but in this
way the farmers saved a trip to the post


Saturday, October 4


First Day

office on Monday. There was no rural
postal delivery in those days.

As Father drove the horse home-
ward, Mother opened the mail, and, to
their surprise, there was a letter from
Box B in Salt Lake City — a call to go
on a mission. No one asked if one were
ready, willing, or able. The bishop was
supposed to know, and the bishop was
Grandfather George T. Benson, my fa-
ther’s father.

As Father and Mother drove into
the yard, they were both crying —
something we had never seen in our
family. We gathered around the
buggy — there were seven of us then —
and asked them what was the matter.

They said, "Everything’s fine."

"Why are you crying then?" we

"Come into the living room and
we’ll explain."

We gathered around the old sofa in
the living room, and Father told us
about his mission call. Then Mother
said: "We’re proud to know that Father
is considered worthy to go on a mis-
sion. We’re crying a bit because it
means two years of separation. You
know, your father and I have never
been separated more than two nights at
a time since our marriage — and that’s
when Father was gone into the canyon
to get logs, posts, and firewood."

And so Father went on his mis-
sion. Though at the time 1 did not fully
comprehend the depths of my father’s
commitment, I understand better now
that his willing acceptance of this call
was evidence of his great faith. Every
holder of the priesthood, whether
young or old, should strive to develop
that kind of faith.

Virtue — akin to holiness

Peter goes on to say that we must
add to our faith virtue. A priesthood
holder is virtuous. Virtuous behavior
implies that he has pure thoughts and
clean actions. He will not lust in his
heart, for to do so is to "deny the faith"
and to lose the Spirit (D&C 42:23) –
and there is nothing more important in

this work than the Spirit. You’ve heard
me say that many times.

He will not commit adultery "nor
do anything like unto it" (D&C 59:6).
This means fornication, homosexual
behavior, self-abuse, child molesta-
tion, or any other sexual perversion.
This means that a young man will honor
young women and treat them with re-
spect. He would never do anything that
would deprive them of that which, in
Mormon’s words, is "most dear and
precious above all things, which is
chastity and virtue" (Moroni 9:9).

Virtue is akin to holiness, an
attribute of godliness. A priesthood
holder should actively seek for that
which is virtuous and lovely and not
that which is debasing or sordid. Virtue
will garnish his thoughts unceasingly
(see D&C 121:45). How can any man
indulge himself in the evils of porno-
graphy, profanity, or vulgarity and
consider himself totally virtuous?

Whenever a priesthood holder de-
parts from the path of virtue in any form
or expression, he loses the Spirit and
comes under Satan’s power. He then
receives the wages of him whom he has
chosen to serve. As a result, sometimes
the Church must take disciplinary ac-
tion, for we cannot condone or pardon
unvirtuous and unrepentant actions. All
priesthood holders must be morally
clean to be worthy to bear the authority
of Jesus Christ.

Knowledge — balance spiritual and
secular learning

The next step Peter describes in the
growth process is to add knowledge to our
faith and virtue. The Lord has told us that
"it is impossible for a man to be saved in
ignorance" (D&C 131:6). In another
place God commanded, "Seek ye out of
the best books words of wisdom; seek
learning, even by study and also by faith"
(D&C 88:118). Every priesthood holder
should make learning a lifetime pursuit.
While any study of truth is of value, the
truths of salvation are the most important
truths any person can learn. The Lord’s
question, "For what is a man profited, if



he shall gain the whole world, and lose
his own soul?" (Matthew 16:26) can be
applied to educational pursuits as well
as the pursuit of worldly goods. The
Lord might also have asked, "For what
is a man profited, if he shall learn
everything in the world and not learn
how to be saved?"

We must balance our secular
learning with spiritual learning. You
young men should be as earnest in en-
rolling in seminary and learning the
scriptures as you are in working toward
high school graduation. Young adults
enrolled in universities and colleges or
other postsecondary training should
avail themselves of the opportunity to
take institute of religion courses or, if
attending a Church school, should take
at least one religion course every term.
Joining our spiritual education to our
secular learning will help us keep
focused on the things that matter most
in this life. Though I am speaking to
you priesthood holders, the same
admonition applies to the women of the
Church as well as to the men.

Spiritual learning must take first

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.,
spoke of the desired balance in these
words: "There is spiritual learning just
as there is material learning, and the
one without the other is not complete;
yet, speaking for myself, if I could have
only one sort of learning, that which I
would take would be the learning of the
spirit, because in the hereafter I shall
have opportunity in the eternities which
are to come to get the other, and with-
out spiritual learning here my handi-
caps in the hereafter would be all but
overwhelming" (in Conference Report,
Apr. 1934, p. 94).

President Spencer W. Kimball
said it this way: "Youth, beloved
youth, can you see why we must let
spiritual training take first place? —
Why we must pray with faith, and per-
fect our own lives like the Savior’s?
Can you see that the spiritual knowl-
edge may be complemented with the

secular in this life and on for eternities
but that the secular without the founda-
tion of the spiritual is but like the foam
upon the milk, the fleeting shadow?

"Do not be deceived! One need
not choose between the two but only as
to the sequence, for there is opportunity
for one to get both simultaneously; but
can you see that the seminary courses
should be given even preferential at-
tention over the high school subjects;
the institute over the college course; the
study of the scriptures ahead of the
study of man-written texts; the associa-
tion with the Church more important
than clubs, fraternities, and sororities;
the payment of tithing more important
than paying tuitions and fees?

"Can you see that the ordinances
of the temple are more important than
the PhD or any and all other academic
degrees?" ("Beloved Youth, Study and
Learn," in Life ‘s Directions: A Series of
Fireside Addresses [Salt Lake City:
Deseret Book Co., 1962], p. 190).

When our formal education has
been completed, we should make daily
study of the scriptures a lifetime pur-
suit. What I said last April to priesthood
leaders applies to every priesthood
holder as well:

"I add my voice to these wise and
inspired brethren and say to you that
one of the most important things you
can do as priesthood leaders is to im-
merse yourselves in the scriptures.
Search them diligently. Feast upon the
words of Christ. Learn the doctrine.
Master the principles that are found
therein. . . . Few other efforts . . . will
bring greater dividends to your call-
ing. . . . Few other ways [will result
in] greater inspiration. . . .

"You must … see that studying
and searching the scriptures is not a
burden laid upon [us] by the Lord, but
a marvelous blessing and opportunity"
("The Power of the Word," Ensign,
May 1986, p. 81).

Temperance — have self-control

Another attribute described by
Peter as being part of the divine nature


Saturday, October 4


First Duy

is temperance. A priesthood holder is
temperate. This means he is restrained
in his emotions and verbal expressions.
He does things in moderation and is not
given to overindulgence. In a word, he
has self-control. He is the master of his
emotions, not the other way around.

A priesthood holder who would
curse his wife, abuse her with words or
actions, or do the same to one of his own
children is guilty of grievous sin. "Can
ye be angry, and not sin?" asked the
Apostle Paul (JST, Ephesians 4:26).

If a man does not control his tem-
per, it is a sad admission that he is not
in control of his thoughts. He then be-
comes a victim of his own passions and
emotions, which lead him to actions
that are totally unfit for civilized behav-
ior, let alone behavior for a priesthood

President David 0. McKay once
said, "A man who cannot control his
temper is not very likely to control his
passion, and no matter what his pre-
tensions in religion, he moves in daily
life very close to the animal plane" (Im-
provement Era, June 1958, p. 407).

Patience — be understanding and
learn to wait on the Lord

To our temperance we are to add
patience. A priesthood holder is to be
patient. Patience is another form of
self-control. It is the ability to postpone
gratification and to bridle one’s pas-
sions. In his relationships with loved
ones, a patient man does not engage in
impetuous behavior that he will later
regret. Patience is composure under
stress. A patient man is understanding
of others’ faults.

A patient man also waits on the
Lord. We sometimes read or hear of
people who seek a blessing from the
Lord, then grow impatient when it does
not come swiftly. Part of the divine
nature is to trust in the Lord enough to
"be still and know that [he is] God"
(D&C 101:16).

A priesthood holder who is patient
will be tolerant of the mistakes and fail-
ings of his loved ones. Because he

loves them, he will not find fault nor
criticize nor blame.

Kindness — extend this to all

Another attribute mentioned by
Peter is kindness. A priesthood holder
is kind. One who is kind is sympathetic
and gentle with others. He is consider-
ate of others’ feelings and courteous in
his behavior. He has a helpful nature.
Kindness pardons others’ weaknesses
and faults. Kindness is extended to
all — to the aged and the young, to ani-
mals, to those low of station as well as
the high.

These are the true attributes of the
divine nature. Can you see how we
become more Christlike as we are more
virtuous, more kind, more patient, and
more in control of our emotional feel-

The Apostle Paul used some vivid
expressions to illustrate that a member
of the Church must be different from
the world. He commended us to "put on
Christ" (Galatians 3:27), "put off . . .
the old man," and "put on the new man"
(Ephesians 4:22, 24).

Charity – "the greatest of all"

The final and crowning virtue of
the divine character is charity, or the
pure love of Christ (see Moroni 7:47).
If we would truly seek to be more like
our Savior and Master, then learning to
love as He loves should be our highest
goal. Mormon called charity "the great-
est of all" (Moroni 7:46).

The world today speaks a great
deal about love, and it is sought for by
many. But the pure love of Christ dif-
fers greatly from what the world thinks
of love. Charity never seeks selfish
gratification. The pure love of Christ
seeks only the eternal growth and joy of

When I think of charity, I again
think of my father and that day he was
called on his mission. I suppose some
in the world might say that his accep-
tance of that call was proof he did not
really love his family. To leave seven



children and an expectant wife at home
alone for two years, how could that be
true love?

But my father knew a greater
vision of love. He knew that "all things
shall work together for good to them
that love God" (Romans 8:28). He
knew that the best thing he could do for
his family was to obey God.

While we missed him greatly dur-
ing those years, and while his absence
brought many challenges to our family,
his acceptance proved to be a gift of
charity. Father went on his mission,
leaving Mother at home with seven
children. (The eighth was born four
months after he arrived in the field.)
But there came into that home a spirit
of missionary work that never left it. It
was not without some sacrifice. Father
had to sell our old dry farm in order to
finance his mission. He had to move a
married couple into part of our home to
take care of the row crops, and he left
his sons and wife the responsibility for
the hay land, the pasture land, and a
small herd of dairy cows.

Father’s letters were indeed a
blessing to our family. To us children,
they seemed to come from halfway
around the world, but they were only
from Springfield, Massachusetts; and
Chicago, Illinois; and Cedar Rapids
and Marshalltown, Iowa. Yes, there
came into our home, as a result of
Father’s mission, a spirit of missionary
work that never left it.

Later the family grew to eleven
children, seven sons and four daugh-
ters. All seven sons filled missions,
some of them two or three missions.
Later, two daughters and their hus-
bands filled full-time missions. The
two other sisters, both widows — one
the mother of eight and the other the
mother of ten — served as missionary
companions in Birmingham, England.

It is a legacy that still continues to
bless the Benson family even into the
third and fourth generations. Was not
this truly a gift of love?

"Become partakers of the divine

This is what the Savior means
when He speaks of the kind of men we
should be. Does not His own life reflect
perfect diligence, perfect faith, perfect
virtue? If we are to be like Him, we too
must become partakers of the divine

The Savior declared that life eter-
nal is to know the only true God and His
Son Jesus Christ (see John 17:3). If this
is true, and I bear you my solemn wit-
ness that it is true, then we must ask
how we come to know God. The pro-
cess of adding one godly attribute to
another, as described by Peter, be-
comes the key to gaining this knowl-
edge that leads to eternal life. Note
Peter’s promise, which immediately
follows the process described:

"For if these things be in you, and
abound, they make you that ye shall
neither be barren nor unfruitful in the
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ"
(2 Peter 1:8; italics added).

Oh, my beloved brethren, I pray
that these qualities and attributes of the
Savior may abound in us so that when
we stand at the Judgment and He asks
each one of us, "What manner of man
are you?" we can raise our heads in
gratitude and joy and answer, "Even as
thou art." This is my humble prayer for
each and every priesthood holder in the
name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Statement: stake seventies quorums
to be discontinued

Now, brethren, I would like to
read to you a statement recently ap-
proved by the First Presidency and the
Quorum of the Twelve:

"In harmony with the needs of the
growth of the Church across the world,
the First Presidency and Council of the
Twelve Apostles have given prayerful
consideration to the role of the stake
seventies quorums in the Church and
have determined to take the following
action relative thereto:


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

"1. The seventies quorums in the
stakes of the Church are to be discon-
tinued, and the brethren now serving as
seventies in these quorums will be
asked to return to membership in the
elders quorums of their wards. Stake
presidents, in an orderly fashion, may
then determine who among such breth-
ren should be ordained to the office of
high priest.

"This change does not affect the
First Quorum of the Seventy, members
of which are all General Authorities of
the Church.

"2. Particular emphasis is to be
given in stake missions to cooperating
with the full-time proselyting mission-
aries by finding, friendshipping, fel-
lowshipping, and fostering member
participation in all missionary activi-
ties. A missionary-minded elder or

high priest will be called as the stake
mission president with his counselors
being selected from among the elders or
high priests.

"Additional detailed instructions
regarding this announcement will be
provided local priesthood leaders by
letter from the First Presidency.

"At this time, we commend all
who have served both past and present
as members of stake seventies quorums
of the Church and who have so ably
given of their time, talents, and re-
sources in spreading forth the gospel of
Jesus Christ."

The choir sang "Priesthood of Our

Elder Waldo P. Call offered the



The fourth session of the 156th
Semiannual General Conference com-
menced at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, Octo-
ber 5, 1986. President Ezra Taft
Benson conducted.

The Tabernacle Choir provided
the music with Jerold Ottley directing
and Robert Cundick at the organ.

Prior to the opening of the session,
the choir sang "Arise, O God, and
Shine" withoin announcement.

President Benson made the fol-
lowing remarks:

President Ezra Taft Benson

We welcome all who are in attend-
ance for this, the fourth general session
of the 156th Semiannual General Con-
ference of The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints.

We also extend our greeting to all
who are seated in the Assembly Hall,
where Elders George P. Lee and Rex C.

Reeve are seated on the stand, and to
the many others who are participating
by radio, television, or cable — with
time offered by owners and operators,
to whom we are indebted — or by satel-
lite transmission.

We acknowledge the presence this
morning of government, education,
and civic affairs leaders, and officers
and members of the Church from many
lands who have assembled to worship
and to counsel together in this confer-

The Tabernacle Choir, under the
direction of Brother Jerold Ottley with
Brother Robert Cundick at the organ, is
providing the music for this session.

The choir opened these services
by singing "Arise, God, and Shine"
and will now sing "More Holiness Give
Me," following which Elder Robert L.
Backman, a member of the Presidency
of the First Quorum of the Seventy, will
offer the invocation.



The choir sang "More Holiness
Give Me."

Elder Robert L. Backman offered
the invocation.

President Benson

We shall now be pleased to listen
to President Gordon B. Hinckley, First
Counselor in the First Presidency.

President Gordon B. Hinckley

Know God and Jesus Christ

My brethren and sisters, I have
chosen a text this morning that is famil-
iar to all of you. It is the first article of
our faith. It is the pivotal position of our
religion. It is significant that in setting
forth the primary elements of our doc-
trine, the Prophet Joseph put this num-
ber one.

"We believe in God, the Eternal
Father, and in His son, Jesus Christ,
and in the Holy Ghost."

The preeminence given that decla-
ration is in accord with another state-
ment the Prophet made. Said he:

"It is the first principle of the gos-
pel to know for a certainty the character
of God" {History of the Church,

These tremendously significant
and overarching declarations are in har-
mony with the words of the Lord in His
great intercessory prayer:

"And this is life eternal, that they
might know thee the only true God, and
Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent"
(John 17:3).

I was handed a tract the other day.
It was written by a critic, an enemy of
the Church whose desire is to under-
mine the faith of the weak and the un-
knowing. It repeats fallacies that have
been parroted for a century and more.
It purports to set forth what you and I,
as members of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, believe.

Without wishing to argue with any
of our friends of other faiths, many of
whom I know and for whom I have the
highest regard, I take this occasion to
set forth my position on this most im-
portant of all theological subjects.

Testimony of God

I believe without equivocation or
reservation in God, the Eternal Father.
He is my Father, the Father of my
spirit, and the Father of the spirits of all
men. He is the great Creator, the Ruler
of the Universe. He directed the cre-
ation of this earth on which we live. In
His image man was created. He is per-
sonal. He is real. He is individual. He
has "a body of flesh and bones as tan-
gible as man’s" (D&C 130:22).

In the account of the creation of
the earth, "God said, Let us make man
in our image, after our likeness"
(Genesis 1:26).

Could any language be more ex-
plicit? Does it demean God, as some
would have us believe, that man was
created in His express image? Rather,
it should stir within the heart of every
man and woman a greater appreciation
for himself or herself as a son or daugh-
ter of God. Paul’s words to the Corin-
thian Saints are as applicable to us
today as they were to those to whom he
wrote. Said he:

"Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of
God dwelleth in you?

"If any man defile the temple of
God, him shall God destroy; for the
temple of God is holy, which temple ye
are" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

God has a body

I remember the occasion of more
than fifty years ago when, as a mission-
ary, I was speaking in an open-air meet-
ing in Hyde Park, London. As I was
presenting my message, a heckler inter-


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

rupted to say, "Why don’t you stay with
the doctrine of the Bible which says in
John [4:24], ‘God is a Spirit’?"

I opened my Bible to the verse he
had quoted and read to him the entire

"God is a Spirit: and they that wor-
ship him must worship him in spirit and
in truth."

I said, "Of course God is a spirit,
and so are you, in the combination of
spirit and body that makes of you a
living being, and so am I."

Each of us is a dual being of spiri-
tual entity and physical entity. All
know of the reality of death when the
body dies, and each of us also knows
that the spirit lives on as an individual
entity and that at some time, under the
divine plan made possible by the sacri-
fice of the Son of God, there will be a
reunion of spirit and body. Jesus’ dec-
laration that God is a spirit no more
denies that he has a body than does the
statement that I am a spirit while also
having a body.

God is all-powerful and all-loving

I do not equate my body with His
in its refinement, in its capacity, in its
beauty and radiance. His is eternal.
Mine is mortal. But that only increases
my reverence for Him. I worship Him
"in spirit and in truth." I look to Him as
my strength. I pray to Him fcr wisdom
beyond my own. I seek to love Him
with all my heart, might, mind, and
strength. His wisdom is greater than the
wisdom of all men. His power is greater
than the power of nature, for He is the
Creator Omnipotent. His love is greater
than the love of any other, for His love
encompasses all of His children, and it
is His work and His glory to bring to
pass the immortality and eternal life of
His sons and daughters of all genera-
tions (see Moses 1:39).

He "so loved the world, that he
gave his only begotten Son, that who-
soever believeth in him should not per-
ish, but have everlasting life" (John

This is the Almighty of whom I
stand in awe and reverence. It is He to

whom I look in fear and trembling. It is
He whom I worship and unto whom I
give honor and praise and glory. He is
my Heavenly Father, who has invited
me to come unto Him in prayer, to
speak with Him, with the promised as-
surance that He will hear and respond.

Thanks be to God

I thank Him for the light and
knowledge and understanding He has
bestowed upon His children. I thank
Him for His voice, which has spoken
eternal truth with power and promise. I
thank Him for His revelation of Him-
self as set forth in the Old Testament,
for His declaration, as set forth in the
New Testament, at the baptism of His
Beloved Son in the waters of Jordan
when His voice was heard saying,
"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am
well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).

I thank Him for His similar decla-
ration on the Mount of Transfiguration
when He spoke again to Jesus and His
Apostles, and angels also, when "after
six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and
John his brother, and bringeth them up
into an high mountain apart,

"And was transfigured before
them: and his face did shine as the sun,
and his raiment was white as the light.

"And, behold, there appeared
unto them Moses and Elias talking with

"Then answered Peter, and said
unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be
here: if thou wilt, let us make here three
tabernacles; one for thee, and one for
Moses, and one for Elias.

"While he yet spake, behold, a
bright cloud overshadowed them: and
behold a voice out of the cloud, which
said, This is my beloved Son, in whom
I am well pleased; hear ye him"
(Matthew 17:1-5).

I thank Him for that voice again
heard when the risen Lord was intro-
duced to the people of this hemisphere
with the voice of God declaring, "Be-
hold my Beloved Son, in whom I am
well pleased, in whom I have glorified
my name" (3 Nephi 11:7).



I stand in awe and reverence and
gratitude for His appearance in this dis-
pensation when, as He introduced the
risen Lord to one who had sought Him
in prayer, the Father declared: "This is
My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" (Joseph
Smith -History 1:17).

Testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ

I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
the Son of the eternal, living God. I
believe in Him as the Firstborn of the
Father and the Only Begotten of the
Father in the flesh. I believe in Him as
an individual, separate and distinct
from His Father. I believe in the decla-
ration of John, who opened his gospel
with this majestic utterance:

"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God.

"The same was in the beginning
with God. . . .

"And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his
glory, the glory as of the only begotten
of the Father,) full of grace and truth"
(John 1:1-2, 14).

I believe that He was born of Mary
of the lineage of David as the promised
Messiah, that He was in very deed be-
gotten of the Father, and that in His
birth was the fulfillment of the great
prophetic declaration of Isaiah:

"For unto us a child is born, unto
us a son is given: and the government
shall be upon his shoulder: and his
name shall be called Wonderful, Coun-
sellor, The mighty God, The everlast-
ing Father, The Prince of Peace"
(Isaiah 9:6).

I believe that in His mortal life He
was the one perfect man to walk the
earth. I believe that in His words are to
be found that light and truth which, if
observed, would save the world and
bring exaltation to mankind. I believe
that in His priesthood rests divine
authority— the power to bless, the
power to heal, the power to govern in
the earthly affairs of God, the power to
bind in the heavens that which is bound
upon the earth.

Christ’s atoning sacrifice

I believe that through His atoning
sacrifice, the offering of His life on
Calvary’s Hill, He expiated the sins of
mankind, relieving us from the burden
of sin if we will forsake evil and follow
Him. I believe in the reality and the
power of His resurrection. I believe in
the grace of God made manifest
through His sacrifice and redemption,
and I believe that through His atone-
ment, without any price on our part,
each of us is offered the gift of resurrec-
tion from the dead. I believe further that
through that sacrifice there is extended
to every man and woman, every son
and daughter of God, the opportunity
for eternal life and exaltation in our
Father’s kingdom, as we hearken and
obey His commandments.

None so great has ever walked the
earth. None other has made a compara-
ble sacrifice or granted a comparable
blessing. He is the Savior and the Re-
deemer of the world. I believe in Him.
I declare His divinity without equivo-
cation or compromise. I love Him. I
speak His name in reverence and won-
der. I worship Him as I worship His
Father, in spirit and in truth. I thank
Him and kneel before His wounded feet
and hands and side, amazed at the love
He offers me.

God be thanked for His Beloved
Son who reached out long ago and said
to each of us:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour
and are heavy laden, and I will give you

"Take my yoke upon you, and
learn of me; for I am meek and lowly
in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your

"For my yoke is easy, and my bur-
den is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

Christ is the living, resurrected
Son of God

He lives, the firstfruits of the Res-
urrection. I know He lives today as
really, as certainly, as individually, as
He lived when, as the risen Lord, He


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

beckoned His discouraged disciples to
"come and dine. . . . And [He] taketh
bread, and giveth them, and fish like-
wise" (John 21:12-13).

The scripture tells of others to
whom He showed Himself and with
whom He spoke, as the living, resur-
rected Son of God.

Likewise in this dispensation He
has appeared, and those who saw Him

"And now, after the many testi-
monies which have been given of him,
this is the testimony, last of all, which
we give of him: That he lives!

"For we saw him, even on the
right hand of God; and we heard the
voice bearing record that he is the Only
Begotten of the Father—

"That by him, and through him,
and of him, the worlds are and were
created, and the inhabitants thereof are
begotten sons and daughters unto God"
(D&C 76:22-24).

This is the Christ in whom I be-
lieve and of whom I testify.

The Holy Ghost is the third
member of the Godhead

That knowledge comes from the
word of scripture, and that testimony
comes by the power of the Holy Ghost.
It is a gift, sacred and wonderful, borne
by revelation from the third member of
the Godhead. I believe in the Holy
Ghost as a personage of spirit who oc-
cupies a place with the Father and the
Son, these three comprising the divine

The importance of that place is
made clear from the words of the Lord
who said:

"All manner of sin and blasphemy
shall be forgiven unto men: but the
blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall
not be forgiven unto men.

"And whosoever speaketh a word
against the Son of man, it shall be
forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh
against the Holy Ghost, it shall not

be forgiven him, neither in this world,
neither in the world to come"
(Matthew 12:31-32).

That the Holy Ghost was recog-
nized in ancient times as a member of
the Godhead is evident from the con-
versation between Peter and Ananias
when the latter held back a part of the
price received from the sale of a piece
of land.

"But Peter said, Ananias, why
hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the
Holy Ghost? . . . thou hast not lied
unto men, but unto God" (Acts 5:3-4).

The Holy Ghost stands as the third
member of the Godhead, the Comforter
promised by the Savior who would
teach His followers all things and bring
all things to their remembrance, what-
soever He had said unto them (see
John 14:26).

The Holy Ghost is the Testifier of
Truth, who can teach men things they
cannot teach one another. In those great
and challenging words of Moroni, a
knowledge of the truth of the Book of
Mormon is promised "by the power of
the Holy Ghost." Moroni then declares,
"And by the power of the Holy Ghost
ye may know the truth of all things"
(Moroni 10:4-5).

I believe this power, this gift, is
available to us today.

Members of the Godhead are real
and individual

And so, my beloved brethren and
sisters, I believe in God, the Eternal
Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ,
and in the Holy Ghost.

I was baptized in the name of these
three. I was married in the name of
these three. I have no question concern-
ing their reality and their individuality.
That individuality was made apparent
when Jesus was baptized by John in
Jordan. There in the water stood the
Son of God. His Father’s voice was
heard declaring His divine Sonship,
and the Holy Ghost was manifest in the
form of a dove (see Matthew 3:16-17).



I am aware that Jesus said that they
who had seen Him had seen the Father.
Could not the same be said by many a
son who resembles his parent?

When Jesus prayed to the Father,
certainly He was not praying to Him-

Members of the Godhead are
perfectly united

They are distinct beings, but they
are one in purpose and effort. They are
united as one in bringing to pass the
grand, divine plan for the salvation and
exaltation of the children of God.

In His great, moving prayer in the
Garden before His betrayal, Christ
pleaded with His Father concerning the
Apostles, whom He loved, saying:

"Neither pray I for these alone, but
for them also which shall believe on me
through their word;

"That they all may be one; as thou,
Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they
also may be one in us" (John 17:20-21).

It is that perfect unity between the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost
that binds these three into the oneness
of the divine Godhead.

Miracle of miracles and wonder of
wonders, they are interested in us, and
we are the substance of their great con-
cern. They are available to each of us.
We approach the Father through the
Son. He is our intercessor at the throne
of God. How marvelous it is that we
may so speak to the Father in the name
of the Son.

I bear witness of these great, tran-
scendent truths. I do so by the gift and
power of the Holy Ghost, in the sacred
name of Jesus Christ, amen.

The choir sang "Lord Accept into
Thy Kingdom" and "We Ever Pray for
Thee" without announcement.

President Benson

President Gordon B. Hinckley,
First Counselor in the First Presidency,
has just spoken to us, followed by the
Tabernacle Choir singing "Lord Accept
into Thy Kingdom" and "We Ever Pray
for Thee."

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the
Council of the Twelve Apostles will
now address us.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

The holy scriptures represent
mankind’s spiritual memory. And
when man’s connection with scripture
is severed, mortals are tragically de-
prived of an awareness of spiritual his-
tory, blinding the eyes of faith.
Thereby shorn of true identity, mortals
keep their legs intact, but each walks in
his own way. Their arms are acqui-
sitive, but do not reach out in an under-
standing embrace of life. Their ears
function, but they no longer hear the
word of the Lord. Though created in
God’s image, those thus severed soon
forget their Maker. Yet it is not surpris-
ing, "For how knoweth a man the mas-
ter whom he has not served, and who is
a stranger unto him, and is far from the

thoughts and intents of his heart?"
(Mosiah 5:13).

"God will yet reveal many great
and important things"

By contrast, one of the unique fea-
tures of the living Church of Jesus
Christ is its ever-expanding body of
fundamental spiritual knowledge about
man’s identity and purpose, which en-
larges "the memory of this people"
(Alma 37:8). In fact, our ninth article
of faith declares that God "will yet re-
veal many great and important things
pertaining to the Kingdom of God."
Thus nourished by a menu blending
antiquity and futurity, Church mem-


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

bers need never "faint in [their] minds"
(Hebrews 12:3). Instead, we can be
intellectually vibrant.

Lost books are among the treasures
yet to come forth. Over twenty of these
are mentioned in the existing scriptures.
Perhaps most startling and voluminous
will be the records of the lost tribes of
Israel (see 2 Nephi 29:13). We would
not even know of the impending third
witness for Christ except through the pre-
cious Book of Mormon, the second wit-
ness for Christ! This third set of sacred
records will thus complete a triad of
truth. Then, just as the Perfect Shepherd
has said, "My word also shall be gathered
in one" (v. 14). There will be "one fold
and one shepherd" (1 Nephi 22:25) in a
welding together of all the Christian dis-
pensations of human history (see
D&C 128:18).

Whereas previous prophets were
sometimes left to surmise — as Moroni
supposed the Jews also had a record of
the Creation from Adam on down (see
Ether 1:3) — ours, instead, is a time of
fulness, including "things which never
have been revealed from the foundation
of the world" (D&C 128:18). More-
over, "and the day cometh that the
words of the book which were sealed
shall be read upon the house tops; and
they shall be read by the power of
Christ; and all things shall be revealed
unto the children of men which ever
have been among the children of men,
and which ever will be even unto the
end of the earth" (2 Nephi 27:11; see
also 2 Nephi 30:16, 18; Ether 4:7;
D&C 101:32, 121:28).

Thus, just as there will be many
more Church members, families,
wards, stakes, and temples — later on,
there will also be many more nour-
ishing and inspiring scriptures. How-
ever, we must first feast worthily upon
that which we already have!

Scriptures essential to belief in God
and his plan

Without this precious, spiritual
perspective, the human family is sel-

dom more than one generation away
from deep doubt and even disbelief.
Laman and Lemuel doubted and mur-
mured because, wrote Nephi, "they
knew not the dealings of that God who
had created them" (1 Nephi 2:12); they
were provincial, just like forgetful Is-
rael: "and there arose another genera-
tion after them, which knew not the
Lord, nor yet the works which he had
done for Israel" (Judges 2:10; see also
Deuteronomy 32:6, Mosiah 10:14).

If people are without the truths of
God’s plan of salvation for very long,
some may not even "believe [these
truths] when they are taught" (Mosiah
1:5). An untaught "rising generation"
comes not to "believe . . . concerning
the resurrection, . . . neither … the
coming of Christ" (Mosiah 26:1-2).
Belief in Deity and in the resurrection are
usually the first to go: "they had brought
no records with them; and they denied the
being of their Creator" (Omni 1:17).

Our loving Father is ever anxious
to dispel such ignorance:

"And after God had appointed that
these things should come unto man,
behold, then he saw that it was expedi-
ent that man should know concerning
the things whereof he had appointed
unto them;

"Therefore he sent angels to con-
verse with them. . . .

"… And made known unto
them the plan of redemption, which had
been prepared from the foundation of
the world; and this he made known unto
them according to their faith and repen-
tance and their holy works" (Alma

The message is ever constant and
ever relevant:

"Is it not as necessary that the plan
of redemption should be made known
unto this people as well as unto their

"Is it not as easy at this time for the
Lord to send his angel to declare these
glad tidings unto us as unto our chil-
dren, or as after the time of his com-
ing?" (Alma 39:18-19).



Revelation necessary to understand
God’s plan

Today’s mortals, born long "after
the time of his [first] coming," surely
need to know of the plan, which gives,
said the Prophet Joseph Smith, "a com-
prehensive view of our condition and
true relation to God." The Prophet said
this subject should be studied "more
than any other, . . . day and night"
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph
Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt
Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938],
p. 324).

God’s plan, however, is not some-
thing to be deduced by logic alone, nor
is human experience deep enough or
long enough to inform us adequately. It
requires revelation from God.

"Behold, great and marvelous are
the works of the Lord. How un-
searchable are the depths of the mys-
teries of him; and it is impossible that
man should find out all his ways. And
no man knoweth of his ways save it be
revealed unto him; wherefore, breth-
ren, despise not the revelations of God"
(Jacob 4:8).

How else would we really know
the truth of who we really were, "really
are, and . . . really will be"? (Jacob
4:13; see also D&C 93:24). There can
be no true felicity without true identity.

Therefore, the process of revela-
tion typically involves angels and
prophets (see Alma 12:28-29). Sev-
eral times in the closing period of his
life, Joseph Smith noted the fourteen
years of particularly intensive revela-
tion which he had experienced, includ-
ing angelic visitations (see Teachings
of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 349,
360; The Personal Writings of Joseph
Smith, comp. Dean C. Jessee [Salt
Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1984],
p. 407).

Importance of this dispensation’s

The Restoration’s Messiah-centered
scriptures expand mankind’s spiritual
memory significantly and further educate

us concerning the unfolding of God’s
plan ever since the world began. The
Restoration has provided sweeping ser-
mons about God’s plan with its rescu-
ing Redeemer, such as from Moses,
Abinadi, Ether, Alma, Ammon, and
Aaron (see Mosiah 13:33—35; Ether
13:2-14; Alma 12:30-33, 18:36-39,
22:12-14). These answer the rhetorical
question of one prophet who said,
"Why not speak of the atonement of
Christ?" (Jacob 4:12). Brothers and
sisters, given man’s true self-interest,
why should we really speak much of
anything else?

Read scriptures with a believing

He who truly searches the scrip-
tures will surely see how they testify of
Christ (see John 5:39). He will also see
how interactive and cross-supportive
the scriptures are. If some see not, it
will be "because they sought it not by
faith" (Romans 9:32), but instead
stared uncomprehendingly with slit-
eyed skepticism. Said Jesus to the un-

"For had ye believed Moses, ye
would have believed me: for he wrote
of me.

"But if ye believe not his writings,
how shall ye believe my words?"
(John 5:46-47).

Those who understood and be-
lieved not that which Moses wrote did
not, in effect, believe this which Jesus
spoke. This episode underscores the
important words of Mormon about the
relationship of the biblical record and
the Book of Mormon:

"For behold, this is written for the
intent that ye may believe that; and if
ye believe that ye will believe this

Mutually supportive, the scrip-
tures produce much-needed historical
perspective "concerning your fathers,
and also the marvelous works which
were wrought by the power of God
among them" (Mormon 7:9; italics


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

Scriptures reveal God’s purposes

The various scriptures tell us vital
things about God’s "tender mercies"
(1 Nephi 1:20, Ether 6:12; see also
Luke 1:78) and His dealings with our
predecessors. What is past is truly pro-
logue; hence an unvarying, all-seeing
God, desiring to save mercurial and
myopic man, is not interested in our
retroactive adulation, but in preventing
our prospective ruination.

Thus, it is from the scriptures that
we learn of God’s plans for mankind on
this planet. He told us, through Isaiah,
that He formed this earth to be inhab-
ited (see Isaiah 45:18). Through Mo-
ses, God described His purpose: "to
bring to pass the immortality and eter-
nal life of man" (Moses 1:39). Further-
more, by viewing the heavens and the
galaxies, those who have eyes to see
will see "God moving in his majesty
and power" (D&C 88:47).

We are thus enveloped in a
planned universe, and we live on a pur-
poseful planet; and these truths de-
scribe "things as they really are"
(Jacob 4:13). No wonder the gospel is
such glorious and good news!

Scriptures provide "precious

If ever a generation needed this
precious perspective, our severed gen-
eration does. If ever a generation
needed to be saved from itself, ours
does. Surely these needs will intensify
as the bewildered and beset nations of
the earth, as foreseen by Jesus, wallow
hopelessly in distress, "with perplex-
ity" (Luke 21:25).

In fact, we misread and misuse
life — except with this plain and pre-
cious perspective of the gospel, which
puts the things of the world in their
lesser places. Then, on that essentially
unchanging mortal stage, we can see
things for what they really are, such as
the demanding cadence called for by
the cares of the world. Like birds and
animals performing some inborn ritual,
amusing to everyone but the partici-

pants, these maneuverings of materi-
alism would be comedy if they were not
tragedy. So would the posturings as to
power and the thirsty seeking of the
praise of the world. The ploys are so
transparent when seen in the gospel’s

Share in God’s attributes to share
in his power

Nevertheless, why are the ways of
the world felt even by serious disciples
so insistently and so incessantly? Could
it be that in the far distant, premortal
past, having admired the Father and
having seen His glory, we now uncon-
sciously envy His glory? Yet, if we
really wish to share in His kingdom,
why do we sternly resist what the reve-
lations tell us of the required prepara-
tory schooling and the risks of
unrighteous power? God’s ultimate
power is safe, precisely because He
possesses ultimate love, justice,
mercy, and knowledge. We cannot
share in His power without sharing in
His attributes.

But, we may say, do we not have
His spiritual genes? Yes, but we do not
have His gentleness.

Yet we are of His spiritual lineage!
Yes, but we do not have His capacity to

Surely, we belong to Him! Of
course, but we cannot reenter His house
until our behavior would let us feel at

Importance of prophetic utterances

No wonder the prophets are repeti-
tious in their warnings. After all, if one
were permitted only a few surviving lines
to family, friends, and posterity, those
might be headlines. Sometimes what
comes is almost a warning shout, espe-
cially when hearers are unstirred by the
still, small voice (see Jacob 6:8-13,
Moroni 10:27-34).

Besides, the prophets, who are the
major makers of our spiritual memory,
saw not only their own times, but ours as
well; they have communicated with us as



if we were present, for "behold, Jesus
Christ hath shown you unto me, and I
know your doing" (Mormon 8:35).

Little wonder that Joseph Smith,
in his last witnessing words from Car-
thage Jail the night before he was slain,
bore "powerful testimony to the guards
of the divine authenticity of the Book of
Mormon, the restoration of the Gospel,
the administration of angels" (Teach-
ings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,
p. 383; see also Alma 9:21, 12:29,

Without the prophets, the scrip-
tures, how else would we really know
about what "God had appointed . . .
unto man . . . the plan of redemption"?
(Alma 12:28, 30).

When searched, the scriptural
truths of the unfolding plan of salvation
are both electrifying and subduing.
Gratefully pondered, they lead to lyri-
cal expressions, such as in the 1842
litany by the Prophet Joseph Smith:
"And again, what do we hear? Glad
tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an an-
gel from heaven, declaring the fulfill-
ment of the prophets — the book to be
revealed. A voice of the Lord in the
wilderness . . . declaring the three wit-
nesses to bear record of the book! The
voice of Michael on the banks of the
Susquehanna! . . . The voice of Peter,
James, and John in the wilderness . . .
declaring themselves as possessing the
keys of the kingdom, and of the dispen-
sation of the fulness of times!"
(D&C 128:20).

A crescendo of revelations to
precede Christ’s coming

Future revelations, brothers and
sisters, will include astounding events
as well as great and important truths. So
much so, that Moses’ and Israel’s ex-
ulting song after safely crossing the

Red Sea (see Exodus 15) and the
Prophet Joseph’s 1842 litany will
gladly give way to the crescendo of
glorious events associated with Christ’s
coming in majesty and power.

The valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman
will ring again — this time with the
sounds of dispensational reunion, as it
glows with gathering! (See Daniel
7:13-14; D&C 107:53-57, 116:1.)
Those of Enoch’s utterly unique city of
"one heart" will greet those of the New
Zion with holy embraces and holy kisses
amid the sounds of sweet sobbing! (See
Moses 7:62-63.) The "hills shall
tremble" at the presence of the lost tribes,
and hearts, as well as ice, will melt, as
they come "filled with songs of everlast-
ing joy" (see D&C 133:26-33).

And it will all occur at the direc-
tion of the "Redeemer of Israel, our
only delight." Hence, "as children of
Zion, good tidings for us, . . . the hour
of redemption is near" (Hymns, 1985,
no. 6).

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

President Benson

We have just heard from Elder
Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of
Twelve Apostles.

The choir and congregation will
now join in singing "Redeemer of Is-
rael," following which we shall hear
from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, who
was sustained yesterday as a new mem-
ber of the Council of the Twelve

The choir and congregation sang
"Redeemer of Israel."

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin spoke
without further announcement.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Pledge of commitment your prayers and your faith in this great

and humbling and sacred assignment
My beloved brethren and sisters, that has been given me. To our Lord
in all humility and gratitude 1 ask for an d Savior, Jesus Christ, and to Presi-


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

dent Ezra Taft Benson, our prophet,
seer, and revelator, I pledge that I will
do my best, that I will do all I can to
build up the kingdom of God here upon
the earth.

As I left President Benson’s office
Friday, 1 was in deep shock — and I still
am. I suppose that will linger for many
years, but I will put forth my best effort
in whatever assignment is given me.

Tributes to family and associates

I pay tribute to my beloved earthly
father, who taught me humility, dili-
gence, honesty, trustworthiness, a love
of the Constitution of our beloved
country, and reverence and honor for
God’s chosen servants, especially our

To my mother, who saw a glimpse
of eternity several nights prior to her
passing, I pay tribute also — first for
life itself, and then for the great lessons
she taught me. She would never permit
a shoddy performance, and she made
sure that we children didn’t take too
long accomplishing our tasks.

I also pay tribute to my beloved
wife, Elisa. She is similar, I’m sure, to
Rebecca of old. If she had been one of
our pioneers, perhaps even coming
from New York with a handcart, she
probably would have been one of the
first to arrive. She has never put as
much as a feather in the way of my
Church service, and she has reared our
children in truth and righteousness.

To our eight children, seven won-
derful daughters and one noble son —
and he got along very well with his
sisters — I pay tribute to them. Each has
had his or her marriage sealed in the

To my associates through the
years, I pay tribute. They have all lifted
me up and made me a better servant.
Their names are too numerous to men-
tion, but I honor them and pray that the
Lord will always bless them.

I’ve loved every assignment I’ve
ever had in the kingdom. And in that
service, every day seemed like Sunday,

because it was in the service of the

Progress of the Church in Europe

I would like to report briefly on
our experience in Europe. I thank the
First Presidency that Sister Wirthlin
and I have had the opportunity to pre-
side in the Europe Area of the Church.
These past two years have been thrill-
ing and have been filled with tremen-
dous experiences that we will never
forget. The following expression from
a devoted Church member living in
Eastern Europe vividly demonstrates
what I mean:

"If you could only see the faith and
enthusiasm of our members here. Be-
lieve me, our religion is the only thing
left for us, and we dearly love it."

Whether we live in Eastern Eu-
rope or not, this truth, like a towering
mountain, stands out. Our religion is
really the only thing we will have left
ultimately, and we must love it dearly.

This eternal truth was demon-
strated many times during our two-year
sojourn in the Europe Area. This area
stretches from the far north of Finland,
Sweden, and Norway to the southern-
most tip of Africa and includes about
230,000 members of the Church. I
would like to share a few of the experi-
ences that have kept our faith burning

Conversion of Asencao Frango

In Portugal, in the city of Funchal,
on the Madeira Island, lived a lady
named Asencao Frango who had been
a nun for twenty years. As a matter of
fact, she was a Mother Superior at a
home for poor children and orphans.
Toward the end of a four-year teaching
assignment early in her life as a nun,
doctors discovered a cancer in her
throat. Her mother had died of this
same disease. Although she knew that
her deteriorating health might lead to
certain death, she had a strong feeling
that she had not finished her work on
earth. She prayed with great faith for
the restoration of her health and was



healed, with no further problems or
need for medical care.

When her church decided to close
the children’s home where she was as-
signed, she maintained it herself for
four years, using an inheritance she had
received from her deceased parents,
until the children living there were
raised and on their own or were

Hearing of a new religion, she at-
tended her first meeting of our church
with a friend, out of curiosity. It was
held on the dirt floor of a member’s
garage, but the spirit of the meeting
impressed her. The elders began teach-
ing her the discussions and challenged
her to be baptized. She declined, saying
that she already had been baptized. The
elders persisted by inviting her to read
the Book of Mormon. The elders told
her, "If this book is the true word of
God, then Joseph Smith is a true
prophet and The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints is true. If so, you
need to be baptized into God’s true

She read the Book of Mormon and
gained a strong testimony of its divin-
ity. Later, she stopped the missionaries
after a discussion of the Godhead and
requested baptism. Just one year after-
ward, she stood on the doorstep of
President Reuben P. Ficklin’s mission
home in Lisbon. She obtained her
temple recommend and could hardly
wait to enter the Swiss Temple to
pledge sacred covenants with her Heav-
enly Father.

Stockholm Temple inspires
Lutheran bishop

In Sweden, Bishop Krister Sten-
dahl of the Lutheran church visited the
Stockholm Temple a few days prior to
its dedication. He had this inspiring
description of his experience, as pub-
lished in a prominent Swedish news-

"Imagine that a new, gleaming
white temple with slender pinnacles
and towers has been erected to the glory
of God. Not a church, not a chapel, but

a temple for sacred ordinances, per-
formed quietly and in solemn dignity.

"A temple where the innermost
room is named ‘the celestial.’ A temple
where the faithful perform vicarious
work according to Paul’s statement on
baptism for the dead (1 Corinthians

"All in consequence of the wis-
dom and calling of Joseph Smith. . . .

"What shall we think and say
about this? To pretend that it does not
concern us that the Mormons — The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints — have built a temple in our
midst would be conceited or conde-

"Therefore I will rejoice with
them over this temple that they have
erected with much sacrifice to the glory
of God. To experience their joy and
pride over the beauty of the temple
warms one’s heart in a special way"
(Svenska Kyrkans Tidning, 11 July
1985, p. 1).

Freiberg DDR Temple is
fulfillment of a prophetic prayer

President Thomas S. Monson has
given me permission to share with you
his impressions when he rededicated
the German Democratic Republic for
the advancement of the work of the

"At 7:30 a.m. [April 27, 1975, we
traveled to] the location which had been
selected for the special prayer which I
felt prompted to offer in this land. . . .
We walked through the woods . . . into
a clearing overlooking the Elbe River,
with Meissen on the right and Dresden
on the left, Meissen being the birth-
place of Karl G. Maeser, the founder of
Brigham Young University. . . . Dur-
ing the prayer, I said, ‘Today marks the
dawning of a new beginning for this
beautiful land.’ As I used these words,
we heard the unmistakable sound of a
rooster crowing, followed by the peal-
ing of a cathedral bell in the distance.
The day had been overcast, but during
the prayer the sun shone brilliantly
upon us, warming our bodies and giv-


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

ing us the assurance that our Heavenly
Father was pleased with the prayer
which was being offered. … As we
returned to our automobiles, the sun
disappeared from the sky and the over-
cast condition which previously existed
once again prevailed" (personal journal
of Thomas S. Monson).

In his prayer of rededication,
President Monson said, "Heavenly Fa-
ther, wilt Thou open up the way that the
faithful may be accorded the privilege
of going to Thy holy temple, there to
receive their holy endowments and to
be sealed as families for time and all
eternity" (journal of Thomas S.

This prayer was offered on Sun-
day, April 27, 1975, at a time when any
thought of a temple was beyond the
realm of possibility. It was fulfilled on
June 29, 1985, with the dedication of
the beautiful temple in Freiberg, GDR.

Temple-building in Europe Area is
a modern miracle

As you know, temples are now or
soon will be within the reach of many
members in the Europe Area, from the
Stockholm Sweden Temple in the north
to the Johannesburg South Africa
Temple to the south, with the London
and Swiss temples in between. Many
lands in the Europe Area are becoming
the lands of temples. The Frankfurt
Temple, located in a suburb named
Friedricksdorf, which was an early
settlement of the Huguenots, is nearing
completion. The building of these
temples in the Europe Area is a
modern-day miracle. Temple work is
proceeding at an accelerating pace.

Church growing rapidly in Ghana

We traveled to Ghana in West Af-
rica. There the Church is growing rap-
idly and is on very solid footing. We
traveled along the beautiful coast to a
chapel that recently had been com-
pleted. After holding a meeting there,
we traveled through the village of Cape
Coast with President and Sister Ernest
J. Miller.

As the sun was setting, we saw a
large crowd of villagers. Young, old,
and middle-aged all were pulling on a
huge net and drawing it out of the wa-
ter. We stopped and inquired about
what they were doing. They were pull-
ing in the fish caught that day. In the net
were large and small fish of many
kinds. Each villager put his hands to the
net to help bring in the catch. The
thought ran through my mind of the
gathering of Israel in the last days as
referred to in Jeremiah. The Lord said,
"I will send for many fishers, . . . and
they shall fish them" (Jeremiah 16:16).

Pull in the gospel net

That, brethren and sisters, is the
mission of all of us as members of the
Church: to put our hands on the net and
pull in thousands of fine men and
women who are searching for the truth.
With this kind of effort, the Europe
Area has pulled in these nets of con-
verts, with a thirty-three percent in-
crease in the number of convert
baptisms in two years.

Understand and live the gospel

As I reflected upon our experi-
ences in Europe, these thoughts im-
pressed me. The gospel of Jesus Christ
is more enduring than fame, more pre-
cious than riches, more to be desired
than happiness. Understanding and liv-
ing the gospel leads to the possession of
a Christlike character. The aim of each
of us is to live a great and exemplary
life. A noble character is needed espe-
cially in this age when evil is rampant.
I should like to caution our youth to live
the gospel, develop strong character,
and not indulge in those things that de-
viate from righteousness.

Our Heavenly Father has endowed
us with hearts of courage and faith,
with strong wills, and with the ability to
understand and to see clearly the differ-
ence between right and wrong. He has
mercifully clothed us, each member,
with the gift of the Holy Ghost, which
gives us insight and personal power.



And so, even though the tasks of
life become heavy, and although sor-
row thrusts a drooping burden upon us,
the light that emanates from our Savior
beckons us on, undismayed. A righ-
teous self-discipline can and will rule
our lives.

In closing, brothers and sisters, I
want to say that this is the way we tried
to represent the Church in Europe. I
testify that God lives, that Jesus is the
Christ, that President Ezra Taft Benson
is our prophet, seer, and revelator, and
that he bears the keys of the kingdom.
I love this church with all my heart and

will do my best to serve, in the name of
Jesus Christ, amen.

President Benson

I was so overcome by Brother
Wirthlin’s testimony that I forgot that I
was conducting.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a new
member of the Council of the Twelve
Apostles, has just spoken to us.

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Council
of the Twelve Apostles will now ad-
dress us.

Elder L. Tom Perry

Elder Wirthlin, I too add my wel-
come to a most unique body of men.
You’ll find men with dark hair and grey
hair, some even with wider parts than
others. And their personalities are just
as varied as their hairstyles. That’s the
great blessing of belonging to the
Council of the Twelve. For out of these
divergent personalities comes a sweet
unity under the inspiration of the Lord.
It’s most unique. Welcome, welcome,
Brother Joseph.

Teach children the joy of honest

In Proverbs we read, "Train up a
child in the way he should go: and when
he is old, he will not depart from it"

One of the great challenges of life
for parents from the very beginning has
been succeeding in the very important
task of rearing children. This great re-
sponsibility seems destined to bring the
greatest joys and some of the greatest
sorrows life has in store for us here in

Every child, of course, is differ-
ent, and what works for one may not
elicit the correct response from an-
other. However, I believe that second
only to ensuring that every child re-
ceives an understanding of the gospel

of our Lord and Savior is teaching them
the joy of honest labor.

I was taught this by goodly par-
ents. How grateful I am for a father who
had the patience to teach me how to
work. I remember as a lad, when I was
only seven years old, we were remodel-
ing our house and tearing out some of
the walls. In those days two-by-sixes
were used as studding. To the studs was
nailed the lath, and over the lath came
the plaster. When tearing out walls, the
slats and the plaster were easy to knock
off, but, of course, that left the nails in
the two-by-sixes.

Lessons learned while stacking
wood and straightening nails

Each night after the workers had
finished, I had the responsibility of
gathering up the two-by-sixes and tak-
ing them out to the back lawn, where
there stood two sawhorses. There I was
to make a pile of the two-by-sixes and
then, one at a time, put them on the
sawhorses, and with a crowbar remove
the nails. After the nails had been
pulled out of the studs, I was told to
straighten them. Finally, I threw the
straightened nails into a large green
bucket and stacked the two-by-sixes in
a neat pile.


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

Be productive in all labors

There was so much in this project
that was of value to me in my young
life. First, I was taught to be produc-
tive, to work, to be busily engaged, and
not to waste my time in idleness.

From the very beginning, the Lord
commanded Adam to till the earth and
have dominion over the beasts of the
field, to eat his bread by the sweat of his
brow. I have always been interested in
how often the scriptures have admon-
ished us to cease to be idle and to be
productive in all of our labors. King
Benjamin in his final address noted his
example before the people by saying:

"1 say unto you that as I have been
suffered to spend my days in your ser-
vice, even up to this time, and have not
sought gold nor silver nor any manner
of riches of you; . . .

"And even I, myself, have labored
with mine own hands that I might serve
you, and that ye should not be laden
with taxes, and that there should noth-
ing come upon you which was grievous
to be borne — and of all these things
which I have spoken, ye yourselves are
witnesses this day" (Mosiah 2:12, 14).

Teaching children the joy of hon-
est labor is one of the greatest of all gifts
you can bestow upon them. I am con-
vinced that one of the reasons for the
breakup of so many couples today is the
failure of parents to teach and train sons
in their responsibility to provide and
care for their families and to enjoy the
challenge this responsibility brings.
Many of us also have fallen short in
instilling within our daughters the de-
sire of bringing beauty and order into
their homes through homemaking.

Oh, how essential it is that chil-
dren be taught early in life the joy that
comes from starting and fashioning a
job that is the workmanship of their
own hands. Teach children the joy of
honest labor. Provide a foundation for
life that builds confidence and ful-
fillment in each life. "Happy is the
man who has work he loves to

do. . . . Happy is the man who loves
the work he has to do" (Anonymous).

Conserve resources

Second, as a lad doing the job my
father had assigned to me, I was taught
not to waste, to conserve resources
where possible. When the nails were
pulled from them, the two-by-sixes
could be used again — and we did use

I have always enjoyed reading
some of the counsel Brigham Young
used to give to the Saints. His counsel
was so practical. Listen to what he said
about waste:

"Pick up everything. . . .

"Never consider that you have
bread enough around you to suffer your
children to waste a crust or a crumb of
it. . . . Remember it, do not waste any-
thing, but take care of everything. . . .

"If you wish to get rich, save what
you get. A fool can earn money; but it
takes a wise man to save and dispose of
it to his own advantage" (Discourses of
Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe
[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co.,
1941], p. 292).

I wonder what kind of signals we
are sending to our children when we
purchase homes that are status sym-
bols. We waste space and resources
when we buy a larger home than is
needed, a larger home than is practical
for us to afford. We encumber our-
selves with mortgages so large that they
require the income of both husband and
wife to make payments. Then we build
consumer debt to the point of absorbing
completely all of our disposable in-
come, leaving no margin of safety for
the rainy days that come into every-
one’s life. Do not such signals from
heads of households only feed the phi-
losophy of "I want it now" in the lives
of our children?

Some even have the mistaken be-
lief that after turning their ears away
from the counsel of the prophets to
avoid unnecessary debt, they can then
turn to their bishops to bail them out of



their foolishness. About all the poor
bishops can do is weep with them and
help them move to more affordable
housing, and then counsel them on how
they can cut their losses.

As I remember events in my life,
I do not believe there was any degree of
difference in the happiness that I en-
joyed when my two brothers and I
shared a single bedroom than when we
had a home large enough that each of us
enjoyed a bedroom. Let us teach our
children the art of conservation and the
elimination of waste.

Work builds discipline and

Third, I will never forget my con-
sternation as I watched the workmen
using new nails as they built the walls
back up and completed remodeling our
home. The pile of nails that I had
straightened and put in the green bucket
grew and grew and was never used. I
went to my father and said, "Wouldn’t
it be better to save the new nails and use
the ones I have straightened?" I was
proud of the work I had accomplished.

My father showed me something
very important. He took a new nail and,
using an odd angle, drove it into a
board. He was able to drive it straight
and true. Then he took one of the nails
I had straightened so carefully, and,
using the same odd angle, hit it again
and again. It soon bent and was impos-
sible to drive into the board. So I
learned that a used or bent nail is never
as strong as a new one. But then why
had my father asked me to straighten
those nails?

As a boy, I never remembered re-
ceiving a satisfactory answer. It was
not until I had a son of my own that I
started to understand. When my son
was about three years old, I took him
out to the garden to help me weed. I
assumed that he, being low to the
ground at the time, would have a real
advantage at weeding. Unfortunately
for my garden, he had a difficult time
distinguishing between the weeds and
the young plants.

I then tried Lee at milking a cow
we owned together with a neighbor. He
quickly developed the hand action of a
fine milker, but, sadly, his aim was not
very good. Whenever I checked on
him, he was always surrounded by a
white puddle, and the milk bucket was
nearly empty. He would look up at me
and smile proudly, and my initial incli-
nation to be angry would quickly
dissipate — but I was frustrated. I ex-
pected him to help me, but he only
seemed to create more work.

It was in such moments of frus-
tration that I remembered straightening
the nails for my father, and I began to
understand. Work is something more
than the final end result. It is a disci-
pline. We must learn to do, and do
well, before we can expect to receive
tangible rewards for our labors. My fa-
ther must have known that if he focused
on the outcome of my labors, he would
only become frustrated with how inade-
quately I did things then. So he found
tasks that were difficult and would
challenge me, to teach me the disci-
pline of hard work. He was using the
straightened nails not to rebuild our
home but to build my character.

Finish each task and take pride in

Finally, I was instructed to stack
the used two-by-sixes in a neat pile so
the workmen could use them the next
day. My work was never finished until
this was done and the tools were put

Let us also teach our children to
see that the work assigned is carried to
its completion, to take pride in what
they accomplish. There is a real satis-
faction that comes from finishing a
task, especially when it is the best work
we know how to do.

Value of childhood lessons learned
about work

These lessons instilled in me a joy
and appreciation for honest labor and
prepared me for that time in my life


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

when I would have the responsibility of
providing for a family. The principles
I was taught by my wise father of hon-
est labor, of not wasting, of discipline,
and of seeing a task to its completion
were basic to my success in any profes-
sion I might choose to follow. These
lessons placed me in a position to face
with confidence the challenges of an
ever-changing world.

Is this not the same lesson that
Paul was preaching when he declared:

"Neither did we eat any man’s
bread for nought; but wrought with la-
bour and travail night and day, that we
might not be chargeable to any of you:

"Not because we have not power,
but to make ourselves an ensample unto
you to follow us" (2 Thessalonians

A Primary teacher’s influence

An event occurred in my life about
a month ago which impressed upon me
the blessings that accrue to one over the
years from good, early childhood train-
ing. I was delivered a note as I arrived
at the airport that one of my very best
friends had passed away and her funeral
was in just an hour and a half in a
community fifty miles from the airport.
I made a quick change from air to sur-
face transportation and started the drive
to the funeral.

This great soul who had just
passed away had been my Primary
teacher for three years during my days
as a Trail Builder when I was eight,
nine, and ten years old. As I drove to
Sister Call’s funeral that morning, my
mind was flooded with pleasant memo-
ries of my early childhood.

I especially remembered the
powerful example of early childhood
training — goodly parents who were al-
ways there to teach, inspire, love, and

give strong encouragement to help me
chart the right course in my life. I re-
membered a kind aunt who lived next
door, who fortified and provided a
second witness to the teachings of my

Then I remembered dear Sister
Call, a Primary teacher who extended
herself much beyond her classroom
call. Her lessons included many field
trips to teach us of life, labor, and the
joy of association. Her special way of
weaving her lessons into our lives gave
us an understanding of our personal

As I drove along the highway, my
heart was filled with overwhelming
gratitude for parents, extended family,
and Church leaders who had the pa-
tience, love, and concern to build a
foundation in the life of a child during
those very critical years.

Should not all children receive
such a blessing early in their lives? This
is the Lord’s work in which we are
engaged. He has charted the course and
revealed the fundamental principles
that will lead us back to His presence.
May we have the strength and the cour-
age to follow Him is my prayer in the
name of Jesus Christ, amen.

The choir sang "How Wondrous
and Great" without announcement.

President Benson

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Council
of the Twelve Apostles has just ad-
dressed us, followed by the Tabernacle
Choir singing "How Wondrous and

President Thomas S. Monson,
Second Counselor in the First Presi-
dency, will now address us. He will be
our concluding speaker.



President Thomas S. Monson

Have you ever cleaned an attic or
rummaged through an old storeroom?
One discovers a bit of history and a
whole lot of sentiment. A few weeks
ago we emptied the attic of our moun-
tain cabin. Seventy years of treasures,
each with its own special memory,
passed in review. Leading the parade
was an old high chair with metal
wheels. This was followed by glass
milk bottles that once had pasteboard
caps and by a copy of Life magazine
with a story from World War II.

A story from the past

Featured in the magazine was an
account of a once proud airplane, a
mighty bomber, found rather well pre-
served in an isolated corner of the vast
Sahara Desert. The bomber and crew
had participated in the famous raid over
Rumania’s Ploiesti oil fields. The craft
had been struck by antiaircraft fire,
which completely destroyed its com-
munication and navigational equip-
ment. As the stricken plane turned
toward its desert landing field, a sudden
sandstorm obliterated familiar points of
reference. The field’s landing lights
were shrouded by sand. The plane
droned on, even far beyond the landing
field, into the desert wastes until, with
fuel exhausted, it settled on the Sahara,
never to fly again. All crew members
perished. Home and the safety and
shelter there to be found had been de-
nied. Victory, hopes, dreams — all had
been swallowed by the silence of the
desert’s dust.

The Liahona provided Lehi
heavenly guidance

Centuries earlier, a righteous and
loving father by the name of Lehi took
his beloved family into this same desert
wasteland. He journeyed in response to
the voice of the Lord. But the Lord did
not decree that such a "flight" be under-
taken without heavenly help. The

words of Nephi describe the gift pro-
vided on the morning of the historic

"And it came to pass that as my
father arose in the morning, and went
forth to the tent door, to his great aston-
ishment he beheld upon the ground a
round ball of curious workmanship;
and it was of fine brass. And within the
ball were two spindles; and the one
pointed the way whither we should go
into the wilderness" (1 Nephi 16:10).

War and man-made means of de-
struction could not confuse or destroy
this curious compass. Neither could the
sudden desert sandstorms render use-
less its guiding powers. The prophet
Alma explained that this "Liahona," as
it was called, was a compass prepared
by the Lord. It worked for them accord-
ing to their faith and pointed the way
they should go (see Alma 37:38-40).

Patriarchal blessings provide
heavenly guidance

The same Lord who provided a
Liahona to Lehi provides for you and
for me today a rare and valuable gift to
give direction to our lives, to mark the
hazards to our safety, and to chart the
way, even safe passage — not to a
promised land, but to our heavenly
home. The gift to which I refer is
known as your patriarchal blessing.
Every worthy member of the Church is
entitled to receive such a precious and
priceless personal treasure.

"Patriarchal blessings," wrote the
First Presidency in a letter to stake
presidents, "contemplate an inspired
declaration of the lineage of the recipi-
ent and, when so moved upon by the
Spirit, an inspired and prophetic state-
ment of the life mission of the recipient,
together with such blessings, cautions
and admonitions as the patriarch may
be prompted to give for the accomplish-
ment of such life’s mission, it being
always made clear that the realization
of all promised blessings is conditioned
upon faithfulness to the gospel of our


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

Lord, whose servant the patriarch is"
(First Presidency letter to stake presi-
dents, 28 June 1958).

The calling of a patriarch

Who is this man, this patriarch,
through whom such seership and priest-
hood power flow? How is he called?
The Council of the Twelve Apostles
has special responsibility pertaining to
the calling of such men. From my own
experience I testify that patriarchs are
called of God by prophecy. How else
could our Heavenly Father reveal those
to whom such prophetic powers are to
be given? A patriarch holds an ordained
office in the Melchizedek Priesthood.
The patriarchal office, however, is one
of blessing — not of administration. I
have never called a man to this sacred
office but what I have felt the Lord’s
guiding influence in the decision. May
I share with you one treasured experi-

Many years back I had been as-
signed to name a patriarch for a stake in
Logan, Utah. I found such a man,
wrote his name on a slip of paper, and
placed the note inside my scriptures.
My further review revealed that another
worthy patriarch had moved to this
same area, making unnecessary the
naming of a new patriarch. None was

Nine years later I was again as-
signed a stake conference in Logan.
Once more a patriarch was needed for
the stake I was to visit. I had been using
a new set of scriptures for several years
and had them in my briefcase. How-
ever, as I prepared to leave my home
for the drive to Logan, I took from the
bookcase shelf an older set of scrip-
tures, leaving the new ones at home.
During the conference I began my
search for a patriarch: a worthy man, a
blameless servant of God, one filled
with faith, characterized by kindness.
Pondering these requirements, I
opened my scriptures and there discov-
ered the slip of paper placed there long
years before. I read the name written on
the paper: Cecil B. Kenner. I asked the

stake presidency if by chance Brother
Kenner lived in this particular stake. I
found he did. Cecil B. Kenner was that
day ordained a patriarch.

Profile of a patriarch

Patriarchs are humble men. They
are students of the scriptures. They
stand before God as the means whereby
the blessings of heaven can flow from
that eternal source to the recipient on
whose head rests the hands of the patri-
arch. He may not be a man of letters,
a possessor of worldly wealth, or a
holder of distinguished office. He,
however, must be blessed with priest-
hood power and personal purity. To
reach to heaven for divine guidance and
inspiration, a patriarch is to be a man of
love, a man of compassion, a man of
judgment, a man of God.

"Your patriarchal blessing is to
you a personal Liahona"

A patriarchal blessing is a revela-
tion to the recipient, even a white line
down the middle of the road, to protect,
inspire, and motivate activity and righ-
teousness. A patriarchal blessing liter-
ally contains chapters from your book
of eternal possibilities. I say eternal, for
just as life is eternal, so is a patriarchal
blessing. What may not come to fulfill-
ment in this life may occur in the next.
We do not govern God’s timetable.
"For my thoughts are not your
thoughts, neither are your ways my
ways, saith the Lord.

"For as the heavens are higher
than the earth, so are my ways higher
than your ways, and my thoughts than
your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Your patriarchal blessing is yours
and yours alone. It may be brief or
lengthy, simple or profound. Length
and language do not a patriarchal bless-
ing make. It is the Spirit that conveys
the true meaning. Your blessing is not
to be folded neatly and tucked away. It
is not to be framed or published.
Rather, it is to be read. It is to be loved.
It is to be followed. Your patriarchal



blessing will see you through the dark-
est night. It will guide you through
life’s dangers. Unlike the struggling
bomber of yesteryear, lost in the desert
wastes, the sands and storms of life will
not destroy you on your eternal flight.
Your patriarchal blessing is to you a
personal Liahona to chart your course
and guide your way.

Choose the right path

In Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice ‘s
Adventures in Wonderland, Alice finds
herself coming to a crossroads with two
paths before her, each stretching on-
ward but in opposite directions. She is
confronted by the Cheshire Cat, of
whom Alice asks, "Which path shall I

The cat answers, "That depends
where you want to go. If you do not
know where you want to go, it doesn’t
really matter which path you take" (see
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
[London: J.M. Dent, 1954], p. 54).

Unlike Alice, each of us knows
where he or she wants to go. It does
matter which way we go, for the path
we follow in this life surely leads to the
path we shall follow in the next.

A patriarch’s prophetic promise

Patience may be required as we
watch, wait, and work for a promised
blessing to be fulfilled.

One afternoon Percy K. Fetzer, a
righteous patriarch, came to my office
by appointment. He was weeping as we
visited together. He explained that he
had just returned from the land of Po-
land, where he had been privileged to
give patriarchal blessings to our worthy
members there. After a long pause, the
patriarch revealed that he had been im-
pressed to promise to members of a
German-speaking family by the name
of Konietz declarations which could
not be fulfilled. He had promised mis-
sions. He had promised temple bless-
ings. These were beyond the reach of
those whom he had blessed. He whis-
pered that he had tried to withhold the

promises he knew were unattainable.
It had been no use. The inspiration had
come, the promises spoken, the bless-
ings provided.

"What shall I do? What can I say?"
he repeated to me.

I replied, "Brother Fetzer, these
blessings have not come from you; they
have been given of God. Let us kneel
and pray to Him for their fulfillment."

Within several years of that
prayer, an unanticipated pact was
signed between the Federal Republic of
Germany and the Polish nation which
provided that German nationals trapped
in Poland at war’s end could now enter
Germany. The Konietz family, whose
members had received these special pa-
triarchal blessings, came to live in West
Germany. I had the privilege to ordain
the father a bishop in the Dortmund
stake of the Church. The family then
made that long-awaited trek to the
temple in Switzerland. They dressed in
clothing of spotless white. They knelt
at a sacred altar to await that ordinance
which binds father, mother, brothers,
and sisters not only for time, but for all
eternity. He who pronounced that sa-
cred sealing ceremony was the temple
president. More than this, however, he
was the same servant of the Lord, Percy
K. Fetzer, who, as a patriarch years
before, had provided those precious
promises in the patriarchal blessings he
had bestowed.

How far is Heaven?

It’s not very far.

When you live close to God,

It ‘s right where you are.

Your patriarchal blessing is your
passport to peace in this life. It is a
Liahona of light to guide you un-
erringly to your heavenly home. Of
these sacred truths I testify, in the name
of Jesus Christ, amen.

President Benson

President Thomas S. Monson,
Second Counselor in the First Presi-
dency, has been our concluding


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

The Tabernacle Choir will sing in
closing, "Lord, I Would Follow Thee."
The benediction will be offered by
Elder H. Burke Peterson of the First
Quorum of the Seventy.

This conference will then be
adjourned until two o’clock this after-

The choir sang "Lord, I Would
Follow Thee."

Elder H. Burke Peterson offered
the benediction.



The fifth session of the 156th
Semiannual General Conference com-
menced at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, Octo-
ber 5, 1986.

President Ezra Taft Benson pre-
sided, and President Gordon B.
Hinckley, First Counselor in the First
Presidency, conducted this session.

Music was provided by the Taber-
nacle Choir, directed by Donald
Ripplinger with John Longhurst at the

President Hinckley made the fol-
lowing remarks at the outset of the

President Gordon B. Hinckley

President Ezra Taft Benson, who
presides at this conference, has asked
that I conduct this session.

We extend a sincere welcome to
all assembled this afternoon in the Tab-
ernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake
City in the fifth and concluding session
of the 156th Semiannual General Con-
ference of The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints.

We also welcome those seated in
the Assembly Hall, where Elder

Vaughn J. Featherstone and Bishop
Robert D. Hales are seated on the

We send our greetings and bless-
ings to members of the Church and
many friends everywhere who are par-
ticipating in these proceedings by
radio, television, cable, or by means
of satellite transmission.

The Tabernacle Choir, with
Donald Ripplinger directing and John
Longhurst at the organ, is providing the
music for this session. The choir will
begin this service by singing "Let Zion
in Her Beauty Rise." The invocation
will be offered by Elder F. Arthur Kay
of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

The choir sang "Let Zion in Her
Beauty Rise."

Elder F. Arthur Kay offered the

President Hinckley

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the
Council of the Twelve Apostles will be
our first speaker, following which the
choir will sing "Joy in the Morning."

Elder Russell M. Nelson

"Joy cometh in the morning" cometh in the morning." As I discussed

this scripture with members of our fam-
The title of my message is taken jty, they recalled that "men are, that
from the thirtieth Psalm, verse 5: "Joy they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25),



but they had not pondered the intrigu-
ing concept that "joy cometh in the

One of our family said: "News re-
ports appear almost daily concerning
people who have problems with drugs,
drinking, and emotional distress. How
can they, and we, attain the joy spoken
of in the scriptures?"

"The gospel of Jesus Christ offers
hope," I answered. "It declares joy to
be part of our divine destiny. And to
experience joy in the morning becomes
our special challenge. The true test," I
continued, "is to be able to look in the
mirror, first thing in the morning, and
feel real joy."

One of our daughters, who had
recently announced that she was ex-
pecting a new addition to the family,
said, "But Dad, that’s the hardest time
of the day for me!"

Factors needed to feel joy in the

"My dear ones," I replied, "in or-
der to experience true joy in the morn-
ing, or at any time, at least three factors
are needed. You need to feel good
about the people with whom you live
and work — your companions in life.
You must feel good about yourself —
not in any sense of conceit, but simply
a proper esteem for yourself, well de-
served. And possibly most important,
you must feel good about your relation
to God and sincerely love him."

As I so counseled my family in
that conversation, we all might con-
sider those three steps to achieve real
joy in life.

Joy conies to those who are

Joy in the morning begins with
courtesy to companions. When shades
of slumber first admit the light of dawn,
I reach gently for my beloved compan-
ion nearby. I gain sweet reassurance
that all is well with her even before my
eyes are fully opened. That reminds
me, incidentally, of advice given by

President David O. McKay, who said,
"During courtship we should keep our
eyes wide open, but after marriage keep
them half-shut" (in Conference Report,
Apr. 1956, p. 9).

My sweetheart has done that.
Through our many long years of post-
graduate study, professional responsi-
bilities, and a growing family, she did
not complain. Recently I overheard a
conversation she had with young moth-
ers enduring similar stress. They asked
her how she had managed with ten chil-
dren and a husband whose time to help
was so limited. Kindness was reflected
in her reply: "Through our struggling
years I didn’t expect much, so I was
rarely disappointed."

She is special. With her, it is easy
to obey the scriptural injunction to "live
joyfully with the wife whom thou
lovest all the days of [thy] life"
(Ecclesiastes 9:9).

Not all of us are blessed with such
wonderful eternal companions — not
yet anyway. Many of us who are mar-
ried cannot be together as much as we
would like. Thankfully, we all have
companionship of family and friends.

Privilege of rendering significant

Recently another General Author-
ity was my partner for mission tours to
dusty places. On occasion, when I re-
turned from a morning shower, I found
to my surprise that this considerate
companion had shined my shoes.
Gratefully I wondered if each of the
thirty thousand missionaries now labor-
ing in the Lord’s service would have,
and be, as kind a friend as he was to me,
thoughtfully rendering simple acts of
courtesy to a companion.

Joy cometh in the morning to
those who have earned the night’s rest
of a laborer. One of life’s sweetest re-
turns is the privilege of rendering sig-
nificant service of worth to others. To
be able to do for fellow human beings
something they could not do for them-
selves brings matchless satisfaction.
Years of preparation are worth it.


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

And joy is derived in Church ser-
vice. Alma so expressed this thought:
"That perhaps I may be an instrument in
the hands of God to bring some soul to
repentance … is my joy" (Alma 29:9).

Through service in the temples,
the concept of courtesy to companions
can be nobly extended to those who
have passed beyond the veil. The gos-
pel brings glad tidings for the dead and
a voice of gladness for the living and
the dead — for all, glad tidings of great
joy (see D&C 128:19).

Even when death’s veil separates
us from parents who gave so much that
we might be, their righteous influence
continues with us. And as they may
watch from windows of heaven, their
mornings will be brighter if they can
truly say, as did the Apostle, "I have no
greater joy than to hear that my children
walk in truth" (3 John 1:4).

Be chaste

Above all, courtesy to compan-
ions cannot be defiled by disobedience
to the law of chastity. That sin is joy’s
deadly poison. The first morning’s
glance in the mirror cannot reflect joy
if there is any recollection of misdeeds
the night before. The surest step toward
joy in the morning is virtue in the eve-
ning! Virtue includes courtesy to com-
panions all day long.

Joy comes to those who have
proper self-esteem

The next prerequisite to joy is to feel
good about yourself. The second of our
Lord’s two great commandments carries
a double charge: "Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself (Matthew 22:39).
Therefore, love of companion is gov-
erned, in part, by esteem of self, and so
is joy in the morning.

Each individual should under
stand the nature of his or her own soul.
Profound insight is provided by this

"For man is spirit. The elements
are eternal, and spirit and element,

inseparably connected, receive a ful-
ness of joy;

"And when separated, man can-
not receive a fulness of joy" (D&C

Therefore, spiritual and physical
elements each must be nurtured if we
are to earn proper self-esteem.

Gratitude, prayer, and scripture
study bring spiritual self-esteem

Spiritual self-esteem begins with
the realization that each new morning is
a gift from God. Even the air we
breathe is a loving loan from him. He
preserves us from day to day and sup-
ports us from one moment to another
(see Mosiah 2:21).

Therefore, our first noble deed of
the morning should be a humble prayer
of gratitude. Scripture so counsels:
"Pray unto God, and he will be favour-
able unto [you]: and [you] shall see his
face with joy" (Job 33:26; see also
Alma 34:21, 37:37).

I did not fully appreciate the sig-
nificance of prayerful greetings until I
became a father myself. I am so grate-
ful that our children never gave their
mother or dad the silent treatment. Now
I sense how our Heavenly Father may
appreciate our prayers, morning and
night. But I can imagine the pangs of
his sorrow because of silence from any
of his children. To me, such ingratitude
seems comparable to sullen goldfish
oblivious to kind providers who
sprinkle food in their bowl. Indeed,
those who pray can "worship God with
exceedingly great joy" (Alma 45:1).

I learned long ago that a period of
uninterrupted scriptural study in the
morning brings enduring enrichment. I
feel as did Jeremiah: "Thy word was unto
me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart"
(Jeremiah 15:16). Sacred scriptures have
been repeatedly described as "glad tid-
ings of great joy" (Helaman 16:14,
Mosiah 3:3, Alma 13:22; see also
Luke 2:10). As we learn and abide their
teachings, that joy becomes part of our



Develop personal talents

Joy cometh in the morning when
personal talents are developed. Each of
us is blessed with different potential. I
don’t think I could get up early enough
to become a portrait painter. But I have
appreciated teachings since my earliest
childhood from parents who knew the
joy that good music brings. And some
of the sweetest sounds in our home
have been those from songs and instru-
ments of children improving their tal-

Even in Old Testament days,
"David spake to the chief of the Levites
to appoint their brethren to be the sing-
ers with instruments of musick, . . .
sounding, by lifting up the voice with
joy" (1 Chronicles 15:16).

Confidence to begin each morning
ready to meet the challenges of the day
comes from spiritual self-esteem.

Exercise regularly and obey the
Word of Wisdom

Physical self-esteem also requires
nurturing. Our bodies deserve thought-
ful care. I echo this declaration of Paul:

"Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of
God dwelleth in you?

"If any man defile the temple of
God, him shall God destroy; for the
temple of God is holy, which temple ye
are" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

Physical conditioning from regu-
lar exercise is important. And we can
do so much more to keep our bodies

In 1833 the Prophet Joseph Smith
received the Word of Wisdom by reve-
lation. It includes these simple direc-
tives: we are not to drink alcohol, tea,
or coffee, and we are not to use to-
bacco. Prophets in our generation and
in this conference have told us also to
avoid harmful drugs. Now medical sci-
ence increasingly confirms the physical
benefits of compliance with these

The damaging effects of alcohol
are so widely known, additional com-

ment is hardly needed. Harm inflicted
by alcohol has been demonstrated, for
example, by a study of the relationship
between alcohol consumption among
expectant mothers and the birth weight
of their newborn infants. Findings pub-
lished from the U. S. National Insti-
tutes of Health disclosed that
consumption of one to two alcoholic
drinks a day was associated with a sub-
stantially increased risk of producing a
growth-retarded infant (see James L.
Mills, et. al., "Maternal Alcohol Con-
sumption and Birth Weight," Journal
of the American Medical Association,
12 Oct. 1984, pp. 1875-79).

Scientists now know that smoking
of tobacco is the number one prevent-
able cause of death in all the world. It
is the leading preventable cause of heart
disease, lung disease, artery disease,
and cancer (see William W. Pollin
and R. T. Ravenholt, "Tobacco Addic-
tion and Tobacco Mortality," Journal
of the American Medical Association,
23 Nov. 1984, pp. 2849-54; 1986
Heart Facts, American Heart Associa-
tion, 1986, p. 16; "The Health Conse-
quences of Smoking: A Report of the
Surgeon General," publication DHHS
(PHS) 84-50204, U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, Public
Health Services, Office of Smoking
and Health, Rockville, Md., 1983).

Still another report indicates that
more than one-fourth of all deaths in the
United States are now caused by condi-
tions which physicians classify as ad-
dictive disorders (see Pollin and
Ravenholt, p. 2849).

Obedience to the Word of Wis-
dom keeps one free from all such addic-
tions. This protection is pronounced by
covenant in the last verse of the eighty-
ninth section of the Doctrine and Cove-

"And I, the Lord, give unto them a
promise, that the destroying angel shall
pass by them, as the children of Israel,
and not slay them" (D&C 89:21).

This reference to the first Passover
reminds us that, in faith, ancient Israel
was obedient to the commandment to
take blood and "strike it on the two side
posts and on the upper door post of the
houses" (Exodus 12:7).


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

"And the blood shall be to you for
a token upon the houses where ye are:
and when I see the blood, I will pass
over you, and the plague shall not . . .
destroy you" (Exodus 12:13).

So, in faith, modern Israel is com-
manded to obey the Word of Wisdom.
It becomes our token of a covenant with
the Lord — a spiritual separator of
covenant Israel from the rest of the

Joy cometh in the morning — to
those who can stand before the mirror
and feel clean, to those whose mouths
are free from the taste of flavors forbid-
den by the Lord, to those whose spirits
and bodies are free from feelings of

Joy comes to those who love God

The crowning attribute that leads
to joy is love of God. Even that first
look in the mirror can be more enjoy-
able knowing we are created in his im-
age. Each of us can say, as did the
Apostle, "Thou hast made known to me
the ways of life; thou shalt make me full
of joy with thy countenance" (Acts
2:28; see also Psalm 16:11).

God, who gave us life, also gave us
commandments to live by, that we might
have joy. They have been revealed peri-
odically by prophets from Adam to Presi-
dent Benson. One wrote this expression:
"Consider … the blessed and happy
state of those that keep the command-
ments of God. Fbr behold, they are
blessed in all things, both temporal and
spiritual" (Mosiah 2:41).

Seek blessings of repentance

But for those who have not known
his ways or who have strayed from
them, remember, it is not too late to
change. Blessings from faith and re-
pentance still can be yours.

To those who feel defeated and
downtrodden, look to the early hours of
the day for your rescue. The Lord tells
us, "Cease to sleep longer than is need-
ful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may-
not be weary; arise early, that your bod-

ies and your minds may be invigorated"
(D&C 88:124).

The dawning of a brighter day her-
alds a time of forgiveness. Shadows of
yesterday’s grief melt in the rays of
early morn’s opportunity.

Posterity brings joy

Joy comes from our posterity, and
we rejoice as they are blessed by the
ordinances of salvation and exaltation.

Our family experienced that in a
special way recently as our youngest
daughter was sealed to her eternal com-
panion in the holy temple. To witness
this event, along with other family
members, were her parents and all eight
of her older sisters and their husbands.
For us, there was truly joy in the morn-
ing on that day. Then we really felt the
scriptural truth, "Men are, that they
might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25).

Morning of the first resurrection

These experiences, glorious as
they are, become but prelude to that
great day ahead, when the faithful will
stand at the latter day upon the earth.
They shall abide the Second Coming of
the Lord and shall stand with him when
he appears (see Malachi 3:2-12,
3 Nephi 24:2-12). On that joyous
morning, the mirror will reflect the mir-
acle of the first resurrection. The faith-
ful shall be crowned with glory,
immortality, and eternal life (see
D&C 75:5, 138:51).

Once again "morning stars [will]
sing together, and … all the sons
[and daughters] of God [will] shout
for joy!" (D&C 128:23; see also Job
38:7). For on that morning, "the glory
of the Lord shall be revealed, and all
flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5;
see also Ezekiel 20:48, Luke 3:6,
D&C 101:23).

Then, "there’ll be peace and con-
tentment evermore, ev’ry heart, ev’ry
voice on that day will rejoice. . . .
There’ll be joy in the morning on that
day" (Natalie Sleeth, "Joy in the Morn-
ing," Carol Stream, Illinois: Hope Pub-
lishing Co., 1977, pp. 4-5, 9-10).



It shall be ours — through our faithful-
ness — I testify in the name of Jesus
Christ, amen.

The choir sang "Joy in the

President Hinckley

I promise that when I look in the
mirror in the morning I will smile.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the
Council of the Twelve has just spoken
to us, followed by the Tabernacle Choir
singing "Joy in the Morning."

We shall now hear from Elder
Franklin D. Richards of the First Quo-
rum of the Seventy, and he will be
followed by Elder A. Theodore Tuttle
of that same quorum.

Elder Franklin D. Richards

Temple work brings joy

We have heard how the Holy
Ghost directs us. I remember years ago
in a temple meeting that President
David 0. McKay suggested that even
though you prepare a talk ten days be-
fore conference, the Lord can inspire
you then as well as when you are at the
podium. I couldn’t help but think of
that as I listened to Elder Russell M.
Nelson speak about joy and as the choir
sang about joy, as I am about to speak
to you about happiness and joy in
temple work. My dear brothers and sis-
ters, I am indeed happy to be with you
in this great conference, and I pray that
I may be guided by the Spirit of the
Lord in speaking to you.

The First Presidency of the
Church has outlined the mission of the
Church to be to take the gospel to all
mankind, to perfect the Saints, and to
do temple and genealogy work for our-
selves and the dead.

Many times I have spoken about
the joy and happiness one receives in
doing missionary work. Today I would
like to make specific reference to the
joy and happiness one receives in doing
temple work. A few months ago, Sister
Richards and I returned after having the
great privilege of supervising the
temple work in the Washington, D.C.,
Temple for a little over two years.

It may be rather late, but I would
like to bring you the love and greetings
of the workers and patrons of the Wash-

ington Temple, and I am pleased to
report to you that there is a great spirit
and substantial growth and develop-
ment in the kingdom in that part of the
Lord’s vineyard.

Those two years in Washington
were a period of many beautiful spiri-
tual experiences for Sister Richards and
myself, and daily we were able to see
evidences of love and service to our

Our Father in Heaven is a loving
parent. He 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). To this end, He
restored the gospel in this dispensation.

Why temples?

The Latter-day Saints build
temples because they have been in-
structed to do so, in order that holy
ordinances may be performed in them
for both the living and the dead. The
performance of these ordinances is pos-
sible because genealogical work and
temple work are inseparably con-
nected. It is important to realize that the
blessings of the temple are not limited
to any special class, but are available to
all worthy Church members properly

I would like to refer briefly to
three areas having to do with temple

First, for the living: For the living,
such ordinances as baptism, the be-
stowal of the Holy Ghost, and the


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

ordination to the priesthood may be
performed in any proper place outside
of a temple. However, through modern
revelation we are told that certain ordi-
nances such as the endowment, eternal
marriage, sealing ordinances for both
the living and the dead, and baptisms
for the dead must be performed in a

The temple endowment embodies
sacred covenants upon which blessings
are predicated. It is also, in effect, a
course of instruction whereby many of
the answers are given to the question
"What is the purpose of life?"

The endowment, of course, is an
ordinance for the individual, whereas
sealing ordinances pertain to a family

Second, for the dead: The minis-
try of Christ was not confined to the few
who lived on the earth in the meridian
of time, and it is not confined only to
those living now. The Apostle Peter
made it clear that those who do not have
the opportunity to hear the gospel on
this earth will have such an opportunity
in the spirit world (see 1 Peter 3:l&-20,
4:6). And the apostle Paul in writing to
the Corinthians asked, "Else what shall
they do which are baptized for the dead,
if the dead rise not at all? why are they
then baptized for the dead?"
(1 Corinthians 15:29).

Temple worship provides an op-
portunity to do ordinance work for our
kindred dead and for others, an oppor-
tunity for us to serve the dead. This
service is the source of eternal satisfac-
tion. However, it is well to remember
that vicarious service for the dead by
the living does not affect the right of the
dead to accept or reject such vicarious

Third, as a retreat: A temple is a
retreat from the vicissitudes of life, a
place of prayer and meditation provid-
ing an opportunity to receive inner
peace, inspiration, guidance, and, fre-
quently, solutions to the problems that
vex our daily lives.

A temple is a place where the
divine spark in man, or the infinite in
man, can seek the infinite in God.

Spiritual experiences in the temple

I have witnessed the joy and satis-
faction that come to those who serve in
the temple. I recall on one occasion a
sister coming through the temple door,
her face bright with anticipation and her
step quickened. She was a temple
worker who had been back home for a
visit. She grasped my hand and said:
"It’s so good to be back. I love my
service in the temple, and know I can-
not be happy, really happy, away from
it. It brings me a joy and satisfaction
that is found in no other place. I feel a
sense of accomplishment in doing
something of eternal value. It’s a little
like the work of the Savior, who did for
mankind what they could not do for
themselves. This work brings peace to
my soul— yes, the peace that passeth

One day, Sister Richards and I
walked into the baptistry about noon
and noticed a young girl sitting on one
of the benches. As we talked with her,
she told us she was from West Virginia
and it was her twelfth birthday. Her
mother had asked her what she wanted
for a birthday present, and she had
asked that her mother bring her to the
temple so that she could perform bap-
tisms for the dead.

What an opportunity temple work-
ers have to touch the hearts of our
brothers and sisters of all ages!

I recall a letter from a bishop in an
eastern Canadian ward. He stated in
this letter:

"We appreciate the privilege of
bringing our youth to the temple. Our
kids must be worthy. We see kids wait-
ing for their turn with tears running
down their faces. We have had many
spiritual experiences. One young man
who wasn’t going on a mission said,
‘Now, I’ll have to go.’ Our temple trips
have been successful beyond our
hopes. Lives have literally been
changed. The kids consider this a great
spiritual experience."



As we do temple work, we de-
velop a spiritual kinship with our Heav-
enly Father and our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ that brings us peace, hap-
piness, and eternal joy.

In the temple there is an influence
and spirit that touches the minds,
hearts, and souls of those present. Yes,
it is truly the House of the Lord.

Temples are one of the great
blessings of this dispensation

It has been said that the story of
temple work is a story of love — the love
of God for man, and of men for God
and for each other.

Let us not allow the wealth, the
honors of men, or the vain things of the
world to keep us from being worthy of
this sacred privilege that can be ours.
We are indeed blessed to have come to
earth at this time, when these beautiful
saving ordinances have been restored to
the earth, and to have the privilege of
participating in them.

I encourage members of the
Church to participate in temple work in
every way possible, as a most reward-
ing way to build the kingdom of God.
The purposes of the Lord are being ac-

complished, souls are being saved, and
prophecy is being fulfilled. Yes, we
can be grateful that we live in the dis-
pensation of the fulness of times —
when God the Father and His Son have
appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith;
when the gospel in its fulness has been
restored; when the priesthood, or the
power to act in the name of God, has
been restored; and when Christ’s
church again is established upon the
earth. And how we sustain our beloved
prophet Ezra Taft Benson who, through
revelation, leads and directs the affairs
of the kingdom of God on the earth in
this day.

May we leave this conference
strengthened and motivated with a
greater desire to lengthen our stride.
May the kingdom of God go forth, that
the kingdom of heaven may come, and
may the choice blessings of our Father
in Heaven be with you, I pray in the
name of Jesus Christ, amen.

President Hinckley

Thank you, Elder Franklin D.
Richards. We shall now be privileged
to hear Elder A. Theodore Tuttle of the
First Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder A. Theodore Tuttle

My beloved brothers and sisters, I
would be ungrateful if I did not thank
the many of you who have prayed for
my well-being over the past few
months. Medical science is marvelous,
but above and beyond that, it takes spe-
cial blessings from our Heavenly Fa-
ther for healing to occur. I appreciate
your prayers in my behalf.

Have faith to do what the Lord

I was told of a conversation by a
Primary teacher, who related what tran-
spired in his class. He was teaching the
eleven-year-olds. He asked the ques-
tion: "Suppose the Lord asked you to

build a spaceship big enough to take
you and your family and provisions off
this planet? Could you do it?"

Steve spoke up and said, "Yes."

And the teacher said, "Have you
ever built a spaceship?"


"Have you ever built a model

"Have you ever seen one?"

Steve said, "Yes, on TV." But
then he declared, "You said the Lord
told me to build it. If the Lord told me
to build it, I could do it."

I wonder how many of us as adults
have that kind of faith. I would like to
read in the Book of Mormon a great


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

example of this kind of faith. I go to the
seventeenth chapter of 1 Nephi:

"And it came to pass that the Lord
spake unto me [Nephi], saying: Thou
shalt construct a ship, after the manner
which I shall show thee, that I may
carry thy people across these waters"
(v. 8).

Listen to the answer of this great

"And I said: Lord, whither shall I
go that I may find ore to molten, that I
may make tools to construct the ship
after the manner which thou hast shown
unto me?" (v. 9).

And when his brothers realized
that he was actually going to set about
to build a ship, they said: "Why, you’re
a fool. You don’t know how to con-
struct a ship" (see v. 17).

And then Nephi set about to teach
them a great lesson.

Spiritual history helps us develop
faith in the Lord

How do you develop faith?

Let’s learn a great lesson from
what transpired with Nephi. He started
to recount the things that had happened
that they all knew were a part of their
heritage. He went back to the coming of
the children of Israel out of Egypt. He
said: "You know what happened. There
they were right against the Red Sea
with the Egyptians coming, and the
Lord saved them" (see vs. 26-27).

Then he goes on and talks about
how they received manna in the wilder-
ness, how they received water from a
rock, how the Lord led them by a pillar
of cloud in the daytime and a light at
night, and how when they crossed the
Jordan, it stopped when the feet of the
priests touched the water (see
vs. 28-30, 32; see also Exodus 13:21,
Joshua 3:15-17). And then Nephi tells
how the Lord scattered the people; and
then how, when they came among the
flying serpents, Moses fashioned a bra-
zen serpent, raised it, and all they had
to do was look at that serpent, and they
would be healed. The account says that
many perished because they wouldn’t

even look (see vs. 32, 41; see also
Numbers 21:8-9).

He was trying to do what you and
I as parents need to do with our families
today — to develop faith in the Lord.
And the way to do it is to recount the
examples of faith that have happened in
our history and in our heritage and with
our people. That’s the value of history.
It contains accounts of faith of our own
blood and ancestry and of our own
people and our children. As has already
been said in this conference, we cannot
go one generation without losing faith
if we do not do this. And to rear a
generation of faith for what we must do
in these days, you and I simply must
develop and increase faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ.

Faith precedes the miracle

There’s another principle: that is,
that faith precedes the miracle. This
lesson is found in Ether, chapter 12.
You’ll recall that Moroni was abridging
the records of the twenty-four plates,
and this is what he records:

"And it came to pass that Ether did
prophesy great and marvelous things
unto the people, which they did not
believe, because they saw them not"
(v. 5).

They couldn’t see them; they
wouldn’t believe them. They needed to
be taught that believing is seeing. And
then Moroni interpolates here:

"And now, I, Moroni, would
speak somewhat concerning these
things; I would show unto the world
that faith is things which are hoped for
and not seen; wherefore, dispute not
because ye see not, for ye receive no
witness until after the trial of your
faith" (v. 6; italics added).

We need to learn that. We can’t
have just faith. We cannot have the
miracle until after the exercise of faith.
Moroni sets forth on the next page or so
instances of those miracles that have
occurred after the trial of the faith of the
people. We need to learn that principle
as well.



Faith to finance a mission

I recall that when I was twenty
years old, I went for an interview with
the bishop to go on a mission. When I
returned, my mother, all smiles, said,
"Well, Ted, what did the bishop say?"

"He said I couldn’t go."

"Why not?" my mother asked.

And I said, "Because we don’t
have enough money."

"If my father could leave two chil-
dren and another to be born shortly after
he left, you can go."

I said, "I know that, but the bishop

Parenthetically, I might say that
he was doing his job right. He asked me
if I had any money. I told him I had a
few hundred dollars that I had earned
that summer.

He said, "Then what?"

I said, "My dad would send it to


He said, "Does your dad have it?"

I said, "No," and he didn’t. We
had lost our sheep herd during the De-
pression. My father was a livestock
dealer buying lambs and wool on com-
mission, and that was a very uncertain

The bishop said, "The Brethren
have had some serious experiences,
and so you cannot go unless you can
guarantee that you’ll have sufficient

1 accepted that, and that’s what I
told my mother.

That night we waited for Dad to
come home and then held a family
council. We concluded that we didn’t
then have enough money — and that we
wouldn’t, so far as we could see, any-
time in the future. We decided to ask
our neighbor, Tom Anderson, a rather
wealthy man, if he would help. When
we explained our situation, he said,
"You tell the bishop that 1 will ‘back
you.’ "

Before the bishop opened his busi-
ness the next morning, I was there wait-
ing to tell him that Tom Anderson said
he would back me. The bishop said,
"That’s all I need to know."

The interesting thing was that we
never did have to call on Brother
Anderson. My folks would send that
check and with it a note, "This is for
this month, and we’ll have the next
month’s, too."

Faith is essential to survival

I am a product of a household of
faith. I learned faith in my home. I was
taught it. It was drilled into me. I need
that faith now as much as I ever did.

I think we all do. We’re not going
to survive in this world, temporally or
spiritually, without increased faith in
the Lord — and I don’t mean a positive
mental attitude — I mean downright
solid faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is the one thing that gives vitality
and power to otherwise rather weak in-

I bear you my humble witness that
I know that God lives. I know that he
lives, that he is our Father, that he loves
us. I bear witness that Jesus is the
Christ, our Savior and our Redeemer.

I understand better what that
means now. I am grateful for his atone-
ment in our behalf and for knowing
something about our relationship to
him and to our Heavenly Father and
about the meaning and purpose of the
gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for
Joseph Smith. I know he was a prophet,
and I know that President Ezra Taft
Benson is a living prophet today. I bear
that witness in the name of Jesus Christ,

President Hinckley

He to whom we have just listened
is Elder A. Theodore Tuttle of the First
Quorum of the Seventy. I should per-
haps be guilty of an indiscretion, but I
think I will risk it and say that Brother
Tuttle has been seriously ill and he
needs our faith, the faith of which he
has spoken. It will be appreciated if
those who have listened to him across
the Church would plead with our Father
in Heaven, in the kind of faith which he
has described, in his behalf.


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

The choir and congregation will
now join in singing "We Thank Thee,
God, for a Prophet," following
which Bishop Henry B. Eyring, First
Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric,
will speak to us.

The choir and congregation sang
"We Thank Thee, O God, for a

Bishop Henry B. Eyring spoke
without further announcement.

Bishop Henry B. Eyring

God honors his promises

At the close of the last general
conference, President Benson said this:
"I bless you with increased understand-
ing of the Book of Mormon. I promise
you that from this moment forward, if
we will daily sup from its pages and
abide by its precepts, God will pour out
upon each child of Zion and the Church
a blessing hitherto unknown" (in Con-
ference Report, Apr. 1986, p. 100; or
Ensign, May 1986, p. 78).

I bear my testimony that I have
been blessed as He promised, and I
have seen new blessings come to
people I love. I am grateful that God
honors the promises he makes through
his prophet.

Some people doubt God’s promises

Even as I feel that gratitude, I
think of those whose hearts ache over
promises yet unfulfilled. Tonight, or
tomorrow, many of us will pray with
real intent, and perhaps with tears, over
someone whose happiness would bring
us happiness, who has been promised
all the blessings of peace that come
with baptism and the gift of the Holy
Ghost, and yet who counts the promises
worthless. None of us is immune, be-
cause all of us have circles of love large
enough to include such people. My
heart is drawn especially to those ask-
ing the question we all have asked:
"How can I be sure I have done all I can
to help?"

The spark of faith never dies

Fifty years ago, in October confer-
ence, President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., of
the First Presidency, gave this answer,
which I carry copied on a card:

"It is my hope and my belief that
the Lord never permits the light of faith
wholly to be extinguished in any human
heart, however faint the light may
glow. The Lord has provided that there
shall still be there a spark which, with
teaching, with the spirit of righteous-
ness, with love, with tenderness, with
example, with living the Gospel, shall
brighten and glow again, however
darkened the mind may have been. And
if we shall fail so to reach those among
us of our own whose faith has dwindled
low, we shall fail in one of the main
things which the Lord expects at our
hands" (in Conference Report,
Oct. 1936, p. 114).

That lovely metaphor — of a
spark, a spark of faith — gives me con-
fidence. President Clark pictured the
spark nearly hidden, almost smothered
by the ashes of transgression. It may be
so small that the person can’t feel its
warmth. The heart may be hardened.
Even the Holy Spirit may have been
forced to withdraw. But the spark still
lives, and glows, and may be fanned to

Teach faith and repentance to fan
the spark

President Clark also suggested
what we can do. He did not suggest a
single approach to reach all people. But
he described what every effort that suc-
ceeds in fanning the spark will include.



Teaching is first. But what should
we teach? Suppose time and opportu-
nity are scarce, as they generally are
with people who don’t think they need
your teaching. If you had the gift, and
the chance, to teach only one thing,
what would it be?

For me the answer is illustrated in
the success of a great man whose heart
ached over someone he loved. His
name was Alma, and his son, Alma,
went about trying to destroy the true
church. You remember that in response
to the prayers of his father, and of faith-
ful members of the Church, God sent an
angel to rebuke the son.

The rebuke brought young Alma
such remorse that he would have been
destroyed had he not remembered his
father’s teaching. He described it this

"And now, for three days and for
three nights was I racked, even with the
pains of a damned soul.

"And it came to pass that as I was
thus racked with torment, while I was
harrowed up by the memory of my
many sins, behold, I remembered also
to have heard my father prophesy unto
the people concerning the coming of
one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone
for the sins of the world.

"Now, as my mind caught hold
upon this thought, I cried within my
heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have
mercy on me, who am in the gall of
bitterness, and am encircled about by
the everlasting chains of death" (Alma

Because his father had taught him
that the Savior was his only source of
hope, Alma began the process which
took him to full repentance. If I had the
chance to teach one thing, it would be
what it means and how it feels to exer-
cise faith in Jesus Christ unto repen-

To do it I would try to take the
person I loved on a journey from when
we were with a loving Father in Heaven
to when we can go home to him again.
We would see the fall of Adam and Eve
and feel its effects on us. We would go
to Bethlehem and rejoice at the birth of

the Son of God, and to the Garden and
to Golgotha as our hearts break at the
transcendent gift of the Atonement.
And we would go to the open tomb, and
to Galilee, and to this hemisphere to
feel hope in keeping the command-
ments of the risen Lord. Then we would
go to a grove in New York to watch the
boy Joseph Smith talk with God the
Father and his resurrected Son, to begin
the errand that restored the ordinances
of the gospel, which can lead us home

Teach with love and tenderness

President Clark understood that a
person in whom faith is an ember won’t
receive even great teaching unless his
heart is softened. And so he said that we
must touch the person with the spirit of
righteousness, with love, and with ten-
derness. Now, you and I might rightly
feel that what he asks is nearly super-
human. In our efforts to invite others
back, we have felt rejection and even
ridicule. We may feel fatigue, frus-
tration, and sometimes guilt. How then
can we keep reaching out in a spirit of
righteousness, with love and tender-

The best answer I know comes
from another wonderful father. His
name was Mormon. He wrote a letter to
his son Moroni in a time when they met
not only rejection but unbridled hatred,
and faced not only frustration but al-
most certain failure. Mormon wanted
Moroni to meet even such a test with
love and tenderness and the spirit of
righteousness. He gave a formula, the
same one given by true prophets in all
ages. It has always worked. The prom-
ise is sure. Here it is, from Mormon’s

"And the first fruits of repentance
is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith
unto the fulfilling the commandments;
and the fulfilling the commandments
bringeth remission of sins;

"And the remission of sins
bringeth meekness, and lowliness of
heart; and because of meekness and
lowliness of heart cometh the visitation


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter
filleth with hope and perfect love,
which love endureth by diligence unto
prayer, until the end shall come, when
all the saints shall dwell with God"
(Moroni 8:25-26).

If you try to imagine the Savior
restoring a lost sheep to the fold, won’t
you picture him cradling it in his arms?
That tenderness and love, Mormon tes-
tified to his son, is the natural result of
the atonement of Jesus Christ operating
in our lives. Our faith leads us to repen-
tance, to the gifts of the Spirit, and from
that to the perfect love which the Mas-
ter Shepherd has, and knows we must
have to serve him.

Teach by example

The effects of the Atonement in
our lives can also produce in us the
example those we love will need. I
learned again the other night the ex-
ample we need to be.

I was chatting with my wife at the
end of a long day. Three of our children
were in the room, listening. I turned
and noticed that one of them was
watching me — and watching my face
intently. And then he asked me, softly,
"Why are you unhappy?" I tried to give
a reason for my furrowed brow, but I
realized later that he could well have
been asking this deeper question: "Can
I see in you the hope for peace in this
life that Jesus promised?"

To turn my thoughts from what
darkened my look to what would
brighten it, I went to another letter from
Mormon to his son. Both Mormon and
Moroni were facing days of difficulty
that make my challenges pale. Mormon
knew his son might be overcome with
gloom and foreboding, so he told him
the perfect antidote. He told him that he
could choose, by what he put in his
mind, to become an example of hope.
Here is what he wrote:

"My son, be faithful in Christ; and
may not the things which I have written
grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto

death; but may Christ lift thee up, and
may his sufferings and death, and the
showing his body unto our fathers, and
his mercy and long-suffering, and the
hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest
in your mind forever" (Moroni 9:25).

Center on the Savior and his

What we can do to help —
teaching, and doing it with the spirit of
righteousness, with love, with tender-
ness, with example — centers on the
Savior and his atonement. That is what
we would teach. The Atonement work-
ing in our lives will produce in us the
love and tenderness we need. And by
remembering him and his gift, which
we promise to do as we take the sacra-
ment each week, we can put a light of
hope in our faces which those we love
need so much to see.

Live the gospel to ignite the spark
of faith

President Clark reminded us, at
the end of his suggestions, that there is,
and always will be, free agency. The
spark won’t glow brighter until the per-
son tries living the gospel. That is why
we hope so much that those we love
will be called and will fulfill some as-
signment, however small. After their
choice to serve others, to sacrifice, to
try the commandments with promise,
the spark of faith ignites. Even after we
have done all we can do, that choice —
whether to act on what faith they
have — must be theirs.

I bear my testimony that God
lives, Jesus is the Christ, and in this
dispensation, through prophets from
Joseph Smith to Ezra Taft Benson, he
has given the power to offer again the
full blessings of the gospel of Jesus
Christ. I pray that we may never cease
to offer the opportunity to choose those
blessings to those in whom the spark of
faith may yet be fanned to flame. In the
name of Jesus Christ, amen.



President Hinckley

Bishop Henry B. Eyring, First
Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric,
has just spoken to us.

We shall now hear from Elder
F. Burton Howard of the First Quorum
of the Seventy, who serves as president
of the South America North Area of the
Church in Sao Paulo.

Elder F. Burton Howard

"Come back to the Lord"

From the beginning, prophets
have called almost all men to repen-
tance. Those who have not known
about the gospel have been exhorted to
abandon their sinful ways, keep the
commandments, and join with the
people of the Lord.

But prophets have also pled with
another group — those who were once
believers, but who, because of pride or
sin or something else, abandoned the
faith. In this group are the less active,
the critics, the uncommitted, and the
rebellious. These are Church members
who have grown away from God as
they have grown older. To these, the
invitation has always been to come
back to the Lord.

As we think about members of the
Church repenting and returning to ac-
tivity, the stories of Saul or Alma may
come to mind. Some may be waiting
for a similar miraculous experience be-
fore committing themselves again.
However, they will probably wait in
vain. For, as the Savior taught his dis-
ciples, "if they hear not Moses and the
prophets, neither will they be per-
suaded, though one rose from the dead"
(Luke 16:31).

The way back is clearly marked

Without some such incentive to
change, others may wonder if it is pos-
sible to return to faith from doubt. Can
the cynic ever really become as a little
child? Can the slave of habit or passion
become free again? Is there a way
back? If so, is it worth the effort to find
and follow it? Where and when does
one begin?

There is a way — for surely proph-
ets do not teach in vain. And, just as
surely, the Lord hears the prayers of
teachers and leaders and parents who
pray for the return of those who are lost.

Some may think the way is not
clearly marked, for in all of scripture
there are but a few instances recorded
of former believers ever repenting. Be
that as it may, the fact remains that
thousands have returned from inac-
tivity. Let me tell you about some who

A couple that returned

When I was first called to be a
bishop, I inherited a large ward. Many
of the eight hundred or so members did
not come out to church. I had never met
them and resolved to do so.

One Sunday afternoon in Novem-
ber, I went to visit an inactive family.
As I came up to the house, a woman
was sweeping the porch. I introduced
myself as the new bishop and asked if
her husband was home.

"Yes," she said, "but he won’t talk
to you. We are tired of being bothered.
My husband asked the other bishop to
take our names off the records of the
Church. We don’t want home teachers.
We don’t want people collecting fast
offerings. We just want to be left

She changed her grip on the
broom. "Now get out," she said. "Get
off my porch, get out of my yard, and
don’t come back." The broom was
coming at me as I backed down the
steps. I stammered a few words of
apology, which were ignored. "Git,"
she said, and I did.


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

I didn’t sleep well that night. I had
been humiliated. Worse still, it
seemed, my office had been treated
with disrespect. By Tuesday night, I
had almost decided that the woman and
her husband should be excommuni-
cated. A wise counselor, and a careful
reading of the instructions from Church
headquarters, persuaded me otherwise.

1 said hello to them on the street
occasionally after that, but I never re-
turned to the home. However, we did
assign a relative to visit there each
month to watch over them. As far as I
know, no gospel message was given,
and no other significant Church contact
was had with that family during the
years I served as bishop.

After a time the ward was divided.
I was released and was called to be
stake president. On another Tuesday
night some years later, one of our bish-
ops came to the stake office and asked
if I would be available later in the eve-
ning to interview an older couple for a
temple recommend. He had been work-
ing with them for months, and they
were finally ready to go to the temple.

He said, "You may know them,
President," and he mentioned the name
of the woman with the broom.

I could hardly wait for that inter-
view. About nine o’clock the bishop
brought a well-dressed, elderly couple
to my office and introduced them. I
recognized them as the same people I
had known before, but they were differ-
ent somehow. I invited the good sister
to come into the office first. I asked her
if she knew who I was, and she replied,
"Oh yes, you are the stake president."

"Do you remember a Sunday
afternoon in November, thirteen years
ago?" I asked. "A young bishop came
to your door and wanted to know if you
and your husband would like to become
more active in the Church. Do you re-
member turning him away?"

"I don’t remember anything like
that," she said. "I’m sure I would never
have done such a thing."

Then I said, "I have another ques-
tion. Why have you waited so long to

come back to the Church?"

"Well, we always knew we would
have to get active again someday," she
replied. "We wanted to. We just never
got around to it. My husband used to
smoke a lot, and he didn’t feel comfort-
able going to church. I prayed for years
that he would quit. When he started to
have health problems a couple of years
ago, it just seemed like a good time to
go back."

I finished the interview and talked
with her husband as well. They were
completely worthy. Shortly afterward,
they went to the temple to be sealed.

Now, did you notice the elements
of their return? It wasn’t easy. They had
always known. She had prayed for
years. There was a lot of wasted time.
Finally, before it was too late, they
talked to the bishop, repentance took
place, old attitudes and habits were for-
gotten, and they came back.

Aminadab’s return

Another who came back was
Aminadab (see Helaman 5). He had
once belonged to the church of God,
but he became critical and contentious.
He evidently sympathized with the op-
position, because he was present when
two young missionaries named Nephi
and Lehi were taken captive by an army
of Lamanites.

A cloud of darkness came upon
him, and he heard a still, mild voice
whisper, "Repent . . . and seek no
more to destroy my servants"
(vs. 29-30). Surprised, he turned
around and looked at Nephi and Lehi.
Their faces shone through the darkness,
and they appeared to be lifting their
voices to heaven (see v. 36).

Aminadab then recognized them
for what they were. In a loud voice he
told the Lamanites that the young men
were servants of God. As the army
turned to look, they too became aware
of the darkness which surrounded
them. They asked Aminadab how to
dispel it, and he, drawing on truth
learned, I believe, at another time, said:



"You must repent, and cry unto
the [Lord], even until ye shall have
faith in Christ; . . . and when ye shall
do this, the cloud of darkness shall be
removed from overshadowing you"
(v. 41).

Now notice again, the scripture
speaks of darkness overshadowing
those who have abandoned the faith.
The effect of darkness is to prevent one
from seeing clearly. To find the way
back, as Aminadab discovered, one
must repent and pray until doubt and
darkness disappear and important
things can be seen again.

A young priest repents and comes

One final story — once again from
when 1 was a bishop. One night, while
I was in a sound sleep, the doorbell
rang. I stumbled to answer it and found
a young member of my priests quorum
at the door. I knew him well — well
enough to have gone on outings with
him, to have prayed with and about
him, and to have taught him. I knew
him as well as a good bishop knows any
active eighteen-year-old priest, which
was well enough for me to ask what he
was doing at my front door in the
middle of the night.

He said, "I have to talk to you,
bishop. I’ve just done something seri-
ous, and I can’t go home."

He was right. It was serious. I
invited him in, and we talked. He
talked and I listened, then 1 talked and
he listened, until dawn. He had many
questions. He had committed a terrible
sin. He wanted to know if there was
hope. He wanted to know how to re-
pent. He wanted to know if repentance
included telling his parents. He wanted
to know if there was any chance of his
going on a mission. He wanted to know
many other things.

I didn’t have all of the answers,
but I told him there was hope. I told him
the way back would be difficult, but it
was possible. I explained what I knew
about the process of repentance and
helped him see what he must do. I told
him if he really wanted to go on a mis-

sion that that decision could only be
made in the future after he had re-
pented. Then I told him to go home,
and he did.

He made his peace with his par-
ents. He asked forgiveness from those
he had wronged. He put sin and bad
company behind him and did every-
thing he could to repent.

A year or so later, five young men
from that quorum went on missions. He
was one of them. I was close to them
all. I attended each of their farewells.
They all served honorable missions.
Within a brief time after returning
home, they all were married in the
temple. My wife and I attended each of
the ceremonies. I could take a piece of
paper, even today, and write their
names and the names of their wives and
some of their children. That is how well
I knew them.

Sins repented of are forgotten

But now let me tell you some-
thing — something very private and
very important. I cannot remember the
name of the young man who came to
my home in the middle of the night. I
know he was one of the five, but I don’t
remember which one.

There was a time I used to worry
about that. I thought perhaps my mem-
ory might be failing. I consciously tried
to recall who it was that had the prob-
lem, but I could not.

I was eventually released, and I
put the entire incident out of my mind.
On a late evening walk some years
later, I found myself in the ward where
I had once been bishop. The shadowy
quiet brought back many memories. I
was deep in thought when I realized I
was walking in front of a house where
one of my priests had lived years be-
fore. Suddenly, the story of the young
man I have mentioned came to mind,
and again I tried to remember which of
the five he had been. Had he lived in
that house? I wondered. Why couldn’t
I remember?

As I continued on my way, some-
thing happened — something difficult


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

to explain, but real to me. I seemed to
hear a voice which said: "Don’t you
understand, my son? I have forgotten
that. Why should you remember?"

I was chagrined. There was no sat-
isfactory answer to the question. I have
never wondered about it again. And I
knew more surely then than I had ever
known before that the Lord is pleased
when his children return to him.

All who are shepherds and all lost
sheep should note this one last thing.
The Lord really meant it when he said,
"He who has repented of his sins, the
same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, re-
member them no more" (D&C 58:42).

It is possible to come home

Some years ago it was fashionable
in certain circles to use the phrase,
"You can never go home again." That
is just simply not true. It is possible to
return. It is possible for those who have
ceased to pray, to pray again. It is pos-
sible for those who are lost to find their
way through the dark and come home.

And when they do, they will
know, as I know, that the Lord is more
concerned with what a man is than with
what he was, and with where he is than
with where he has been. I so testify in
the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

President Hinckley

Thank you, Brother F. Burton
Howard, for those reminders of serious
things. Before hearing President
Benson’s concluding remarks, we
should like to express appreciation and
sincere gratitude to all who have pro-
vided the music for this great

conference — to the Mormon Youth
Chorus, the Murray Region Family
Choir, and this great Tabernacle Choir
who have sung to us so powerfully to-
day, to their conductors and organists
and all who have to do with it.

We thank our city officials for the
cooperation given, to the Relief Society
and Church Health Unit nurses who
have been on hand to render service, to
the ushers and interpreters.

We express appreciation to the
local and national press representatives
for coverage given to the conference,
and to the owners and managers of the
many radio and television stations and
cable systems who have given time and
facilities to carry sessions of this con-
ference in many countries.

We have had in attendance all of
the General Authorities except two:
Brother Richard Clarke, who presides
over the mission in Cape Town, South
Africa, and who has remained at his
post, and President Marion G.
Romney, President of the Council of
the Twelve Apostles, who now eighty-
nine years of age lingers in a weakened
condition. And as I suggested that we
remember Brother Tuttle in our
prayers, we should also remember
President Romney and do so with faith.

We shall now be pleased to listen
to President Ezra Taft Benson, our be-
loved prophet and leader, after which
the Tabernacle Choir will sing "Abide
with Me."

The benediction will then be of-
fered by Elder Helio da Rocha
Camargo of the First Quorum of the
Seventy, and this conference will then
stand adjourned for six months.

President Ezra Taft Benson

Thanks for latter-day scripture

My beloved brothers and sisters,
on this glorious occasion as we have
gathered here together, I wish to give
thanks to our Father in Heaven for the
gift of modern revelation and particu-

larly for the books of latter-day scrip-
ture which He has given us.

I love the Bible, both the Old and
the New Testaments. It is a source of
great truth. It teaches us about the life
and ministry of the Master. From its



pages we learn of the hand of God in
directing the affairs of His people from
the very beginning of the earth’s his-
tory. It would be difficult to under-
estimate the impact the Bible has had
on the history of the world. Its pages
have blessed the lives of generations.

But as generation followed gen-
eration, no additional scripture came
forth to the children of men. Without
additional revelation to guide them,
men began to interpret the Bible differ-
ently. Numerous churches and creeds
developed, each using the Bible as its
authoritative source.

But this in no way lessens the
worth of the Bible. That sacred and
holy book has been of inestimable
worth to the children of men. In fact, it
was a passage from the Bible that in-
spired the Prophet Joseph Smith to go
to a grove of trees near his home and
kneel in prayer. What followed was the
glorious vision that commenced the
restoration of the fulness of the gospel
of Jesus Christ to the earth. That vision
also began the process of bringing forth
new scripture to stand shoulder to
shoulder with the Bible in bearing wit-
ness to a wicked world that Jesus is the
Christ and that God lives and loves His
children and is still intimately involved
in their salvation and exaltation.

Through the prophet Nephi, the
Lord warned against those who might
say that the Bible was all the scripture
the world would need. He said:

"Know ye not that there are more
nations than one? Know ye not that I,
the Lord your God, have created all
men, . . . and I bring forth my word
unto the children of men, yea, even
upon all the nations of the earth? . . .

"Know ye not that the testimony
of two nations is a witness unto you that
I am God, that I remember one nation
like unto another? . . .

"And I do this that I may prove unto
many that I am the same yesterday, to-
day, and forever" (2 Nephi 29:7-9).

Today we have three new books of
scripture: the Book of Mormon, the
Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl
of Great Price. I love all of these sacred

volumes. This afternoon I would like to
speak particularly about the Book of
Mormon and the Doctrine and Cove-
nants. These two great books of latter-
day scripture are bound together as
revelations from Israel’s God for the
purpose of gathering and preparing His
people for the Second Coming of the
Lord. As President John Taylor wrote,
the bringing forth of these two sacred
volumes "cost the best blood of the
nineteenth century" (D&C 135:6),
namely the lives of the Prophet Joseph
Smith and his brother Hyrum.

To the Prophet Joseph Smith the
Lord said, "This generation shall have
my word through you" (D&C 5:10).
The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine
and Covenants are part of the fulfill-
ment of that promise. Together these
two great works of scripture bring great
blessings to this generation.

Powerful proclamations of modern

Each of these two books of mod-
ern scripture contains a powerful proc-
lamation to the world. The Book of
Mormon title page declares its purpose
is threefold: to show what great things
the Lord has done, to teach of the cove-
nants of the Lord, and to convince both
Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ.

Section 1 of the Doctrine and
Covenants is the Lord’s preface to the
book. The Doctrine and Covenants is
the only book in the world that has a
preface written by the Lord Himself. In
that preface He declares to the world
that His voice is unto all men (see v. 2),
that the coming of the Lord is nigh (see
v. 12), and that the truths found in the
Doctrine and Covenants will all be ful-
filled (see vs. 37-38).

New witnesses of Jesus Christ

Each of these two great latter-day
scriptures bears powerful and eloquent
witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Virtu-
ally every page of both the Doctrine and
Covenants and the Book of Mormon
teaches about the Master — His great


Sunday, October 5


Second Day

love for His children and His atoning
sacrifice — and teaches us how to live
so that we can return to Him and our
Heavenly Father.

Essential knowledge and counsel in
modern scripture

Each of these two great latter-day
books of scripture contains the knowl-
edge and the power to help us live better
lives in a time of great wickedness and
evil. Those who carefully and prayer-
fully search the pages of these books
will find comfort, counsel, guidance,
and the quiet power to improve their

Of the Book of Mormon, Presi-
dent Marion G. Romney has said:

"If our young folks are traditioned
in the teachings of the Book of Mor-
mon, they will not only be inspired with
righteous courage to choose the right by
example, . . . they will also be so
schooled in the principles of the gospel
of Jesus Christ that they will know what
is right.

"From almost every page of the
book, there will come to them a moving
testimony that Jesus is indeed the
Christ, the Son of the Living God, our
Redeemer and Savior. This witness
alone will be a sustaining anchor in
every storm" (in Conference Report,
Apr. 1960, p. 112; italics added).

Speaking of the revelations in the
Doctrine and Covenants, President
Joseph Fielding Smith said: "If we will
put them into practice, if we will keep
the commandments of the Lord, we
will know the truth and there shall be no
weapon formed against us that shall
prosper. There shall be no false doc-
trines, no teaching of men that will de-
ceive us. . . . If we will search these
revelations then we will be fortified
against errors and we will be made
strong" (in Conference Report, Oct.
1931, p. 17).

The Lord gives modern scripture
to preserve his people

Many years before the coming of
the Savior to this earth, the prophet
Enoch saw the latter days. He observed
the great wickedness that would prevail
on the earth at this time and foretold the
"great tribulations" that would result
from such wickedness; but in the midst
of what was otherwise a very gloomy
prophecy, the Lord promised, "But my
people will I preserve" (Moses 7:61).
How would He do so? Note what the
Lord Himself promised He would do to
preserve His people. He said:

"And righteousness will I send
down out of heaven; and truth will I
send forth out of the earth, to bear tes-
timony of mine Only Begotten;
. . . and righteousness and truth will I
cause to sweep the earth as with a flood,
to gather out mine elect from the four
quarters of the earth, unto a place which
I shall prepare" (Moses 7:62; italics

The Lord promised, therefore,
that righteousness would come from
heaven and truth out of the earth. We
have seen the marvelous fulfillment of
that prophecy in our generation. The
Book of Mormon has come forth out of
the earth, filled with truth, serving as
the very "keystone of our religion" (see
Introduction to the Book of Mormon).
God has also sent down righteousness
from heaven. The Father Himself ap-
peared with His Son to the Prophet
Joseph Smith. The angel Moroni, John
the Baptist, Peter, James, and numer-
ous other angels were directed by
heaven to restore the necessary powers
to the kingdom. Further, the Prophet
Joseph Smith received revelation after
revelation from the heavens during
those first critical years of the Church’s
growth. These revelations have been
preserved for us in the Doctrine and

These two great works of scrip-
ture, then, become a major tool in the
Lord’s hand for preserving His people
in the latter days: the Book of Mormon,
written under the hand of inspiration for



our day, preserved through the centu-
ries to come forth in our time, trans-
lated by the gift and power of God. It
is the keystone of our religion. It is the
keystone of our doctrine. It is the key-
stone of our testimony. It is a keystone
in the witness of Jesus Christ. It is a
keystone in helping us avoid the decep-
tions of the evil one in these latter days.
Satan rages in the hearts of men and has
power over all of his dominions (see
D&C 1:35). But the Book of Mo:mon
has greater power — power to reveal
false doctrine, power to help us over-
come temptations, power to help us get
closer to God than any other book (see
Introduction to the Book of Mormon).

Study the Book of Mormon to
receive God’s approval

The Book of Mormon must be re-
enthroned in the minds and hearts of
our people. We must honor it by read-
ing it, by studying it, by taking its pre-
cepts into our lives and transforming
them into lives required of the true fol-
lowers of Christ. Speaking of the cen-
tral role of the Book of Mormon in our
worship, President Joseph Fielding
Smith said:

"It seems to me that any member
of this Church would never be satisfied
until he or she had read the Book of
Mormon time and time again, and thor-
oughly considered it so that he or she
could bear witness that it is in very deed
a record with the inspiration of the Al-
mighty upon it, and that its history is
true. . . .

"… No member of this Church
can stand approved in the presence of
God who has not seriously and care-
fully read the Book of Mormon" (in
Conference Report, Oct. 1961, p. 18;
italics added).

Doctrine and Covenants given
directly to this generation

spiritual life. The Prophet Joseph Smith
said, "In these infant days of the
Church, there was great anxiety to ob-
tain the word of the Lord upon every
subject that in any way concerned our
salvation" (History of the Church,

Thus, the Doctrine and Covenants
is a glorious book of scripture given
directly to our generation. It contains
the will of the Lord for us in these last
days that precede the Second Coming
of Christ. It contains many truths and
doctrines not fully revealed in other
scripture. Like the Book of Mormon, it
will strengthen those who carefully and
prayerfully study from its pages.

Use modern scripture to bless lives
and resist evil

Do we, as Saints of the Most High
God, treasure the word He has pre-
served for us at so great a cost? Are we
using these books of latter-day revela-
tion to bless our lives and resist the
powers of the evil one? This is the pur-
pose for which they were given. How
can we not stand condemned before the
Lord if we treat them lightly by letting
them do no more than gather dust on
our shelves?

My beloved brothers and sisters, I
bear my solemn witness that these
books contain the mind and the will of
the Lord for us in these days of trial and
tribulation. They stand with the Bible
to give witness of the Lord and His
work. These books contain the voice of
the Lord to us in these latter days. May
we turn to them with full purpose of
heart and use them in the way the Lord
wishes them to be used, I pray in the
name of Jesus Christ, amen.

The choir sang "Abide with Me."
Elder Helio da Rocha Camargo
offered the benediction.

Likewise, the Doctrine and Cove-
nants becomes an essential part of our


Sunday, October 5


Second Day


The following broadcast, an-
nounced by J. Spencer Kinard and
originating with KSL Radio and Tele-
vision, Salt Lake City, Utah, was pre-
sented from 9:30 to 10:00 a.m. on
Sunday, October 5, 1986, through the
courtesy of the Columbia Broadcasting
System’s network throughout the
United States, parts of Canada, and
through other facilities to several points

Announcer: Once more we welcome
you within these walls with a program
of inspirational Music and Spoken
Word from the crossroads of the West.

CBS and its affiliated stations
bring you at this hour the Mormon Tab-
ernacle Choir from Temple Square in
Salt Lake City, with Jerold Ottley con-
ducting the choir, Robert Cundick,
Tabernacle organist, and the Spoken
Word given by Spencer Kinard.

(Choir: "Be Not Afraid" – Men-

Announcer: "Be not afraid, saith God
the Lord; thy help is near." The Taber-
nacle Choir opened today’s broadcast
with a chorus from Mendelssohn’s
oratorio, Elijah.

Optimism, as the story of Elijah
teaches us, is a double-edged sword. A
sense of strength based upon the flat-
tering words and promises of false
prophets can lead individuals and na-
tions to destruction, while those who
trust fully in God and live by His word
have nothing to fear.

Personal anguish that leads to hon-
est and sincere soul-searching can bring
even the most unworthy of us into con-
tact with the Infinite Healer, as we hear
in this choral setting of Charles
Gounod’s "O Divine Redeemer."

(Choir: "O Divine Redeemer" —

Announcer: From the English liturgi-
cal tradition of the late nineteenth cen-
tury, Robert Cundick has selected a

work by Liverpool organist, William
Faulkes, entitled "Elevation."

(Organ: "Elevation" – William

Announcer: Jesus said, "Suffer the
little children to come unto me, and
forbid them not: for of such is the king-
dom of God" (Mark 10:14).

The choir turns now to the words
and music of Natalie Sleeth:
How will they know, these babes for

whom we care,
That God is love and with us

ev ‘rywhere,
That life is good with blessings all

can share?
How will they know unless we teach

them so?
(Choir: "How Will They Know?"
– Sleeth)

Announcer: Nowhere in sacred litera-
ture is the need for love in our lives
more beautifully expressed than in the
Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians
(see 1 Corinthians 13). He called it
charity. Today, we usually refer to it as

And so, in reverent paraphrase,
we express the need for this basic hu-
man value – for the greatest of these is

Though we pay our church dona-
tions and attend all our religious ser-
vices, and have not love — it is nothing.

Though we conform to church rit-
ual, and proselyte as missionaries, and
bear titles of ecclesiastical power or
authority, but do it without love — we
are as the empty shells which line the
seashore, having the semblance of life,
but not the spirit.

Though we bequeath our money to
great universities and charitable causes;
and though magnificent buildings bear
our names, monuments our visage, and
newspapers our photograph — in the
absence of love, we are none the better.

And even if we develop the tech-
nology to speed ourselves to the far


reaches of the universe, or to peer at the
smallest microbe, or have the knowl-
edge to cure ourselves of all disease and
poverty — if love is lacking, it profits
us little.

Love is patient and wise — patient
with the gentle forebearance which
waits on others before itself, and wise
with the gentle wisdom of old eyes
which, having looked on time, know
that the simple act of being kind is
greater than all the wisdom of the wise.

Love is not boastful or self-
interested, but understands that no man
has achieved success without the help
and sacrifice of others.

Where love is, there also are faith,
hope, and endurance. Without love, the
richest man is made poor; with love, the
poorest man is made rich.

When war is nothing more than a
rusting relic of a frightful past; when
the gallows and ghettos have crumbled
into dust; when the last terrorist, the last
tyrant, the last murderer and rapist have
crept silently to rest — love will re-
main, and will rule, because love
knows no death.

Fame dies, honors perish, and the
worldly hope men set their hearts upon
turns to ashes. But love lives on —
through decades, through centuries,
through eons — for the greatest of these
is love.

(Choir: "Our Savior’s Love"-

Announcer: We spoke earlier of opti-
mism, of trust in God, of knowing that

God cares for us. The choir has recalled
this theme in a hymn by Edward L.
Hart, with music by Crawford Gates:
"Our Savior’s Love."

We close now with another song
of peace and hope, with words adapted
from the twenty-fourth Psalm, by Carl
Nygard, Jr.: "The earth is the Lord’s
and the fullness thereof. Who can
rightly ascend the hill of the Lord, And
who may enter His House? The pure in

(Choir: "The Earth Is the Lord’s"
— Nygard)

Announcer: Again we leave you from
within the shadows of the everlasting
hills. May peace be with you this
day . . . and always.

Announcer (on radio): This concludes
the two-thousand, nine-hundred,
eighty-first performance continuing the
fifty-eighth year of this traditional
broadcast from the Mormon Taber-
nacle on Temple Square, brought to
you by CBS and its affiliated stations,
originating with station KSL in Salt
Lake City.

Jerold Ottley conducted the choir,
Robert Cundick was at the organ, and
the Spoken Word was given by Spencer

In another seven days at this same
hour, Music and the Spoken Word will
be heard again from the crossroads of
the West.

This is the CBS Radio Network.



Andersen, Elder H. Verlan


Missionary work in Latin America: fulfillment of prophecy;
Devotion to missionary work brings joy; Lifeblood of the
Church; Blessings of sacrificing for missionary work; Message
to grandparents

Anderson, Elder Joseph


Associations with prophets of God; Keys of former
dispensations restored through Joseph Smith; Living prophets
given the keys to guide Israel; President Grant’s testimonies of
early Church leaders; Prophets of this dispensation know God
and Christ

Ashton, Elder Marvin J 15

Bad habits bind like chains; Bad habits impede happiness and
growth; Chains of unrighteous dominion; Chains of drug abuse;
Chains of murmuring and gossip; Chains of indifference;
Change requires commitment and courage; Seek God’s help to
gain courage to change

Authorities and Officers, Sustaining of General 23

Authorities Present, General 1

Authorities Present, Other 1

Proclaim the gospel to all people; Share the message of the
Restoration; Stories of helping others receive the gospel; Seek
the Lord’s help in sharing the gospel; Four steps of helping
others receive the gospel; Preparing people to feel the Spirit;
"Bring many souls unto the Lord"; "Who will be there to greet
us?"; We can succeed in sharing the gospel

Benson, President Ezra Taft (Fifth Session) 100

Thanks for latter-day scripture; Powerful proclamations of
modern scripture; New witnesses of Jesus Christ; Essential
knowledge and counsel in modern scripture; The Lord gives
modern scripture to preserve his people; Study the Book of
Mormon to receive God’s approval; Doctrine and Covenants
given directly to this generation; Use modern scripture to bless
lives and resist evil


Ballard, Elder M. Russell




Benson, President Ezra Taft (First Session) 3

The Book of Mormon: A gift from the Lord; The Lord’s witness
of the Book of Mormon; The Lord’s warnings; Book of Mormon
is the keystone; Book of Mormon written for people of today;
Book of Mormon draws people nearer to God; Blessings of
reading the Book of Mormon; Response to the Book of Mormon
brings eternal consequences; Testimonies of Saints who
accepted the challenge

Benson, President Ezra Taft (Priesthood Meeting) 59

Privilege and responsibility of holding the priesthood; Our
charge to be like the Savior; Faith — the foundation for building
a godlike character; Virtue — akin to holiness; Knowledge —
balance spiritual and secular learning; Spiritual learning must
take first place; Temperance — have self-control; Patience — be
understanding and learn to wait on the Lord; Kindness— extend
this to all; Charity — "the greatest of all"; "Become partakers of
the divine nature"; Statement: stake seventies quorums to be

Brewerton, Elder Ted E 34

Importance of each person; Evidences of God; God’s massive,
orderly creation; The heavens were created for man; Heirs to all
that God has; "Be a remarkable one"; Philemon Merrill — a
remarkable one ; Joseph Smith – a remarkable one ; Each person
is grander than all the planets and suns


Cannon, Elder George 1 30

Importance of children; Challenges and opportunities of youth;
Important roles of single adults; Sacred responsibilities of
parents; The need for older members to serve

Eyring, Bishop Henry B 94

God honors his promises; Some people doubt God’s promises;
The spark of faith never dies; Teach faith and repentance to fan
the spark; Teach with love and tenderness; Teach by example;
Center on the Savior and his atonement; Live the gospel to ignite
the spark of faith




Faust, Elder James E 7

Follow the prophet’s counsel; Blessing of heeding an
unwelcome message; Rich man disregards an unwanted
message from Jesus; "New doctrines" taught by Jesus are often
unpopular; Respect the Sabbath day; Honor parents; Deal
honestly with others; Avoid rationalization; Listen to the still,

small voice for life-changing messages

Fifth Session 84

First Day— Afternoon Meeting 22

First Day -Morning Meeting 2

First Session 2

Fourth Session 64


General Authorities and Officers, Sustaining of 23

General Authorities Present 1

General Priesthood Meeting 45


Haight, Elder David B 46

Miraculous rescue from a crevasse; Rescue from spiritual
crevasses; Satan tries to take our eyes off dangerous crevasses;
Don’t trifle with evil; Young men, "put on the armor of
righteousness"; Scriptures can help us avoid dangers; President
Kimball’s scripture reading as a youth; Many are accepting
President Benson’s charge; Book of Mormon delivered by an
angel; "Hold onto the lifeline of the gospel"

Hanks, Elder Marion D 11

Importance of daily decisions; Agency a peril and a privilege;
Choose sound sources of guidance; Beware of unwholesome
sources of guidance; Seek help from the Lord; Perils of
immature, thoughtless choices; Beware of those who wield evil
influence; Consequences of evil; Reasons to seek the Lord’s



Hinckley, President Gordon B. (Fourth Session) 65

Know God and Jesus Christ; Testimony of God; God has a body;
God is all-powerful and all-loving; Thanks be to God;
Testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ; Christ’s atoning sacrifice;
Christ is the living, resurrected Son of God; The Holy Ghost is
the third member of the Godhead; Members of the Godhead are
real and individual; Members of the Godhead are perfectly

Hinckley, President Gordon B. (Priesthood Meeting) 54

The unceasing war between truth and error; The war during
biblical times; The war after Christ’s earthly ministry; The war
after the Restoration; The war continues today; Opposition to
the construction of temples; We must be united in battle; Young
men, keep your minds and bodies strong; Melchizedek
Priesthood holders, be valiant; Commitment and devotion
needed to win the war; Move forward in faith; Each of us is
involved in the war, and we are winning

Howard, Elder F. Burton 97

"Come back to the Lord"; The way back is clearly marked; A
couple that returned; Aminadab’s return; A young priest repents
and comes back; Sins repented of are forgotten; It is possible
to come home

Hunter, President Howard W 42

The Lord’s touchstone: the two great commandments; "Who is
my neighbour?"; Love every neighbor; Love and serve
neighbors to be justified before God; Willard Richards’s test


Maxwell, Elder Neal A 69

"God will yet reveal many great and important things";
Scriptures essential to belief in God and his plan; Revelation
necessary to understand God’s plan; Importance of this
dispensation’s revelations; Read scriptures with a believing
attitude; Scriptures reveal God’s purposes; Scriptures provide
"precious perspective"; Share in God’s attributes to share in his
power; Importance of prophetic utterances; A crescendo of
revelations to precede Christ’s coming

Monson, President Thomas S. (Fourth Session) 81

A story from the past; The Liahona provided Lehi heavenly
guidance; Patriarchal blessings provide heavenly guidance; The
calling of a patriarch; Profile of a patriarch; "Your patriarchal
blessing is to you a personal Liahona"; Choose the right path;
A patriarch’s prophetic promise fulfilled



Monson, President Thomas S. (Priesthood Meeting) 51

Courage counts!; The call for courage; Scriptural examples of
courage; "He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee"; Have courage
to stand for principle; Courage of a World War II seaman;
Courage of Randall Ellsworth


Nelson, Elder Russell M 84

"Joy cometh in the morning"; Factors needed to feel joy in the
morning; Joy comes to those who are courteous; Privilege of
rendering significant service; Be chaste; Joy comes to those who
have proper self-esteem; Gratitude, prayer, and scripture study
bring spiritual self-esteem; Develop personal talents; Exercise
regularly and obey the Word of Wisdom; Joy comes to those
who love God; Seek blessings of repentance; Posterity brings
joy; Morning of the first resurrection


Oaks, Elder Dallin H 24

Duty to live the Golden Rule; Responsibility to be brothers’
keepers; Be guided by high moral standards in the marketplace;
God will judge secret acts; Follow Christian standards in
financial activities; Follow Christian standards in selling and
advertising; Strive to live the full implications of the Golden
Rule; Apply the Golden Rule prayerfully and thoughtfully;
Living the Golden Rule brings happiness

Obituaries 24


Packer, Elder Boyd K 18

A child’s innocence; Scriptural teachings about children;
Transgressions against children; Beliefs affect behavior toward
children; False belief of infant baptism; Study and obey God’s
laws; False belief that man is not a child of God; Secular
philosophy versus sacred doctrine; Adults should repent;
Children should forgive

Perry, Elder L. Tom 77

Teach children the joy of honest labor; Lessons learned while
stacking wood and straightening nails; Be productive in all
labors; Conserve resources; Work builds discipline and
character; Finish each task and take pride in accomplishments;
Value of childhood lessons learned about work; A Primary
teacher’s influence



Priesthood Meeting, General 45


Richards, Elder Franklin D 89

Temple work brings joy; Why temples?; Spiritual experiences
in the temple; Temples are one of the great blessings of this

Russell, Elder Gardner H 32

Father’s blessings; Invitation to less-active members;
Responsibilities to less-active members; Experiences with
less-active members in Central America; Blessings of searching
out and helping less-active members


Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir and Organ Broadcast 104

Second Day— Afternoon Meeting 84

Second Day — Morning Meeting 64

Second Session 22

Sustaining of General Authorities and Officers 23


Tabernacle Choir and Organ Broadcast, Salt Lake 104

Third Session 45

Tuttle, Elder A. Theodore 91

Have faith to do what the Lord commands; Spiritual history
helps us develop faith in the Lord; Faith precedes the miracle;
Faith to finance a mission; Faith is essential to survival


Wirthlin, Elder Joseph B 73

Pledge of commitment; Tributes to family and associates;
Progress of the Church in Europe; Conversion of Asencao
Frango; Stockholm Temple inspires Lutheran bishop; Freiberg
DDR Temple is fulfillment of a prophetic prayer; Temple-
building in Europe Area is a modern miracle; Church growing
rapidly in Ghana; Pull in the gospel net; Understand and live the

the CHURCHof


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About Jacob Householder

Jacob is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Letter-day Saints. He is the senior intern over Development and External Relations at the Madison Liberty Institute, the Director of Outreach for the Columbus Center for Constitutional Studies, and a senior at BYU-Idaho studying Financial Economics.

Copyright © 2019 | Jacob Householder — All Rights Reserved.

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