Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail. This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden. This is the place of the New Jerusalem...This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple. We are living in a time of great crisis. The Country is torn with scandal and with criticism, with faultfinding and condemnation. There are those who have downgraded the image of this nation as probably never before in the history of the country. I plead with you not to preach pessimism. Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world...It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through. We must be on the optimistic side. This is a great nation; this is a great country; this is the most favored of all lands. While it is true that there are dangers and difficulties that lie ahead of us, we must not assume that we are going to stand by and watch the country go to ruin. We should not be heard to predict ills and calamities for the nation. On the contrary, we should be providing optimistic support for the nation. You must remember...that this church is one of the most powerful agencies for the progress of the world, and we should...all sound with one voice. We must tell the world how we feel about this land and this nation and should bear our testimonies about the great mission and destiny that it has. If we do this, we will help turn the tide of this great country and lessen the influence of the pessimists. We must be careful that we do not say or do anything that will further weaken the country. It is the negative, pessimistic comments about the nation that do as much harm as anything to the country today. We who carry these sacred responsibilities must preach the gospel of peace, and peace can only come by overcoming the things of the world. Now, we must be the dynamic force that will help turn the tide of fear and pessimism.
As I kneeled down, my petition was, “What kind of an organization should be set up in order to accomplish what the Presidency has assigned?” And there came to me on that glorious morning one of the most heavenly realizations of the power of the priesthood of God. It was as though something were saying to me, “There is no new organization necessary to take care of the needs of this people. All that is necessary is to put the priesthood of God to work. There is nothing else that you need as a substitute.”
You’ll remember that in the scriptures they speak of the Lamb's book of life, which is a record kept of man's life which is kept in heaven. Well, who keeps that record? Not only the records on earth, but there's a record of our lives in heaven. Men will be judged according to the records that have been kept of our lives.
May I ask each of you again the question, “Who are you?” You are all the sons and daughters of God. Your spirits were created and lived as organized intelligences before the world was. You have been blessed to have a physical body because of your obedience to certain commandments in that premortal state. You are now born into a family to which you have come, into the nations through which you have come, as a reward for the kind of lives you lived before you came here and at a time in the world’s history … determined by the faithfulness of each of those who lived before this world was created.
All must have the opportunity to accept the gospel. Several years ago, in company with President S. Dilworth Young and his wife, we toured the New England Mission. At Glace Bay on Cape Breton Island we were introduced to a lovely sister who had been studying the gospel with our missionaries and had been very much attracted to them, but as we talked with her about her understanding of what they had taught, she said: “I cannot accept the part of your teachings about the gospel of the second chance. As we talked on, I discovered that what she was alluding to were the teachings of the missionaries with reference to the statement of the Savior [quotes John 5:25-26] concerning the preaching of the gospel to the dead]. I answered her, “You misunderstand our teachings. We don’t believe in the gospel of the second chance. We do not believe in the gospel of the first chance, but we believe in a chance or full opportunity for everyone to hear and to accept the gospel.
The Lord has said to us in revelation, all things in His church should be by common consent. Some have thought of the Church as a democracy, or a republican form of government; some have thought of it as a kingdom. Well, in a sense it is a kingdom, and in a sense it has some democratic principles. It would be a better term to say it is a theocracy … The Church is not a democracy. The leaders are chosen by the Lord and not by the people. The Church is not a democracy. We must not speak of the Church as a democracy. It is true that the people have a voice in the kingdom of God. No officer is to preside over a branch or a stake until he is sustained by a vote of that body over which he is to preside. They may reject, but they do not nominate and they do not release. That is done by a higher authority.
The Lord will guide us if we live right … If we will live worthy, then the Lord will guide us—by a personal appearance, or by His actual voice, or by His voice coming into our mind, or by impressions upon our heart and our soul. And oh, how grateful we ought to be if the Lord sends us a dream in which are revealed to us the beauties of the eternity or a warning and direction for our special comfort. Yes, if we so live, the Lord will guide us for our salvation and for our benefit.
You cannot lift another soul until you are standing on higher ground than he is. You must be sure, if you would rescue the man, that you yourself are setting the example of what you would have him be. You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul. You teachers, the testimony that you bear, the spirit with which you teach and with which you lead, is one of the most important assets that you can have, as you help to strengthen those who need so much, wherein you have so much to give.
The greatest responsibility that a member of Christ’s church has ever had is to become truly converted - and it is just as important to stay converted. … … One is converted when he sees with his eyes what he ought to see; when he hears with his ears what he ought to hear; and when he understands with his heart what he ought to understand - then he is converted
...I'd have you consider seriously whether or not that binding with your family will be secure if you have waited until you have passed beyond the veil until your hearts then yearn for you children whom you have neglected to have helped along the way. It is time for us to think of turning the hearts of parents to children now while living, in order that after they have gone to the beyond there might be the bond between parents and children that will last beyond death.
Harold B. Lee, General Conference, October 1970 Role of counselors As I thought of the role of President Tanner and myself as his counselors, I thought of a circumstance in the life of Moses, when the enemies of the church in that day were just as they are in this day. They were threatening to overcome and tear down and to stop the work of the church. As Moses sat upon a hill and raised the rod of his authority or the keys of his priesthood, Israel prevailed over their enemies; but as the day wore on, his hands became heavy and began to droop at his side. And so they held up his hands so they would not be weakened and the rod would not be lowered. He would be sustained so that the enemies of the church would not prevail over the saints of the Most High God. Ex. 17:8-12 Sustaining the President I think that is the role that President Tanner and I have to fulfill. The hands of President Smith may grow weary. They may tend to droop at times because of his heavy responsibilities; but as we uphold his hands D&C 81:5 and as we lead under his direction, by his side, the gates of hell will not prevail against you and against Israel. D&C 21:6 Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow the ones whom the Lord has placed to preside over his church. He knows whom he wants to preside over this church, and he will make no mistake. The Lord doesn't do things by accident. He has never done anything accidentally. And I think the scientists and all the philosophers in the world have never discovered or learned anything that God didn't already know. His revelations are more powerful, more meaningful, and have more substance than all the secular learning in the world. Let's keep our eye on the President of the Church and uphold his hands as President Tanner and I will continue to do. President Smith, we honor and sustain you in that high place because the Lord has put you there
If we so live that our minds are free from worry and our conscience is clear and our feelings are right toward one another, the operation of the Spirit of the Lord upon our spirit is as real as when we pick up the telephone; but when they come, we must be brave enough to take the suggested actions.
We would remind you that the acquiring of knowledge by faith is no easy road to learning. It demands strenuous effort and a continual striving by faith. … In short, learning by faith is no task for a lazy man [or woman]. Someone has said, in effect, that such a process requires the bending of the whole soul, the calling up of the depths of the human mind and linking it with God.
Marriage is a partnership. Someone has observed that in the Bible account of the creation woman was not formed from a part of man’s head, suggesting that she might rule over him, nor from a part of a man’s foot that she was to be trampled under his feet. Woman was taken from man’s side as though to emphasize the fact that she was always to be by his side as a partner and companion. At the marriage altar you are pledged to each other from that day to pull the load together in double harness.
President [David O.] McKay said, "We don't take sufficient time to meditate." I get up early in the morning … , five o'clock, when my mind and spirit are clear and rested. Then I meditate. You can come closer to the Lord than you imagine when you learn to meditate. Let your spirits be taught by the Spirit. The Twelve will not soon forget President David O. McKay's admonition in our council meeting one morning when he impressed the vital importance of taking time to meditate in order to keep spiritually attuned. … "It's a great thing to be responsive to the whisperings of the Spirit and we know that when these whisperings come it is a gift and our privilege to have them. They come when we are relaxed and not under pressure of appointments.” The President then took occasion to relate an experience in the life of Bishop John Wells, formerly a member of the Presiding Bishopric. A son of Bishop Wells was killed in Emigration Canyon on a railroad track. … His boy was run over by a freight train. Sister Wells was inconsolable. She mourned during the three days prior to the funeral, received no comfort at the funeral, and was in a rather serious state of mind. One day soon after the funeral services, while she was lying on her bed relaxed, still mourning, she claims that her son appeared to her and said, "Mother, do not mourn. Do not cry. I am all right." He told her that she did not understand how the accident happened. He explained that he had given a signal to the engineer to move on and then made the usual effort to catch the railings on the freight train, but as he attempted to do so his foot caught in a root and he failed to catch the hand rail and his body fell under the train. It was clearly an accident. He said that as soon as he realized that he was in another environment he tried to see his father but he could not reach him. His father was so busy with the duties in the office that he could not respond to his call; therefore, he had come to his mother and he said to her, "You tell Father that all is well with me. I want you to not mourn anymore.” Then President McKay said that the point he had in mind was that when we are relaxed in a private room we are more susceptible to those things, that so far as he was concerned his best thoughts come after he gets up in the morning and is relaxed and thinking about the duties of the day, that impressions come as clearly as if he were to hear a voice and those impressions are right. If we are worried about something and upset in our feelings the inspiration does not come. If we so live that our minds are free from worry and our conscience clear and our feelings are right toward one another, the operation of the spirit of the Lord upon our spirit is as real as when we pick up the telephone; but when they come, note this, we must be brave enough to take the suggested action. … Let that be something to remember-you do likewise. Take time to meditate. Many times you will be wrestling with problems, the solution of which can be spiritually discerned. Don't get so busy that you don't have time to meditate. Take the time.
“It seems clear to me that the Church has no choice—and never has had—but to do more to assist the family in carrying out its divine mission, not only because that is the order of heaven, but also because that is the most practical contribution we can make to our youth—to help improve the quality of life in the Latter-day Saint homes. As important as our many programs and organizational efforts are, these should not supplant the home; they should support the home.”
Now if you have made mistakes, make today the beginning of a change of your lives. Turn from the thing that you have been doing that is wrong. The most important of all the commandments of God is the one that you are having the most difficulty keeping today. It it is one of falsifying, not telling the truth, today is the day for you to work on that until you have been able to conquer that weakness. Put that aright and then you start on the next one that is most difficult for you to keep. That's the way to sanctify yourself by keeping the commandments of God.