To Serve the Master


My dear brothers and sisters: I don’t know why I should be shaking as I am. I am among friends. I know that no one loves me more than these brethren who are sitting before you, and I love them. Nearly all of them have visited our home and stayed with us and left their blessings.

When President Lee called me to be a stake president about sixteen years ago, I remember on the way home he said, “President Stone, I want you to prepare now for the day when you will be released.” And I assured him that I was ready any time the Brethren wanted to release me. But you know this time when he called me the other day, he didn’t say a word about that. Later he told me the appointment was for life.

I feel humble, grateful, and assure you and the Brethren of my willingness to serve, to devote my time, energy, and means for the upbuilding of the kingdom.

The Savior on one occasion, realizing the many temptations that we are faced with in this life, made this statement: “… seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33.) We have tried to live by that rule in our family. My sons, who have both been mission presidents, used to quote that to me when I was talking to them about their future.

Now, I want you all to remember the program of prospective elders, and I am going to tell you why. I was a prospective elder when I met my wife in Blackfoot, Idaho; and after I had courted her for some time and decided (and let her know) that she was the girl of my dreams, she let me know in no uncertain terms that I had to “shape up.” A temple marriage was the only marriage she was interested in.

After shaping up, I was ordained an elder and secured a temple recommend. We were sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple April 23, 1924. I am very grateful for my eternal companion and for my family, including fourteen grandchildren. It was my wife’s birthday yesterday, the day that I was sustained as a General Authority.

I would like to testify to you that the greatest happiness that has come into our lives has been when we have been living the gospel and serving the Master, and I have to tell you just a little story.

A few years ago, roughly twenty-five, I was starting a new business. I was having difficulty in getting it into black figures. I don’t like to operate in the red, and I went to my Heavenly Father on bended knees and made a covenant with him that if he would bless me with inspiration and guidance to make that business successful, I would serve him and I would be liberal with my time and means for the up-building of the kingdom.

The Lord did bless us abundantly, and I now pledge to President Lee, President Tanner, President Romney, and all these Brethren that I shall put forth my best efforts to fulfill this new assignment. I love the Lord, and I want to serve him.

On the day I was put in as stake president, President Lee quoted this scripture. It has always stuck in my mind, and I would like to quote it to you because it is one of my favorites:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Prov. 3:5–6.)

I pray I may always do this, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.