“Once more we welcome you within these walls with music and the spoken word from the Crossroads of the West.” And once more millions of radio listeners and television viewers across the land accepted Richard L. Evans’ invitation to hear the harmonious voices of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and to listen to his message of inspiration and hope, so carefully fashioned and so eloquently delivered.
Now the voice is stilled. Part I of Richard L. Evans —The Man and the Message weaves an account of the singular accomplishments of a man of great fortitude who deeply explored man’s fallible nature. At a funeral “involving tragic circumstances of death, he referred to his own earlier misfortune and disappointment: ‘I recall an accident [the loss of his left eye] that came into my own life as a young lad. I had been taught to pray and have faith, and I found myself praying and asking my Father in heaven to make it so that this accident had never happened. But it had happened, and I came to realize that I was asking my Father in heaven too much. But I grew in faith that he could overrule it for good.’”
Timeliness was a fundamental element of Elder Evans’ “spoken word.” Over a period of 41 years, he delivered more than 2,000 of these messages designed to lift the spirits of those who listened to them. From Part II of this book, here are some of the thought-provoking titles:
“Character Is What You Are in the Dark,” “Don’t Take a Fence Down … Until … ,” “Nothing Comes from Nothing.”
Another of these talks, “A New Crop of Fools Comes On … ,” has great impact for our times. “Without law, respect for it, living by it, upholding it,” Elder Evans counsels, “we would have no heritage. Law sustains life. Law keeps the universe in its course. … Frank Crane once gave some terse sentences on this subject: ‘Every generation a new crop of fools comes on,’ he said. ‘They think they can beat the orderly universe. They conceive themselves to be more clever than the eternal laws. They snatch goods from Nature’s store, and run. … And one by one they all come back to Nature’s counter, and … pay in tears, in agony, in despair; … Nature keeps books pitilessly. … She never forgets; …’ Thank God for law.”
Although never light-minded, Richard Evans was not without a sense of humor. In 1967 he was elected president of Rotary International, and he and his wife, Alice, visited more than 50 countries. It was a hectic and grueling schedule, yet Elder Evans told his audience during one of their visits, “We have found ourselves up late at functions and getting up early for planes the next morning. I come from a long series of pioneer forbears and was told once that they didn’t think anything at all of getting up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. I want to say to you that Alice and I don’t think much of it either.”
The same sure understanding of human nature and emotion that marked Richard Evans’ “spoken word” talks commanded attention in his conference addresses. Speaking on hope in the future, he challenged his listeners:
“We must have faith in the future regardless of the ultimate eventualities. One of the greatest calamities in this world would be the calamity of sitting and waiting for calamities. We must not let the things we can’t do keep us from doing the things we can do. We must not let remote possibilities or even imminent probabilities keep us from moving forward with all earnestness and all effort.”
Masterful speaker, prolific writer—above all, Richard L. Evans was an apostle of the Lord and a missionary in his service in the most devoted sense. His influence for reasoned hope and encouragement continues.
For the past sixteen years, Brother Roy W. Doxey has authored Spiritual Living Lessons for the Relief Society.
These lessons have been organized into a book that deals with the doctrine of the godhead, our premortal state, the creation, the dispensations of the great patriarchs from Adam to Abraham to Moses, and above all, the preeminence of Christ. The author also devotes chapters to the other contents of the Pearl of Great Price: the Articles of Faith, Joseph Smith’s personal history, and the new translation of Matthew 24.
Summarizing his chapter on man’s premortal existence, Brother Doxey says: “From the other side of the veil we have brought gifts and talents to be developed, acted upon, and used for the betterment of ourselves and our associates, and to advance the kingdom of God.
“The truth is that our life here is purposeful; we are not here by chance but by design; consequently, we have a mission, foreordained, to become eternal mothers and eternal fathers, but only on condition that we accept our responsibilities in this life as God has revealed them. The children born to us here are precious sons and daughters of God, lent to us that they be strengthened in true principles to receive the opportunity to return home, having fulfilled the purpose of their creation.”
One of the main purposes of the book is to explain the roles of such vital Biblical personages as Abraham, Moses, Adam, and Eve in the context of the Savior’s mission.
As children of Abraham, Brother Doxey explains, we are “covenant Israelites. … We represent him by the name we carry—Latter-day Saint, which means one set apart to a certain service, a holy one, not perfect, but one seeking perfection.” Part of our responsibility in the last days is to “direct his work that all Israel might be saved” through the triple means of “bearing the priesthood, receiving additional scriptures and by building the kingdom of God.”
Through combining large type, child-oriented pictures, and skillful layout, Sacrament Time helps teach children the significance of the sacrament and gives them ideas of what to think about while the sacrament is passed.
Written by two mothers who were concerned because some children know only the procedure of the sacred ordinance, the book is an attempt to help children learn the sacrament’s meaning and purpose.
The book starts out:
“Mommy and Daddy say that sacrament time is a special time of the week. They say it’s a quiet time to think about Jesus and how much we want to be like Him. But … my feet begin to wiggle and my mouth begins to giggle and my hands will not be still.”
Positive suggestions then follow for the child: things he can think about during the sacrament that will help him to remember Jesus. One example, showing a small girl with her shoelaces undone, says, “I can think about helping someone in trouble.” It is followed by an explanation of the way Jesus helped those in trouble.
The authors suggest that if children think about the things that Jesus did then, “my feet won’t wiggle and my mouth won’t giggle and my hands will be so still. …”
The third in a projected four-volume series, “Foundations of the Millennial Kingdom of God,” Doctrines of the Kingdom takes up the organization and government of the kingdom of God and the associated doctrines revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
In this current work, the author delves into such areas as the vision and the nature of the kingdom, priesthood government in Zion, the government of God, the divine patriarchal order in past ages, and the restoration of that order.
In a summary to his chapter entitled “Law of Consecration and Stewardship,” Brother Andrus writes:
“Zion’s law of consecration and stewardship was to be the economic law of the gospel, or, more specifically, the economic law of the Melchizedek Priesthood organized in the house of the Lord according to its higher order. Based upon the sacred covenant of consecration, the divine economic system was to be a vital part of the program by which man could become an heir through Christ in the Father’s kingdom. Having embraced the gospel and made sacred covenants in the temple by which he established his life on the program of the divine patriarchal order, a man consecrated his possessions to God through the bishop and was delegated a stewardship which was secured to him by a deed. He was then to operate his stewardship as a free and responsible person, and sell his produce on the open market. From his profits, he provided for his family, paid his tithing, and turned the surplus over to the storehouse as a new consecration to the Lord to be used for community expenses, operating costs of the several stewardships, new stewardships, etc. One who became an heir in Zion had a right to participate in all the functions and blessings of the system equally with other heirs in the system.
“In addition to individual and joint stewardships, Joseph Smith organized corporate stewardships where several stewards were combined in an economic enterprise under a corporate structure. The new system could therefore be adapted to a complex society. But after the economic law of Zion was given and the place of tithing in the system was defined, the Saints failed to understand and appreciate that which they had received. Circumstances also made it difficult to apply the divine law in its fulness. Consequently, the law of consecration and stewardship was suspended. The law of tithing continued in the Church.”
The preceding volumes in this series were God, Man, and the Universe and Principles of Perfection.