First Presidency Message

“If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear”


“If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear”

The fact that the Lord Almighty will take care of his people during these latter days of stress and trial became fixed in my mind very early. The Lord has said concerning the latter days in the parable of the ten virgins: ‘For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived … shall not be hewn down’ (D&C 45:57). I think we are not safe because we say we intend to do what’s right. I think the people who are safe are those who have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide and have not been deceived. To have the Holy Spirit with us as the Lord speaks of it here is to be guided by revelation from heaven. I know that such guidance can be had.

Contemplating the implications inherent in the title to these remarks, the comforting words of William Cowper recently came to mind:

Ye fearful Saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

(Hymns, no. 48.)

It is my opinion that we Latter-day Saints, because of the knowledge we have received in the revelations, are better prepared to meet the perplexities of our times than are any other people. We know more about the difficulties which are coming, and we have the key to their solution.

I suppose most people have a tendency to interpret world affairs and their own experiences in the light of certain standards which have become fixed in their thinking. The fact that the Lord Almighty will take care of his people during these latter days of stress and trial became fixed in my mind very early.

As a child I lived in a land torn by a devastating revolution. As the contending forces pursued each other back and forth, I became greatly disturbed and agitated. Well do I remember when word came that the rebels were marching on Chihuahua City from Ciudad Juarez on the north and that the Federals were marching on the same city from Torreon on the south. My distress turned to fright—in fact, to terror—when they met at Casas Grandes, just ten miles away, and the shooting began. Some of our more adventuresome young men climbed to the top of the Montezuma Mountain where, through field glasses, they could watch the fighting.

Through those stirring and never-to-be-forgotten childhood experiences it was difficult for me to understand the doctrine of peace in one’s heart while there was war in the land. But even then my fears were tempered some as I saw and listened to my sainted mother lull her babies to sleep. The words of the songs she sang comforted me. Some of them have been ringing in my mind through all the years of the intervening two-thirds of a century—these, for example, from “Guide Us O Thou Great Jehovah”:

When the earth begins to tremble,
Bid our fearful thoughts be still;
When thy judgments spread destruction,
Keep us safe on Zion’s hill.

(Hymns, no. 56.)

And these from Parley P. Pratt:

Come, O thou King of kings!
We’ve waited long for thee,
With healing in thy wings
To set thy people free.
Come, make an end to sin
And cleanse the earth by fire. …

(Hymns, no. 20.)

And from W. W. Phelps:

In faith we’ll rely on the arm of Jehovah
To guide through these last days of trouble and gloom;
And after the scourges and harvest are over,
We’ll rise with the just when the Savior doth come.

(Hymns, no. 118.)

As the years passed and I became acquainted a little with the scriptures, I learned that the brethren who had written these beautiful lines of hope and courage had learned from the revelations that the Lord would care for his Saints through the calamities which he foresaw and foretold. Nephi, for example, speaking of our days, said:

“For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous.

“Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire.” (1 Ne. 22:16–17.)

When the Lord gave, by revelation, the preface to the Doctrine and Covenants, he said that he was willing to make the things he had revealed “known unto all flesh.”

“For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.

“And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon Idumea, or the world.” (D&C 1:34–36.)

Jesus himself previewed our times and the days to follow as he stood before his disciples on the Mount of Olives. When they there asked him concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the signs of his second coming, he told them that “this people [the generation among whom he lived] shall be destroyed and scattered among all nations. …

“But they shall be gathered again; but they shall remain until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

“And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them. …

“And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound.

“And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;

“But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.

“And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

“And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.

But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.

“And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another.” (D&C 45:19, 25–33; italics added.)

I am convinced that if we are to have peace in our hearts, we must learn how to preserve it in our hearts in the midst of trouble and trial. I know that if we lived the gospel, we would not have war. We would have peace. I do not, however, expect enough people to repent to spare the world from serious trouble. But I return to the Savior’s words. When he had made the above-quoted statement to his disciples, he saw that they were troubled, and he said unto them:

“Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled. …

“And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.

“And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath.

“And they shall behold blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke.

“And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven.

“And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place [Jerusalem];

“And then they shall look for me, and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels; and he that watches not for me shall be cut off.”

And here is the key:

“And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.

“For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived … shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.” (D&C 45:35, 39–44, 56–57.)

They that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived.” (Ibid; italics added.) I think we are not safe because we say we intend to do what’s right. I think the people who are safe are those who have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide and have not been deceived. These are they who shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.

“The earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance.” This earth isn’t going to be inherited by our enemies.

“The earth shall be given unto them [who have ‘taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived’] for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.

“For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver.” (D&C 45:58–59.)

I think the Savior was talking about the Holy Ghost when he said, “those who have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide.” The Holy Ghost is the spirit of truth. To have the Holy Spirit with us as he speaks of it here, and as I have now said what I think it means, is to be guided by revelation from heaven. I know that such guidance can be had.

When the Prophet Joseph Smith went to Washington in 1839 with Elias Higbee, he had conferences with many of the statesmen there—and a lot of the politicians also. He had conferences with the President of the United States. In one of them Mr. Van Buren asked “wherein we differed in our religion from the other religions of the day. Brother Joseph said we differed in mode of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. We considered that all other considerations were contained in the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (History of the Church, 4:42.)

Now, we have the Holy Ghost. Each one of us who is a member of the Church has had hands laid upon his head and has been given, as far as an ordinance can give it, the gift of the Holy Ghost. But, as I remember, when I was confirmed, the Holy Ghost was not directed to come to me; I was directed to “receive the Holy Ghost.” If I receive the Holy Ghost and follow his guidance, I will be among those who are protected and carried through these troubled times. And so will you, and so will every other soul who lives under his direction. If ye are prepared, ye need not fear.

Ideas for Home Teachers

1. Relate a personal experience about the blessings of being prepared and trusting in the Lord. Ask family members to express their feelings about trusting in the Lord and being prepared.

2. Discuss President Romney’s statement that those who “receive the Holy Ghost and follow his guidance … will be among those who are protected and carried through these troubled times.”

3. Discuss ways family members can prepare themselves spiritually and emotionally for whatever difficulties might arise in life.

4. Are there quotations or scriptural verses in this article that the family might read aloud, or some supplemental scripture you desire to read with them?

5. Would this discussion be better after a pre-visit chat with the head of the house? Is there a message from the quorum leader or bishop to the household head concerning faith and preparedness?

[illustration] Painting of Christ by Heinrich Hofmann