First Presidency Message

“The Heritage of the Servants of the Lord”


Ezra Taft Benson

“The Heritage of the Servants of the Lord”

More than at any time in our history, brothers and sisters, we have need for greater spirituality. The way to develop greater spirituality is to feast on the words of Christ as revealed in the scriptures.

I think we can say without exaggeration that never before in any dispensation have the Saints been so abundantly blessed with the words of the Lord and His prophets.

Now our challenge is to do as the Lord commanded: “Study my word which hath gone forth among the children of men.” (D&C 11:22.)

The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The Book of Mormon [is] 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.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 194.)

We urge you to study the Book of Mormon as individuals and families and then to do as the prophet Nephi counseled: liken the scriptures to yourselves so that it will be for your profit and learning. (See 1 Ne. 19:23–24.)

We have requested priesthood leaders to minimize administrative meetings on the Sabbath so that families may engage in worship and family time. Our hope is that you will use this time to attend your meetings, render Christian service, visit family members, and study the scriptures.

We counsel you to accept callings in the Church and to serve faithfully in the positions to which you are called. Serve one another. Magnify your callings. As you do so, you will be the means of blessing others and you will increase in spirituality.

We urge you, particularly priesthood brethren and Relief Society sisters, to be sensitive to the needs of the poor, the sick, and the needy. We have a Christian responsibility to see that the widows and fatherless are assisted. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27.)

We urge you to keep the commandments of God. By so doing, you will keep yourself free from the bondage of sin.

“Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ … serve him.” (D&C 59:5.)

Confess the hand of God in all things. (See D&C 59:21.)

“Be patient in afflictions.” (D&C 24:8.)

“Be of good cheer.” (D&C 61:36.)

Sustain and support the priesthood in the home and church. (See D&C 107:22.)

Pay an honest tithe and a generous fast offering. (See D&C 119:4; Mosiah 4:21.)

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.” (D&C 59:6.)

Teach your children. Bring them up in light and truth. (See D&C 93:40, 42–43.)

“Cease to find fault one with another.” (D&C 88:124.)

“Forgive one another.” (D&C 64:9.)

Elect honest, good, and wise men to public office. (See D&C 98:10.)

Obey and befriend “that law which is the constitutional law of the land.” (D&C 98:6.)

Be thrifty. Stay out of debt. (See D&C 19:35.)

Do not covet. (See D&C 88:123.)

Be honest in your dealings with others. (See D&C 51:9.)

Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy. (See D&C 59:10, 12–13.)

Abstain from the use of drugs, liquor, tobacco, and strong and hot drinks. (See D&C 89:5–9.)

“Cease to be unclean”; shun pornography. (D&C 88:124.)

Seek learning out of the best books. (See D&C 88:118.) Avoid literature and movies which portray evil as good and good as evil.

Do not commit adultery “nor do anything like unto it.” (D&C 59:6.) That means petting, fornication, homosexuality, and any other form of immorality.

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.” (D&C 121:45.)

“Practise virtue and holiness” continually. (D&C 38:24.)

“Clothe yourselves with the bond of charity.” (D&C 88:125.)

Live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. (See D&C 98:11.)

Be valiant in your testimony of Christ. (See D&C 76:51, 79.)

Honor your covenants. (See D&C 25:13.)

“Endure to the end.” (D&C 14:7.)

In a word, though you live in the world, be not of the world!

The mission of the Church is to save souls by proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead.

We urge you to do all within your talent and means to help build the kingdom of God on earth. Always strive to sustain, support, and do what is best for the kingdom of God.

Finally, a word of commendation and encouragement.

Nearly fifty years ago I was called to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. When I came into the Quorum, there were 146 stakes. Today there are 1,859. The number of members in 1943 was less than a million. Today we exceed eight million.

The Church has never been in a better position than at present. There are more devoted members than ever before. Missionary work has caused us to rapidly expand throughout the world. Family history work and temple work have significantly increased. Leadership has improved. Our youth are more spiritually prepared than ever before.

We are pleased with the activation of many of our brethren and sisters. We encourage priesthood and auxiliary leaders to continue this great effort.

Latter-day Saints, we commend you! We commend your faithfulness. Never have our opportunities and our blessings been so great. In the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage … and on, on to the victory!” (D&C 128:22.)

Some of our members have become disturbed because of derogatory things said about the Church and its leaders, or because of misrepresentations about our doctrines or our practices.

But opposition is not new to the Church. We have had opposition in the past, and we shall continue to have opposition in the future. Do not become discouraged by what others say or do. Stay on the strait and narrow path. You do this by holding fast to the iron rod—the words of God as contained in the scriptures and as given by His living servants on this earth.

I carry with me a statement of the Lord from the Book of Mormon, which my brethren have heard me quote. The passage reads as follows:

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall revile against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” (3 Ne. 22:17.)

Brothers and sisters, this is the work of the Lord. This is His church on the earth. He has entrusted His church to the care of humble men, who have extraordinary responsibilities. We need your faith, your support, and your constant prayers.

I testify to you that God lives and that today He communicates to His servants His will. I testify that this is the church of Jesus Christ—the kingdom of God on this earth.

I pray most earnestly that God’s favor and blessing will be on you, your families, and good men and women the world over, for we all are children of one Father.

Ideas for Home Teachers

Some Points of Emphasis

You may wish to make these points in your home teaching discussion:

  1. 1.

    We all have great need for spirituality.

  2. 2.

    The way to develop spirituality is to feast on the words of Christ in the scriptures, particularly in the Book of Mormon.

  3. 3.

    Use the Sabbath to attend your meetings, render Christian service, visit family members, and study the scriptures.

  4. 4.

    Let us follow the commandments and live the life-style of the people of the Lord.

  5. 5.

    We should continue our activation efforts of less-active brothers and sisters.

  6. 6.

    The Lord’s work and purposes will continue to move forward throughout the earth.

Discussion Helps

  1. 1.

    Relate your feelings about the need in our lives for spirituality.

  2. 2.

    Are there some scriptures or quotations in this article that the family might read aloud and discuss?

  3. 3.

    Would this discussion be better after a pre-visit chat with the head of the house?Is there a message from the bishop or quorum leader?

[photos] Photography by Craig Dimond