My brethren and sisters, I bring greetings to you from the Saints in Great Britain and South Africa. It’s exciting to see how the work is moving forward in this area. There are now twenty-seven stakes in Great Britain and one in South Africa. The leadership is generally strong and the work is moving forward and blessing the people.
And now, to have a General Authority from this area! I’m sure the people will be excited. And Brother Cuthbert, I think I can safely assume to bring to you the congratulations and the blessings of the people in your native land. We congratulate you.
It’s a pleasure to serve in this area. As I visit the stakes each weekend, I often ask the stake president what his greatest concern is in the stake. So often he replies: “The lack of commitment by the individual members, the lack of determination to put the work of the Lord first in their lives.” I think of the words of Nephi:
“And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.
“And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this straight and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Ne. 31:15, 19–20.)
How very important it is to have the light of the Holy Ghost to give us direction. The Holy Ghost functioning through the priesthood can greatly enrich our lives.
“And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
“Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space.” (D&C 88:11–12.)
The Lord said to Frederick G. Williams:
“Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.
God gives to each of his children his Spirit to help them keep the commandments and fulfill the purpose of life. But as it is written:
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. …
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” (1 Cor. 2:9–10, 12–13.)
From President Lorenzo Snow we learn the benefits of seeking the Spirit:
“There is a way by which persons can keep their consciences clear before God and man, and that is to preserve within them the spirit of God, which is the spirit of revelation to every man and woman. It will reveal to them, even in the simplest of matters, what they shall do, by making suggestions to them. We should try to learn the nature of this spirit, that we may understand its suggestions, and then we will always be able to do right. This is the grand privilege of every Latter-day Saint. We know that it is our right to have the manifestations of the spirit every day of our lives. … The spirit is in every man and every woman so that they need not walk in the darkness at all, and it is not always necessary for them to come to the President of the Church, or to the Twelve, or to the Elders of Israel, to get counsel; they have it within them. … From the time we receive the Gospel, go down into the waters of baptism and have hands laid upon us afterwards for the gift of the Holy Ghost, we have a friend, if we do not drive it from us by doing wrong. That friend is the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, which partakes of the things of God and shows them unto us. This is a grand means that the Lord has provided for us, that we may know the light, and not be groveling continually in the dark.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1899, p. 52.)
The apostle Paul admonished us about grieving the Holy Spirit lest we lose it. He said:
“Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:30–32.)
President Harold B. Lee has said:
“I have learned something of what the Spirit has taught, and I know now that the place of safety in this world is not in any given place; it doesn’t make so much difference where we live; but the all-important thing is how we live, and I have found that security can come to Israel only when they keep the commandments, when they live so that they can enjoy the companionship, the direction, the comfort and the guidance of the Holy Spirit of the Lord, when they are willing to listen to these men whom God has set here to preside as His mouthpieces, and when we obey the counsels of the Church.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1943, p. 129.)
The lifeblood of the Church is the Holy Ghost functioning through the holy priesthood. The Church is guided in every move by revelation. The Lord said to Oliver Cowdery:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that assuredly as the Lord liveth, who is your God and your Redeemer, even so surely shall you receive a knowledge of whatsoever thing you shall ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that you shall receive.
“Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
“Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation.” (D&C 8:1–3.)
This is the way direction comes to the President of the Church.
This is the same spirit that gives direction to the stake president, to the bishop of the ward and the individual members of the Church.
I like the verse of one of our hymns:
May I leave with you my witness, my brothers and sisters, of the truth of this great work, which I have received in this same manner, through the Holy Ghost as it has witnessed unto me. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.