Safe in His Hand


God warned Noah of the Flood and told the righteous how to escape. God told Joseph in Egypt of the coming famine and how to prepare. That same God speaks today through His prophets, giving counsel that brings peace and safety when followed.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). In the sacred quiet of the upper room, the Savior went on to tell His Apostles that they would face persecution and sorrow. Then He said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

In His preface to the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord warned that “peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.” But the Savior also promised, “The Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst” (D&C 1:35–36).

Regarding the commotion of the last days, we are told that “men’s hearts shall fail them” (D&C 45:26; 88:91). But the message of the gospel has always been one of peace—peace toward the world and peace from, or despite, the world. Surely “be of good cheer” teaches us not to let our hearts fail.

Every dispensation has seen tumult and war, terror and want. And to every dispensation the Lord has sent prophets to warn the wicked and reassure and prepare the righteous. It’s no different in this, the great and final dispensation. In an unbroken line of succession since Joseph Smith, we have had prophets and apostles, seers and revelators, to guide and counsel us. They speak the Savior’s message of peace and hope. They help us prepare our homes and our hearts so that we may have hope, not fear; peace, not anxiety.

Prophet Joseph Smith

“Prophets, priests and kings … have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; … we are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory.”

President Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 4:609–10.

President Brigham Young

“Every time they persecute and try to overcome this people, they elevate us, weaken their own hands, and strengthen the hands and arms of this people. And every time they undertake to lessen our number, they increase it. And when they try to destroy the faith and virtue of this people, the Lord strengthens the feeble knees, and confirms the wavering in faith and power in God, in light, and intelligence. Righteousness and power with God increase in this people in proportion as the Devil struggles to destroy it.”

President Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe (1954), 351.

President Joseph F. Smith

“You do not need to worry in the least, the Lord will take care of you and bless you. … He has stretched forth His hand to accomplish his purposes, and the arm of flesh cannot stay it. … It is only necessary for us to try with our might to keep pace with the onward progress of the work of the Lord, then God will preserve and protect us, and will prepare the way before us.”

President Joseph F. Smith, in Conference Report, Oct. 1905, 5–6.

President David O. McKay

“God has established His Church never to be thrown down nor given to another people. And as God lives and His people are true to Him and to one another, we need not worry about the ultimate triumph of truth.”

President David O. McKay, in Conference Report, Apr. 1969, 152.

President Harold B. Lee

“We are seeing the signs of our times as foretold by the prophets and by the Master himself. … In the Church, we have been witnessing some of the most dramatic things, and I can testify that you are seeing what the Lord is revealing for the needs of this people today. …

“… Safety can’t be won by tanks and guns and the airplanes and atomic bombs. There is only one place of safety and that is within the realm of the power of Almighty God that he gives to those who keep his commandments and listen to his voice, as he speaks through the channels that he has ordained for that purpose.”

President Harold B. Lee, “Closing Remarks,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 125.

President Howard W. Hunter

“Knowing what we know, and living as we are supposed to live, there really is no place, no excuse, for pessimism and despair. …

“I promise you in the name of the Lord whose servant I am that God will always protect and care for his people. We will have our difficulties the way every generation and people have had difficulties. But with the gospel of Jesus Christ, you have every hope and promise and reassurance. The Lord has power over his Saints and will always prepare places of peace, defense, and safety for his people. When we have faith in God we can hope for a better world—for us personally, and for all mankind.”

President Howard W. Hunter, “An Anchor to the Souls of Men,” Ensign, Oct. 1993, 70.

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the best storehouse is the family storeroom. …

“Our people for three-quarters of a century have been counseled and encouraged to make such preparation as will assure survival should a calamity come. …

“I have faith, my dear brethren, that the Lord will bless us, and watch over us, and assist us if we walk in obedience to His light, His gospel, and His commandments.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2005, 62.

President Thomas S. Monson

“I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.

“My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “Be of Good Cheer,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2009, 92.

Highlights of Church and World Events

The following time line provides a reassuring perspective. Even when the world has been in great turmoil and even when the Saints have suffered intense persecution, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has held to its steady course. Membership grows, stakes and temples spread across the earth, and the Lord continues to guide us through His chosen servants.

In any of the difficulties that lie ahead of us, as individuals and as a people, the Lord’s voice should echo in our hearts: “Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me” (D&C 50:41).

 

1830–39

Church Events

Book of Mormon (left) published.

Church organized.

Kirtland Temple (below) dedicated.

First mission, the British Mission, organized.

First revelations published in A Book of Commandments (below left), later in Doctrine and Covenants.

Church Membership

Number of Stakes (end of decade)

16,460

3

 

1830–39

World Events

Revolution in France.

First Opium War between Britain and China begins.

 

1840–49

1850–59

1860–69

Church Events

Articles of faith first published.

Relief Society organized (left).

Joseph Smith martyred.

Saints move west.

Brigham Young sustained as President of the Church.

First Sunday School organized.

Ground broken for Salt Lake Temple.

U.S. Army marches toward Utah to put down supposed rebellion.

First non-English Book of Mormon published, in Denmark (below).

First conference held in newly completed Salt Lake Tabernacle (below).

Transcontinental railroad completed in Utah.

The first Church organization for young women begins.

Church Membership

Number of Stakes (end of decade)

48,160

1

57,038

4

88,432

9

 

1840–49

1850–59

1860–69

World Events

U.S. declares war on Mexico.

Revolutions in Vienna, Venice, Berlin, Milan, Rome, Warsaw.

Communist Manifesto published.

Irish potato famine.

Crimean War.

First transatlantic telegraph cable laid.

U.S. Civil War.

Revolution in Spain.

Serfs emancipated in Russia.

Austria defeated in Seven Weeks’ War.

 

1870–79

1880–89

1890–99

Church Events

Young Men MIA and Primary organizations begin.

St. George Temple (below)—the first in Utah—dedicated.

Mormon colonies established in Arizona and Colorado.

President Young dies.

John Taylor becomes President of Church.

Intense persecution of Church members for plural marriage.

President Taylor dies; Wilford Woodruff becomes President of Church.

President Woodruff issues manifesto ending plural marriage (see Official Declaration 1).

Salt Lake Temple (below and below left) dedicated.

President Woodruff dies; Lorenzo Snow becomes President of Church.

Renewed emphasis on tithing.

Church Membership

Number of Stakes (end of decade)

128,386

22

183,144

32

271,681

40

 

1870–79

1880–89

1890–99

World Events

Franco-Prussian War.

Revolt in Paris.

Terrorism in Ireland.

Sino-Japanese War.

Spanish-

American War.

Boer War in South Africa.

 

1900–09

1910–19

1920–29

Church Events

President Snow dies; Joseph F. Smith becomes President of Church.

Reed Smoot (left) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles becomes a member of U.S. Senate after long debate.

First Presidency asks members in Europe to remain there to build up the Church.

Missionaries removed from France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium prior to outbreak of World War I.

Jesus the Christ (below) published.

President Smith receives vision of the redemption of the dead (see D&C 138).

President Smith dies; he is succeeded by Heber J. Grant.

Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicates South America for preaching of gospel.

First LDS institute of religion established.

Tabernacle Choir (below) begins series of weekly radio broadcasts, which continue to this day.

Church Membership

Number of Stakes (end of decade)

377,279

60

507,961

79

663,652

104

 

1900–09

1910–19

1920–29

World Events

Russo-Japanese War.

Russian Revolution of 1905.

Earthquake kills 150,000 in southern Italy and Sicily.

Turkish-Italian War.

Revolution in China.

Balkan Wars.

World War I.

Russian Revolution of 1917.

Worldwide influenza epidemic kills millions.

Stalin takes over Soviet Union.

Hitler and Mussolini begin rise to power in Germany and Italy.

U.S. stock market collapses, beginning worldwide economic crisis.

 

1930–39

1940–49

1950–59

Church Events

The Church introduces a formal welfare program to assist needy and unemployed members (below).

In 1939 all missionaries in Germany are directed to move to neutral countries; then all missionaries are withdrawn from Europe.

Members encouraged to plant gardens, bottle produce, and store coal.

President Grant dies; George Albert Smith succeeds him.

After WWII, the Church sends relief supplies to Europe (below).

Welfare becomes a permanent program of the Church.

President Smith dies; David O. McKay becomes President of Church.

Ezra Taft Benson (below) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles chosen by U.S. president as Secretary of Agriculture.

President McKay declares, “Every member a missionary.”

Church Membership

Number of Stakes (end of decade)

803,528

129

1,078,671

175

1,616,088

290

 

1930–39

1940–49

1950–59

World Events

Spanish monarchy overthrown.

Mussolini invades Ethiopia.

Hitler invades Austria and Poland.

Japan invades China.

Russo-Finnish War.

World War II.

Millions killed in the Holocaust.

First use of atomic weapons.

Cold War begins.

Korean War.

Hydrogen bomb developed.

Cold War deepens.

Vietnam War escalates.

Fidel Castro takes power in Cuba.

 

1960–69

1970–79

1980–89

Church Events

Formal language training for missionaries begins at Brigham Young University.

The home teaching program replaces the ward teaching program.

Family home evening program emphasized.

President McKay dies; he is succeeded by Joseph Fielding Smith.

President Smith dies two years later; he is succeeded by Harold B. Lee, who dies after 18 months in office. Spencer W. Kimball becomes President of the Church.

First Quorum of the Seventy is organized.

Priesthood is extended to all worthy male members.

Subtitle “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” added to Book of Mormon.

Second Quorum of the Seventy established.

President Kimball dies; Ezra Taft Benson sustained as President of the Church.

Church Membership

Number of Stakes (end of decade)

2,807,456

496

4,404,121

1,092

7,308,444

1,739

 

1960–69

1970–79

1980–89

World Events

Berlin Wall erected.

Cuban missile crisis.

Arab-Israeli Six-Day War.

Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War.

Terrorists strike Munich Olympics.

Genocide in Cambodia.

Falklands War.

Israel invades Lebanon.

Marcos regime toppled in Philippines.

Airliner blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Berlin Wall opened.

U.S. invades Panama.

 

1990–99

2000–2009

Church Events

500,000th missionary of this dispensation called.

President Benson dies and is succeeded by Howard W. Hunter, who serves just under nine months before his death.

Gordon B. Hinckley is set apart as Church President.

Intense temple-building program begins.

Church has more non-English-speaking members than English-speaking.

President Hinckley dies; Thomas S. Monson becomes 16th President of the Church.

1,000,000th missionary called.

The Conference Center (below) dedicated.

130 temples in operation.

Church Membership

Number of Stakes (end of decade)

10,752,984

2,542

13,750,651

2,858

 

1990–99

2000–2009

World Events

Persian Gulf War.

Soviet Union breaks up.

Yugoslav federation dissolved, resulting in years of warfare.

Earthquake in Japan kills thousands.

Massacres in Rwanda.

Terrorist attacks.

U.S. and allies invade Iraq.

Indian Ocean tsunami kills more than 225,000.

Global financial crisis.

Far right: images of Joseph Smith and Kirtland Temple courtesy of Church History Library

Images of Brigham Young, pioneers, Danish Book of Mormon, and wars courtesy of Church History Library; photograph of cemetery courtesy of Samantha Bridge

Photographs of early Saints, book, Ezra Taft Benson in Germany, and ruins of Kaiserhof Hotel in Berlin courtesy of Church History Library; chart, battleship, cemetery, and missile © Corbis; painting of David O. McKay © Everett Clark Thorpe, may not be copied

Photograph of small family home evening manual courtesy of Church History Library; illustration on large manual by Phyllis Luch; photograph of Ezra Taft Benson © Busath.com; photograph of Nauvoo Illinois Temple by Scott G. Winterton; war photographs, chart, and flood photograph © Corbis; photograph of Brandenburg Gate © Getty Images