TTS: Things They’re Saying


As usual, many relevant and meaningful talks were given at the 141st annual general conference in April. Following are a few of the many highly quotable excerpts of these inspired addresses.

The bearing of a testimony is akin to a declaration of love. The romantics and poets and couples in love, from the beginning of time, have sought more impressive ways of saying it, or singing it, or writing it. They have used all of the adjectives, all of the superlatives, all manner of poetic expression. And when all is said and done, the declaration which is most powerful is the simple, three-word variety.

To one who is honestly seeking, the testimony borne in these simple phrases is enough, for it is the spirit that beareth record, not the words.

Elder Boyd K. Packer Of the Council of the Twelve

Marriage usually brings with it the incurring of many obligations. To you, my young friends, I should like to suggest that you make it your first obligation to live honestly with God in the payment of your tithes and offerings. You will need his blessings; oh, how much you will need them! I give you my solemn testimony that he does that which he has promised to do. Among those blessings will be peace in the home and love in the heart.

Elder Gordon B. Hinckley Of the Council of the Twelve

As someone has said: “If we were to be arrested for being Christians, I wonder if there would be enough evidence to convict us?” We have been warned and forewarned. We cannot plead ignorance. If we are to save ourselves, our families, and our country, we must, as Peter taught, repent, be baptized, change our ways, and turn and serve the Lord and keep his commandments. The responsibility rests on us as individuals. We need a spiritual renaissance.

President N. Eldon Tanner Second Counselor in the First Presidency

Satan is irrevocably committed to countering and overcoming the influence of the Spirit of Christ upon men. He is the representative, promoter, and advocate of that “opposition in all things” referred to by Lehi in his instructions to his son Jacob. (See 2 Ne. 2:11, 14–18.)

Satan’s methods are various, devious, and countless.

“… by every possible means he seeks to darken the minds of men and then offers them falsehood and deception in the guise of truth. Satan is a skillful imitator, and as genuine gospel truth is given the world in ever-increasing abundance, so he spreads the counterfeit coin of false doctrine … [As] ‘the father of lies’ he has … become, through the ages of practice in his nefarious work,” such an adept “that were it possible he would deceive the very elect.” (Joseph F. Smith.)

Elder Marion G. Romney Of the Council of the Twelve

The Almighty provided that we should observe a sacred Sabbath each week. We have flouted this law to his face, and most of us have turned his holy day into one of pleasure or of “business as usual,” and yet the Sabbath was given as a symbol of allegiance to our Creator.

Elder Mark E. Petersen Of the Council of the Twelve

Branch Rickey, the great baseball manager, was once asked to describe his greatest day in baseball. He said, “I can’t because I haven’t had it yet.” And most of our greatest experiences are yet ahead of us. One of them will be the glorious second coming of Jesus Christ, when with his mighty angels in flaming fire he will come to cleanse the earth of its sins and to inaugurate the millennial reign upon this earth. Every one of us will have a literal bodily resurrection, and what a great experience that will be!

Elder Sterling W. Sill Assistant to the Council of the Twelve

God stands revealed or he remains forever unknown, and the things of God are and can be known only by and through the Spirit of God.

True religion deals with spiritual things. We do not come to a knowledge of God and his laws through intellectuality, or by research, or by reason. I have an average mind—one that is neither better nor worse than the general run of mankind. In the realm of intellectual attainment I have a doctor’s degree, and I hope my sons after me will reach a similar goal. In their sphere, education and intellectuality are devoutly to be desired.

But when contrasted with spiritual endowments, they are of but slight and passing worth. From an eternal perspective what each of us needs is a Ph.D. in faith and righteousness. The things that will profit us everlastingly are not the power to reason, but the ability to receive revelation; not the truths learned by study, but the knowledge gained by faith; not what we know about the things of the world, but our knowledge of God and his laws.

President Bruce R. McConkie Of the First Council of the Seventy

To all that has been said, may I now add my personal testimony of the truth and divinity of this great work and leave with the faithful Saints in all the world my blessing.

I say to you, and to the whole Church, and for that matter to the whole world, that a gracious and loving Father has in these last days spoken again from heaven to his servants the prophets.

His voice has been one inviting all men to come to his Beloved Son, to learn of him, to partake of his goodness, to take his yoke upon them, and to work out their salvation by obedience to the laws of his gospel. His voice has been one of glory and honor, of peace in this life, and of eternal life in the world to come.

I know that God lives and that he sent his Only Begotten Son into the world to work out the infinite and eternal atonement.

I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he received from his Father the power to ransom men from the spiritual and temporal death brought into the world by the fall of Adam.

I know that the Lord has set up his church and kingdom on earth for the last time; that in this latter-day kingdom are found the power and authority of the holy priesthood; and that this church administers the gospel and makes its blessings available to all who will believe and obey.

President Joseph Fielding Smith

When a youth asks the question of himself or a friend, “Why shouldn’t I take drugs?” he is very possibly asking the wrong question. What he may really want to know and need to know is “Why should I want to take any kind of a stimulant or depressant at all? What is there in my life that I am unhappy enough about to want to escape into a diabolic world of illusion?” What causes a strong, lovely, vibrant young person to allow a chemical to control his or her behavior? What is there at home, school, work, or church that is so uncomfortable that an escape seems necessary? …

It is time for us to reaffirm the great truth that God’s paths are straight. They not only provide safety, but they also lead to happiness and eternal progression.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton Assistant to the Council of the Twelve

The laws of nature, the laws of God, the laws of life, are one and the same and are always in full force. We live in a universe of law. Spring follows winter. This we can count on. The sun will show itself on time again tomorrow morning. This we can count on.

And the moral laws and spiritual laws are also in full force. This also we can count on. All of us will realize the results of how we live our lives. And don’t let anyone say that mere men have the right or power to repeal God’s commandments, or ever set them aside—commandments that are so practical and essential, a part of life, dealing as they do with health and happiness and peace, and with honesty and morality and cleanliness, and excellence, and all else that pertains to life.

If someone tells you, my beloved young friends, that you can set the commandments of God aside without realizing the results—if someone tells you that, then you may know that you are listening to someone who doesn’t know, or isn’t telling you the truth.

Elder Richard L. Evans Of the Council of the Twelve

If you do not know of the divine calling of Joseph Smith, perhaps it is because you have not considered it. Of those who consider the Book of Mormon and the message he restored, more than two hundred people daily receive the witness that he was indeed a prophet of God. He suffered martyrdom. He sealed his testimony with his blood. …

Our present prophet has been chosen by the Lord to direct his affairs and be his mouthpiece. At ninety-five he is moving a bit beyond middle age! But then, the Lord has never specified how old or young a prophet should be. Nor has he said how short or tall. He has not required that he be possessed of any particular academic degrees. But he has made it abundantly clear that he must be “called of God” and empowered by him. It is to be so called and ordained that qualifies President Joseph Fielding Smith.

President A. Theodore Tuttle Of the First Council of Seventy

There are many who profess to be religious and speak of themselves as Christians and according to one such “as accepting the scriptures only as sources of inspiration and moral truth,” and then ask in their smugness: “Do the revelations of God give us a handrail to the kingdom of God as the Lord’s messenger told Lehi, or merely a compass?”

Unfortunately, some are among us who claim to be Church members but are somewhat like the scoffers in Lehi’s vision—standing aloof and seemingly inclined to hold in derision the faithful who choose to accept Church authorities as God’s special witnesses of the Gospel and his agents in directing the affairs of the Church.

There are those in the Church who speak of themselves as liberals who, as one of our former presidents has said: “… read by the lamp of their own conceit.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1939], p. 373.) One time I asked one of our Church educational leaders how he would define a liberal in the Church. He answered in one sentence: “A liberal in the Church is merely one who does not have a testimony.”

Dr. John A. Widtsoe, former member of the Quorum of the Twelve and an eminent educator, made a statement relative to this word liberal as it applied to those in the Church. This is what he said:

“The self-called liberal [in the Church] is usually one who has broken with the fundamental principles or guiding philosophy of the group to which he belongs. … He claims membership in an organization but does not believe in its basic concepts; and sets out to reform it by changing its foundations. …

It is folly to speak of a liberal religion, if that religion claims that it rests upon unchanging truth.”

And then Dr. Widtsoe concludes his statement with this: “It is well to beware of people who go about proclaiming that they are or their churches are liberal. The probabilities are that the structure of their faith is built on sand and will not withstand the storms of truth.” (“Evidences and Reconciliations,” Improvement Era, vol. 44, p. 609.)

Here again, to use the figure of speech in Lehi’s vision, they are those who are blinded by the mists of darkness and as yet have not a firm grasp on the iron rod.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, when there are questions which are unanswered because the Lord hasn’t seen fit to reveal the answers as yet, all such could say, as Abraham Lincoln is alleged to have said: “I accept all I read in the Bible that I can understand, and accept the rest on faith.”

President Harold B. Lee First Counselor in the First Presidency and President of the Council of the Twelve

Arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper, deserted by his disciples, spat upon, tried, and humiliated, Jesus staggered under his great cross toward Calvary. He progressed from triumph—to betrayal—to torture—to death on the cross.

At the last moment the Master could have turned back. But he did not. He passed beneath all things that he might save all things—the human race, the earth, and all the life that ever inhabited it.

Elder Thomas S. Monson Of the Council of the Twelve

[illustrations] Illustrated by Kent Cazier