Conference Excerpts


One Hundred and Forty-third Semi-annual Conference of the Church
If you want to know what the Lord would have the Saints know and to have his guidance and direction for the next six months, get a copy of the proceedings of this conference, and you will have the latest word of the Lord as far as the Saints are concerned.—President
Harold B. Lee

My beloved brothers and sisters and friends who are listening by radio and television. May I now for a few moments make some comments about a condition which is of great concern to all of us today. I speak of the shocking lack of self-respect by so many individuals, as is evidenced by their dress, their manner, and engulfing waves of permissiveness which seem to be moving over the world like an avalanche.

We see among us so many who seem to be forsaking standards of decency or an understanding of the meaning of time-honored words which, since the beginning of time, have had real meaning to our forebears; words that have made for strength of character and righteousness and harmony and unity and peace in the world.

There are eternal words which, if understood and taught and practiced, would bring salvation to every man, woman, boy, and girl who does now live or has lived or will yet live in the world.

To some it may seem old-fashioned to speak of virtue and chastity, honesty, morality, faith, character, but these are the qualities which have built great men and women and point the way by which one may find happiness in the living of today and eternal joy in the world to come. These are the qualities which are the anchors to our lives, in spite of the trials, the tragedies, the pestilences, and the cruelties of war which bring in their wake appalling destruction, hunger, and bloodshed.

President Harold B. Lee

President Harold B. Lee

President Lee

To mothers, daughters, and women everywhere, let me stress the fact that because of your great potential and influence for good in the lives of all of us, Satan is determined to destroy you. You cannot compromise with him. You must have the courage, the strength, the desire, and the determination to live as the Lord would have you live—good clean lives. Girls, keep yourselves virtuous and worthy of a fine young man who has likewise kept himself clean, so that together you can go to the House of the Lord to be sealed in the holy bonds of matrimony for time and all eternity, and prepare a home where God will be pleased to send his spirit children. Then you will be able to face your children secure in the knowledge that your own example is the way to happiness and eternal progression. They are entitled to this heritage. I humbly pray that you will so live as to give it to them.

The whole purpose of the creation of the earth was to provide a dwelling place where the spirit children of God might come and be clothed in mortal bodies and, by keeping their second estate, prepare themselves for salvation and exaltation. The whole purpose of the mission of Jesus Christ was to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. The whole purpose of mothers and fathers should be to live worthy of this blessing and to assist God the Father and his son Jesus Christ in their work. No greater honor could be given to woman than to assist in this divine plan, and I wish to say without equivocation that a woman will find greater satisfaction and joy and make a greater contribution to mankind by being a wise and worthy mother raising good children than she could make in any other vocation.

President N. Eldon Tanner First Counselor in the First Presidency

President N. Eldon Tanner

President Tanner

I know that Jesus Christ was the firstborn spirit child of God the Father; that he is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh; that, as the scriptures teach, in the spirit world before this earth was created he sponsored the Father’s plan for the mortality, the death, the resurrection, and the eternal life of men; that, commissioned of the Father, he was the creator of this earth; the Jehovah of the Old Testament, “the God of Adam and of Noah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel, the God at whose instance the prophets of the ages have spoken, the God of all nations, and [that] He shall yet reign on earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 4.)

He came to earth as the Babe of Bethlehem, begotten of the Father, born of Mary; the gospel he taught is the one and only means by which men can fulfill the full measure of their creation. “His immaculate life in the flesh” and “his voluntary death as a consecrated sacrifice for the sins of mankind,” with his victory over death, secured for all men resurrection and immortality and, upon the conditions specified by him, eternal life.

President Marion G. Romney Second Counselor in the First Presidency

President Marion G. Romney

President Romney

There are depths in the sea which the storms that lash the surface into fury never reach. They who reach down into the depths of life where, in the stillness, the voice of God is heard, have the stabilizing power which carries them poised and serene through the hurricane of difficulties.

President Spencer W. Kimball President of the Council of the Twelve

President Spencer W. Kimball

President Kimball

Our youth have been brought up on a diet of music that is loud and fast, more intended to agitate than to pacify, more intended to excite than to calm. Even so, there is a breadth of it, some soft enough to be innocent and appealing to our youth, and that which is hard, and that is where the problem is. …

I would recommend that you go through your record albums and set aside those records that promote the so-called new morality, the drug, or the hard rock culture. Such music ought not to belong to young people concerned about spiritual development.

Why not go through your collection? Get rid of the worst of it. Keep just the best of it. Be selective in what you consume and what you produce. It becomes a part of you.

Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve

Elder Boyd K. Packer

Elder Packer

As you feel the need to confide in the Lord or to improve the quality of your visits with him—to pray, if you please—may I suggest a process to follow: go where you can be alone, go where you can think, go where you can kneel, go where you can speak out loud to him. The bedroom, the bathroom, or the closet will do. Now, picture him in your mind’s eye. Think to whom you are speaking, control your thoughts—don’t let them wander—address him as your Father and your friend. Now tell him things you really feel to tell him—not trite phrases that have little meaning, but have a sincere, heartfelt conversation with him. Confide in him, ask him for forgiveness, plead with him, enjoy him, thank him, express your love to him, and then listen for his answers. Listening is an essential part of praying. Answers from the Lord come quietly—ever so quietly. In fact, few hear his answers audibly with their ears. We must be listening so carefully or we will never recognize them. Most answers from the Lord are felt in our heart as a warm comfortable expression, or they may come as thoughts to our mind. They come to those who are prepared and who are patient.

Bishop H. Burke Peterson First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric

Bishop H. Burke Peterson

Bishop Peterson

Certainly the day is here when, if we are to follow in his paths, we must take the weary, lonely, depressed, the troubled soul, and the gospel-hungry by the hand and lift and help. Yes, we also need to lift the dishonest, the self-condemning, and those who have chosen expediency over correct principles.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve

Elder Marvin J. Ashton

Elder Ashton

Christ’s example and instructions to his friends are clear. He forgave, and he said: “… Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44.)

What is our response when we are offended, misunderstood, unfairly or unkindly treated, or sinned against, made an offender for a word, falsely accused, passed over; hurt by those we love, our offerings rejected? Do we resent, become bitter, hold a grudge? Or do we resolve the problem if we can, forgive, and rid ourselves of the burden?

The nature of our response to such situations may well determine the nature and quality of our lives, here and eternally. A courageous friend, her faith refined by many afflictions, said to me only hours ago, “Humiliation must come before exaltation.”

It is required of us to forgive. Our salvation depends upon it. In a revelation given in 1831 the Lord said:

“My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened.

“Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.

“I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” (D&C 64:8–10.)

Elder Marion D. Hanks Assistant to the Council of the Twelve

Elder Marion D. Hanks

Elder Hanks

To enable us to keep our minds centered on righteousness, we should consciously elect to ponder the truths of salvation in our hearts. Brother Packer yesterday pleaded with eloquence that we sing the songs of Zion in order to center our thoughts on wholesome things. I would like to add that we can also—after we have had the opening songs—call on ourselves to preach a sermon. I have preached many sermons walking along congested city streets, or tramping desert trails, or in lonely places, thus centering my mind on the Lord’s affairs and the things of righteousness; and I might say they have been better sermons than I have ever preached to congregations.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Council of the Twelve

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

Elder McConkie

A person’s attitude is perhaps the hardest of all personal attributes to change. If your attitude is right, then your life is made right. If your heart is touched, your mind and way of thinking will change and your life will change for the better accordingly. I believe we must become so immersed in the gospel of Jesus Christ that we become physically as well as mentally more and more like the Lord himself. We must yield our whole hearts to him. What we then do is done not because we are asked to, nor because we are forced to, but because we want to. Neither pressure nor force can be exerted upon us from outside, when what we do is done because it is our own choice and desire. It then makes no difference to us what other men may think, or say, or do. Our hearts being committed wholly to God, what we do is done out of our love for and our trust in him.

Elder Theodore M. Burton Assistant to the Council of the Twelve

Elder Theodore M. Burton

Elder Burton

If I were a young deacon all over again, I would pass the sacrament like it was one of the most important things I had to do all week. My every act and my appearance would be in a strict harmony with the dignity and honor of the position entrusted to me by the Savior.

The gathering of fast offerings would take on a rich, new meaning, and I would remind myself as I approached each home that I was the bishop’s personal representative, that poor and needy people would be blessed more abundantly as a result of my efforts to participate in what James described as “pure religion and undefiled.” (See James 1:27.)

If I were a young teacher or priest again, I would strive to really be an asset to my home teaching companion. I would try harder to cement friendships with the members we visit. I would attempt to lift people like the Savior did. My responsibility toward the sacrament would be regarded as a rich, spiritual experience, never to be taken lightly. To participate in a sacred ordinance with anything but our highest respect and best effort is a disservice to the people of the ward and a betrayal of the true Spirit of Christ.

Elder Robert L. Simpson Assistant to the Council of the Twelve

Elder Robert L. Simpson

Elder Simpson