03355_000_004Excerpted from an address delivered at the Buenos Aires, Argentina, area conference on Oct. 29, 1978
A year ago I went with President Kimball back to his home in Arizona. And we visited the home where he grew up as a little boy. We climbed the winding stairs up to a bare room. And there the little boy, before he was a deacon, read the Bible by lamplight. We looked out the window from that upstairs room, and we saw the barns out in back where the cows had been. He used to milk nine cows every morning and night, the old-fashioned way. And as he milked the cows he learned the Articles of Faith, he learned the hymns, and he learned the Ten Commandments. He wrote them down on a little card and put them on the ground where he could look as he milked the cows.
And as he did these things, he decided to make up his mind. He was growing up, and he knew there were a lot of things that were good and a lot that were bad. He decided that when someone offered him a cigarette, he would say no. If someone offered him tea or coffee, he would say no. If they suggested that he be immoral, he would say no; to lie or to cheat, he would say no. He made up his mind when he was a little boy, before he was a deacon. He would do as his mother had taught him. He would keep the commandments.
And so as he grew older and the boys all came around and said, “Spencer, will you have a cigarette? Will you have a drink of whiskey? Will you have some coffee?” he didn’t have to stop to think. He didn’t worry about hurting their feelings. He had made up his mind just once to say no, and after that it was easy always to say no to the bad things. And that is how he has lived his life all these years.
I suggest that you young men decide right now to say no and remember that the prophet made that decision many years ago—no! And as the years go by and you are with a group and your parents are away, you can say no. If you’ll do these things, it will be easy for you, and you will honor your priesthood. You will magnify your priesthood. You’ll honor your father and your mother.
Now, as the secretary to the president, I want to say to you that he is the prophet of the Lord. I have worked at his side for five years now. And the Lord tells me that he is his prophet. The gospel is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet. God is our Father, and Jesus is the Christ, our older brother. This is my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.