It is related of Spinola and Richardet, the ambassadors sent by the king of Spain to negotiate a treaty at the Hague in 1608, that one day they saw some eight or ten persons land from a little boat and, sitting down upon the grass, proceed to make a meal of bread, cheese, and drink.
“Who are those travelers?” asked the ambassadors of a peasant.
“These are our worshipped masters, the deputies from the state,” was his reply.
Spinola at once whispered, “These are not men to be conquered.” (From Happy Homes and the Hearts That Make Them by Samuel Smiles.)
Sometime back I had the privilege of attending a stake conference in the company of President Spencer W. Kimball. He was not the president of the Church at that time. Elder Kimball worked tirelessly holding one meeting after another until late Saturday night. On Sunday we held a meeting with bishoprics and high councilors at 8:00 A.M. This was followed by the general session, a meeting with the seventies quorum, an interview with the patriarch, the dedication of a chapel, and a talk to the seminary students in the evening. We went to the stake president’s home about 9:00 P.M. to wait for our plane that did not leave until nearly 11:00 P.M. The kindly stake president’s wife wanted to fix us dinner. Elder Kimball said, “Please, all I need is a bowl of milk and some of your homemade bread to break up in it.” These are not men to be conquered.
Most men of his stature and leadership capacity would feast on pheasant, caviar, and other sumptuous foods fit for a king. They would fill their stomachs on champagne, liquors, and wines and indulge to a point of inebriation and simplemindedness. But those who run the swiftest race, who climb the highest mountains, who swim the most dangerous streams in life are the lean and hard, the conditioned, the men of discipline and willpower. These are not men to be conquered.
We have read of political leaders and business executives who glut themselves every night and sleep until 10:00 A.M. every morning, men who soon lose their power. The law of the harvest is absolute. Those who “dive to the depths of pleasure come up with more sand than pearls,” said a modern prophet.
The story was told of General Antigonus who was preparing to have his men attack the enemy. The plan was devised, the strategy decided, and the hour determined. General Antigonus’s men were outnumbered severely. The signal to attack was given. No one attacked. In fact, they were about ready to retreat ingloriously. General Antigonus asked what the problem was. The captains replied that they were outnumbered so severely that the men dared not attack. General Antigonus thought for a moment and then asked, “For how many then wilt thou reckon me?” This spirit spread through the ranks; they attacked and won a great battle.
How many do you think the Lord counts each of his righteous servants for? How many do you count a President Spencer W. Kimball for? How about a Nathan Eldon Tanner, a Marion G. Romney, or an Ezra Taft Benson?
These are not men to be conquered. When you make your contribution in life, will men list your assets and fortune or will they talk about your character and integrity?
How many would you count Barbara Smith or Belle Spafford for?
The decline and fall of Rome was attributable to the general corruption of its people and to their engrossing love of pleasure and idleness—work in the latter days of Rome was regarded as fit only for slaves. Its citizens ceased to pride themselves on the virtues of their great forefathers, and the empire fell because it did not deserve to live. And so the nations that are idle and luxurious—that “will rather lose a pound of blood,” as old Burton says, “in a single combat than a drop of sweat in any honest labor”—must inevitably die out, and laborious, energetic nations take their place.
In the above statement we could replace the word nation with men and the principle would still remain the same. Men and women of principle are not easily conquered.
President Nathan Eldon Tanner had not reached his peak as one of Canada’s great leaders. Opportunity and financial wealth beyond his wildest supposition were ahead. A call from the prophet and it was all laid aside.
President Marion G. Romney sat through the funeral service of his wife on Monday, March 12, 1979. On Tuesday this great soul attended and spoke at the Logan Temple dedication. These are not men to be conquered.
Listen to the voice of “one” from the past who qualified as one not to be conquered. Speaking at general conference in October 1942, President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., a member of the First Presidency, said:
“Now, I would like to say something else, brethren, again by way of counsel. I shall be accused, when I do, of talking politics, and perhaps on this point I may say I do not read anonymous letters. When they come in, I just throw them into the wastebasket. I only read enough of the signed scurrilous letters that are sent to know that they are scurrilous, and then they follow along. So it is useless for anyone to try to take out any personal feeling in that way.
“You and I have heard all our lives that the time may come when the Constitution may hang by a thread. I do not know whether it is a thread or a small rope by which it now hangs, but I do know that whether it shall live or die is now in the balance.
“I have said to you before, brethren, that to me the Constitution is a part of my religion. In its place it is just as much a part of my religion as any other part. It is a part of my religion because it is one of those institutions which God has set up for His own purposes, and, as one of the brethren said today, set up so that this Church might be established, because under no other government in the world could the Church have been established as it has been established under this government.
“I think I would be safe in saying that my fellowship with you in the Church depends upon whether or not I accept the revelations and the principles which God has revealed. If I am not willing to do that, then I am not entitled to fellowship. Anyone else who fails to accept the revelations and the principles which God has revealed stands in precisely the same situation.”
Isn’t that a powerful declaration? I have very strong feelings that the Lord has now sent a wonderful generation of youth who will not be men and women to be conquered. What a destiny is yours! What a marvelous period of the world in which to live! I pray that I might be able to live long enough to see many of you, thousands upon thousands, stand tall as the generation of Latter-day Saints whom all the outside world might come to know, for they will know that you are not men and women to contend with or to be conquered. You will do and see deeds done the likes of which have never been accomplished in all of humanity. Remember, my young friends, you must be lean and hard. You must be fit for the race. You must place character, integrity, and principles of truth as the guiding lights for the dark days ahead. It thrilled me as my mind saw, as it were in vision, the future greatness that awaits those who are pure and true to the teachings and example of the Master.
I pray the Lord to bless every single youth and young adult in his great Church.