That [Thy] Name May Be Had in Honorable Remembrance…” -D&C 124:96

19 Jan. 2005

Transcript

That [Thy] Name May Be Had in Honorable Remembrance…” -D&C 124:96


President Woodhouse, faculty and students of LDS Business College . I am honored to have this opportunity to speak to you today. I have anticipated this opportunity for several weeks and I am humbled to be in your presence. You are in a formative period of your lives. I commend you for your continuing efforts to strengthen your personal skills through education. I understand full well that perhaps there are other tasks that you could be performing during this hour. Hopefully you have come recognizing that your spiritual and emotional being needs reinforcement in addition to your academic endeavors. You may be assured that your Father in Heaven is pleased that you have chosen to be in this setting this morning. I also am aware of the responsibility that falls upon me in occupying this position today. I appreciate that lovely prayer and the lovely music, which has prepared us for this moment.

I recognize that some of you come from distant lands and speak other languages. Others have served as missionaries in foreign lands or in other ways are familiar with other peoples and cultures. Each of you has made an important educational decision in your lives in order that you might be empowered to eventually accomplish your most cherished dreams. We respect the sacrifice and the efforts of those who have and are supporting and encouraging you. You are an extension of your families and you are fulfilling their dreams as well. They are proud of your accomplishments. They and we honor you.
 
You know full well that you live in a competitive world and that your educational accomplishments will provide you and your posterity a solid foundation on which to build your lives. It will enable you to achieve to the fullest that for which the God of Heaven is preparing you. Your efforts today will bless many lives, yours and others who will in the future come within your circle of influence.

As a young married student I remember the challenge of going to college. The hours for work and study were insufficient and the finances were meager. We were expecting our first child and did not know how we were going to live, pay for school or the costs of that impending birth. We wondered if there would ever be an end or any hope in sight. You may at times have such thoughts.

At such moments you would do well to remember that the Lord has counseled you to, “be not weary in well-doing.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 64: 33) Or, as the Lord said to the Prophet Joseph in his hour of greatest need, “…Peace be to thy soul: thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment,” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7) “…know thou my son, that these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 122: 7) You may still be somewhat doubtful even when the Lord gently reminds you that you “…are laying the foundation of a great work,” and that out of your small efforts today will proceed, “that which is great.” Remember, the Lord has promised each of us that through our willingness and diligence, we “shall eat the good of the land…in these last days.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 64: 34).

That is especially true for individuals like you who are seeking to better themselves through learning and thus acquire an ability to confront the matters of life whenever and in whatever form they may present themselves.

To the administration, faculty, employees and volunteers, I express heartfelt gratitude for your dedication to the grand work of this institution. You perpetuate a tradition that has been established over many, many years by your predecessors and through you will extend well into the future through your positive influence on these and future students.

Today I would like to discuss with you what I shall call “patterns” or “types” that occur throughout the scriptures. You will find them in every book of sacred writ. They are not new. You have no doubt studied them many times in the past and they will continue to be the focus of your study throughout your lives. They will be a part of your daily living and hopefully you will adopt them into your personal lives. You will teach the same principles found in these patterns to your children and to others who will, by observation or through the spoken word, look to you for guidance.

Today we will study together only one example of many such patterns. I hope it will give you new insight as to who you are and some understanding of the manner in which you will be able to bless others in ways that you may not have previously considered.

The 124th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants contains many important instructions and doctrines that the Lord in 1841 wished to convey to the leaders of the church and especially to impress upon the mind of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Lord commanded Joseph to immediately prepare a solemn proclamation of the Restored Gospel to be sent to kings, presidents, and governors informing them about Nauvoo and inviting them to come to the city. The newly established city in 1841 was comparatively tranquil and the Lord and the Saints were anticipating an influx of people from near and far to enjoy the beauty of Nauvoo.

The Lord gave instructions regarding the building of two houses. One would be the Nauvoo House, an inn for the weary travelers who would in the future visit Nauvoo. If you’ve been to Nauvoo, you’ve see this house near the landing where the boats would come in. The other was to be the Nauvoo Temple , the House of the Lord. The Lord understood the urgency of having the Nauvoo Temple completed inasmuch as the holy ordinances, not yet revealed to the earth, would provide the strength of devotion that would be required of the Saints while they remained in Nauvoo and later on their difficult trek to the West. I find it remarkable how the Lord expressed His concern in this revelation for the comfort and well being of persons both in and outside of the church. This section is also one of the more poignant modern revelations that describe the Lord’s concern for both the temporal and the spiritual welfare of the members of the church then and now.

The above expectations of the Lord could only be accomplished with the collaboration of supportive and diligent leaders. Although at a later time some of the men mentioned in that section would turn against the Prophet Joseph, it is enlightening to read what the Lord said about the leaders He named who would assist Joseph. Contemplate how you might feel if you heard the Lord express similar feelings about you.

Robert B. Thompson , (he who was called by the Lord to assist the Prophet in writing the proclamation mentioned previously)- “I am well pleased with him…. I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings…he shall be great in mine eyes.”

Lyman Wight , (who would be in charge of raising funds and construction of the Nauvoo House)- “I will bear him up as on eagles wings…he shall beget glory and honor to himself and unto my name that when he shall finish his work I may receive him unto myself...”

George Miller , (who would assist Lyman Wight)- “…is without guile; he may be trusted because of the integrity of his heart…I, the Lord love him.”
Isaac Galland - “…I, the Lord, love him for the work he has done, and will forgive all his sins.”

Can you imagine the feelings you would have if you heard the Lord speak such words about you? My sense is that we would be thrilled beyond expression.
Could the Lord say of us that He loves us because of the integrity of our hearts and because we love to do always those things that are right before Him? Is there a need to alter our lives in order that the God could speak of us in such remarkable way?

As will always be found in the Holy Scriptures, or in the counsel of modern day prophets, there are promises made by the Lord to His children when commandments are given, understood, and then obeyed. That too is a pattern we would do well to appreciate as we study the scriptures or listen to our modern prophets. It should also be obvious to us as we seek answers from the Lord to our personal prayers.

This revelation also reveals the profound love the Lord had for Hyrum Smith. Of Hyrum the Lord said, “I, the Lord, love him because of the integrity of his heart, and because he loveth that which is right before me.”

Hyrum and Joseph Smith were not only brothers but also very close friends and associates throughout many events of their lives and, as we know, they were not separated in death. Just 3 ½ years before their martyrdom, the Lord in this revelation released Hyrum who had previously been serving as a counselor to his younger brother, Joseph, in the First Presidency of the church.

Near the end of the section, we find a specific counsel mentioned by the Lord that when seriously pondered should help each of us appreciate who we are and give us a glimpse of our divine potential. Although it is a reference to Hyrum Smith in his role as the Patriarch to the Church and in a special calling as the Assistant President of the church, it also describes traits that we would do well to emulate in our lives. Ponder what the Lord expected of Hyrum and see if it could, in principle, have application to you as well.

As the patriarch, he was to, first, “hold the keys of the patriarchal blessings upon the heads of all my people.” Secondly, Hyrum through his priesthood and calling was to bless and bind on earth with the promise that it would likewise be bound in heaven. Next, he was to be together with Joseph “… a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my church.” Continuing, the Lord said that he was to “act in concert” with and to “receive counsel” from Joseph who would school him in his new duties as the Assistant President of the Church.

Then in verse 96 the Lord expressed the desire that Hyrum would “bear record of the things that I shall show unto him, that his name may be had in ‘honorable remembrance’ from generation to generation, forever and ever” (D&C 124:96).

I hope that in these verses you have caught the significance of what the Lord said to Hyrum. Even more importantly, do you have a greater understanding of what the Lord expects of each of us in our future roles? He, of course, has spoken to you individually through the blessing given to you when the patriarch laid hands upon your head. If you have not recently reviewed and pondered your patriarchal blessing, I would invite you to do so soon. If you have not yet received your patriarchal blessing, it would be well make an appointment with your bishop and begin the process that will enable you to receive that blessing.
 
If we are listening, the Lord also speaks to us daily as He answers our prayers. In principle, our understanding of who we are and the role our Heavenly Father would have us play in His divine plan is no different than that which the Lord outlined to Hyrum on that occasion.

You are in one of the most important decision making periods of your lives. Regardless of where you were born or your present status in life, I submit that there is no more important time in your lives to consider the personal application of the pattern revealed to Hyrum through his brother, Joseph. It is imperative that each of us today do all of which we are capable to assure that we will abide by the principles taught in these and other scriptures. As we do so, our names too will be “had in honorable remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever.”

I think it is significant that this revelation was given to Hyrum as he was embarking on a new assignment in his life. I understand from President Woodhouse that many of you are away from your homes and families for the first time. On a new assignment if you will.

Hyrum certainly had observed his father, Joseph Smith Sr. as he acted in his role as the Patriarch to the Church. As such, Hyrum had a basic understanding of what the Lord expected of him in his ecclesiastical role. However, I believe that the Lord had more in mind than just familiarizing Hyrum with his calling and the events immediately before him. The Lord wanted him to have a much broader view of the way in which he would not only pronounce Patriarchal Blessings upon the heads of the Saints in his day but also the manner in which his service and his example would be a blessing to himself and to his posterity.

Now let us consider once again the Lord’s pattern given to Hyrum. However, we will do so now in light of how that pattern might apply in our individual lives today and in the future.

The keys to the blessings that would be pronounced upon the heads of the Lord ’s people.
First, Hyrum held the keys to the blessings that would be pronounced upon the heads of the Lord ’s people. Young men, you who hold the Priesthood of God; many of you have already observed that power and authority active in your lives. Not in a patriarchal blessing sense as was Hyrum’s call but as an honorable son of God acting in the office and calling that has come to you through your priesthood ordination. If you are married, you may already have begun to catch a glimpse of the privilege that is and will be yours in your sacred role as husband and father. If the blessing of marriage is still in your future, let me say that there awaits you one of the most wonderful and enduring partnerships that you can imagine and that the Lord has given to mankind.

Young women, through your righteousness and your pleading prayers you will bring about miracles in the lives of those who surround you, now and in the future. When you properly understand who you are and the power of your personal righteousness you will come to more fully understand your divine potential and the magnitude of the influence you will have on those who will follow you. Your diligence and example will determine not only what you will achieve but will in large measure also determine the height to which others around you will rise.

Bishop Richard C. Edgley and I share a common link in our family history. He describes Della Whitehead Crockett as the only grandmother he ever knew. His grandfather married Della after Bishop Edgley’s grandmother passed away while Bishop Edgley was a very young child.

I knew Della Crockett as my mother’s “Aunt Della.” Aunt Della never had any children of her own. However, there are hundreds of people in our family and I am certain in many other families as well who knew and loved her because of the kind and caring influence she had on their lives. She was one of the most Christ-like people I have known. I still have the letter she wrote to me when my grandmother, her sister, died unexpectedly in an automobile accident while I was serving as a missionary in South America . I shall never forget the words of comfort they were to me in that difficult moment in my life.

So it was with Aunt Della and thus it will be with you wonderful women if you will recognize today the manner in which you too can bless others through your righteous living.

Bless or Curse; Bind or Loosen
Now, just like Hyrum, your decision-making today may well determine whether your example will bless your posterity or curse them. Whether they will be “bound” to righteousness and loving service through your example that will lift and exalt them or whether they will lose their way and wander off into darkened paths that could ultimately destroy. Consider what we already know about Hyrum’ s posterity. His wife, Mary Fielding Smith, is a legend in the church because of her devotion to the principles of the Restored Gospel following her husband’s martyrdom. She simply would not be deterred in righteous living. Her faith, her personal testimony of the Living God and her personal righteousness carried both Mary Fielding Smith and her posterity to spiritual heights that would have been unattainable had it not been for the teachings and example of she and her martyred husband, Hyrum. 

Consider their son, Joseph F. Smith and grandson, Joseph Fielding Smith. Is it not obvious that the faithfulness of their father and grandfather resulted in a spiritual strength that not only blessed them personally but that continues to bless their posterity and the entire church even today? There may well be some of you here today who are a part of that righteous and blessed heritage.

Just as it was important for Hyrum, and Mary Fielding, and Joseph F, and Joseph Fielding Smith and their descendants to be able to say “I am clean”; so it will be for each of us to so declare to the Lord when we stand before Him to give our report. What will be our report when we stand before Deity to respond?

Prophets and Seers
Just as Joseph and Oliver were to be Prophets and Seers to the church, each of you is positioned to become among the most revered and beloved in your family line. You are determining today to what extent those who will come after you will hold your name in high regard and reverence. Just as prophets are called to give direction to the Church and to society today, you are called with that same responsibility in your family, now or in the future.

Every family has stories of faithfulness and devotion that blesses each succeeding generation. One such story in our family is of my great-grandfather, Lars Christian Christensen. Because of the intense persecution in their homeland, he emigrated with his family from Denmark in the 1870’s and settled in the Hyde Park area of Northern Utah . His devotion to gospel principles is legendary in our family. He was particularly devoted to Sabbath Day observance. He knew that Sunday was special in the sight of the Lord and because he loved the Lord, he too showed an intense respect for the Lord’s day.

Great-grandfather was a farmer as were most of those early immigrants. One particular year he had signed a green pea contract with a vegetable company. The contract required him to harvest his peas and deliver them to the local de-viner or processing point when the peas were mature and ready for harvest as determined by the company representative who closely monitored the maturity of the crop.

The day before the peas were ready for harvest, the company representative informed great-grandfather that he was to begin his harvest the next day. Grandfather reminded the man that the next day was Sunday and informed him that he, grandfather, did not work on the Sabbath. He probably indicated he would instead be ready to begin the harvest early the day following, Monday. The company representative reminded my grandfather that if he did not harvest the next day, Sunday, his contract would be voided and he would not receive payment for the crop he had so meticulously cultivated the entire year.

Certainly grandfather was depending on the income from the harvest of those peas; however, to him there was a more important principle to which he vigorously adhered. His daughter reported in her history of her father, that he informed the company representative that rather than cut the peas on the Sabbath, he would cut them and feed them to his cattle. I have heard others recount that while the company representative stood by, grandfather walked over and opened the gate into the pea field from the pasture where his cattle were grazing and herded his cows into the pea field. The peas were used that year for pasture rather than to harvest. His commitment to the Lord and to the Sabbath Day was more important to him than the year’s income from his crop.

You will have similar opportunities to teach by your example how much you love the Lord and respect His commandments. I promise you those opportunities to teach by your example will come in the future if you have not experienced them already.

Acting in Concert with Joseph
Next, Hyrum was also counseled to act in concert with his brother, Joseph... The Lord referred to Joseph as, “his servant” and instructed that Hyrum should “receive counsel” from Joseph and that Joseph would show unto him whereby he [might] ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessing and glory, and honor, and priesthood that had been held previously by Oliver Cowdery in that same calling.

I doubt there has ever been a time in the history of the earth that there has been a more urgent need for mankind to “act in concert with” and to “receive counsel” from the prophet of the Lord. The Family, A Proclamation to the World and the The Living Christ, the Testimony of the Apostles are but two examples of such counsel. Consider the blessing that those two documents have been in each our lives and the blessing they would be to the entire world if people would only accept and live the principles taught therein.

Two years ago I overheard a conversation in a doctor’s office between two office employees. One apparently was a member of the church and the other identified herself in the conversation as a member of another faith. It was the day after General Conference and the lady, not a member of the LDS Church , asked her friend what President Hinckley had said in his conference address the previous day. What caught my attention more than anything else was the response of the second lady who after hearing her LDS friend’s reply about President Hinckley’s counsel said, “I love President Hinckley (She called him President Hinckley). I could listen to him for hours. He thrills me every time I hear him speak.”

There is a great lesson there for Latter-day Saints and for the entire world. Many are coming to recognize President Hinckley in his proper role as the Lord’s prophet to the world and they, too, are thrilled to hear him speak.

Bear Record of the Things the Lord has shown unto you.
How well do we bear record of the things the Lord has shown to us? What have you learned from your predecessors? What is the legacy you are leaving for your posterity? Are you expressing and recording your testimony for them? Does it have meaning to you and what will be the depth of that meaning to your descendants in the future?

Honorable Remembrance
Finally, the Lord promised Hyrum that as a result of bearing record of the things he heard from Joseph, his name would “be had in honorable remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever.”

Each succeeding generation builds upon the foundation laid by the previous generation. Undoubtedly you are seeking to be more spiritual and righteous than the generations that preceded you. You may rightly expect that through your diligence and encouragement, your children and posterity will not deviate from the example you have provided. Just as Hyrum held the keys to success for his generation and his family, you too, are the light that your posterity will follow.
Do not feel that you cannot succeed. Do not be discouraged that there are competing or conflicting influences in your lives. What you may be experiencing today is not unlike what men or women have experienced in the past.

I honor you for who you are and what you represent both now and in the future. I believe that we can best understand who we are and achieve our divine potential when we view ourselves in the same context that the Lord sees us and when we truly understand what we may become.
 
President David O. McKay, using the example of a sculptor, reminded us, “… each of us is carving a soul this very minute—our own. Is it going to be a deformed one, or is it going to be something admirable and beautiful?
“Yours is the responsibility. Nobody else can carve it for you. Parents may guide, and teachers may help with suggestions, but each young man and young woman has the responsibility to carve his own character.”
(Teachings of the Presidents of the Church- David O. McKay, p. 215).

God our Eternal Father lives. He knows you and loves each of you. You are each His son or daughter. Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He lives and because He lived and died for all mankind; all mankind shall live again.
President Gordon B. Hinckley is the Lord’s prophet today. We see him as the prophet of the Lord. The world, too, is coming to respect him as their prophet. For which we may all be grateful. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Read the Book of Mormon

26 Jan. 2005

Transcript

Read the Book of Mormon


What a wonderful, peaceful refuge this is to be at the devotional at LDS Business College. I visited last week and heard Elder [Shirley] Christensen speak and enjoyed that moment so much. During the week I have thought many times, maybe some of you have too, of Elder Christensen’s story about his ancestor in Cache Valley who refused to harvest his sweet peas on Sunday and gave up that cash crop in honor of the Lord’s day. He said he would rather feed his sweet peas to his cows than break the Sabbath and harvest them on Sunday. I hope that those kinds of lessons linger with us—that we ponder on the things of the Spirit.

President Benson’s Charge
Today I would like to talk about reading the Book of Mormon. On November 5, 1985—that is before some of you were born and some of you were quite small then—President Spencer W. Kimball died. Those who knew him as our prophet felt a great loss. For those who did not live during his ministry, it is difficult to understand the monumental progress he directed. He had received revelations from the Lord to organize the First Quorum of the Seventy, to allow all worthy males to receive the priesthood regardless of race, to print the standard works with new footnotes and study aids cross-referencing all four standard works, and he did so much more. But he had not spoken in general conference for three and a half years. He was ill. He had spoken three and a half years prior, but had only been able to speak one paragraph. So for three and a half years we did not hear the prophet’s voice, and in the conference after his death we were looking forward to President Ezra Taft Benson’s talk when we again could bask under the voice of a living prophet. What would he say? What would we hear from the mouth of the living prophet?

His address, titled “Cleansing the Inner Vessel,” included injunctions to repent, especially from moral transgression, and proscribed the evil of pride in any of its manifestations. But what those who listened to the prophet’s voice that day remember most about his first address as President of the Church was that he gave an urgent call to read the Book of Mormon. He said the Church, as in 1832 when section 84 was received, was under condemnation for taking lightly the Book of Mormon:

“Unless we read the Book of Mormon and give heed to its teachings, the Lord has stated in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants that the whole Church is under condemnation: ‘And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all’ ” (D&C 84:56). The Lord continues: ‘And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written’ (D&C 84:57).” President Benson said that “the Book of Mormon has not been, nor is it yet, the center of our personal study, family teaching, preaching, and missionary work. Of this we must repent” (Ensign, May 1986, 4).
 
And that was the message from our living prophet in his first address to us.

In the next conference, in October of that same year [1986], President Benson’s opening address was titled, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion.” Two years later in October 1988 President Benson’s talk was titled “Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon.” He commended the Church for the efforts that they had made in using the Book of Mormon more, but directed that much, much more had to be done. These commandments from the Lord through His prophet created a great change in the Church and in the lives of Church-member families and individuals throughout the world forever more.

Many of you are the beneficiaries of this great prophetic injunction because you have grown up in families where reading the Book of Mormon was a daily occurrence—a common practice. Or your seminary teachers have encouraged you to read the scriptures daily. Before President Benson so emphatically asked the Church to read the Book of Mormon every day, reading in families and individually was not as common as it is today.

Translations of the Book of Mormon
In the years following President Benson’s injunction to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon, the translation of this book was approved and initiated in many languages. In general conference in April 1990 Elder Boyd K. Packer said this:
“From the beginning of the Church, in 1830, through 1988, the standard works had been translated into thirty-five languages, with seven other languages in process. During the last year, approval has been given and budgets established to translate and publish the standard works in fifty-one additional languages.
“Years of tedious work lie ahead, for each translation must be done as though it alone is important.
“When completed, these translations will extend the number of possible readers of the scriptures in their native tongue by an additional 2,254,000,000 people—half the world population. And other translations will follow” (“The Library of the Lord,” Ensign, May 1990, 36–37).
 
Now, that was 1990, and since that time most of those translations have been completed, published, and are in circulation now.
The coming forth of the Book of Mormon in English was accompanied by many miracles, and the translation of the Book of Mormon into other languages has also been accompanied by the gifts of the Spirit and likewise required the hand of the Lord.

We know that the translation work of Joseph Smith was foretold by ancient prophets. For example, both Isaiah and Nephi prophesied that an educated man would desire to translate the ancient record but that his motives would not be correct. He would desire to do it for the glory of the world and to get gain—financial gain. When confronted with the fact that the book was sealed, he would say that he could not read the book if it were sealed. (See 2 Nephi 27:15-18.) This prophecy was literally fulfilled when Martin Harris showed a sample of the characters from the golden plates to Professor Charles Anthon, and he said he didn’t believe in angels and that he could not “read a sealed book” (Joseph Smith—History 1:64).

The Lord chose Joseph Smith, a humble boy, unlearned by the world’s standards, to translate the record, emphasizing that Joseph “must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building His kingdom” (Joseph Smith—History 1:46). So those are the two motivations for which Joseph could work.

Similarly today when the General Authorities authorize translation work to begin in a new language, it is almost inevitable that someone steps forward to translate, but for the wrong reasons of getting money or getting glory among his fellowmen. Just as inevitably, it seems that the Lord raises up people, humble and in tune, to accomplish the translation work for the right reasons, with an eye single to the glory of God (see Mormon 8:15).

Such was the case with John and Betty Bringhurst. John served a mission many years ago in Guatemala. In addition to learning Spanish, he was assigned to learn Kekchi. That is a Mayan language spoken by hundreds of thousands of people in the remote highlands of Guatemala. The Lord gifted John with an unusual ability in the Kekchi language. After his mission he met Betty, and just two or three days after their wedding they went to Guatemala, where John began working with native speakers of the Kekchi language to translate Selections from the Book of Mormon. That is about one third of the book. In those times that is what they would start with first, the Selections from the Book of Mormon. They found a place to live in the small village of San Pedro Carcha, which is outside of Coban, which is a long way from Guatemala City and a long way from comforts and conveniences. In addition to the bugs and the dust and other inconveniences that you can imagine, just a few weeks into the project Betty began suffering the symptoms of morning sickness. So there they were in their first weeks of marriage in San Pedro Carcha day after day, hour by hour, week after week, translating the Book of Mormon.

By the time August came, when they returned to school, the translation was finished. It had been reviewed and was ready to enter the publication process. By December of that year, the book was ready to print. They had finished that work faster than anyone else had ever done it. And they had done it without a single cent of remuneration.

John insisted that he not be compensated monetarily. They did the work with an eye single to the glory of God and, as Moroni said anciently, for the “welfare of the ancient and long dispersed covenant people of the Lord” (Mormon 8:15). The Bringhursts’ sacrifices helped lay a foundation for the Church among the Kekchi people. Kekchi Church members now number more than 10,000. There is one stake and several districts, with another stake pending soon. Many families have been to the temple. Many sons have been on missions.

Back to Joseph Smith’s time. Emma Smith was one of the people who served as scribe for Joseph Smith. Many years after the death of the Prophet, her son, Joseph III, asked if his father might have written the manuscript beforehand or memorized what he dictated. Emma said no. Joseph, at that time of his life, “could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well worded letter; let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon.” Furthermore, “he had neither manuscript nor book to read from. If he had had anything of the kind he could not have concealed it from me,” she said.

Then she went on, “I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired, for, when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour; and when he returned after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; [and this is interesting] and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible” (as cited by Richard L. Bushman Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, 96).

Now consider the testimony of a more recent translator, a sister who translates Tagalog in the Philippines. She says:
“I can no longer count how many times I have be en moved to tears upon translating the accounts of people both past and present. There was even a time that I felt I wasn’t actually translating their account but they were dictating to me plainly in my language what transpired before them.

“Truly, the Lord takes every opportunity to teach His children. When He was on the earth, He taught them in the streets, in the mountains, in the marketplace, under a tree, or even in the middle of the sea. In my case, He teaches me in that little corner of my room, on a makeshift table, at dawn, with a pen in hand and a pile of translation materials.

“I know this is the Lord’s work, that Satan is against it. Satan knows I need the Spirit to translate, so he would always attempt to take it away from me. Sometimes it takes a long time to get the Spirit back, yet the Lord is merciful. He knows the desire of my heart” (Translation Department Yearbook 2000, internal document of the Translation Department for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

This sister’s mention of the need to work under the influence of the Spirit reminds us of the experience Joseph Smith had as recounted by David Whitmer. He said sometimes Joseph “found he was spiritually blind and could not translate. He told us that his mind dwelt too much on earthly things, and various causes would make him incapable of proceeding with the translation.

“One morning when [Joseph Smith] was getting ready to continue the translation, something went wrong about the house and he was put out about it. Something that Emma, his wife, had done. Oliver and I went upstairs and Joseph came up soon after to continue the translation but he could not do anything. He could not translate a single syllable. He went downstairs, out into the orchard, and made supplication to the Lord; [he] was gone about an hour —came back to the house, and asked Emma’s forgiveness and then came upstairs where we were and then the translation went on all right” (B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:131, cited by L. Tom Perry, Ensign, May 1977, 60).

For the Book of Mormon to be translated correctly by Joseph Smith into English, and by others into other languages, the gifts of the Spirit must be operative.
The basic process for the translator today is to read the passage in English and understand what it says and then think in the language that he or she is translating into, “How should I say this in my language?” And then write it down. So there is this process: read it, understand it, transfer in my mind into the language, and then write it down. The experience of most translators, especially translators who are working with the Book of Mormon—when the Spirit is guiding them—is that the process is so fluid that it can happen almost as fast as they can write or type. It is not uncommon for the translators of the scriptures to have these experiences at least sometime during their scripture translation. This process of reading, understanding, transferring, and typing, when guided by the Spirit, enables them to go just as quickly as they can type or write. And it is not uncommon to find that those portions that are done quickly are the ones that are the least corrected afterwards when the reviewers go through them.

Other miracles attended the translation of the Book of Mormon when it was translated into English. The Joseph Knight family and the Peter Whitmer family were most generous in the assistance they rendered.

Sometime in the latter part of May [1829] Oliver Cowdery wrote to David Whitmer, asking if they [Joseph and Oliver] could go to Fayette to the Whitmer home to continue the translation process. The Whitmers were interested enough in the project that they said OK.

It was an awkward moment when that request came because it was in the spring and they were in the middle of plowing, but the Whitmers recount that they had extra help with those tasks. David told of what seemed to him miraculous help in completing the work. Plowing that should have taken two days was accomplished in one, for example (Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, 102).

Many years later David Whitmer explained to some Church leaders another event:
He was traveling now with Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith from Harmony back to Fayette so they could do the translation, when they had this experience. “A very pleasant, nice-looking old man suddenly appeared by the side of our wagon and saluted us with, ‘good morning, it is very warm,’ at the same time wiping his face or forehead with his hand. We returned the salutation, and, by a sign from Joseph, I invited him to ride if he was going our way. But he said very pleasantly, ‘No, I am going to Cumorah.’ This name was something new to me; I did not know what Cumorah meant. We all gazed at him and at each other, and as I looked around enquiringly of Joseph, the old man instantly disappeared, so that I did not see him again….It was the messenger who had the plates, who had taken them from Joseph just prior to our starting from Harmony” (“The Three Witnesses,” The Historical Record5 (Jan. 1886), 209, as cited by Robert J. Woodford, “Book of Mormon Personalities Known by Joseph Smith,” Ensign, Aug. 1978, 14).

Now, Mary Whitmer and Peter Whitmer, the parents of the Whitmer family, had seven children, when Oliver and Joseph arrived in early June 1829. Three were married and living close by; three boys—Peter, Jr, age 19, David, 24, and John, 26—and 14 year-old Elizabeth Ann were still living at home. So picture this: I don’t know how many have been to the Whitmer home in Fayette. It has been reconstructed. It’ s a little place. So there are six members of the Whitmer family, who are not children. They are big people who are already living there, and then others are coming to move in to take over part of the little house to do the translation work.

“Mary Whitmer, Peter Sr.’s wife, experienced her own miracle, according to her son David. The Prophet Joseph and Oliver Cowdery arrived first, then Emma. The severe alteration of household patterns burdened Mary with more work, but David told Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith later of a special confirmation that she received. Mary, on her way to milk the cows, met a special messenger, who said: ‘You have been very faithful and diligent in your labors, but you are tried because of the increase of your toil; it is proper therefore that you should receive a witness that your faith may be strengthened’.”

“He showed her the plates and, David related, she never felt to complain at her increased labors after that. John C. Whitmer, Jacob’s son, was twenty-one when his grandmother died, and heard Mary’s story first-hand on ‘several occasions.’ He gave many more details: the ‘kind, friendly tone’ of the messenger’s address; Mary’s ‘unexpressible joy and satisfaction’ on hearing the explanations; her view of the engravings as the leaves of the plates were turned one by one before her eyes. The grandson added: ‘I knew my grandmother to be a good, noble and truthful woman, and I have not the least doubt of her statement in regard to seeing the plates being strictly true. She was a strong believer in the Book of Mormon until the day of her death’” (cited by Richard Lloyd Anderson, “The Whitmers: A Family That Nourished the Church,” Ensign, Aug. 1979, 36–37).

Unpublished miracles also occur in the translation work of the Church in today. Roughly 25 years ago Sister Jeri Pace offered to enter translations into a computer in the evenings after her day job as a secretary at BYU. She would work alone in the quiet of the evening, typing Quichua, a language of Ecuador which she did not know, but was spoken by a people whom she had grown to love from the days of her full-time mission. One morning she quietly, but with some emotion, and quite matter of factly, related an experience she had had the night before.

As Sister Pace was typing she felt as if someone were looking over her shoulder, examining with great interest the work she was doing. The feeling was so strong that she actually turned to see who was there. Seeing no one, she continued her work. The feeling that entered her heart and lingered with her was peaceful and not startling, not unnatural, but it was that someone beyond the veil who had a personal involvement in the original text of the translation she was typing was concerned that her work be done correctly. Incidentally, we asked which part she had been typing when she had that experience, and it was the discourse of King Benjamin.

That also is not uncommon for people involved in translation work in today’s languages to feel a great interest on the part of others, on this side of the veil and on the other side of the veil, in the work that is being accomplished.
The Book of Mormon was translated into English by a prophet, seer, and revelator, by the gift and power of God. The translation of this sacred record from English into other languages is attended to by that same Spirit.

Read the Book of Mormon
During the time that I worked in the Translation Department I traveled to many places where the people did not yet have the Book of Mormon in their own language. I often thought and said out loud, “For these people, the plates may just as well still be hidden in the hill. They don’t read English; they don’t have access to the record.” How grateful we can be that “the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to [translate] His word” ( Alma 29:8).
The questions I would pose today are, Where is the Book of Mormon in your life? Is it still hidden in the hill? Or have you brought it forth into your own life, into your own heart?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
“There is no greater issue ever to confront mankind in modern times than this: Is the Book of Mormon the mind and will and voice of God to all men?” (Millennial Messiah (1982), 179).

One year ago in the February 2004 Ensign, President Hinckley, referring to the Book of Mormon, wrote, “The evidence for its truth, for its validity in a world that is prone to demand evidence, lies not in archaeology or anthropology, though these may be helpful to some. It lies not in word research or historical analysis, though these may be confirmatory. The evidence for its truth and validity lies within the covers of the book itself. The test of its truth lies in reading it. It is a book of God. Reasonable people may sincerely question its origin; but those who have read it prayerfully have come to know by a power beyond their natural senses that it is true, that it contains the word of God, that it outlines saving truths of the everlasting gospel, that it ‘came forth by the gift and power of God … to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ (Book of Mormon title page)” (“Four Cornerstones of Faith, ” Ensign, Feb. 2004, 6).

In 1986 when President Benson called on the Church to make the Book of Mormon the center of our personal study, the Sunday School curriculum for that year for the whole Church was the Old Testament. The week following general conference that year, our Sunday School teacher began to set aside a little bit of time each week in class for a special segment which he titled “Book of Mormon Connections.” What else could we do? The prophet had said to make the Book of Mormon the center of our study, yet we had the Old Testament as our curriculum. So he had a segment called “Book of Mormon Connections.” The teacher, or a member of the class, would take a few minutes to draw a connection between the material we were studying in the Old Testament and a passage or event in the Book of Mormon.

Two years later President Benson said, “At present, the Book of Mormon is studied in our Sunday School and seminary classes every four years. This four-year pattern, however, must not be followed by Church members in their personal and family study. We need to read daily from the pages of the book that will get a man ‘nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book’ (History of the Church, 4:461)” (“Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 4).

In President Benson’s powerful talks regarding the Book of Mormon, he quoted extensively from previous talks delivered by President Marion G. Romney. President Romney was a General Authority for many years and later served in the First Presidency for many years. [Informally and off any record you will ever read, I heard President Packer one time refer to President Romney as the Apostles’ Apostle, which I took to mean that when he spoke the Apostles listened and gained great insight from what he said.] Well, in this declaration of President Benson, this call to repentance for reading the Book of Mormon in 1986, and in his other discourses on the subject, he quoted extensively from talks that President Romney had given in previous general conferences.

President Romney had recounted a special experience that he had had with the Book of Mormon when he was the age of most of you, when he had gone away to school. This is his story:
“A few years ago as I began to practice law, members of my family were a little uneasy. They were afraid I would lose my faith. I wanted to practice law, but I had an even greater desire to keep my testimony, and so I decided upon a little procedure which I recommend to you. For thirty minutes each morning before I began the day’s work I read from the Book of Mormon and in just a few minutes a day I read the Book of Mormon through, every year, for nine years. I know that it kept me in harmony, so far as I did keep in harmony, with the Spirit of the Lord” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1949, 36).

Can’t we pause and think about the Book of Mormon in our life, what we want it to be for us individually and what we want it to be for our families in the future? Could we take that step or make that commitment to bring it forth, as it were, into our hearts 30 minutes a day? Or could we make the commitment that as we begin our families, and as children begin to come, that in our families from the very beginning, reading the Book of Mormon will be a family exercise every day? Or that we can make it the center of our study, like the prophets and apostles have counseled us to do?

President Romney had some other strong statements. Let me give you a sampling:
“If we would avoid adopting the evils of the world, we must pursue a course which will daily feed our minds with and call them back to the things of the spirit. I know of no better way to do this than by reading the Book of Mormon” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1960, 111).
“From almost every page of the book, there will come … a moving testimony that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of the Living God, our Redeemer and Savior. This witness alone will be a sustaining anchor in every storm. In the Book of Mormon, [we] will find the plainest explanation of Christ’s divine mission and atonement to be found anywhere in sacred writ” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1960, 112).

I know that a moving testimony comes from every page of the Book of Mormon. The book speaks for itself . What I mean by that is its message is carried into the heart of the sincere person without the need of much explanation or discussion.

The key is this: Because the Book of Mormon testifies so frequently and so vividly of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit conveys the truth of that doctrine, the truth of the book, into the heart of those who read with real purpose, with true intent.

I would like to conclude with a lesson from the Book of Mormon—to let the book speak for itself. And it’s simply this. Throughout the Book of Mormon we find mini summaries of the plan of salvation and of the Atonement and of the Savior’s role in the plan of salvation and in the Atonement. We should watch for them as we read. Try to listen carefully as I recall one such passage. In the matter of just a few verses we can hear, if we are listening, who the Lord was before He came to the earth, why He came , what He did while He was here on earth, how people responded to Him, that He was resurrected, and that He stands to provide a righteous judgment for all mankind.

You will remember these words, spoken by King Benjamin, when he received this vision from an angel. Maybe as his people were listening to him they were trying to see this in their minds, too. They didn’t have pictures to look at that we know of. Here is the mini summary:
“For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.
“And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.
“And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.
“And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.
“And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.
“And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men” (Mosiah 3:5-10).

Just a few verses later, another mini summary:
“And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17).
 
I know you have read the Book of Mormon. I know that it has spoken to you like it has spoken to me. But I testify to you and hope that testimony can be borne again in your heart as it is pronounced here. I do know. I know through the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that the Book of Mormon testifies of Him. I know that Jesus spoke with Joseph Smith, and I know that he brought forth the Book of Mormon to us through him and that the Lord stands at the head of this Church today and that He guides it through revelation to His appointed servants. I know these things and I testify to you of these things in the name of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Intellectual Properties Inc.

Learning to Trust in the Lord

02 Feb. 2005

Transcript

Learning to Trust in the Lord

 
Matt Tittle came into my office one day a couple of weeks ago.  He does that on occasion just to pass the time of day.  This time he sat down and said, “I want to ask you a question and a favor.” 
 
I said, “Okay, what?”
 
“We want you to be a forum speaker,” he said. 
 
My surprised response was, “Why?”  
 
He laughed and gave me some reasons.  My next question was, “When?”
 
“Soon” he said, “February second, as a matter of fact.”  
 
I had seen the schedule for devotionals and forums and knew there were some openings at the end of the semester so I looked to see who couldn’t come. I was aghast to see that it was Sherrie Dew.  You know who Sherrie Dew is, don’t you?  Author of President Hinckley’s biography, former counselor to the General Relief Society President, and current CEO of Deseret Book. And you get me in substitution. I apologize. Hopefully she can come to speak later. I would really hate for you to miss hearing from her. 
 
I told Matt I would have to think about this.  I didn’t sleep much that night and while I did sleep I was giving this speech.  Something I have learned is that when opportunities such as this come, there is a reason.  The more I thought about it, I decided this is quite an honor, and I hope I can do it justice.  When I asked Matt what he wanted me to talk about he said to inspire the students.  I do have some things I would like to tell you. 
 
I’ve lived a long time.  Several years ago one of my grandsons asked me “Gramma, are you ‘ode’?”  I told him yes, but I didn’t think I was at that time.  In Medical Law, which is one of the classes I teach, we learn the legal definition for ‘elderly.’ And I’m there, I’m there. Also, when I find I can answer the History questions on “Jeopardy” because I can remember when they happened, that confirms I am ‘ode’.  That being said, I can also tell you that I have learned a few things and maybe someone can benefit from some of the things I’ve learned. 
 
Brother Finlinson spoke a few weeks ago and told us of some extraordinary people in his life.  I want to endorse everything he said.  We all have extraordinary people in our lives—husbands, wives, parents, children, grandparents, other extended family, church leaders, and friends.  Not in the least for you as students of LDSBC are the faculty and staff who are here for you.  You will never find finer people of high quality anywhere.  I have wondered for 15 years how I could be so blessed as to get to come to work everyday with this group of people.  Take advantage of this special opportunity you have and learn everything you can from them, not only in the classroom but anywhere else you have occasion to interact with them.   
 
I’d like to tell you about an extraordinary person in my life because of what she taught me.  My husband’s job took us to California in the 1970’s.  He worked in San Francisco and we lived about 50 miles north in Rohnert Park.  We were in the San Rafael Stake.  I was given the opportunity to serve as Blazer Leader on the Stake Primary Board. 
 
The President at that time was a lady named Colleen Carter.  She was an extraordinary person, educated, poised, one of those people who can and does everything easily and well.  After about a year and a half she was released and I was somewhat distraught. I wondered, how could anyone ever come close to replacing her.  The sister who was called was Jackie Estes.  At our very first board meeting she told us about her experience of being called.  She knew how Sister Carter was regarded in the stake and she had some doubts about her own abilities.  She spent some time in prayer and reflection – doing what I call ‘stewing over’ a matter.  She had the scripture Proverbs 3:5-6 come very strongly to her. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.” 
 
With that assurance she accepted the call.  She said to us that she could never fill Colleen Carter’s shoes, she would have to walk in her own shoes and just do her best. I was on that board a total of five years.  I became very close to Jackie Estes and learned that in her way she was more extraordinary than Sister Carter was. 
 
Two things were learned here: “Trust in the Lord,” and the Lord always qualifies those he calls. He calls us for what we will be able to do.  Sister Carter and her talents were what were needed during her tenure, and Jackie Estes was needed for her time. 
 
Look closely at the people in your life—look for the excellence and clearly identify the characteristics.  Realize you are extraordinary in someone’s life and work to enhance your characteristics of excellence.
 
As you go through life, not everything is going to be wonderful. You are going to encounter some “Goliaths”—periods of time and events that will be difficult to endure.  Sometimes things will be so difficult and out of your control that all you can do is hang on by your fingernails and “Trust.”  Who helped David fight his Goliath?  Who will help you with yours? 
 
One of these Goliath events occurred for us while we were living in Colorado.  We had been transferred back after 13 years in California.  A situation arose involving two of our children which threw our family into total turmoil for several months.  The details are not so important as the outcome.  The very day this situation began in May of that year was the day I read the ad in the Church News for the faculty position here at the college.  It had been a week when my husband asked me if I had done anything about that ad.  I hadn’t so I called that day and talked to Dr. Carolyn Brown.  She asked me to send a resume.  That set in motion the events which brought us to Salt Lake.  At the same time we were dealing with the situation with our children—a situation I doubted we were going to survive—the Lord was providing a way out for us.  By September we were moved, bag and baggage.  Three months is a relatively short time for so much to have happened.  We weren’t “out of the woods.”  It took several more years of anguish, hard work and much prayer but our family did survive and as we look back we definitely can see that we were being sustained. 
 
Another Facet
We had been in California for about ten years when AT&T moved their equipment engineering offices out of San Francisco to Pleasanton, 30 miles south of San Francisco.  This made the commute for my husband 80 miles, one way.  Four other men carpooled with him and the only thing that saved them was that they were going the opposite direction of the major commute traffic.  We qualified for a company-paid move so we went south to find a house.  Prices were too high in Pleasanton so we found one we could afford in a neighboring town.  It even had an in-ground swimming pool, which excited our children.  We made an offer, contingent on the sale of our home in Rohnert Park.  We had several interested people come and look, but no offers came.  So for three years those men commuted 160 miles a day.  Two hours down, eight hours at work and two hours back.
 
Our oldest son was called to a mission in Kobe, Japan, served honorably, came home and went back to school at Ricks.  Our second son was there as well.  Then an opportunity to transfer to Denver came and we didn’t even get the ‘For Sale’ sign up on the house before it sold. Things do happen when they’re supposed to happen. The Lord’s time line isn’t always the same as ours.  Had we been able to move south earlier, we would probably not have had the opportunity to go back to Colorado.
 
It is prudent that we plan what we want to have happen in our lives but we also need to be flexible and willing to do what he wants us to do. Back in Colorado we found a house in Lakewood, west of Denver, near the mountains.  We loved that house.  There was a second full kitchen in the basement and I became thoroughly spoiled while we lived there.  There was also an area for a dining table that would seat twelve, great for family dinners, and a family room besides.  We were back near family and planned to stay there for the rest of our lives. And yet, I’d catch myself thinking “when we leave here….”  We had some really good things happen while we were there. Our second and third sons were sent on their missions from there, one to Tennessee and one to Texas.  One of the best Christmases we’ve ever had was there in that house. 
 
My husband’s job had him involved with the AT&T divestiture when the government made that company break-up.  When that was completed, the engineering job went back to California but he was not offered to chance to go with it.  He was given time to find a new position in the company and he tried but it just didn’t happen.  In the Fall of that year the company was offering early retirement packages.  We considered it but with the boys still in the mission field we didn’t feel we could do it.  He decided to try the sales training and sailed through a program that had about an 80% fail rate.  He had loved his engineering job but he absolutely hated sales.  There were unrealistic quotas to meet.
 
One day his supervisor called him in and told him that he had 90 days to bring his performance up or he would have to go.  After 24 years of a successful career he wasn’t pleased to hear this.  He told her he was eligible for retirement and to put his papers through.  It was a Monday morning, He had gone to work as usual and at 10:00 he called me and told me he was retiring.  Completely blew me away.  But the boys were home from their missions by then and if he retired before the end of that month he could retain full medical benefits.  Had he not been retired I wouldn’t have even considered applying for this job.  Things happen when they are supposed to and for good reasons, even the Goliaths.  There are really few, if any, coincidences.
 
Another thing I want to tell you is to learn to listen. Keep your mind and heart open so you can hear the quiet messages that come from heaven.  I’d have never made it through last year had I not learned to listen. 
 
Here at the College we were going through a reaccreditation process for the MA programs during Fall of 03 and Winter of 04.  In addition to that, my teaching load, the administrative responsibilities for the Medical Careers Department and student advising, my bishop called me to be the ward Relief Society President.  Sitting in his office, I had a bevy of thoughts raced through my mind: why this year? Then I had the thought that the Lord knows what’s going on at school. If I want him to help me there, I can’t say no. So I didn’t.  I found that listening kept me on task.  If I woke up with something on my mind, I had better take care of it that day. 
 
In December, 2003 we had a baby granddaughter born with a heart valve defect.  It had been picked up on ultrasound but they didn’t know if she would need surgery at birth or not.  She was due Christmas Day but they brought her on December 11 so they could better control the situation.  Incidentally, that was Grampa’s birthday.  She was in the newborn ICU for three weeks while they decided to wait on surgery, hopefully until she was two or three years old.  By summer however, she was obviously in trouble so they scheduled her surgery.  The week before her surgery date, my sister’s husband had a sudden, severe heart attack and did not survive.  He and my husband had met and become friends in the Air Force.  We had to make a sudden trip to Colorado Springs. 
 
The funeral was on a Tuesday, we drove home on Wednesday, the baby’s surgery was on Thursday. She was on a heart pump for a valve repair which failed within 24 hours.  They had to take her back to surgery, back on the heart pump for her right ventricle to be closed off completely.  She has just three chambers in her heart.  Of course her condition was tenuous for days.  Her kidneys failed which required she be put on dialysis.  She was in the hospital a total of three months, on a ventilator for six weeks of that time.  She was switched from hemodialysis to peritoneal dialysis.  Three different times during the three months she became so bad that we didn’t know if she would live through the day.  One infamous day was August 11, 2004. First thing that morning, I received the report from the accreditation survey outlining what had to be done to correct the deficiencies we had. 
That was one of the days we didn’t know if the baby would live. And to add to it all, our youngest son and his wife were at another hospital having their first child.  If Tyler Morgan hadn’t let me sit in his office and hyperventilate for awhile I’d never have made it through.  My prayers that day were, “Please, if you have to take her, please, not today.”
 
She got to go home three days before Halloween. She’s on dialysis 15 hours each day, but she is doing fairly well.  We don’t know what is ahead for her, possibly transplants.  We just have to wait and see and “Trust.”
 
The final straw for 2004 was the hurricane that hit Pensacola, Florida.  My brother and his wife live there on Escambia Bay.  They lost their home and everything in it.  I don’t know why all of these profound events had to hit all in one year.  I don’t know what we were supposed to learn except to continue to “Trust.”
 
Well, as I began all this I told you there were some things I wanted to tell you.  So in summary:
  • Look for extraordinary people in your lives – become extraordinary yourself.
  • You will have some Goliaths to face but you can do it because you will have the Lord’s help. 
  • Plan your lives but be flexible so you can be directed.
  • Learn to listen.
  • Learn to trust – remember Proverbs 3:5.
  • Look for the evidence of the Lord everyday.
 
I would like to conclude with a quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley from one of his conference addresses:  
 
“May the Spirit of our Lord accompany us and remain with us.  We know not what lies ahead of us.  We know not what the coming days will bring.  We live in a world of uncertainty.  For some, there will be great accomplishment.  For others, disappointment.  For some,  much of rejoicing and gladness, good health and gracious living.  For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow.  We do not know.  But one thing we do know. Like the polar star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor or our immortal lives.  He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith.”
 
May He bless you everyone with all that is good and your heart’s desire. I say these things in the name of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, amen.

Be Not Terrified but Believing

09 Feb. 2005

Transcript

Be Not Terrified but Believing

 
As a result of some sleepless nights the last of December, I was prompted to counsel with my family. We held a teleconference that brought together my children within the U.S., and one in Iraq. I advised them of my concern and the repeating theme of my impressions during those sleepless nights. I said it was time to carefully consider our preparation for the days ahead. We asked: “What needs to be put in order in each life and family in order to be absolutely sure that our course in life was in accordance with the Will of our Heavenly Father, and meets with the approval of the Lord, which is the third requisite in or to have faith unto salvation.”
 
I wish to speak to you plainly about the days in which we live and the signs of the times. It is my desire to give you clear counsel on how to steer a course that is acceptable to the Lord. I shall begin with the end in mind, which is: I intend to put each of you under commitment to renew your covenants with the Lord, put your lives in order, repent of your sins (both of commission and omission), and otherwise live so that the Holy Ghost can abide with you and guide you through the challenging days ahead.
 
We are concerned about you. You face a powerful, deceptive, skillful and ruthless enemy who has already vowed to destroy you. The salvation of literally hundreds of millions of God’s children, living and dead, depends upon you faithfully fulfilling your covenants with the Lord. It will take all the miracles that can be obtained only with clean hands and pure hearts, with total faith in Christ in order to “ascend into the hill of the Lord [and] stand in his holy place” (Ps. 24:4, 3).
 
I think Matt. 6:33 summarizes what I want to say: “ But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” I propose you memorize it and use it as one of your North Star scriptures to give you direction in life. I don’t remember when first it captured my attention, somewhere around 18-20 years of age, but it has proven to be a true Liahona “to show me the course which [I] should travel. And it [does] work according to [my] faith in God” ( Alma 37:39-40), showing me the way I should go, and pointing me to the right decisions I must make.
 
During that same time frame, I came across the words of the 18 th century Clergyman, William Law, who said: “If you have not chosen the kingdom of God, it will make, in the end, no difference what you have chosen instead.” May I repeat that? “IF you have not chosen the kingdom of God, it will make, in the end, no difference what you have chosen instead.” That will not always be easy to do, but I assure you, I testify to you, it will be worth it .
 
Prophecies and Warnings
World conditions, already bad and getting worse, will become like the days of Noah—filled with violence, corruption and natural disasters (see Genesis 6:11, 13). But, as is always the case, the Lord provided a means of escape for the righteous, even though there were only eight souls at that time (see Genesis 6:18; 7:1).
 
Why do you suppose Matt. 24, as an entire chapter, was extracted from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible and placed in the Pearl of Great Price? Maybe because it responds to a question that should be on the lips of all believers. It was so when Christ’s disciples understood “that he should come again on the earth, after that he was glorified...” (JST Matt. 1:1). They went “unto him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be which thou hast said, [and] what is the sign of thy coming, and end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked, which is the end of the world” (JST Matt. 1:4).
 
We must both learn what these signs are and then identify them correctly when they occur. They can and will strengthen our faith in Christ and His prophets, if we know the scriptures. Just as in the days of Noah, a way is already prepared for the escape of the Lord’s elect Latter-day Saints, if they are in tune with His prophets: For He “will tell you in your mind and in your heart by the Holy Ghost,” who will give you “revelation,” to save you from destruction (D & C 8:2, 3).
 
Quoting from Matthew, “And except those days should be shortened, there should none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect's sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened” (JST Matt. 1:20).
 
In other words, the “faithful and wise servants” (JST Matt. 24:49) need not fear!
 
Heed the Warning
Prophets will warn “of things not seen as yet” (Heb. 11:7), but which are coming nevertheless. Seers can see the coming storms even when there is no current evidence to support their warning. For example, we read in Kings of Elijah saying to Ahab, “And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of the abundance of rain.
 
“And [he] said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.
“And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not” (1 Kings 18:41-44).
 
In other words, we’ve got a torrent coming.
 
The Lord has promised us, through the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Unto you it shall be given to know the signs of the times, and the signs of the coming of the Son of Man” (D & C 68:11). It then behooves us to interpret accurately what is taking place around us. Said Elder Packer recently: “If 9/11 (September 11, 2001) was a wake-up call, then the earthquake and tsunami in Southeast Asia (on December 26, 2004), was a kick out of bed. We need to pay attention to the signs of the times.” (Boyd K. Packer, meeting of the Twelve and the Seventy, January 11, 2005).
 
When Christ comes the second time, it will be in power and glory to claim the earth as His kingdom. It will mark the beginning of the long-awaited Millennium. As such, it will be announced by a great purifying of the world.
 
From the Doctrine and Covenants we read, “And every corruptible thing, both of man, or of the beasts, or of the fowls, or of the fish, all that dwells upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed;
 
“And also that of element shall melt with fervent heat; and all things s hall become new, that my knowledge and glory may dwell upon all the earth (D & C 101:24-25).
 
We are to understand that during the Millennium only those who are worthy of the Celestial and Terrestrial Kingdoms shall remain, and all others will be consumed (D& C 101:24-25).
 
And then from Joseph Smith Translation we read, “And, as I said before, after the tribulation of those days, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory;
 
“And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived , for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” ((JST Matt. 1:36-37).
 
And in the Doctrine and Covenants, “But the day soon cometh that ye shall see me, and know that I am; for the veil of darkness shall soon be rent, and he that is not purified shall not abide the day” (D& C 38:8).
 
Signs of the Times will Precede the Second Coming
The days prior to the sign of the Son of Man will be discouraging, with dizzying inversions, not just of the weather kind, as in the Salt Lake Valley during the winter, but of all nature, as well as vacillating morals, with good being called evil, and evil called good (see Isaiah 5:20-21, 24).
 
“This form of vertigo produces worldly individuals who either have trouble drawing the line or holding the line against evil” (Neal A. Maxwell, Whom the Lord Loveth, p. 16). Even the very elect must be constantly on alert not to be deceived.
 
“For in those days,” we read in Matthew, “there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant” (JST Matt. 1:22).
 
To date there have been many such deceptions. I have here one such. It is a newspaper advertisement of July 11, 2002, by Dr. Sun Moon. It covers a whole page of the Salt LakeTribune, in the sport section. It was run in all major news media in 41 countries on that date. In it we read, and I quote: “We resolve and proclaim that the Reverend Sun Myung Moon is the Savior, Messiah, Second Coming and True Parent of all Humanity” (Salt Lake Tribune, July 11, 2002, p. D5). And the rest of the article spends its effort trying to convince us of that.
 
Christ counseled his disciples to “take heed that ye be not deceived” concerning the signs of these latter days saying, “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified, for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Nation shall rise against nation...and great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilence; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven” (Luke 21:8-11).
 
The Lord was speaking of a future time when war, conflict, signs in the earth and in heaven would far exceed anything the world had previously experienced. A cursory review of these phenomena today shows a clear and accelerating pattern of natural disasters in the last few decades which is ominous (ref. World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004). We have just recently added new categories to describe the increasing magnitude of nearly all of these nature and man-precipitated events.
 
The First Magnificent Sign of the Second Coming
To bless His children eternally and to announce the beginning of the Last Days, the Lord “sent forth the fullness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant...to prepare the weak for those things which are coming on the earth...And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thrash the nations” (D & C 133:57-59).
The restoration of the fullness of the gospel, the authority to perform the saving ordinances, and the establishment of the Church, is now a fact for the entire world to marvel at. It is a glorious manifestation that the Second Coming of the Lord is soon at hand. Additionally, this latter day restoration will endure all wars and devastations (see D & C 13; Daniel 2:44-45; 7:18). Each of the ancient prophets knew that whatever good they accomplished in their dispensation would not long endure. Disheartening as it must have been, those prophets knew that the people of their day would soon succumb to the world and apostatize from the truth. However, they were given hope by “seeing” these “Last Days,” when the restoration of all things would occur. They saw the kingdom of God established in all the earth with stakes of Zion and temples of the Most High throughout the earth, and that this last kingdom should remain until Christ would come to personally reign on earth! (See D & C 13; Is. 29:14; 54:2-10; Eze. 37:26-270.)
 
We Are in the Last Days
We are part of the ever- progressing saga of the fulfillment of prophesy and the realization of the Signs of the Times. Can one read these prophetic words found in the Doctrine and Covenants and not believe?
 
“For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree.
“And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.
“For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.
“And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds” (D & C 88:87-90).
 
After our testimony come the other testimonies.
We might wonder, “What is the purpose of these horrendous events in the Last Days?” The answer is simple. It’s because God truly does love us! When a man will not listen to the testimony of the Lord’s prophets or His servants (the Elders of Israel), he will sometimes turn to the Lord when he is brought down low due to tragedy, reverses, sickness, loss of loved ones, or other major problems in life. Every missionary knows, or should know, that some of the best contacts are those that have recently gone through a transforming event.
 
Opposition, trials and hardships are often the only way pride and arrogance can be changed to humility and submissiveness (see Mosiah 3:19). We must remember this is the last time the Lord will gather His people.
 
Mortality is a time of probation and is mercifully brief ( Alma 34:32-34). It was meant to provide rich experiences, choices between good and evil, and time to repent. If you—the noble and elect of God—are to have your right and opportunity to do good and bless others, then the evil-disposed persons must have their right and opportunity to disobey any or all of the commandments, and to show their contempt for the good, to deny the Spirit of Christ, which is given to all men (Moroni 7:16), and to curse God and to hate people like us and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see 4 Ne. 1:34). They must be given full rein to do evil (i f that is their desire), but, like the prodigal son, who eventually “came to himself” (Luke 15:17-18), still be able to receive the full blessings of the Atonement from a loving God, if they will repent.
 
We have great respect for Alma the younger and for Saul who became Paul the Apostle, neither of whom had a sterling beginning. Yet, because of torment over their evil deeds, and having heard the testimony of others, they were eventually brought down to the depths of humility and repentance. They turned their lives around and became the Lord’s anointed. Just because everyone doesn’t follow that same path of repentance should not discourage us. There is no other way than in the fiery furnace of opposition, with their agency, to prepare the children of God for Godhood (see also Addendum # 1).
 
“And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him ” (Hel. 12:3). (See also Addendum # 2).
 
Not until every possible effort and opportunity has been expended to bring each son and daughter home, not until every prodigal son and daughter has experienced the guilt and torment of disobedience and the chastening of a loving and merciful God, with time to repent, will the Lord’s work be done. The fulfillment of the Signs of the Times may yet save millions of God’s children who would otherwise be lost eternally.
 
What is our Role in These Challenging Days?
I propose that it is us who must treasure up the words of Christ so we are not deceived by “other signs” or false Christs (JST Matt. 1:22, 37), nor by the sophistries of men, their eloquent, but faithless voices that teach perversion and call it politically correct and the right thing to do. Be wary of those who teach that tolerance is the greatest of all virtues, and that right and wrong exist only in the mind of the individual and there are no true absolutes. Do not be deceived by the ever-present arguments which reason, “If there is a God in Heaven, why does He permit these terrible things to happen?” Such logic and attitudes are from Satan and have as their purpose to destroy faith in Christ, increase cynicism and kill respect for all that is holy, including your own bodies and divine natures.
 
We are those who must stand anchored to the teachings and standard s of the Restored Gospel, to keep things from buckling, bending, sliding and drifting, during these times when “all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people” (D & C 88:91).
Things will always slide and drift downward. In order to hold steady in such turbulence, we, as the Lord’s elect, must be “grounded and settled,” “rooted and established,” to use the words of Paul (Col. 1:23, 27). Otherwise these latter-day shakings and fearsome signs will jar us loose from our moorings. “Pervasive commotion features geometric swings away from traditional moral values” (Ibid. Maxwell, p. 19).
 
If we become preoccupied by every change, in the ever-changing cares and priorities of the world, it could well distract us from navigating these turbulent latter-day waters by fixing our compass on the only true North Star, the “Light of the World” ( Alma 38:9). Jesus’ calming counsel is very specific; “And when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified , for these things must first come to pass; but this is not the end” (JST Luke 21:9). (See also Addendum # 3.)
 
Renewal of Commitment to our Covenants
Some of you may wonder why I have this little child’s bootie with me. It has a story. A few weeks ago I was in Mexico for a stake conference in which were taught some “hard doctrines” of the Church. The comment was made that for most of us adults, if we are not worthy of, and using a current temple recommend (for whatever ordinance we currently are qualified to perform), then we likely do not have “an actual knowledge that [our] course in life is according to [the will of God]” (Lectures on Faith, p. 39). This knowledge (not merely hoping) is required to exercise faith unto salvation. Without it, we would not have the faith necessary to return to H is presence, if we were to die at this time. I then asked that each one in the conference commit to keep their covenants with the Lord and to keep all His commandments. As a sign of their commitment and to show their real intent, I asked that we employ a method used in former times in Israel to confirm a change or an agreement, namely, “for to confirm all things, a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor; and this was a testimony in Israel...so he (Boaz) drew off his shoe...and said to the elders...ye are witnesses this day” (Ruth 4:7-9).
 
I then asked the entire conference to take off a shoe, which they obediently did, as a sign of their commitment to repent, keep their covenants, put their lives in order, and to do whatever was required to obtain a temple recommend. Would you be willing to join in that same commitment by removing a shoe?
I told those beautiful Latin Saints I would like to take their shoes to President Hinckley, so he would know of their sincerity and determination, but I didn’t have a truck big enough. But, they did leave the shoe off until the closing “amen” so they would better remember. Will you do the same?
 
Before telling you about the little bootie, just one more thought: In most cases, not having a temple recommend comes down to one or two obstacles: Not paying a full tithe and offering, and/or unrepented sin, or maybe a weak testimony for lack of faith. I implore you to do whatever needs to be done. In the words of the Lord, “And now a commandment I give unto you, if you will be delivered you shall set in order your own house, for there are many things that are not right in your house...and see that [you] are more diligent and concerned..., and pray always, or [you] shall be removed out of [your] place” (D&C 93:43, 50).
 
The Lord will bless you with more miracles than you can imagine, if you will truly put Him and His kingdom first in your life. All the things that your righteous heart desires, and all that you need, which is expedient in Christ ( Moroni 7:33), shall be given you. I offer that with my fervent testimony and witness.
Now, to the bootie.
 
After the conference, a young family by the name of Edwin and Alejandra Gomar Vargas came to shake my hand. While doing so, the mother, who was holding a beautiful baby girl (to complement the two little boys in their father’s care), took off this bootie and handed it to me. I declined at first to take it, but they insisted. They said, “We would rather that you take this as a sign of our commitment, so every time we see just one bootie we will always remember the commitment we made this day to keep our covenants with Heavenly Father, and to always have our temple recommends.” It brings tears to my eyes now; it brought tears then.
Following the benediction, please feel free to put your shoe on, and thank you for your indulgence.
 
Blessing and Testimony
You have been most gracious, and obedient in complying with my request to remove your shoe as a commitment to a higher level of worthiness, to live worthy of a recommend. The bar has been raised for all members of the Church. Sloppy ways, occasional obedience, unyielding hearts, doubting attitudes will not cut the mustard. You need all the blessings and strength of righteousness you can possibly obtain. Therefore, by the apostolic power given to me, I bless you with the rewards of your efforts to live righteously. I promise you the fruits of the Spirit as you study scripture s and kneel in prayer each day, and the strength and capacity of ten as you faithfully keep the Sabbath Day holy. I bless you with peace and sure footing when all about you is in chaos, in rampant disobedience to God’s laws, and the earth is shuttering and quaking under the evil and perversions of men.
 
I bless you with all the blessings of God’s Holy Temples, including eternal families, but noting also, you must not give higher priority to the things of the world, including education and the making of money and the comforts thereof, or you may well jeopardize your eternal family and your own eternal life. “But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the Kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good (bless the poor)” (Jacob 2:18-19).
 
I testify to you that God lives, that if you “seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness,” all the needful things of life will come to you, if you are willing to work. I testify that there will be, in the not too distant future, a time when all the earth shall see the Son of Man coming in His glory, and shall fall down and worship Him as the Savior of the World, the Redeemer, the everlasting God, the Prince of Peace.
 
I know He is real and tangible; that He loves us as only a tender parent can, and that by Him and through Him and of Him were the worlds created; I testify that the restoration is real, that Joseph Smith did see and experience all the things he said he did; I know he did not lie, but was true to his holy calling, even as Gordon Bitner Hinckley has been true to his prophetic calling.
 
A Magnificent Experience
I will share with you just one experience. I was working on the temple executive committee, which is very much under the direction of President Hinckley, for he holds all things of temples very close to him. We were asked on the 14 th of December to come pay a visit as a committee, together with his secretary, Brother Don Stahli. President Hinckley, after our prelinm9inaries sitting in his chair, read to us the most recent revelation as pertaining to the operation of the temples in the Lord’s kingdom. What magnificent, magnificent experience that was. The spirit was very full and very rich. Eyes were brimming with tears as we realized that here was the answer to situation over which we had struggled for years, not just this committee but many previous committees. And not just this president, but previous presidents had struggled. And here was the Lords’ answer, clear, direct, simple and doable.
 
I left that day knowing beyond any shadow of doubt he is the Lord’s prophet. The Lord does direct the affairs of this kingdom in little ways and big ways. You will never hear or read that particular scripture. It will be in the archives of the church, under the sacred materials section, under his personal materials. But that has now been implemented in all the temples throughout the world. In fact, the temple department worked 24 hour days for almost a month to make it happen. It was so needful that it get out immediately.
 
I bear my solemn whiteness Christ lives, He communicates, He visits as necessary, He shows himself as we are ready, and that each of you, if you will be true and faithful to the covenants you’ve made, will have that privilege at the appointed time. In the mean time, you’ll be able to pass through these turbulent days in peace and safety and with a calmness in your heart regardless what difficulties you’re suffering personally, and we will suffer personally. That’s part of our growth process. But you will go through that knowing that your path in life is acceptable to your Heavenly father and that you will see Him someday soon. In the name of Jesus Christ, whom I love with all my heart and I hope you do too, amen.
 
Addendums
1. One might logically ask: “Why must we suffer these devastations? What is their purpose?” Why all these horrors, pestilence, disease, famine, abominations, terrors and terrorism, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, whoremongers, pedophiles, sodomizers, homosexuals, perjurers, wickedness in high places, etc., etc.? Paul foresaw it all and wrote:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
“Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
“Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:1-3).
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
“Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
“For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-7).
The answer to the why question is directly linked to the first war we know of, namely, the war in heaven (Rev. 12:7). God’s plan for the salvation of His children involved three key issues:
1. the exercise of agency;
2. how to gain salvation; and
3. who should be the Redeemer.
The war broke out because one-third of the hosts of heaven refused to accept Christ as the Savior, and also because they chose to relinquish agency for a sure ticket back to heaven. The agency of man, however, was absolutely required if the gift of Godhood was to be the object of this earth life; the development of the capacity to control oneself, to willingly obey eternal laws (all of them), and to “put off the natural man and become a saint (member of the Church of Jesus Christ) through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19).
2. As to the innocent and good people who die in these disasters, they “die unto the Lord,” and “shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them” (D & C 42:46). As for those who, after all these signs and testimonies, will not come unto the Lord, death brings their wretched lives and years of unrighteousness, torment and fighting against the pricks of the spirit (D & C 121:38) to a merciful close. It also brings relief to those who have suffered because of them.
3. Remember these promises:
“Behold, I will go before you and be your rearward; and I will be in your midst, and you shall not be confounded” (D & C 49:27). “For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of man; for [I] will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous” (1 Ne. 22:16). “... let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God...” (D & C 123:17). He also counsels: “... they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved, but among the wicked shall men lift up their voices and curse God and die” (D & C 45:31-32; JST Matt 1:12).
In other words, “ be not faithless but believing” (JST John 20:27). Just as the Lord counseled Joseph Smith after the loss of the 116 pages, so he counsels us, “Yet you should have been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble” (D &C 3:8).

© Intellectual Properties Inc.

A Few Secrets to a Successful and Fulfilling Life

02 Mar. 2005

Transcript

A Few Secrets to a Successful and Fulfilling Life

 
I understand the atmosphere today is that of a forum, so after a few moments we will turn it into a less formal setting and perhaps you will want to respond to a handout I will have. First of all, I’m reminded of something I have chuckled about since I’ve heard it. A fellow stood up at the speaker’s platform, like the one I am standing at, in a sacrament meeting and he turned around to the bishop and said, “Bishop, the congregation is so small; where is everybody? Did you tell them in advance that I was speaking?” The Bishop was a very wise man, and here is how he responded: “No, but I’ll find out who did.”
 
There is another story that particularly tickled me about the budget director at the White House. I was watching this on C-span one night. This fellow said, “I was speaking recently before the New York press club, and at the end of my speech a woman rushed up to me and said, ‘Mr. Director, that speech you gave is absolutely superfluous.’ He was taken back and he wasn’t sure how to respond so he thought of the King, and he said, ‘Thank You Very Much,’ and he was amazed at what she said next. ‘Sir I would like to know when that speech will be published?’ He said, ‘That particular speech will probably be published posthumously,’ to which she responded, ‘Well I hope that is very soon.’” So in other words, your speech was worthless and I hope you die quickly.
 
I’d like to do slightly better than that in your estimation if I can today. I was born on April Fools Day. I’m left handed, I’m the youngest of seven, and I guess in the old country I’m sort of the designated vampire. So I’m sort of a pain in the neck in October. If I get my merds wixed, forgive me. That’s one of the characteristics of a person like me.
 
What I will try to do is present to you a few thoughts, maybe from a different angle with a little different twist. I’ve got some advantages over most of you in that I have been around a lot longer, and you know how old I am because you know how old President Woodhouse is. He and I spent some interesting times together in Germany. When he heard I was speaking today, I notice he left town, which seems appropriate.
 
I’m going to talk to you for a few minutes from my point of view about a few secrets, things that I wish I had known when I was your age. I’m going to try to mix a few stories in, get you a handout, and get a little give and take going and see if we can have a fun and enjoyable, and hopefully an informative time.
 
The first thing I have here is entitled “A Few Secrets to a Successful and Fulfilling Life.”  I’m going to hand it out perhaps after I start with it and I’m doing that for a particular reason. Listed in priority at the top is education. It has been my observation that you will benefit enormously if you will get all the education you can, as fast as you can, and if you seek out mentors and get internships between your classes. I strongly recommend it.
The second thing I would say to you is invest in things that appreciate in value. I am a money-oriented guy and this being a business college, I thought it would be okay to focus somewhat on money, your careers, and earnings and so on. Your spiritual development would be something that would appreciate in value, so invest in your spiritual development.  Your education is also something that would appreciate in value along with your family, your upcoming spouse, and your children.
 
The third item I listed for the moment is learn to forgive. It is an interesting thing that as you go through life, certain things can certainly constrict your performance and can inhibit you from greater achievement. There was an article in “USA Today” some months ago on the front page entitled, “Forgive; It’s Good for Your Mental Health.”  I thought that was interesting. Forgiving people clears your mind and eliminates baggage in life along the way. As one person said, hating somebody is like letting someone live in your brain rent free. Develop a forgiving nature and then take it one step further. Learn to not be offended in the first place.
 
Item four recognizes something that I believe to be a truism and that is that there are no lazy people. This may sound like a pretty stunning statement because we use that statement and description regarding people all the time, and it’s an easy way to write somebody off, isn’t it? My observation has been, however, that this is not necessarily true.
 
Let us look at a teenager in high school. He might be characterized as lazy by his teacher. Follow him around with me mentally for a moment and see what happens when he gets out of the classroom where he is characterized as “lazy.” He goes home, he dolls himself all up and dresses himself all spiffy. He’s obviously motivated; he wants to see his girlfriend. Then he goes into the garage and starts working on his car and he will work on it for hours. He will polish it, he will fix it up, he will do all kinds of things with it. Is this guy not motivated? In the evening he will go on his computer and he will get on the internet or he will work on his computer and he will work for hours on that. What’s going on here? Is this guy really lazy? He’s not really lazy at all. The question is, what is motivating him?
 
If you look at him closely you’ll find out, not only is he not lazy, he is motivated all of the time and he is going to do whatever he believes will get him the results in life he wants. Right now what he wants is a good relationship with his girlfriend, a good relationship with his computer, and a good relationship with his car because they represent knowledge and freedom and his future. Don’t take the easy way out with people and write them off as lazy. That is too easy of a way out. Put a bigger burden on yourself and those you rely on and interact with. Assume in fact that they are always motivated for the things they think will get them what they want in life.  What you need to do so that you don’t have to characterize them as lazy is find what their hot buttons are and introduce the kinds of things that will motivate them.
 
The next item, (this one may be stunning,): in life I have found that it is fundamentally vital to learn to be extraordinarily generous. It is my personal belief that stingy people and self-centered people are not going to pass go and they’re not going to collect their $200, which is a pretty tough statement to make isn’t it?  I was told years ago that most of the money I would earn in my life would never be spent on me. It would be spent on someone else, and I should get use to the notion that the most important thing I would ever learn about money is how to give it away.
 
When I was six, seven or eight years old, I had a favorite hiding place over on 919 Logan  Avenue, where I was raised. It was my father’s clothes closet. I loved going in his closet because the chimney went through his closet up to the roof, and in the winter his closet was so warm. His closet smelled of cologne and aftershave and it was just a generally warm, comfortable, sweet smelling, nice place to hide. One time I was sitting in the closet and I noticed a shoe box in the corner in the dim light. I opened it and much to my shock and amazement it was full, almost to the very top, with tithing and fast offerings. There were receipts from donations he had made worth thousands and thousands of dollars. That made an indelible impression on me. My dad didn’t need to tell me that I should pay tithing and offerings or that I should help missionaries and be generous, because that is what he lived.
 
C.S. Lewis made a very, very powerful statement when he said, “A person should live and be so charitable that his standard of living is below others of the same income.” Does that make sense to you? Pretty powerful isn’t it? You should be so generous that you ’re doing without a few things. Then you will have more of the essence of the gospel of our Savior.
 
On item number six I put that in life I have discovered it is a really good idea to stick your neck out just a little bit, risk making a fool out of yourself, like I’m doing here today. Take a gamble, take a risk. Some people say we just don’t have the chances or the opportunities. There is an old statement that goes like this, “The reason why opportunities seem to knock so seldom is they tend to go around disguised as hard work.”
 
Here is one that fascinates me; this is on the subject of prayer. This is one of my really hot buttons lately: Don’t pray for everything in the world to be right and in fact don’t pray for anything you are not willing to work on. It is hypocritical to pray for everything to become perfect and then do nothing about it. How do you think the Lord accomplishes His purposes in this life?
 
A poem I enjoy that was written by Sterling W. Sill, says,
 
I knelt to pray as day began
And prayed, “Oh God, bless every man
Lift from each weary heart some pain
And let the sick be well again.”
And then I rose to meet the day
And thoughtlessly went on my way.
I took no steps to ease the load
Of hard-pressed travelers on the road.
I didn’t even go to see
The sick friend who lives next door to me.
But then again when day was done
I prayed, “Oh God, bless every one.”
But as I prayed a voice rang clear
Instructing me to think and hear.
“Consult your own heart ere you pray:
What good have you performed today?
God’s choicest blessings are bestowed
On those who help him bear the load.
And then I hid my face and cried
“Forgive me Lord for I have lied;
 Let me live another day.
 And I will live it as I pray.”
 
 Put meaning into your prayers, and as Abraham Lincoln said, “I pray as though everything depends on the Lord, but then I get up and I work as though everything depends on me.”
 
Some of the recent talks I’ve written have been on the subject of things that hold us back. Not forgiving is one that we talked about a few moments ago; there are many others. Watch for those opportunities and what I refer to as turning points in life. Look for them, watch for them. What has fascinated me about the idea of watching for turning points is the cumulative effect over time of grasping one new principle today and then living it day after day, week after week, year after year and watching the difference that it makes.
 
At age eight President Hinckley was very much like a lot of eight year olds, wasn’t he? A bright young fellow with a great future. Now there are others his age who, if they are lucky enough to live to be 93 or 94, are out on a park bench without much to show for their life. President Hinckley at age 9 and at age 18 and at age 20 and at age 30 and 40 found turning points, points of inspiration and opportunity that he chose to grasp and build on. Did it make a difference over time in him? That is the cumulative effect of a principle grasped today and lived into tomorrow. Remember that your todays are simply a product of your decisions made yesterday, and you are creating tomorrow by the decisions you are making now.
 
My final point in this part of the presentation is to plead with you not to be spectators. There is an old saying, “There are three kinds of people in the world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.” The final analyses is this: life is not fulfilling if you are not the one making things happen.
 
I have a hand out for you which will discuss a little about your careers. The first point of the handout says that if you want to have a successful career you need to show respect for authority. Many people these days say, “Oh, he puts his pants on one leg at a time the same way I do and gets out of bed the same way I do, so why should I show respect for him?”
 
Let me tell you two stories. Under number one on the sheet it says “Gerold Screaming in GSL’s Hallway.” When I was still a pretty young fellow, an engineer from Austria by the name of Gerald was heard screaming at the top of his lungs in Great Salt Lake Minerals and Chemicals Corporations hallways. I was about thirty-three at the time, vice president of this company and life was very good for me. He was being overheard by about a hundred people within ear shot, and this is what he said: “Duane you’re a bad guy, you’re a brown noser, you suck up to the boss, you open doors for him, you play all these roles and when I want money for a project I don’t get it but when you want a project built and funded you always get it. I’m sick and tired of seeing this,” and he went on and on.
 
On the left of your sheet you will see, “Peter—Cashless Trip to Houston.” Somewhere around that time someone walked into my office and said, “I just overheard something interesting out in the hall. Peter said that he went to Houston with you a few days ago to give a formal presentation. He said he went on this trip with you and when he came back to Salt Lake City, he opened his wallet and realized that on that entire trip he didn’t spend one penny.” I thought about it for a second and wondered should I be offended or flattered by this statement. In order for that to have been true I would have had to have met my boss at the airport, bought him his morning newspaper, and paid his cab fair in Houston. I would have gone to his room with him at the hotel and waited till the bellman unloaded his luggage and paid the tip. I would have paid for his dinner at the Window Box Restaurant, and then I would have paid for the taxi fare back to the airport, etc.
 
The reason why I tell you this story is, assuming that it was true, it meant that I simply respected him as my boss, as the president of the corporation so much that I was going to be attentive to him and his every need.
 
Number two:  Question almost everything in your organization but in a positive way. Ask, Why do we do this? What is the company’s policy on this and on and on.
 
Number three: Take criticism willingly. One of the things that I remember in my career is coming home to my wife and saying, Boy did I get nailed today. One day Peter called me into his office and said, “You are out signing contracts for the corporation and you are out doing this and you are out doing that. I guess we are going to have to make you a vice president because you have to be a vice president in order to sign all these contracts.” Was I being complimented or criticized? He also said, “You already usurp so much of my authority that I don’t want you to take any more authority now that you are being promoted to vice president. First he nails me and then he promotes me and gives me a huge raise. I remember going home to my wife that night and saying, “Sweetheart, he really beat up on me today and what really ticks me off is that he is right.” Learn to take criticism.
 
Number four: this came to me from a specialist who helps people that are in financial trouble. He advises people about their jobs with very simple things like, “Show up. Show up every day.” That is the second secret to success.
 
Number five: Loyalty, in order to come down from the top, needs to first come up from the bottom. It works both ways.
 
Number six: Volunteer ideas frequently, but don’t shoot from the hip. Test them a little bit first. Here’s another one: If you’re on a clock when you punch out, take an extra thirty or sixty seconds before you get out the door just to do some extra thing. You might do this at home too with your spouse when you get married, just some little extra thing, something that your boss can do for himself or your spouse can do for himself or herself, just that little fraction of a minute. Its amazing over time what difference that can make.
 
Accept responsibility is number eight. Ask for more responsibility. This may surprise you but chances are your boss is looking for somebody to promote. I know I am in our organization and I’ve got dozens of people that I really would like to promote to higher responsibility if they would just show interest. Executives are usually looking somebody to promote in every organization.
 
Number nine: Use some sort of a planner. What is it that Hyrum Smith preached? “The most faded ink is better than the best memory.” Keep yourself organized. If I don’t have my planner, I am a lost soul.
 
Number ten: Listen closely to those who have done what you are trying to do. For each company that I took over to turn around or to build, I found experts in the area who knew what they were doing because I obviously didn’t know what I was doing and I asked them for key indicators. What is the old saying? “A fool learns by experience, but a wise man learns by the experiences of others.” You’re simply not going to live long enough to make all those mistakes.
 
Here’s one that is going to upset some folks. Number eleven: Once you are out of school, never have more than one job. Having multiple jobs is a good way to guarantee you will never have any money. You will be so busy making a living that you will never make money. I believe that is a true statement. My experience has been that the successful people take one job, one career, one opportunity and they perfect it and specialize at it. They become very good at it. They do one thing and one thing only for money. Everything else is for fun, for education, for entertainment, for hobby, whatever you want to call it, but you become very good, better than the next guy, at the thing you choose to make your living.
 
Number twelve: If your boss hints at something, consider it a command. One of the things that fascinates me at my own company is when I might see a garbage pail loaded up somewhere at the plant or office building, I might pick up the garbage can and start walking out to the dumpster and it amazes me the number of people that will watch me do this and watch me walk all the way to the dumpster and back. I don’t mind doing it at all, but my problem is, do they get it? I would never let my boss in my career do something that I can do for him, never ever.
 
Number thirteen: You may have heard a version of this in the past—try to never surprise your boss in the negative. When you see gathering clouds on the horizon, stop, assess, think of possible solutions, and then inform him or her and ask for additional intelligence on the situation. This is a professional environment; you want to all move into environments like that. First of all, you don’t walk into your boss’s office unless you want a decision made, and second you don’t go in and say, “Boy we’ve got a big problem.” Go in and say, “I’ve discovered we have a potential problem.”
 
Let me give you an example of that. We have a huge account, very well known, that has taken thirty percent of our total volume of our company right now nationally. That is a problem of over-concentration. I walked into my daughter’s office—she’s our executive vice-president—and I said, “Monica, we have a potential problem on our hands in 2005. Here’s what I recommend we do.” Then we devised a strategy to move into a couple of other areas of focus, market segmentation, and spread ourselves out, because we didn’t want to reduce the volume of that customer. We want to grow the other segments so that we aren’t over-concentrated. The problem with being over-concentrated should be obvious. If you have a customer that takes too much of your volume and you try to have a price increase, they will tell you to jump in the lake and there is nothing you can do about it.
 
Number fourteen: I call it a balance of terror. A healthy balance of terror should exist between employer and employee. You should always be afraid he will fire you and he should always be afraid you will quit. That means he’s going to give you raises to keep you around and that means you are going to please him so he will want to give you raises.
 
What expenditures are worthy of sacrifice? We’ve already touched on that adequately, and we already touched on the specialization concept. Every time an employer hires somebody, they’re taking a substantial risk. Recognize that you are a risk. You are costing the company money. You might get sick, you might have accidents, you might do something to damage or destroy the organization. You are a risk. You need to recognize that right from the very start and make absolutely certain the organization makes a return on their investment in you.
 
Make that commitment right from the start that you are going to give them a multiple of their cost of employing you. We already handled some of these other ideas. Number nineteen: It’s is not about intelligence. Many of the most successful and wealthy people in the country are absolutely of average IQ. The axiom is still true: 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration.
 
Number twenty: To get what you want in life, help others get what they want in life, and it is amazing how it will come back to you and how people will cooperate with you.
 
The next one relates with the “minus touch.” You’ve all heard of the King Midas touch, that everything you touch turns to gold. There are others who I refer to as having the minus touch, where everything they touch seems to turn to garbage. Get the idea in your head that everything you touch will be better for you having touched it. If it is my home, I am going to fix up my home and my yard. If it is my child, I am going to teach her. If it is my body, I am going to discipline it. If it is my mind, I am going to educate it. If it is my job, I’m going to enhance it. Whatever you touch, you want it to be worth more than when you started. If you fundamentally internalize that concept and live that way, your life becomes more exciting.
 
The rest of the list is self explanatory. I appreciate this opportunity to be here with you. I don’t profess to be an expert. My career has been a lot like my golf games—there have been moments of brilliance but no full games of brilliance. I’m as human as they come.
 
If you have any comments I will take the time to listen to them.
 
Student question: “How did you buy a company when you were eighteen?”
 
When I was sixteen, a fellow called me and asked me if I would pack salt and deliver it after school. In the old days you went to East High for an education, West High for a vocation and South High for a vacation, so I went to South High. And after school and on Saturdays I packed salt and delivered it. When I turned eighteen, this fellow developed a hernia and I took over and drove the trucks and did the packing. I started at the university so I decided I either needed to buy the company or I needed to get out and move on with my career. Maybe I had him in an awkward spot but he said okay, he would sell it to me. I had my older brother to co-sign with me. We went to Valley Bank and took out a loan and I bought the company January 1st, 1961.
 
I still had it during my mission, when I was out with President Woodhouse and thirty-one other companions. (I couldn’t get along with anybody so I had a lot of companions.) When I came back I built it into a much larger company, bought another company and so on. And then Great Salt Lake Minerals came when I was twenty-eight years old and gave me what I refer to as a godfather offer, so I left and joined the chemical works that was being built on the Great Salt Lake.
 
You’ve been great. Thanks for your time.

Legacy of Bryant S. and Ada Bitner Hinckley

09 Mar. 2005

Transcript

Legacy of Bryant S. and Ada Bitner Hinckley

Delivered at an event honoring  the legacy left to the College by Bryant S. and Ada Bitner Hinckley, and to celebrate the endowment of a scholarship fund established in the two educators’ name.

 
I think of all the attributes that I’ve heard about and seen today and perhaps the most outstanding was that my father and my mother could write with a penmanship that could be read. You don’t see that any more. People scribble and so on and so on. But they wrote in a beautiful hand, each one of them. And it was really very attractive the way in which they did it.
 
Now Mark Willes hasn’t told you that he not only contributed very substantially for this endowment fund, but also has made a contribution in behalf of his mother who attended the business college at one time. And we’re deeply and greatly indebted to him for his tremendous kindness in this matter.
 
I don’t know when it was, President Woodhouse, when we were in a meeting of the Board of Trustees and you handed out some kind of a bulletin, and it had in that bulletin a reference to the Bryant S. and Ada B. Hinckley faculty scholarship. And I’d never heard of it before and I was fascinated with the fact that the faculty had taken the initiative to try to put together a little money to assist students who attended here. And I immediately wrote to Brother Woodhouse and got this thing going. I’m very, very grateful that it has attained the size that it has, and I hope that it will continue to grow, perhaps by small increments so that more and more and more students may be benefited and blessed because of this undertaking.
 
Now, I want you to take a good look at these premises, because you’re not going to have them much longer. We’re going to move to better quarters. I’ve been in meetings the last day or two concerning the new quarters of the business college. They’re going to be very nice. They’re going to be very attractive. And you students who are dormitory students… I’d better not say any more… you’re going to have a nice place to sleep. It will be an improvement over what you have.
 
The Church is committed to the continuation of the business college. This serves a very unique and interesting place, and will continue to do so. These students which come from many areas come here and are so benefited and so blest in training for their vocational experiences. And this will go on and on, and I hope that it will increase in importance and stature as part of the Church’s educational program.
 
God bless you, my beloved brothers and sisters, associates, and members of my family. I’ve never seen so many family members together in one place in the last ten years. Well, thank you, and the Lord bless you. We leave our testimony and our blessing and our love with you, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

© Intellectual Properties Inc.

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