“Gospel Forum,” Ensign, Jan. 1971, 16
Considering our belief that the second coming of Christ and the end of the world, as we know it, are near, what should be the attitude of a Latter-day Saint with respect to such problems as war, poverty, education, pollution, and so on? Is there any need for a Latter-day Saint to concern himself with the resolution of these problems when the world is on the verge of being destroyed?
Attitude, as used in the foregoing question, has been defined as a manner of acting, feeling, or thinking that shows one’s disposition or opinion.
A Latter-day Saint’s attitude toward war should be in harmony with the Lord’s commandment to “renounce war and proclaim peace. …”(D&C 98:16.) If all people were faithful Latter-day Saints, there would be no wars. A Latter-day Saint, however, is not a member of the Church only: he is also a subject or citizen of the state in which he lives. As such, his attitude must be in harmony with the twelfth Article of Faith, which reads: “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”
A Latter-day Saint “must give allegiance to [his] sovereign and render it loyal service when called thereto.” This includes military service. The attitude of a Latter-day Saint should be “fully to render that loyalty to [his] country and to free institutions which the loftiest patriotism calls for.” (See Message of the First Presidency, Conference Report, April 1942, pp. 92–93.)
A Latter-day Saint should abhor poverty and do all in his power to alleviate it. He should remember the Lord’s statement, “it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another” (D&C 49:20), and that in the Lord’s plan “every man” is to be “equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs” (D&C 51:3). A true Latter-day Saint’s attitude toward the manner in which the needy are to be cared for is fashioned by the following declarations that the Lord has made about it:
“I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.
“And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.
“But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.
“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.
“Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.” (D&C 104:14–18.)
In his zeal for education, a Latter-day Saint yields to no one. His attitude toward it is fixed by his knowledge of eternal progression. He knows that “the glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth” (D&C 93:26), and that “truth is knowledge” (D&C 93:24). He further knows that “whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
“And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” (D&C 130:18–19.)
A Latter-day Saint detests pollution in all its forms. A true Latter-day Saint seeks daily the companionship of the Holy Spirit. He knows that the Holy Spirit will not associate with any unclean thing or person.
A Latter-day Saint’s purpose should be to comply with civil laws and go far beyond them in eliminating pollution—not only ecological pollution, but also physical, moral, spiritual, and every other type of pollution.
A Latter-day Saint’s belief that the second advent of Christ is imminent should motivate him to follow with increased diligence the Lord’s revealed plans for the abolition of war and the elimination of poverty and pollution. It should stimulate his desire for education, particularly for knowledge of God and eternal life. Only in this way can these problems be solved. To pursue this course is the way to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Under his guidance all these things shall be consummated.