A Sure Trumpet Sound: Quotations from President Lee
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“A Sure Trumpet Sound: Quotations from President Lee,” Ensign, Feb. 1974, 77

In Memoriam: President Harold B. Lee

A Sure Trumpet Sound:

Quotations from President Lee

From a forthcoming book to be published by Deseret Book Company


I bear witness that not until a person has been willing to sacrifice all he possessed in the world, not even withholding his own life if it were necessary for the upbuilding of the kingdom, can he claim kinship to Him who gave his life that men might be.

We Must Be on Guard

The kingdom of God must be a continuing revolution against the norms of the society that fall below the standards that are set for us in the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the field of public life, it must be a continuing revolution against proposals that contradict the fundamental principles as laid down in the constitution of the United States, which was written by men whom God raised up for this very purpose. If we remember that, we will be in the forefront of every battle against the things that are tearing down our society.

Right and Wrong Do not Change

Despite the conditions and unusual times through which you have lived and are now living, the standards of right and wrong have not changed. They are as eternal as the stars in heaven. The youth of all generations have faced tests just as severe as those you are now facing. Their strength to overcome great odds has come from an abiding faith in themselves and in the ultimate triumph of truth. The same powers and influence that guided your parents through their youthful days are with us today and will be efficacious in your behalf just to the extent that you heed the counsel of the Church and live as the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches.

The harder the climb up the mountain, the greater the thrill and triumph of achievement. The first step toward independence and a successful life is taken when an individual resolves in his heart to live by his own exertions.


We may not surpass what those who have preceded us were able to accomplish, but there’s one thing in which all of us can equal their performance, and that is in dedication and in keeping the commandments of God. I have said many times that we may not all have had illustrious ancestors, but every one of us can become a great ancestor ourselves if we will.


It isn’t the Lord who keeps himself away from us. It is we who keep ourselves away from him.


You are too small for a grand eternity when you, because of your little learning, close against yourselves the doors of the greatest of all institutions of learning, the University of Spirituality.

That person who thinks he has outgrown his church and his religion has in reality proved himself too small to bear the responsibilities his membership entails and has shut himself up in his small intellectual world, and the vast treasures in the unseen world of spiritual truths are closed to his understanding.

Keep your horizons broad and ever-expanding. Don’t become narrow in your search for knowledge and never forget that wisdom is the proper use of the knowledge you have acquired.

A lesson is not taught until we live it. A soul is not saved until his life is through. Our work is not done until Satan is bound.

Agent of the Lord

When one becomes a holder of the priesthood, he becomes an agent of the Lord. He should think of his calling as though he were on the Lord’s errand.


If a time comes when things are not going right and you cannot make a decision in some matter, it is almost always certain evidence that you are not praying enough. Maybe you ought to do a little fasting, too.

We get our answers from the source of the power we list to obey. If we’re following the ways of the Devil, we’ll get answers from the Devil. If we’re keeping the commandments of God, we’ll get our answers from God.

Fruits of the Gospel

We are told plainly in the revelations that the fruits of the true gospel of Jesus Christ are unity and harmony. The absolute test of the divinity of the calling of any officer in the Church is this: Is he in harmony with the brethren of that body to which he belongs? When we are out of harmony, we should look to ourselves first to find the way to unity.


Beware of the sin of hasty judgment; there is no substitute for facts.

We are our own judges of the place we shall have in the eternal world. Here and now in mortality each one of us is having the opportunity of choosing the kind of laws we elect to obey. We are now living and obeying celestial laws that will make us candidates for celestial glory; or we are living terrestrial laws that will make us candidates for terrestrial glory; or telestial. The place we shall occupy in the eternal worlds will be determined by the obedience we yield to the laws of these various kingdoms during the time we have here in mortality.


There is only one day that you and I have to live and that’s today. There is nothing we can do about yesterday except repent, and there may be no tomorrows. The thing for us to do when we arise from our beds as God gives us a new day is to pray that whatever comes to our hand we will do to the best of our ability.


One is converted when he sees with his eyes what he ought to see; when he hears with his ears what he ought to hear; and when he understands with his heart what he ought to understand. And what he ought to see, hear, and understand is truth—eternal truth—and then practice it. That is conversion.


Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you but on what happens inside of you; it is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life.


There are forces that work beyond our sight. Sometimes we think the whole job is up to us, forgetful that there are loved ones beyond our sight who are thinking about us and our children. We forget that we have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who are even more concerned, probably, than our earthly father and mother, and that influences from beyond are constantly working to try to help us when we do all we can.

Not Where You Live but How

On the coast and elsewhere, we constantly have people who are reporting that someone has said we must leave the wickedness of the world and flee to the Rocky Mountains for safety. The Lord hasn’t said that you have to come to the shadow of the Salt Lake Temple to be safe. It is not where you live but how that is important. You can be just as safe in Texas, New York, Chicago, or on the coast as you can anywhere else, if you will put in gear the full program of the Church.


What is the most important of all the commandments of the gospel? If you will think about that rather carefully and thoughtfully, you will see that the most important of all the commandments for you at this moment is the one you are having the most difficulty keeping. If it’s dishonesty, that’s your problem, and yours is the task to overcome dishonesty. If it’s falsehood, if it’s betrayal of your friends, if it’s unchastity, today is the day for you to consider that as the most important of all the commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And when you have successfully mastered that particular problem, then you should select the next one you are having trouble with and so on until you have conquered them all.

Home and Family

If young people would resolve at the moment of their marriage that from that time forth they would do everything in their power to please each other in things that are right, even to the sacrifice of their own pleasures, their own appetites, their own desires, the problem of adjustment in married life would take care of itself, and their home would indeed be happy. Great love is built on great sacrifice, and that home where the principle of sacrifice for the welfare of each other is daily expressed is that home where there abides a great love.

Remember always that the most important work we will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes.

Anyone who has a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ is willing to give his all to the kingdom, but in the process of that kind of dedicated service, it is important that we do not ignore what Jesus called “the things of most worth.” For instance, God will never ask any man to sacrifice his family in order to carry out his other duties in the kingdom. Fathers are in the one assignment from which they cannot be released.

You husbands, don’t ever leave your wives in the morning with an ugly expression or in impatience. Take them in your arms; women to be happy have to be loved and they have to be told that they are loved. That’s their nature.

An essential for a well-ordered home is a better selection of television and radio programs. Parents, I warn you, if you open the television to everything that comes across, you are going to pay a terrible price. You must be more selective of what your children see and hear.

We must impress upon every father that he will be held responsible for the eternal welfare of his family; that means coming into the Church with his family; that means going to sacrament meeting with his family; that means holding family home evening to keep his family intact; it means preparing himself to take them to the temple so that there can be prepared the steps that will create an eternal family home.


The greatest challenge the Church has is to proclaim the faith of our fathers in the language of the children of today.

Our greatest responsibility as members of the priesthood is to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the doctrines of the kingdom.

No one has a right to occupy the pulpits of this Church unless he preaches the gospel. The purpose of preaching in sacrament meeting is to teach the doctrines of the Church.

The Gospel Has the Answers

It is wonderful when we come to realize that within the revealed gospel of Jesus Christ and from the teachings of our Church leaders in this dispensation may be found the answer to every question and a solution to every problem essential to the social, temporal, and spiritual welfare of human beings, all of whom, of course, are the children of our Heavenly Father.

Purposes of the Temples

When you enter a holy temple, you are by that course gaining fellowship with the Saints in God’s eternal kingdom, where time is no more. In the temples of your God you are endowed not with a rich legacy of worldly treasure, but with a wealth of eternal riches that are above price.

The temple ceremonies are designed by a wise Heavenly Father who has revealed them to us in these last days as a guide and protection throughout our lives, that you and I might not fail to merit exaltation in the celestial kingdom where God and Christ dwell.


The strength of a personal testimony to the individual is of surpassing value and will abide with all who keep the commandments of the Lord. But that testimony will grow dim if not nourished by proper conduct of life and activity in our Heavenly Father’s work.