1974
Christ’s Worldwide Church
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“Christ’s Worldwide Church,” Ensign, July 1974, 2

First Presidency Message

Christ’s Worldwide Church

Centuries before and at the time The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized it was prophesied that it would become a world church and that the gospel would be preached to all people. Isaiah prophesied in these words:

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

“And he shall set up an ensign [the Church] for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isa. 11:11–12.)

The last thing the Lord said to his apostles after his crucifixion and resurrection was:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matt. 28:19–20.)

Then John the Revelator wrote regarding the latter days: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Rev. 14:6.)

In February 1831, less than a year after the Church was organized, the Lord gave the Prophet this commandment:

“And I give unto you a commandment that … ye shall teach them [the scriptures] unto all men; for they shall be taught unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people.

“And behold, it shall come to pass that my servants shall be sent forth to the east and to the west, to the north and to the south.” (D&C 42:58, 63.)

Then in October of 1831 the Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth.

“Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth.

“Wherefore, may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come, that thou, O God, mayest be glorified in heaven so on earth, that thine enemies may be subdued; for thine is the honor, power and glory, forever and ever. Amen.” (D&C 65:2, 5–6.)

Joseph Smith, referring to revelations given him, said that he would be one of the instruments of setting up the kingdom of Daniel by the word of the Lord, and would lay a foundation that would revolutionize the whole world. “It will not be by sword or gun that this kingdom will roll on: the power of truth is such that all nations will be under the necessity of obeying the Gospel.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Deseret Book Company, 1961, p. 366.)

Also in modern revelation we read:

“But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;

“That faith also might increase in the earth;

“That mine everlasting covenant might be established;

“That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.” (D&C 1:20–23.)

This was a very serious, and would seem to be an almost impossible, assignment for the Church to carry out, especially when we realize that there were so few members of the Church at that particular time.

Let us consider statements of the last four presidents of the Church, namely, Presidents David O. McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, and now Spencer W. Kimball.

President McKay said: “Where, however, each missionary of old could speak to one person, the representatives of Christ today can speak to millions. A sentence uttered in an ordinary tone of voice can encircle the globe in less than a minute. The marvels and inventions of science today make it possible to spread the gospel as never before in the history of the world.

“‘Its appeal,’ as Kent says of true Christianity, ‘is universal—to the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, the learned and the ignorant. It proclaims God to be not only the one supreme Ruler of the universe, but the Father of each individual, a God of justice, yet a God of love, constantly watching over and guiding even the humblest of his children.’” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 109.)

We are now endeavoring to make disciples of all nations, to let them hear the word of the Lord and become members of his church and kingdom here upon the earth.

President Joseph Fielding Smith, when speaking at the Manchester Conference on August 27, 1971, said, “It is a world church; the gospel is for all men.

“There is ‘One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all,’ and one true church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. …

“The gospel itself is the same in every nation. There is only one plan of salvation.”

President Lee, in his talk at the April Conference, 1973, said: “No longer might this Church be thought of as the ‘Utah church,’ or as an ‘American church,’ but the membership of the Church is now distributed over the earth in 78 countries, teaching the gospel in 17 different languages at the present time.”

Then President Lee, referring to the Munich Conference, made this statement in his general priesthood address in October of 1973:

“Think of the wars in the past, involving these very countries, political differences where some of these countries have been at war, and now we assemble them all under one roof. We quoted to them what the Apostle Paul had said to the Galatians, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus … and heirs according to the promise.’ (Gal. 3:28–29.)

“Then we paraphrased saying, ‘Now you are neither English, nor German, nor French, nor Spanish, nor Italian, nor Austrian, nor Belgian, nor Dutch, but you are all one as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’”

He then quoted from George Bernard Shaw: “If we all realized that we were the children of one father, we would stop shouting at each other as much as we do.”

This should be a pattern for the whole world, and if the world would accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, the creator of the world, who knows what is best for us, we would have peace on earth and good will toward men.

Now let me quote from an account by George W. Cornell, religion editor of the Associated Press:

“A farm-reared businessman and preacher who once nearly lost his voice is the new ‘spokesman for God’ in a church whose once-regional impact has become worldwide.

“The new president oversees a fast-expanding religious organization that in a single decade has pushed out of its provincial middle-American mold to become a global, heterogeneous community of 3.3 million members.”

He then quoted President Kimball as saying: “Everything we do and think now is on an international basis. … We’re a world church now, of many lands and tongues.”

Still quoting from George W. Cornell: “That transnational development, in which the number of Mormons abroad has soared 300 percent in 10 years, has changed the church’s once nearly uniform constituency of educated, economically self-sufficient people to a diverse, mixed body.”

He again quoted President Kimball as saying: “Our future mission task is to move into more lands and to get more deeply into them.” Then he noted: “At present, the church has 18,000 young people serving as missionaries, contributing two years of their time and expenses. Half of them are overseas.”

Immediately following the April 1974 General Conference, the coordinators of the institute and seminary program from throughout the world met in a week’s seminar. This program now extends to 47 countries and there are over 270,000 seminary and institute students receiving instruction through this means, many through home study.

We are now preaching the gospel in 111 missions throughout 56 different countries in practically all of the free world.

There are five missions and two stakes in Japan, all of which are officered by Japanese, and there are three Japanese Regional Representatives of the Twelve. We have a similar situation in Europe and South America, and this all points out the worldwide expansion and nature of the Church.

At the time the Church was organized, only a very few missionaries were going out, and for some years were teaching on a person-to-person basis and at what few public meetings they could hold. Today the Lord has blessed us with the invention of electronic devices by which we can speak to millions of people at the same time.

During our 1974 April General Conference, the Sunday morning session was carried by oceanic cable to Europe and was received by members assembled in 105 chapels in England, France, Germany, Austria, Holland, Switzerland, and Belgium. Over 80 radiostations in the cities of Mexico and Central and South America broadcast these services in Spanish and Portuguese to a potential Latin American audience of 60 million people. Besides this, there were 240 TV stations carrying the conference in the United States and Canada, and one in Japan. Thus the gospel is available to all in the world who are interested in hearing it, and the prophecy that it will be taught to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people is being realized.

Also, area conferences are being held. One was held in Manchester, England, one in Mexico City, and one in Munich, Germany, where seven different countries with five different languages were represented, and where each person heard the gospel taught in his own language. The Church is striving to use every method possible to spread the gospel and invite the people throughout the world to come join the church of Jesus Christ.

Another very effective missionary tool is the Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Organized over a hundred years ago under the direction of the First Presidency of the Church, this choir and its officers have proclaimed the gospel through beautiful music and the spoken word rendered by a corps of unpaid, talented, dedicated, and devoted members. Now in its 43rd year of continuous broadcasting over the CBS network, this famed organization has been responsible for gaining countless numbers of friends and converts to the Church. We rejoice in the word of the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” (D&C 25:12.)

Regardless of country, clime, or condition, the gospel of Jesus Christ applies to every individual just the same. It is a way of life that each can accept, and if lived, will bring greater joy, success, and happiness than anything else in the world. In fact, it sets forth in all simplicity the principles of the gospel established by Jesus Christ while he was here upon the earth. And the Church is the same organization that Christ formed while heading the Church here in his life, with the same officers, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.

Surely all men everywhere who profess Christianity and believe in Christ would like to belong to his church, and it is our responsibility to make his church and his teachings available so that there will be no question in the minds of those who hear. There should be no prejudices or pride of authorship or jealousy of name if one could be sure that he belonged to Christ’s own church.

We as members of the Church have been given the responsibility of teaching the gospel to the world, and we intend to continue to use every means available to us to spread this gospel, which if accepted and lived will bring peace and righteousness to the world.

President Joseph Fielding Smith, addressing the members of the Church, said:

“It is our duty to save the world. That is our mission, insofar as they will listen unto us and receive our testimony. …

“… the responsibility to perform this labor came to you from the Son of God. You are his servants. You will be held accountable to him for your stewardship, and unless you magnify your callings and prove yourselves worthy and faithful in all things, you will not stand blameless before him at the last day.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Seek Ye Earnestly, Deseret Book Company, 1970, pp. 235–36.)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, in the Mexico Area Conference, said: “Now I call your attention to the facts, set forth in these scriptures, that the gathering of Israel consists of joining the true Church, of coming to a knowledge of the true God and of his saving truths, and of worshiping him in the congregations of the Saints in all nations and among all peoples. Please note that these revealed words speak of the folds of the Lord, of Israel being gathered to the lands of their inheritance, of Israel being established in all their lands of promise, and of there being congregations of the covenant people of the Lord in every nation, speaking every tongue, and among every people when the Lord comes again.”

So, to quote again the words of the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“The keys of the kingdom of God are, committed unto man on the earth …

“Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth.

“Wherefore, may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come, that thou, O God, mayest be glorified in heaven so on earth, that thine enemies may be subdued; for thine is the honor, power and glory, forever and ever. Amen.” (D&C 65:2, 5–6.)

Missions of the Church

Missions of the Church

Missions of the Church in the United States

Missions of the Church in the United States