“Some Thoughts on the Gospel and the Behavioral Sciences,” Ensign, July 1976, 70
I appreciate the chance to be with you, my brothers and sisters. I am always renewed and benefited by coming to this campus. This is the only university in the world that is asked to be both a display university and a real university at the same time. You must not be surprised, therefore, if those of us who are not with you every day draw strength from and are renewed by being with you. Even our nonmember friends usually come away thrilled, and yet somewhat perplexed, by their experiences here.
I appreciate the invitation that came to me from Allen Bergin to join you. His optimism that I might have some things to say is basically why I am here. I certainly have no research to report as, happily, do others. I have appreciated the chance to react to many of the presentations to be made, and I commend BYU for including in its Centennial celebration a symposium of “The Gospel and the Behavioral Sciences.” Surely, this is an area of special concern for the Church—its people and its scholars. I commend the scholars who are participating and all like them who are striving to join their gospel scholarship and their academic scholarship.
This leads me to the second reason I am here—to suggest that the LDS behavioral scientists become more of a link and bridge between revealed truth and the world of scholarship. The LDS scholar has his citizenship in the kingdom, but carries his passport into the professional world—not the other way around.
Of such bridge-building, these caveats need to be issued at the outset:
1. Some such bridges can be built—but not easily. We sometimes know more spiritually than we can tell, simultaneously, in scholarly terms. Sometimes we see the tip of a certain iceberg of insights. Other times we do not even see the tip, but we know it is there.
2. Some such bridges cannot be built for a while. There is much that God will yet reveal to us. Since divine disclosure comes so often by degrees, some of the great insights in the behavioral sciences that might bear on “how-to” skills and approaches may not be divulged for a while.
3. Some foot bridges have already been built which can be widened into thoroughfares. More work can be done in converging scholarship and scriptural truths.
4. While we may not now know fully how to construct all these bridges of which I have been speaking, we know now that some bridges simply cannot be built, however much some secular scholars struggle to do so. For instance, we may not yet know the best form of therapy in every case, but we can know that certain forms of therapy used by the world are clearly inappropriate for us as Latter-day Saints.
Having said those things by way of caution, my basic assumption is that much more bridge-building can be done than has been done—without compromising the concepts contained in the revelations of God and without being so eager that our scholarship becomes sloppy, for academic advocacy soon strips itself of the sense of science.
The two responses to be avoided when discussing the challenges of such bridge-building are, first, disinterest in even trying; and second, assuming a posture in which LDS behavioral scientists are, at every point, indistinguishable from those whose approach is purely secular.
When we start building the proper and needed bridges, God will help us—individually and collectively. It will not surprise me in the least if some of the insights and methodologies of able, orthodox, LDS behavioral scientists will exert an increasing gravitational pull on some of our thoughtful nonmember colleagues in the years ahead. Perhaps there will even be the academic equivalent of what Isaiah foresaw, and thoughtful souls will say in various ways, “Come ye, let us go up” to the Lord’s house of learning to be taught and shown his ways. (See Isa. 2:3.) If we are not ashamed of Jesus Christ and his teachings, he will not be ashamed of us.
When we seek to communicate, however, with those in the world of scholarship, we must speak to them and communicate with them “after the manner of their language.” (See D&C 1:24.) We can, as many LDS behavioral scientists have done, develop our skills in that “tongue” without coming to prefer it and without losing the mother tongue of faith.
To build bridges will require both courage and competency. It will require the perspiration and persistence of a Pasteur. It will require the forsaking of the easy praise of the world that comes from following the fashionable. But real esteem is earned, while often authority is conferred.
We must not be disturbed if we are unfashionable in terms of the trends of the time, for as Paul reminds us, “The fashion of this world passeth away.” (1 Cor. 7:31.)
It is a great source of satisfaction to me to know in the realm of relationships—of an individual to himself, to God, and to his fellowmen—that the Lord has disclosed the doctrines that are crucial and essential.
Though we cannot fully fathom all their implications, if we can accept the basic truths, we have already come some distance. Such basic truths include:
1. That man is created in the image of God.
2. That environment and heredity by themselves do not account for all human differences.
3. That free agency is an exceedingly important element in the growth and development of individuals; indeed, as President Marion G. Romney has said, “the preservation of this free agency is more important than the preservation of life itself.”
4. That life’s design is such that God, speaking of us, has said with reference to this mortal estate, “Let us prove them herewith” (see Abr. 3:25), a truth that is rich with implications.
5. That life’s Divine design also involves “an opposition in all things.” (See 2 Ne. 2:11–16.)
6. That this is a world of law, the breaking or keeping of which brings misery or blessings, respectively.
7. That “almost all men” misuse authority and power. (See D&C 121:39.)
We will find that not only are there strategic signposts of morality, but there are also tactical standards of morality with which we must be concerned if we are to preserve our identity in the way that is most helpful to us and to our fellowmen. We must not unintentionally assume the appearance of evil in its various cultural costumes and dispensational dimensions. The length of Samson’s hair not only gave him strength, it set him apart from the Philistines, whose passion for alcohol Samson did not share either. The prophet will always help us to set the tone of tactical morality when such is needed to set us apart from some contemporaries. Paul did this for female Church members in Corinth, counseling them, I am told, so they would not be confused with prostitutes because of uncovered hair. Thus, the principles do not change, but as Dr. Daniel H. Ludlow has said, the practices may vary. We can always look to the prophet for guidance with regard to these tactical dimensions of morality.
In these and in many other ways, we have been blessed with decisive insights.
By contrast, the uncertain relativist is flooded by facts at the same time he is parched by the trickle of theory. But the disciples of Jesus will be able to take hold of the timbers of truth to survive and ultimately use these timbers of truth to build the bridges about which I have been speaking.
What we do know, therefore, is so very much! We have been given more cosmic clues and cues than we have yet used as Latter-day Saints.
We know what others only surmise. It was Marcel Proust who wrote insightfully of premortality as follows:
“All that can be said is that everything in our life happens as though we entered upon it with a load of obligations contracted in a previous existence. There is no reason arising from the conditions of our life on this earth for us to consider ourselves obliged to do good, to be tactful, even to be polite. … All these obligations whose sanction is not of this present life, seem to belong to a different world, founded on kindness, scruples, sacrifices, a world entirely different from this one, a world whence we emerge to be born on this earth, before returning thither, perhaps to live under the empire of those unknown laws we have obeyed because we bore their teaching within us without knowing who had taught us.” (Marcel Proust, La Prisonniere, as quoted in Homo Viator by Gabriel Marcel.)
We know the reality of what men like that may surmise. Could it be that with regard to the behavioral sciences we are in much the same position President Spencer W. Kimball says we are in with regard to missionary work: he reminded us as members of the Church that the Lord won’t open any doors until we are truly ready to enter those doorways.
I am pleased with the many thoughtful people of the world who share many of our concerns and who are increasingly anxious to address themselves to fundamental issues. Ronald Butt, writing recently in Great Britain, said of pornography:
“Pornography, like peace, is indivisible. Of course, some pornography is much worse than others; the more it suggests physical cruelty, the worse it usually is. But all pornography, even what is usually called ‘soft,’ which today is harder than most people think, has certain things in common. One of the essential qualities is the exploitation of those who provide the material.”
Ronald Butt also reminded us that not only is pornography paternalistic—it is devilishly desensitizing. He wrote:
“The history of the Roman arena instructs us how the appetite of a people can be created by what is fed to it—the upper classes of Rome were systematically addicted by their rulers to the frenzy and titillation of sadistic violence by a steady progression from less to more until the Roman character itself was conditioned to a coarse insensibility to suffering.”
Butt concluded his interesting discussion of the challenge of pornography by saying:
“It is, in the end, not a matter of quibbling about the words of statutes; it is about priorities and first principles.” (London Times, Feb. 1976.)
In my view, brothers and sisters, the “first principles” and “priorities” about which Ronald Butt speaks are the very truths and insights that we have in such abundance in the gospel of Jesus Christ!
For me, another fundamental insight is the reality that our Father in heaven knows us deeply, longitudinally, and individually, and perfectly. Because of his knowing us in these ways, God has sent consistent and repetitive messages concerning human behavior through Jesus Christ, and through prophets, emphasizing again and again certain key principles. The very repetitiveness of those messages lets us know much about man’s nature, especially in view of God’s perfect love for us and his perfect knowledge about us.
Man has been taught, therefore, concerning the “thou shalt nots,” and we have also been taught the “thou shalts” by the Sermon on the Mount and other eloquent expressions. In so teaching us, God has portrayed the proximate and ultimate consequences of various behavior in terms of the misery that follows sinning, or the happiness that follows righteousness. Thus, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not “data rich and theory poor.” These patches of profundities (some samples of which I have cited) are, of course, interconnected in a spiritual ecology in a system of law which can and must be much better presented to the thoughtful people of the world than we have yet done.
The reality that there are such guideposts or signposts to mark the way (so that we need not fall off either side of the straight and narrow path) does not make our journey any less a real adventure. In getting from mark A to mark Z, we must walk carefully and watch our footing along the path and help those who struggle less successfully.
We shall probably learn later on that the number and nature of the markers are such as to maximize our growth in mortality while in this second estate. Too few, and we would be lost. Too many, and we would not stretch our souls. After all, the dispute in the premortal councils focused in large measure on that very issue!
If we sometimes wonder about the stress the scriptures place on the avoidance of certain evils, as well as the choosing of certain goods, it is because the human development sought for consists of both refusing to do evil and choosing to do good in rejecting some things and affirming others. A commitment to truth requires the rejection of some things as well as the acceptance of others. That is part and parcel of the process of progression. Otherwise, we would be like so many precious souls who are neutralized or stranded in a psychological no-man’s-land in between the behavioral barbarians on one hand and the righteous on the other. The prophet Mormon says that those so stranded experience the “sorrowing of the damned” (Morm. 2:13), a mortal melancholy, a schizoid suffering as did one such sample group because, as the scriptures say:
“They did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives.” (Morm. 2: 14.)
In what we are asked to reject are certain important clues concerning that human behavior which produces lasting growth and happiness and that which produces misery.
Our conduct—not whether we are Asian or American—finally determines, in fact, whether we are to enjoy a telestial culture, a terrestrial culture, or a celestial culture, for finally, as Paul reminds us:
“There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
“So also is the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Cor. 15:41–42.)
There are contemporary cultural differences, too, of course, but the sincere seeker after celestial culture must be more concerned with the preparation for that culture than with the preservation of present culture. Such things as how we hold a knife and fork when we eat or how we dance are differences that seldom matter much. There are other current cultural differences that do matter much: a morbid sense of despondency about life itself, a feeling of futility about man’s purpose could depress a people to a point where they do not extract from this second estate those things which really matter and which are intended to happen here. Enough prophets have inveighed against unwise or wicked “traditions of the fathers” for us to know that certain mortal traditions can be devastating and disabling. Cultural differences, however, which are matters of preference and not principle can continue to provide color and variety. God seems to love variety, except in doctrine—because the latter is so crucial.
The hard sayings of the scriptures are, therefore, in fact just that. They are especially hard to bear if we are guilty. Little wonder that we read on one occasion how, having heard the rigorous requirements of a revealed religion, the disciples of Jesus became anxious. Of them we read:
“And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?” (Mark 10:26; italics added.)
The ways of God are not the ways of the world. Just because sometimes behavior is changed gradually is no reason to obscure the ideal. Since Jesus spoke of the wrongness of mental adultery—are we free to sanction salacious imagery in therapy? There are real risks if we appear to sanction, even tacitly, something less than what is required. There are some ditches we cannot jump in two jumps. We must jump all the way across to the other side or not at all.
It should not matter to us that we may be misunderstood by the world in this respect. Remember the taunt flung at Jesus as he was on the cross: he could save others, but could he not save himself? Naivete often stares at reality without seeing it! Beneficiaries are often blind to their blessings.
When others see us enduring to the end, following “first principles,” it may make no sense to them at all. But we must endure anyway. For if the salt, the Saints, were to lose their distinctiveness, then the world would be increasingly tasteless. It was Jesus who said:
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matt. 5:13.)
If all things are a matter of preference and nothing is a matter of principle, why not put Dracula in charge of the blood bank? If we became just like the world, the world would hold us in double contempt; and the Lord would be as displeased as he was when, through his prophet Ezekiel, he said his “priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean.” (Ezek. 22:26; italics added.)
Thus it must be in the behavioral sciences, as well. Otherwise, we will be victimized by relativism, as most of the world has been already. Paul made a plea for us to see the importance of simplicity and certainty:
“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
“So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.” (1 Cor. 14:8–9.)
This pattern of doing what is right faithfully and conscientiously may reduce the rewards and plaudits of the world which will usually go to others, for as the Savior said:
“They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” (1 Jn. 4:5.)
Chesterton warned about accommodating ourselves “to the trend of the time,” which he said “at its best consists entirely of people who will accommodate themselves to anything,” even “to a trend that isn’t there.” Meanwhile, while there may be much mocking, significant numbers of some sober scholars and thoughtful individuals in the world will notice the glow of the gospel light as it breaks forth in the behavioral sciences, as elsewhere, in preparation for the promised period Isaiah foresaw when “the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” (Isa. 26:9; italics added.) But the spirit by which we proceed is not the spirit of this world. Paul said,
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Cor. 2:12; italics added.)
Many insights have been “freely given to us of God” that remain to be spoken of articulately, humbly, and scholastically—in the classrooms and from the rooftops of our academic enclaves for, as Jesus said:
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Matt. 5:14.)
Let us not keep that light hidden under a bushel, especially when others need the truths which we have—for their happiness here and for their salvation in the world to come!
We will need to be at least as diligent as the children of this world are in pursuing their research and in advancing their values, for the children of light often are lax and slack. It was Jesus himself who, at the end of one parable, observed:
“And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8; italics added.)
LDS behavioral scientists must extract both the obvious and hidden wisdom embedded in the value system of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” (1 Cor. 2:7.)
We have to avoid doing what the world so often does, missing the simple truths and missing the obvious truths—in Jacob’s diagnostic phrase—because we are forever “looking beyond the mark.” (Jacob 4:14.)
There are some striking parallels between the mocking of the Saints experienced in Lehi’s vision and what we are warned about. It was the Savior who said,
“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” (Luke 6:22; italics added.)
We must also avoid being conformed to the world.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:2; italics added.)
More than has been the case so far, quality research can prove that which is the good. Conventional wisdom will often not be enough, given our goals and obligations. We must not be surprised, either, if some people on the earth regard Jesus Christ, his gospel and his Church, as either “foolishness” or a “stumblingblock.” It was Paul who said:
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” (1 Cor. 1:23.)
We must not be perplexed or be taken by surprise either, by the actions of those who are not believers. We read in Acts:
“But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.” (Acts 17:5; italics added.)
Often those who believe not will act with envy concerning those who do believe. What accounts for this envy I cannot fully say, but the envy is often there. There was, in ancient Greece, the tale of Aristides the Just:
“Aristides encountered an illiterate citizen who was struggling to make out his ostrakon [the periodic way in which ancient Greeks could, with sufficient “votes,” exile an offending countryman]. When Aristides inquired as to whether or not he could help this man mark his ostrakon, the man said yes and asked, not knowing who his helper was, to have the name of Aristides put on the ‘ballot’ as deserving of ostracism. Aristides, wisely seeking feedback, still did not identify himself but asked why the man wished this fate upon Aristides. The man said it was because he had grown tired of hearing incessantly how noble and how just Aristides was. There was, apparently, an intrinsic resentment of Aristides’ image of nobility.”
Indeed, there are and will be those who are stirred up to anger against that which is good! We, likewise, will be confronted with major ironies in which people will turn to teachers of the world and be turned away “from the truth” and “turned into fables.” (See 2 Tim. 4:4.)
The appetite of man for “fables” and the turning away from truth is not confined to the behavioral sciences, but it is present there also.
If, as some suggest, unchecked drives for sexual gratification and indulgence are in fact “a sign of regression to primitive and infantile forms of satisfaction and gratification,” and if sex gratification is “usually symptomatic of retardation or regression in personal development” (John Powell, Why Am I Afraid to Love? Niles, Ill.: Argus Communications, pp. 93, 94), then little wonder that we must be concerned not only with behavioral chastity, but with chastity of our thoughts. One scholar, Unwin, years ago examined thirty-seven societies and concluded that a society cannot have both sexual permissiveness and significant social energy for more than one generation.
Will and Ariel Durrant, who studied twenty civilizations, producing ten volumes, warned, among other things, that sex is a river of fire which must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints or it will destroy both the individual and the group.
John Lukacs warned that sexual immorality is not merely a marginal development but is at the very center of the moral crisis of our time.
For the unchaste, we can be both truthful and loving in helping them to see sin and to forsake it. Alma did this with warmth and wisdom for his unchaste son. He said:
“And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.
“O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.” (Alma 42:29–30.)
Some significant clues for therapy and counseling are contained in that episode.
The growing heresy, that disarming fable that there is a private morality, not only turns many away from the truth but also threatens to bury man in an avalanche of appetite.
Norman Cousins wrote that “People who insist on seeing everything and doing anything run the risk of feeling nothing.” (Saturday Review, Jan. 23, 1971, p. 31.)
Mormon saw his degraded people finally reach a stage wherein they were “past feeling.” The gospel can guard us against the desensitizing consequences of sin.
The gospel also reminds us of proximate as well as ultimate accountability. Where there is a wrong, there is always at least one victim. The test for morality is never the visibility of an act, but the rightness of an act. Surely Henry VIII is not the only example of how “private morality” has a way of having public consequences!
But the fable about private morality would not exist if there were not the preceding and larger heresy of relativism.
Relativism involves the denial of the existence of absolute truths and, therefore, of an absolute truthgiver, God. Relativism has sometimes been a small, satanic sea breeze, but now the winds of relativism have reached gale proportions. Over a period of several decades relativism has eroded ethics, public and personal, has worn down the will of many, has contributed to a slackening sense of duty, civic and personal. The old mountains of individual morality have been worn down. This erosion has left mankind in a sand-dune society, in a desert of disbelief where there are no landmarks, and no north, no east, no west, and no south! There is only the dust of despair!
As Shelley said of a fallen statue, “Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.” (From “Ozymandias,” Family Book of Best Loved Poems, p. 278.)
So much of today’s literature, art, film, and music mirror the pathos of the inhabitants of this desert of disbelief, needing to be rescued, but sometimes resisting rescue and even making fun of the rescuers. We cannot help those who are lost in the desert of disbelief by joining them, nor can we help them if we are naive about evil. Evil is never tolerant of righteousness, it never has been and never will be, any more than the father of evil, Lucifer, is tolerant. He was, and is, a poor loser!
Behavioral scientists, perhaps more than anyone, can appreciate the marvelous imagery of La Roche-foucauld who once observed, “There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts.” So many erroneous theories have been advanced about human behavior, only to be murdered by brutal gangs of facts. Latter-day Saints especially have no excuse to be deaf to the lessons of history—for we can listen with both the ears of scholarship and scripture. “True believers,” as Alma used the term, are also true scholars.
Theories based on relativistic ethics are congenitally and fatally flawed, and these have created the greatest confusion around the very issues that matter most.
Men who are strangers to God will also be stangers to each other. Men who do not accept God’s plan will never have a lasting sense of purpose about this life. Men who do not have a true perspective about their relationship with God will never achieve identity. Men who navigate by their own light and after their own way will find themselves, in Mormon’s words, “as a vessel … tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her.” (Morm. 5:18.)
The world’s “solutions” are no solutions at all. The world would merely have us substitute a copulation explosion for a population explosion, as one commentator warned. The world would destroy the family, while urging people to search for their identity and for a sense of belonging. The world promotes sexual freedom even while such promiscuity places many in peer prisons, tightly regimented, whose walls of appetite are higher than any prison wall. The solutions the world offers are cruel, conceptual cul-de-sacs.
He who often gets mortals to shout shrilly, “Power to the people,” actually has in mind a rather small number of people to be the ultimate power brokers. Would you believe a number as low as “one”? And that “one” desires that all men might be miserable like unto himself!
Sadly, brothers and sisters, relativism also sires statism, causing man to settle in the slums of security by breaking off his quest for the city of God. In concluding his famous essay, On Liberty, John Stuart Mill warned:
“A State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes—will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished; and that the perfection of machinery to which it has sacrificed everything will in the end avail it nothing, for want of the vital power which, in order that the machine might work more smoothly, it has preferred to banish.” (Great Books of the Western World, 43:323.)
In my personal opinion, unlike Lucifer’s way, we will find, as President Joseph F. Smith said, that when we educate our desires, then man can be safely left with his desires. We will find that we not only need to receive the correcting impressions of the Spirit but feedback from our fellowmen and family. Our institutionalized interface with the Church can help us greatly, too, in this same respect
If we want to bring about improvement, there must be the presence of desire; there must be the presence of feedback. We must avoid compartmentalization, because there is something about the gospel that has a way of breaking down walls and barriers. There must be the presence of challenge and adventure. There must be the presence of models and exemplars.
Unlike the contempt and condescension with which Satan views us, our Lord and Savior views us with love and with a sense of perfect anticipation about what is possible. He sees us not alone for what we are, but for what we might become. We will find that men and women do best when we appeal to their ideals, to their spirit of sacrifice, to their desire for service, and to their instincts for causality and liberty.
Thus of these bridges to be built and to be enlarged, it is perhaps not too much to say to you that once built, more individuals will cross them than we know, drawn by the light and warmth of the gospel. Some will come to see and to survey. Happily, many will come to stay!
The timbers of truth are waiting to be used. You have the professional and spiritual tools as has no preceding generation of LDS scholars. Go to, and build! Be about your Father’s business!
Thank you for letting me come to be with you. I recognize that I am not a part of the construction crew, but I am happy to be here to cheer you on in this and subsequent enterprises.
I witness to you again, as I am always delighted to do, that this is the work of our Father in heaven, that this university and LDS scholars here, and others like them elsewhere, have special things to do in a special age in a special time.
We must not fail, individually, for if we fail, we fail twice—for ourselves and for those who could have been helped, if we had done our duty.
I witness to you that we are prophet-led and that, in fact, in many ways (more quickly than we know) the light of the gospel is breaking forth. We stand for things others only equivocate about or simply practice in individual isolation. For instance, I would ask any here to name an organization, if you can, that cares so deeply and consistently about the principle of chastity that it regularly interviews its members and leaders to see if they comply therewith?
As Peter said to us, we must be ready always to speak of the gospel in meekness, giving reasons to others for the faith that is in us. (See 1 Pet. 3:15.) May God bless us so to do, and may I leave this testimony with you about the ultimate nature of the things with which we are concerned and of the kingdom of which we are a part, whose ultimate high priest is the Lord—all of which I do in his name, Jesus Christ. Amen.