As we listened to the prophet as he opened this conference, I was reminded that the inspiration and direction of prophets over the years have given us foreknowledge of what was to come in the future.
In this dispensation, our day, a book of prophetic utterances has channeled earthward to us.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “One of the most important points in the faith of the Church of the Latter-day Saints, through the fullness of the everlasting Gospel, is the gathering of Israel (of whom the Lamanites constitute a part).” (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2:357.)
In a proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the restored Church in 1845, we are told—speaking of the Lamanites of North and South America—“They will also come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and of the fulness of the gospel; and they will embrace it and become a righteous branch of the house of Israel.” (Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, New York, “Prophet” Office, Apr. 6, 1845, p. 3.)
President Brigham Young, speaking of the conversions of the Lamanites, said: “Look to see them like a flame of fire, a mighty rushing torrent, like the grand march of angels.” (Young Woman’s Journal, May 1890, p. 263.)
John Taylor expressed this thought: “The same organization of priesthood, must be introduced and maintained among the house of Lehi as amongst those of Israel gathered from among the gentile nations.” (Letter to A. Carrington, Liverpool, Oct. 18, 1882.)
President Wilford Woodruff penetrated the future and revealed, “Zion is bound to rise and flourish. The Lamanites will blossom as the rose on the mountains. … Every word that God has ever said of them will have its fulfillment, and they, by and by, will receive the Gospel. It will be a day of God’s power among them, and a nation will be born in a day.” (Journal of Discourses, 15:282.)
Now may we consider the book of revelations of today as shared with us by the present prophet, President Spencer W. Kimball: “The Lamanites must rise in majesty and power.” (Conference Reports, Oct. 1947, p. 22.)
This prophetic statement was made on October 3, 1947, when in Central America we had fewer than 100 members and in that great land of Mexico fewer than 5,000, half of whom were in the Mormon colonies. “The Lamanites must rise in majesty,” I repeat. The fewer than 100 in Central America when these prophetic words were uttered has blossomed into more than 40,000 as of today. From the fewer than 5,000 in Mexico at that time, a rich harvest of over 150,000 stand tall in the field white already to harvest; the total membership of 1947 but represents harvest of a pair of months today.
To continue the statement of President Kimball, “We must look forward to the day … when they shall have economic security, culture, refinement, and education; when they shall be operating farms and businesses and industries and shall be occupied in the professions and in teaching.” (Ibid.)
When these words reached our ears in 1947 it wouldn’t have required the fingers of one hand to number the professional people in the Church in Mexico and Central America—or the number of cars owned or the number of homes with modern conveniences.
“They shall be operating farms,” President Kimball said. One stake president manages a complex of seven farms with over 400,000 chickens.
President Kimball continues: “… businesses and industries and … occupied in the professions and in teaching.” Listen to this list describing stake presidencies, high councilors, and bishops in the Mexico City area: architects; attorneys; engineers (agronomic, biochemical, mechanical, aeronautical, petroleum, topographical, civil, electrical); doctors of medicine, including surgeons and pediatricians; dentists; nurses; business managers; tailors; carpenters; building contractors; teachers; school administrators; auto mechanics; business machine repairmen; blacksmiths; insurance agents; farmers—some very humble … and the list goes on and on.
To match this list is the rising of a nation.
The birthplace of one of the largest refineries in Latin America rests within view of ancient Toltec statuary, waiting to process encased rivers of oil propelled for hundreds of miles over mountains and across valleys. An electric generating complex sufficient to produce comfort for many cities is pushing into the sky beside the remains of ancient civilizations that reached a peak of peace toward which we are striving.
And President Kimball now continues: “… when they shall be organized into wards and stakes of Zion.” (Ibid.) Fifteen stakes organized in one day. Many more in the wings awaiting polishing and final approval.
Hermanos de Mexico y America Central, favor de ponerse de pie.
These brethren represent leadership from 31 stakes and 171 wards and branches. If we were to add the 9 missions, 38 districts, and 215 branches, we would have a total of 456 units of the Church in this one part (Mexico and Central America) of the Lord’s vineyard that is producing fruit abundantly. Yes, approaching 200,000 eternal spirits clothed in mortal bodies. There stands living evidence of prophecy being fulfilled.
Muchas gracias hermanos, pueden sentarse.
As I recently stood upon the shores of the Pacific Ocean, for moments I watched the waves and the tide move and reach upon the sandy beach with fingers stretching to points untouched since yesterdays. With the surge of power of the deep that lifted higher and higher the marks upon the sand came a remembrance of promises to children whose memories are dulled by distance and time, who are also reaching, yearning, deserving of heights not reached since many yesterdays, but who now, responding with promises propelled from an inner power as ceaseless as the waves and the tide, will deservedly be lifted through meritorious service back to heights of yesterdays, to goals unattained except in memory.
President Kimball, the Lord has blessed your prophetic utterances with fulfillment.
How did he know? Who gave him the power to pierce the future? What dropped the shackles of fear from his tongue?
Prophets are not discerned by intellectual processes. These statements of today have not been presented in proof that President Kimball is a prophet. They are but outward evidences of an inward power—no, not proof for, but a testimony of, divine powers linked with the Source of all eternal truth.
As the Lord instructed Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and their inspiration was guarded for our day—as Jeremiah, Isaiah, Malachi, and others recorded holy writ; even so a prophet speaks today.
I witness there is a prophet of the Lord in the land, not unlike those of olden times—not dressed in the sandals and long robes of ancient times, but with power, vision, and farsightedness for today and tomorrow.
The Lord is our light, and that light comes through the prophets. Of this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.