“Articles of Faith 1:5–13,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual (2017)
“Articles of Faith 1:5–13,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual
President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught: “The right to nominate [members to callings within the Church] rests with the superior officer or officers at whatever the level. But that nomination must be sustained—that is, accepted and confirmed—by the membership of the Church. The procedure is peculiar to the Lord’s church. There is no seeking for office, no jockeying for position, no campaigning to promote one’s virtues. Contrast the Lord’s way with the way of the world. The Lord’s way is quiet; it is a way of peace; it is without fanfare or monetary costs. It is without egotism or vanity or ambition. Under the Lord’s plan, those who have responsibility to select officers are governed by one overriding question: ‘Whom would the Lord have?’ There is quiet and thoughtful deliberation. And there is much of prayer to receive the confirmation of the Holy Spirit that the choice is correct” (“God Is at the Helm,” Ensign, May 1994, 53).
Regarding callings made in the Church, President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “Each member of the Church, in prayer, can receive confirmation that the fifth article of faith has been honored” (“From Such Turn Away,“ Ensign, May 1985, 35).
President Boyd K. Packer said: “The priesthood cannot be conferred like a diploma. It cannot be handed to you as a certificate. It cannot be delivered to you as a message or sent to you in a letter. It comes only by proper ordination. An authorized holder of the priesthood has to be there. He must place his hands upon your head and ordain you” (“That All May Be Edified” , 28).
President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) taught: “It is necessary that every act performed under this authority shall be done at the proper time and place, in the proper way, and after the proper order. The power of directing these labors constitutes the keys of the Priesthood. In their fulness, the keys are held by only one person at a time, the prophet and president of the Church. He may delegate any portion of this power to another, in which case that person holds the keys of that particular labor” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. , 136).
Concerning the power and the authority of the priesthood, President Boyd K. Packer said:
“The power you receive will depend on what you do with this sacred, unseen gift.
“Your authority comes through your ordination; your power comes through obedience and worthiness” (“That All May Be Edified,” 29).
President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) taught:
“It is a common belief of all sects professing Christianity that Jesus the Christ established his divine Church here on the earth during his ministry among men. …
“… He brought a higher law, a law of love, the gospel of love, and he established his Church. He selected officers. We read of the apostles, the seventies, bishops, elders, priests, teachers, and deacons, and one of the members of that body of leaders later said that these officers should remain in the Church for the purpose of ‘… the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
“‘Till we all come in the unity of the faith.’ (Eph. 4:12–13.) …
“… But even during this period there was evidence that an apostasy was beginning. …
“… The corrupting of the simple principles of the gospel, the introduction of pagan philosophies, the unwarranted and unauthorized addition of certain man-made ceremonies, changes in organization and in government—all these and more were in evidence. …
“There remained then, only human churches, without authority, which had excommunicated each other. Surely the apostasy was now complete.
“As the restored Church, we affirm that with the passing of the apostolic age, the Church drifted into a condition of apostasy, that succession in the priesthood was broken, and that the Church, as an earthly organization operating under divine direction and having authority to officiate in spiritual ordinances, ceased to exist” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1949, 23–26).
Elder David B. Haight (1906–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims to the world that this church is a restoration of Christ’s church. A restoration was necessary because prophets and Apostles, who were the foundation of the Lord’s original church, were put to death or otherwise taken. The Church today is built on a foundation of prophets and Apostles, with Jesus Christ as its chief cornerstone. It is therefore not a reformation, a revision, a reorganization, or a mere sect. It is the Church of Jesus Christ restored in these latter days” (“A Prophet Chosen of the Lord,” Ensign, May 1986, 7).
President Gordon B. Hinckley explained:
“The word apostle, in its origin, literally means ‘one sent forth.’ If that definition were stated to say ‘one sent forth with certain authority and responsibility,’ it would properly describe the calling as it was given at the time our Lord walked the earth, and as it has been given in our time. …
“… When [the first Apostles of this dispensation] were selected, they were convened in a meeting held in Kirtland on February 27, 1835. Oliver Cowdery served as clerk in that meeting and wrote this in the minutes:
“‘President Smith proposed the following question: What importance is there attached to the calling of the Twelve Apostles, different from the other callings or officers of the Church?
“‘After the question was discussed, … President Joseph Smith, Jun. gave the following decision:
“‘They are the Twelve Apostles, who are called to the office of the Traveling High Council, who are to preside over the churches of the Saints, among the Gentiles, where there is no presidency established; and they are to travel and preach among the Gentiles, until the Lord shall command them to go to the Jews. They are to hold the keys of this ministry, to unlock the door of the Kingdom of heaven unto all nations, and to preach the Gospel to every creature. This is the power, authority, and virtue in their apostleship’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], p. 74).
“As set forth in the further revelations, they are to work under the direction of the First Presidency and to go forth as ‘special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world’ (D&C 107:23).
“When they need assistance in this duty they are to call upon the Seventy and then upon others as circumstances dictate” (“Special Witnesses for Christ,” Ensign, May 1984, 50–51).
Elder Hugh B. Brown (1883–1975) of the First Presidency gave the following “profile of a prophet”:
“The following characteristics should distinguish a man who claims to be a prophet.
“1. He will boldly claim that God had spoken to him.
“2. Any man so claiming would be a dignified man with a dignified message—no table-jumping, no whisperings from the dead, no clairvoyance, but an intelligent statement of truth.
“3. Any man claiming to be a prophet of God would declare his message without any fear, and without making any weak concessions to public opinion.
“4. If he were speaking for God he could not make concessions, although what he taught would be new and contrary to the accepted teachings of the day. A prophet bears witness to what he has seen and heard and seldom tries to make a case by argument. His message and not himself is important.
“5. Such a man would speak in the name of the Lord saying, ‘Thus said the Lord,’ as did Moses, Joshua and others.
“6. Such a man would predict future events in the name of the Lord, and they would come to pass, as did those predicted by Isaiah and Ezekiel.
“7. He would have not only an important message for his time but often a message for all future time such as Daniel, Jeremiah, and others had.
“8. He would have courage and faith enough to endure persecution and to give his life, if need be, for the cause he espoused, such as Peter, James, Paul and others did.
“9. Such a man would denounce wickedness fearlessly. He would generally be rejected or persecuted by the people of his time, but later generations and descendants of his persecutors, would build monuments in his honor.
“10. He would be able to do superhuman things—things that no man could do without God’s help. The consequence or result of his message and work would be convincing evidence of his prophetic calling. ‘By their fruits ye shall know them’ (Matthew 7:20).
“11. His teachings would be in strict conformity with scripture, and his words and his writings would become scripture” (“The Profile of a Prophet” [Brigham Young University devotional, Oct. 4, 1955], 3, speeches.byu.edu).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “Bishops are the overseers, shepherds, pastors, and judges of their flocks” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 352).
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “All members of the Church can turn to their bishops when they are in need of help and can feel secure in his love for them and can have confidence in following his counsel. Bishops learn not to judge people against a standard of perfection. A bishop learns that he will rejoice with those over whom he presides in any progress they make” (“The Mantle of a Bishop,” Ensign, May 1985, 29).
President David O. McKay (1873–1970) said: “No greater responsibility can rest upon any man, than to be a teacher of God’s children” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1916, 57).
President Thomas S. Monson explained:
“The same Lord who provided a Liahona to Lehi provides for you and for me today a rare and valuable gift to give direction to our lives, to mark the hazards to our safety, and to chart the way, even safe passage—not to a promised land, but to our heavenly home. The gift to which I refer is known as your patriarchal blessing. Every worthy member of the Church is entitled to receive such a precious and priceless personal treasure.
“‘Patriarchal blessings,’ wrote the First Presidency in a letter to stake presidents, ‘contemplate an inspired declaration of the lineage of the recipient and, when so moved upon by the Spirit, an inspired and prophetic statement of the life mission of the recipient, together with such blessings, cautions and admonitions as the patriarch may be prompted to give for the accomplishment of such life’s mission, it being always made clear that the realization of all promised blessings is conditioned upon faithfulness to the gospel of our Lord, whose servant the patriarch is’ (First Presidency letter to stake presidents, 28 June 1958).
“Who is this man, this patriarch, through whom such seership and priesthood power flow? How is he called? The Council of the Twelve Apostles has special responsibility pertaining to the calling of such men. From my own experience I testify that patriarchs are called of God by prophecy. How else could our Heavenly Father reveal those to whom such prophetic powers are to be given? A patriarch holds an ordained office in the Melchizedek Priesthood. The patriarchal office, however, is one of blessing—not of administration. I have never called a man to this sacred office but what I have felt the Lord’s guiding influence in the decision” (“Your Patriarchal Blessing: A Liahona of Light,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 65).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
“By the grace of God—following devotion, faith, and obedience on man’s part—certain special spiritual blessings called gifts of the Spirit are bestowed upon men. Their receipt is always predicated upon obedience to law, but because they are freely available to all the obedient, they are called gifts. …
“Their purpose is to enlighten, encourage, and edify the faithful so that they will inherit peace in this life and be guided toward eternal life in the world to come. Their presence is proof of the divinity of the Lord’s work” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition , 314).
The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) taught: “Paul says, ‘To one is given the gift of tongues, to another the gift of prophecy, and to another the gift of healing’—and again, ‘Do all prophesy? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?’ evidently showing that all did not possess these several gifts; but that one received one gift and another received another gift—all did not prophesy; all did not speak in tongues; all did not work miracles; but all did receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; sometimes they spake in tongues and prophesied in the Apostles’ days, and sometimes they did not. The same is the case with us also” (“Gift of the Holy Ghost,” Times and Seasons, June 15, 1842, 823; capitalization and spelling standardized).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that the gift of tongues and the interpretation of tongues “are of two kinds: (1) learning to speak foreign tongues, to understand the words spoken by [foreigners], and to translate what is written in other languages; and (2) speaking or understanding [foreign] and unknown languages without premeditation. The first kind is by far the more important and more commonly conferred; the second type is more dramatic and may involve languages spoken by others now living or dead languages long unknown among men. Some have spoken, for instance, in the pure Adamic language.
“Both the gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation of tongues are given primarily for the preaching of the gospel. Missionaries learn the languages of those among whom they labor, and sometimes they are given power, for a short time, to preach and understand without the labor of study and the struggle for understanding. …
“Tongues and their interpretation are the most dangerous and most easily imitated of all the gifts of God. Men can speak and interpret by intellectual power and thus use their abilities to teach lies and foster heresies. Lucifer can cause his disciples to give forth nonsensical gibberish in tongues known to devils” (A New Witness, 374).
Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “To prophesy is to receive and declare the word of God, and the statement of His will to the people. The function of prediction, often regarded as the sole essential of prophecy, is but one among many characteristics of this divinely given power. The prophet may have as much concern with the past as with the present or the future; he may use his gift in teaching through the experience of preceding events as in foretelling occurrences. The prophets of God are entrusted with His confidences, being privileged to learn of His will and designs” (Articles of Faith, 12th ed. , 228).
President James E. Faust (1920–2007) of the First Presidency said: “We believe in the gift of healing. To me, this gift extends to the healing of both the body and the spirit. The Spirit speaks peace to the soul. This spiritual solace comes by invoking spiritual gifts, which are claimed and manifested in many ways. They are rich, and full, and abundant in the Church today. They flow from the proper and humble use of a testimony. They also come through the administering to the sick following an anointing with consecrated oil. Christ is the great Physician, who rose from the dead ‘with healing in his wings’ (2 Nephi 25:13), while the Comforter is the agency of healing” (“Spiritual Healing,” Ensign, May 1992, 7).
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:
“In a priesthood blessing a servant of the Lord exercises the priesthood, as moved upon by the Holy Ghost, to call upon the powers of heaven for the benefit of the person being blessed. Such blessings are conferred by holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood, which has the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the Church (see D&C 107:18, 67).
“There are many kinds of priesthood blessings. As I give various examples, please remember that priesthood blessings are available for all who need them, but they are only given on request.
“… Patriarchal blessings are conferred by an ordained patriarch.
“Persons desiring guidance in an important decision can receive a priesthood blessing. Persons who need extra spiritual power to overcome a personal challenge can receive a blessing. Expectant mothers can be blessed before they give birth. Many LDS families remember a sacred occasion where a worthy father gave a priesthood blessing to a son or daughter who was about to be married. Priesthood blessings are often requested from fathers before children leave home for other purposes, such as school, service in the military, or a long trip. …
“Newly called missionaries often request a father’s blessing before they depart. …
“Blessings given in circumstances such as I have just described are sometimes called blessings of comfort or counsel. They are usually given by fathers or husbands or other elders in the family. They can be recorded and kept in family records for the personal spiritual guidance of the persons blessed” (“Priesthood Blessings,” Ensign, May 1987, 36).
Elder Gene R. Cook, while serving as a member of the Seventy, wrote: “Thanks be to the scriptures. Thanks be to the Lord for his words that are so imbued with his Spirit. You will face nothing in life for which the basic principles are not found in the scriptures. The key is to understand them and to share them with your family. Nephi taught the value of the scriptures when he said: ‘Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do’ (2 Nephi 32:3). It is evident that the Lord does provide the answers in the scriptures if we will but seek them out” (Raising Up a Family to the Lord , 47).
Approximately six hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the prophet Nephi foresaw the coming forth of the collection of sacred writings that we know as the Bible (see 1 Nephi 13:20–25). However, Nephi also prophesied the partial corruption of the biblical text. These changes in the Bible, according to what Nephi saw in vision, would be the result of the work of the “great and abominable church,” which would take away “many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord. …
“And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men” (1 Nephi 13:26–27; see also verses 28–29).
Although we know that the Bible has suffered some textual corruption and perhaps other inadvertent additions, deletions, or changes through the centuries, we can still have confidence that the Lord’s guiding hand has been upon its preservation and that it has great value for us today. President Ezra Taft Benson taught:
“I love the Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments. It is a source of great truth. It teaches us about the life and ministry of the Master. From its pages we learn of the hand of God in directing the affairs of His people from the very beginning of the earth’s history. It would be difficult to underestimate the impact the Bible has had on the history of the world. Its pages have blessed the lives of generations.
“But as generation followed generation, no additional scripture came forth to the children of men. Without additional revelation to guide them, men began to interpret the Bible differently. Numerous churches and creeds developed, each using the Bible as its authoritative source.
“But this in no way lessens the worth of the Bible. That sacred and holy book has been of inestimable worth to the children of men. In fact, it was a passage from the Bible that inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to go to a grove of trees near his home and kneel in prayer. What followed was the glorious vision that commenced the restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. That vision also began the process of bringing forth new scripture to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Bible in bearing witness to a wicked world that Jesus is the Christ and that God lives and loves His children and is still intimately involved in their salvation and exaltation” (“The Gift of Modern Revelation,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 78).
President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “I thank the Almighty for my testimony of the Book of Mormon, this wonderful companion to the Holy Bible. … The test of the book is in its reading. I speak as one who has read it again and again and tasted of its beauty and depth and power. Could Joseph Smith, I ask you, the young man reared in rural New York largely without schooling, have dictated in so short a time a volume so complex in its nature and yet so harmonious in its whole, with so large a cast of characters and so extensive in its scope? Could he of his own abilities have created the language, the thought, the moving inspiration that has caused millions over the earth to read and say, ‘It is true’?” (“My Testimony,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 51–52).
Elder David B. Haight said:
“A distinguishing feature of the Church is the claim to continuous revelation from the Lord. … Today, the Lord’s Church is guided by the same relationship with Deity that existed in previous dispensations.
“This claim is not made lightly. I know there is revelation, as I am a witness to sacred things also experienced by others who administer His work.
“The principle of revelation by the Holy Ghost is a fundamental principle of the Lord’s Church. Prophets of God receive revelation by this process. Individual members of the Church may also receive revelation to confirm truth” (“A Prophet Chosen of the Lord,” Ensign, May 1986, 7–8).
President James E. Faust stated:
“This process of continuous revelation comes to the Church very frequently. President Wilford Woodruff stated, ‘This power is in the bosom of Almighty God, and he imparts it to his servants the prophets as they stand in need of it day by day to build up Zion’ (in Journal of Discourses, 14:33). This is necessary for the Church to fulfill its mission. Without it, we would fail. …
“We make no claim of infallibility or perfection in the prophets, seers, and revelators. Yet I humbly state that I have sat in the company of these men, and I believe their greatest desire is to know and do the will of our Heavenly Father. Those who sit in the highest councils of this church and have participated as inspiration has come and decisions have been reached know that this light and truth is beyond human intelligence and reasoning. These deep, divine impressions have come as the dews from heaven and settled upon them individually and collectively. So inspired, we can go forward in complete unity and accord” (“Continuous Revelation,” Ensign, Nov. 1989, 10–11).
Elder James E. Talmage wrote: “The canon of scripture is still open; many lines, many precepts, are yet to be added; revelation, surpassing in importance and glorious fulness any that has been recorded, is yet to be given to the Church and declared to the world” (Articles of Faith, 311).
Speaking of the house of Israel in ancient times, Elder James E. Talmage wrote:
“The Israelites have been so completely dispersed among the nations as to give to this scattered people a place of importance as a factor in the rise and development of almost every large division of the human family. This work of dispersion was brought about by many stages, and extended through millenniums. …
“Though smitten of men, a large part of them gone from a knowledge of the world, Israel are not lost unto their God. He knows whither they have been led or driven; toward them His heart still yearns with paternal love; and surely will He bring them forth, in due time and by appointed means, into a condition of blessing and influence befitting His covenant people. … As complete as was the scattering, so shall be the gathering of Israel” (Articles of Faith, 316, 328–29).
Speaking of the house of Israel today, President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) taught: “Every person who embraces the gospel becomes of the house of Israel. In other words, they become members of the chosen lineage, or Abraham’s children through Isaac and Jacob unto whom the promises were made” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie , 3:246; see also Abraham 2:10).
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) taught: “Now, the gathering of Israel consists of joining the true church and their coming to a knowledge of the true God. … Any person, therefore, who has accepted the restored gospel, and who now seeks to worship the Lord in his own tongue and with the Saints in the nations where he lives, has complied with the law of the gathering of Israel and is heir to all of the blessings promised the Saints in these last days” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 439).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained: “In the coming Millennial day, Israel—which, since the death of Solomon, had been divided into two divisive, warring, rebellious kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel, with its Ten Tribes, and the Kingdom of Judah, with the residue; two kingdoms long since destroyed and taken captive, with their municipals scattered in all the earth—Israel shall again become one nation, upon the mountains of Israel, in the Palestinian home of their fathers. … They shall once again believe the gospel and receive the blessings of baptism, even as these were theirs in the day when the Risen Lord ministered among them. These blessings and the blessings of the temple will be administered to them” (A New Witness, 641–42).
President John Taylor (1808–87) declared: “We are here to build up the church of God, the Zion of God, and the kingdom of God, and to be on hand to do whatever God requires—first to purge ourselves from all iniquity, from covetousness and evil of every kind, to forsake sin of every sort, cultivate the Spirit of God, and help to build up his kingdom; to beautify Zion and have pleasant habitations, and pleasant gardens and orchards, until Zion shall be the most beautiful place there is on the earth. … Zion shall yet become the praise and the glory of the whole earth” (The Gospel Kingdom, sel. G. Homer Durham , 221).
President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “When Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he learned that America is the land of Zion which was given to Joseph and his children and that on this land the City Zion, or New Jerusalem, is to be built. He also learned that Jerusalem in Palestine is to be rebuilt and become a holy city. These two cities, one in the land of Zion and one in Palestine, are to become capitals for the kingdom of God during the millennium” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:71).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained: “The stakes of Zion that now are must be strengthened and perfected before they can uphold and sustain that Zion which is destined to be. When Zion is fully established, it will be by obedience to the law of the celestial kingdom, which law is operative in the stakes of Zion only in part” (A New Witness, 592).
The Lord revealed that the “center place” of the latter-day city of Zion will be Independence, Missouri (see D&C 57:1–3). The Lord also revealed that this Zion, which will be built before His Second Coming (see D&C 29:7–8; 49:24–25), will be “the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;
“And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion. …
“… And it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. …
“And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion” (D&C 45:66–67, 69, 71).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: “As the King of the whole earth, [Jesus Christ] shall make a full end of all nations, and they, combining under one head, shall become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. There will be no law but his law when he comes, and he shall restore his judges and rulers as at the first” (A New Witness, 642).
President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:
“The great change which shall come when Christ our Savior begins his Millennial reign, is to be a restoration to the conditions which prevailed before the fall of man. …
“This new heaven and earth which will come into existence when our Lord comes to reign, is this same earth with its heavens renewed or restored to its primitive condition and beauty. Everything is to be brought back as nearly as it is possible to its position as it was in the beginning” (The Restoration of All Things , 294–95).
In a 1979 statement, the First Presidency declared:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes that a vital cornerstone of a free society is the principle of religious liberty. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution forbids any ‘law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ Ours has been a society which encourages religious liberty and toleration. …
“We, thus, deplore the growing efforts to establish irreligion, such as atheism or secularism, as the official position of the United States of America, thus obscuring and eroding the rich and diverse religious heritage of our nation. …
“From its beginning The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has accepted the constitutional principle that government will neither establish a state religion nor prohibit the free exercise of religion. …
“But the constitutional principle of neutrality toward religion does not call for our nation to ignore its religious heritage, including the religious motivations of its founders and the powerful religious beliefs of generations of its people and its leaders. …
“As the ruling principle of conduct in the lives of many millions of our citizens, religion should have an honorable place in the public life of our nation, and the name of Almighty God should have sacred use in its public expressions. We urge our members and people of good will everywhere to unite to protect and honor the spiritual and religious heritage of our nation and to resist the forces that would transform the public position of the United States from the constitutional position of neutrality to a position of hostility toward religion” (“First Presidency Warns Against ‘Irreligion,’” Ensign, May 1979, 108–9).
Elder Carlos E. Asay (1926–99) of the Presidency of the Seventy cautioned: “Do not contend or debate over points of doctrine. The Master warned that ‘the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil.’ (3 Ne. 11:29.) We are inconsistent if we resort to Satanic tactics in attempting to achieve righteous ends. Such inconsistency results only in frustration, loss of the Spirit, and ultimate defeat” (“Opposition to the Work of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1981, 68).
President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:
“I attended a ‘laboratory of tolerance’ some months ago when I had the privilege of participating in the Parliament of the World’s Religions. There I conversed with good men and women representing many religious groups. Again I sensed the advantages of ethnic and cultural diversity and reflected once more on the importance of religious freedom and tolerance.
“I marvel at the inspiration of the Prophet Joseph Smith when he penned the eleventh article of faith. …
“That noble expression of religious tolerance is particularly poignant in light of the Prophet’s personal persecution. On one occasion he wrote, ‘I am at this time persecuted the worst of any man on the earth, as well as this people, … and all our sacred rights are trampled under the feet of the mob.’
“Joseph Smith endured incessant persecution and finally heartless martyrdom—at the hands of the intolerant. His brutal fate stands as a stark reminder that we must never be guilty of any sin sown by the seed of intolerance. …
“… Not long ago the First Presidency and the Twelve approved a public statement from which I quote:
“‘It is morally wrong for any person or group to deny anyone his or her inalienable dignity on the tragic and abhorrent theory of racial or cultural superiority.
“‘We call upon all people everywhere to recommit themselves to the time-honored ideals of tolerance and mutual respect. We sincerely believe that as we acknowledge one another with consideration and compassion we will discover that we can all peacefully coexist despite our deepest differences’” (“Teach Us Tolerance and Love,” Ensign, May 1994, 69, 71).
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “We urge all Latter-day Saints to be good neighbors and to be good citizens, loyal to their flag and country” (“We Are on the Lord’s Errand,” Ensign, May 1981, 78).
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “The Church maintains a policy of strict political neutrality, favoring no party or candidate, but every member should take an active part in the political process. We should study the issues and the candidates to be sure our votes are based on knowledge rather than hearsay. We need to pray for our public officials and ask the Lord to help them in making momentous decisions that affect us. Our beliefs regarding earthly governments and laws are summarized in section 134 of the Doctrine and Covenants and the twelfth article of faith. We should support public policy that coincides with these moral beliefs” (“Seeking the Good,” Ensign, May 1992, 87–88).
Elder L. Tom Perry (1922–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “All members of the Church should be committed to obeying and honoring the laws of the land in which they live. We should be exemplary in our obedience to the governments that govern us. The Church, to be of service to the nations of the world, must be a wholesome influence in the lives of individuals who embrace it, in temporal as well as spiritual affairs” (“A Meaningful Celebration,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 71).
Elder James E. Talmage explained: “It is the duty of the saints to submit themselves to the laws of their country. Nevertheless, they should use every proper method, as citizens or subjects of their several governments, to secure for themselves and for all men the boon of freedom in religious service. It is not required of them to suffer without protest imposition by lawless persecutors, or through the operation of unjust laws; but their protests should be offered in legal and proper order” (Articles of Faith, 423).
Elder Mark E. Petersen (1900–1984) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:
“Honesty, truth, virtue, and kindness are hallmarks of true Christianity. If we lack them, we can hardly say that we follow Christ. …
“… Professions of piety, without the works of piety, are sheer hypocrisy and are dead—even ‘as the body without the spirit is dead.’ (James 2:26.)” (“We Believe in Being Honest,” Ensign, May 1982, 15).
Elder James E. Talmage wrote: “Religion without morality, professions of godliness without charity, church-membership without adequate responsibility as to individual conduct in daily life, are but as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. … Honesty of purpose, integrity of soul, individual purity, freedom of conscience, willingness to do good to all men even enemies, pure benevolence—these are some of the fruits by which the religion of Christ may be known, far exceeding in importance and value the promulgation of dogmas and the enunciation of theories” (Articles of Faith, 429).
Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915–94) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:
“It is a sin to lie. It is a tragedy to be the victim of lies. Being trapped in the snares of dishonesty and misrepresentation does not happen instantaneously. One little lie or dishonest act leads to another until the perpetrator is caught in the web of deceit. … Those who become victims of this entrapment often struggle through life bearing their heavy burden because they are unwilling to acknowledge their problem and make the effort to change. Many are unwilling to pay the price to be free from the chains of lies. Some individuals may be very aware of the value of honesty and yet be unable to come up with the down payment. …
“Honesty is basic. It is true that lying is an accomplice to every other form of vice. Or, as someone has said, ‘Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.’ (O. W. Holmes, in The Home Book of Quotations, p. 1111.)” (“This Is No Harm,” Ensign, May 1982, 9–11).
Elder J. Richard Clarke, a member of the Presiding Bishopric, said:
“The practice of truth, the acid test of our commitment, is known by many terms—for example, honesty, integrity, uprightness, and probity. I especially like probity. It is taken from the Latin probus, meaning good, and probare—to prove, signifying tried and confirmed integrity. A person who has mastered probity by discipline, until it has become part of his very nature, is like a moral compass which automatically points ‘true north’ under all circumstances. This individual strives for instinctive honesty, acting on impulse toward the right, without having to weigh the merits of advantage or disadvantage. …
“… Wouldn’t it be a great idea if we had a Mormon credit card? A card-carrying Mormon could be depended on to keep his word, to be honest with his employers, and to pay his bills as agreed. Then our professionals, tradesmen, and business people would perform without compromising their ethics for profit, each putting his signature on his work with pride; all of us striving for excellence in every way. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be a ‘peculiar’ people known for our honesty and the quality of our services? The Mormon standard of integrity should be the highest standard in all the world, for we are the covenant people of God. The Lord makes no special concessions for culture, race, or nationality; He expects all His Saints to live according to gospel standards” (“The Practice of Truth,” Ensign, May 1984, 62–63)
President Spencer W. Kimball declared: “So many of the difficulties which beset the family today stem from the breaking of the seventh commandment (see Ex. 20:14). Total chastity before marriage and total fidelity after are still the standard from which there can be no deviation without sin, misery, and unhappiness” (“Families Can Be Eternal,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 4).
Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that intimate, physical acts outside of marriage “cause serious emotional and spiritual harm. Even though participants do not realize that is happening now, they will later.
“Sexual immorality creates a barrier to the influence of the Holy Spirit with all its uplifting, enlightening, and empowering capabilities. It causes powerful physical and emotional stimulation. In time, that creates an unquenchable appetite that drives the offender to ever more serious sin. It engenders selfishness and can produce aggressive acts such as brutality, abortion, sexual abuse, and violent crime. Such stimulation can lead to acts of homosexuality, and they are evil and absolutely wrong.
“Sexual transgression would defile the priesthood you now hold, sap your spiritual strength, undermine your faith in Jesus Christ, and frustrate your ability to serve Him. …
“… Any sexual intimacy outside of the bonds of marriage—I mean any intentional contact with the sacred, private parts of another’s body, with or without clothing—is a sin and is forbidden by God. It is also a transgression to intentionally stimulate these emotions within your own body.
“Satan tempts one to believe that there are allowable levels of physical contact between consenting individuals who seek the powerful stimulation of emotions they produce, and if kept within bounds, no harm will result. As a witness of Jesus Christ, I testify that is absolutely false. Satan particularly seeks to tempt one who has lived a pure, clean life to experiment through magazines, videocassettes, or movies with powerful images of a woman’s body. He wants to stimulate appetite to cause experimentation that quickly results in intimacies and defilement. Powerful habits are formed which are difficult to break. Mental and emotional scars result” (“Making the Right Choices,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 38).
Elder Marvin J. Ashton said: “Those who would have us forfeit virtue and chastity to prove our love in sexual participation out of wedlock are neither friends nor eternally family-oriented” (“We Serve That Which We Love,” Ensign, May 1981, 23).
President Spencer W. Kimball taught: “In the context of lawful marriage, the intimacy of sexual relations is right and divinely approved. There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself, for by that means men and women join in a process of creation and in an expression of love” (President Kimball Speaks Out , 311).
Elder Dean L. Larsen, while serving as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, taught: “The enduring strength of the kingdom is not to be found in the number of its members, the rate of its growth, or the beauty of its buildings. In God’s kingdom, power is not equated with body count nor with outward routine compliance with prescribed performances. It is found in those quiet uncharted acts of love, obedience, and Christian service which may never come to the attention of official leadership, but which emulate the ministry of the Lord himself” (“The Strength of the Kingdom Is Within,” Ensign, Nov. 1981, 27).
Elder Antoine R. Ivins (1881–1967) of the Seventy said: “I once heard a young man as he addressed a seventies’ convention in Barratt Hall say, ‘There is no measure to the good that a man may do if he does not worry as to who gets the credit for it’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1946, 42).
Speaking in the priesthood session of general conference, President Ezra Taft Benson said:
“Virtuous behavior implies that he has pure thoughts and clean actions. He will not lust in his heart, for to do so is to ‘deny the faith’ and to lose the Spirit (D&C 42:23). …
“Virtue is akin to holiness, an attribute of godliness. A priesthood holder should actively seek for that which is virtuous and lovely and not that which is debasing or sordid. Virtue will garnish his thoughts unceasingly (see D&C 121:45). How can any man indulge himself in the evils of pornography, profanity, or vulgarity and consider himself totally virtuous?” (“Godly Characteristics of the Master,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 46).
President David O. McKay taught: “There is no one great thing that we can do to obtain eternal life, and it seems to me that the great lesson to be learned in the world today is to apply in the little acts and duties of life the glorious principles of the Gospel. … The great sun is a mighty force in the universe, but we receive the blessings of his rays because they come to us as little beams, which, taken in the aggregate, fill the whole world with sunlight. The dark night is made pleasant by the glimmer of what seem to be little stars; and so the true Christian life is made up of little Christ-like acts performed this hour, this minute, in the home, in the quorum, in the organization, in the town, wherever our life and acts may be cast” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1914, 87–88).
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom” (“Small Acts of Service,” Ensign, Dec. 1974, 5).
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “Only the pure love of Christ will see us through. It is Christ’s love which suffereth long, and is kind. It is Christ’s love which is not puffed up nor easily provoked. Only his pure love enables him—and us—to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things (see Moroni 7:45)” (“He Loved Them unto the End,” Ensign, Nov. 1989, 26).
Elder Marvin J. Ashton said: “Shun discouragement. One of Satan’s most powerful tools is discouragement. Whisperings of ‘you can’t do it,’ ‘you’re no good,’ ‘it’s too late,’ ‘what’s the use?’ or ‘things are hopeless’ are tools of destruction. Satan would like you to believe that because you’ve made one mistake it’s all over. He wants you to quit trying. It is important that discouragement is cast out of the lives of those who are waiting. This may take a decided amount of work and energy, but it can be accomplished” (“While They Are Waiting,” Ensign, May 1988, 63).
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin explained:
“The word seek means to go in search of, try to discover, try to acquire. It requires an active, assertive approach to life. For example, Abraham ‘sought for the blessings of the fathers … and to be a greater follower of righteousness’ (Abraham 1:2). It is the opposite of passively waiting for something good to come to us with no effort on our part.
“We can fill our lives with good, leaving no room for anything else. We have so much good from which to choose that we need never partake of evil. Elder Richard L. Evans declared: ‘There is evil in the world. There is also good. It is for us to learn and choose between the two; to increase in self-discipline, in competence, in kindness; to keep going—putting one foot in front of the other—one day, one hour, one moment, one task at a time’ (Thoughts for One Hundred Days, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, 1966–72], 4:199).
“If we seek things that are virtuous and lovely, we surely will find them” (“Seeking the Good,” 86).
President Russell M. Nelson taught: “To those with an interest in the fulness of the restored gospel—regardless of nationality or religious background—we say as did Elder Bruce R. McConkie: ‘Keep all the truth and all the good that you have. Do not abandon any sound or proper principle. Do not forsake any standard of the past which is good, righteous, and true. Every truth found in every church in all the world we believe. But we also say this to all men—Come and take the added light and truth that God has restored in our day. The more truth we have, the greater is our joy here and now; the more truth we receive, the greater is our reward in eternity. This is our invitation to men [and women] of good will everywhere’ [in Conference Report, Tahiti Area Conference 1976, 31]” (“Teach Us Tolerance and Love,” 70).