Elder Moses Thatcher




Delivered by Apostle Moses Thatche, at the M.M.I.A. Conference, held
May 31, 1891.


The subject that has been allotted to me is a vast one; it is like being dropped into the Atlantic ocean, with the earth beneath and the sky above. The mission of our young men is as high as the heavens, as deep as the earth, and as broad as eternity; the opportunity for doing good is everywhere present. The object of these associations is educational—that education which comes from true religion, without which it is impossible to make for ourselves that character which belongs to a Saint of God. There must be an anchor to the soul. That anchor is true religion. Our young men should not only improve themselves but should labor for the advancement of others. I know of no better field for such work than in Zion. If faithfully pursued, the prosecutor of this elevating and ennobling object will reap a reward that overleaps time and extends into eternity and will be made the recipient of eternal life. For by this work a knowledge of God can be obtained, and to know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent is eternal life.

I was startled today by a report in which it was stated that there were 230 young men in one Stake who were not identified with the Mutual Improvement associations. In that and other Stakes similarly situated there is ample opportunity for doing good. Those young men should be labored with and be brought under the influence of the associations.

Improvement should be taught not only in public gatherings but at the family hearthstone and in every private place. The workers themselves should first be converted. It has been stated by a writer of profound thought that it is better to give than to receive; but how can we give without first having required? There is more genuine enjoyment in doing good than can be derived from any other thing. The miser may clutch his gold with selfish, smiling satisfaction, and point with pride to the power he wields over the poor, but he knows not the joy and contentment of him who takes the better course.

Our young men when called to go upon missions are willing to place their earthly all upon the altar of sacrifice, in order to carry the message of truth to the world. Is there any reason why the Gospel of our Redeemer should not be taught with the same willingness in Utah? Still water becomes stagnant and breeds disease and fosters death. So does neglect of opportunities and failure to do good.

The present is an auspicious time for the youth of Zion. In the field of politics they should be careful to choose the right and not join themselves with any party until after mature deliberation. To think that the youth of Zion should stoop at the brink of the foul stream of politics and drink therefrom at the sacrifice of principle, to accomplish certain ends, is an awful thought. Young men, I caution you to be careful and avoid that trickery which is called politics by the world. Should you study such politics? No. Should you study civil government? Yes. But do not handle those things that will drag you down. Let principle be your watchword, and do not talk publicly on subjects you do not understand.

Be saviors to your fellow-man. Rescue those who are tempted and who frequent the saloon, the gambling den and haunts of vice. Lead them to a higher and a purer life. A physician goes not unto those who are whole, but to those who are sick. Our youth have not been privileged to associate with kings, queens, statesmen and philosophers, but they should be so educated as to be bright lights in good society. Study civil and social government, but do not neglect the divine. First make Jesus the Rock of your salvation. I would have you study the writings of Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, Carlisle, Bancroft and Gibbons; I would have you read the records of the rocks as written by the pen of geology; the language of the leaves and the coal beds. I would have you stand on the mountain tops and view the magnificent creations of God everywhere. I would have you know how the jewels are created for which men sacrifice their honor. I would have you penetrate the earth to its supposed molten seething interior. I would have you study astronomy and read the music of the stars. I would have you visit the great pyramids of Mexico and Egypt around which is deposited the dust of ages. I would have you view all the great architectural designs that man has made by the inspiration of his Maker and prove to you that man did not originate from the lower animals, and that the creator is greater than that which is Created. I would have you see and know all the things enumerated that you might not ignore God and exalt man.

As we are, God once was; as God is, we can become. True greatness can only be achieved by meekness; such meekness as was exhibited by Jesus Christ. Why should man be vain? In and of himself he is feeble. Suppose that man becomes versed on all earthly subjects and does not know what the humblest member of our mutual improvement associations can know, namely, that Jesus Christ lives; he has fallen far short of the object of his existence. To know that when death comes it is not a leap into the dark, but an opening into true life, is worthy an effort to obtain.

My young brethren let me admonish you to seek the Lord. Like Solomon, the wise, if humble you will receive more than you ask. A testimony that Jesus lives; that He did stand on the pulpit of the Kirtland Temple; that He can speak to my soul and yours, is a boon worthy a special effort.

May the God of the human family incite you to the love of mutual improvement, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

(Brian H. Stuy, ed., Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [Burbank, Calif., and Woodland Hills, Ut.: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992], 2: .)



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