Elder Reed Smoot
Of the Council of the Twelve Apostles


         I am thankful for the privilege of attending this General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ, and I know it will result in blessings to the people and be profitable to all those present and the thousands that are making use of the radio to hear all that may be said during the three days of this Annual Conference.
         At this conference, like all that have been held in the past, words of counsel, instructions, and admonitions will be given, and never before in the history of the Church were they so sorely needed. The opening remarks of President Grant were timely and given under the inspiration of our Heavenly Father, and if followed will result in God's blessings to all. Let our constant prayer be for the glory and welfare of the Church and for the preservation of the United States.


THE WORLD'S MOST URGENT NEED


         The distracted world of today needs above all things, true religion as taught by Jesus Christ while in the flesh and restored in this the last dispensation through Joseph Smith, the prophet. Our Church has a regard for the welfare of God's children and the ultimate salvation of them all. Our religion does not make its adherents selfish, but on the contrary creates in their hearts a feeling of charity and desire to bless. We do not wish the downfall of a son or daughter of God, but rather we desire their happiness, comfort and joy. This was our Heavenly Father's desire and plan in the beginning. His plan of salvation which was prepared before the creation of the world was designed for the improvement, the benefit and the ultimate salvation of all his sons and daughters. Whenever we have a desire to assist our fellowman we take the position approved by our Heavenly Father, but when we feel otherwise, we are on slippery ground. The Master came into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through hm might be saved. That was the purpose of the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, in the flesh, and of the atonement that he wrought out for mankind by his death on the cross.
         How often I have been asked, and in all sincerity I might add, if the Mormon Church believes in Jesus Christ? My answer has always been, "Perhaps to a greater degree than any other Church organization in the world." We believe Jesus Christ to be the actual Son of God—the second in the Godhead, foreordained to his birth, his mission and crucifixion. The spirit of Christ is the spirit of salvation, of blessing to do good, to prepare us all for the presence of our eternal Father and to enjoy the glory of his kingdom.


SALVATION FOR ALL


         I have been asked hundreds, if not thousands of times, what difference there is between the belief of the Latter-day Saints and that of most of the Christian denominations—as to the ultimate salvation of the peoples of this world. I have answered briefly that the Latter-day Saints teach that salvation is for all people—of all ages, of all races, of all colors—who can be saved. The revelation to Joseph Smith is that salvation is to come to all, and that none will be lost who can possibly be redeemed—that the plan of salvation is as broad as the fall of man.
         Our first parents broke a divine law and through their disobedience death came into the world—while on the other hand, through the atonement and obedience of Christ, life and salvation will ultimately come to all the family of Adam. "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive."


A DIVINE MESSAGE


         We all testify that in the nineteenth century our Heavenly Father has been pleased to open the heavens once more and send his Son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, with a divine message, conforming in every respect to the teachings of this same Christ while in mortality. We know that angels have been sent from the Father declaring truths that would insure salvation for all who receive and obey them. I recognize that the ordinary person hesitates a long time before he considers it worth while to consider such a declaration, and he can never become convinced until through faith and prayer a testimony from an unerring source is received by him. We declare that angels have come down from heaven, bringing light and truth for the salvation of all the human family, and a message to be proclaimed to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. How well this obligation on our part has been carried forward God knows best.


THE PERSONALITY OF GOD

         The greatest religious teacher among men was Jesus, the Nazarene. In his personality God was manifest in the flesh. He revealed Deity to humanity. He showed that God was in reality the Father of the spirits of men. He proclaimed that he was in the beginning with God—that he came forth from God, and would return to God and that all mankind were his brethren, made in the image of God, and part of his eternal family. This presents God as actually and literally "Our Father which art in heaven." It takes away the mystery with which false faiths have enveloped the Supreme Being—beclouding the minds of men and making God utterly incomprehensible.
         Jesus taught that his Father and our Father is a personal being—man being in his likeness—Jesus being himself in his express image. He taught also that he was sent into the world to save mankind and bring them back to the Father's presence; that no man could come unto God but by him. The true Christian religion, therefore, combines faith in Jesus Christ, the Son, with faith in God the eternal Father.


NOT ONE IN PERSON

         Christ further taught the existence of a divine Spirit proceeding from God, to enlighten the souls of men; that is, the Holy Ghost, by which the mind and will of God may be made known to man, and by which holy men chosen of God, have been inspired in different ages to declare his word.
That the unity of the Godhead is not oneness in person is made very clear in the account of the baptism of Jesus Christ. The Son on that occasion, coming up out of the waters of Jordan, the Holy Spirit descending upon him in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father from heaven proclaiming "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Jesus said, "I came forth from the Father, and am come unto the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." He also prayed to the Father and in the prayer recorded by John, explained in unmistakable language what he meant when he declared. "I and my Father are one."
         Anything that God reveals must be true, because he is truth, and everything that comes by the way of Jesus Christ, his beloved Son, must be true, for he is the way, the truth and the life. No error will be introduced into the world under the direction of the Father, or the Son.


DESTRUCTIVE AGENCIES

         We are living in trying times—international struggles are imminent—"Nation rising against Nation" for supremacy and existence. Civilized governments are threatened by internal and destructive agencies in the form of Communism. This secret organization assumes different names and forms. It is Communism in France, Socialism in Germany, Internationalism in Spain and Italy, Nihilism in Russia, and similar sentiments and principles are cloaked under a variety of titles in America and Great Britain. All these organizations are opposed in spirit to all the restraints of law and order. Now let me call your attention to the fact that in February, 1831, Joseph Smith received a revelation on this very subject, which no doubt many of you are familiar with. Reference is also made along the same lines in the Book of Mormon. Secularism and infidelity are sweeping over the world; millions are indulging in every kind of iniquity. Crime is increasing with such rapidity that the large cities of the world find it next to imposible to cope with it.
         I know that it is easier to point out evils than the particular way of destroying them. I know it will take the united effort of honest, patriotic, liberty loving citizens, to meet the situation. The churches must play an important part.
         The Church of Jesus Christ has never ceased its opposition to organizations such as I have mentioned and never will.
         I bear witness that our Heavenly Father has again established his Church on earth and revealed the everlasting Gospel for the salvation of all who believe and obey.
         My brethren and sisters. I am sure that during this conference the Spirit of the living God will be made manifest to those who speak unto us.


NOT NECESSARY TO VIOLATE LAWS OF GOD

         I want particularly to call your attention to the wonderful remarks that have been made by President Grant this morning. Oh, if we only would put them into practice—I mean every member of the Church—what a wonderful influence we would have as a people in the different parts of this country and in the world! Our very lives and acts would testify of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its results in the lives of its membership. I never lost anything in this world by obeying the laws of God. I never lost anything in my capacity as a Senator of the United States by not indulging in the habits that are prohibited by my Church. For years perhaps those among whom I associated thought it was strange. I have never taken a drink of liquor in my life. I have never smoked in my life. I have never found it necessary that I should do so at any time in order to win respect and the favors of men who do use those things. On the contrary, my brethren and sisters, I want to testify to you that there has been nothing for which I hae been honored and respected more than my devotion to the beliefs that I have. I may add, religious beliefs and moral beliefs, which latter are a very important part of our teachings as a Church.
         I do not think there is any honorable calling to which a man may be called, either privately or publicly, in which, in order to be successful, he must violate the laws of God. There is no necessity for it, and I want to say to you that whenever people who know that the laws of the Church prohibit certain actions, see a member of the Church violate those actions, instead of winning the respect of men by such violation he loses it.


IN ACCORDANCE WITH ONE'S PROFESSED FAITH


         Oh, yes, we have lots of men and some women in the Church who smoke. I wish that every one of them could have heard the remarks of the President this morning. We as members of the Church can testify to the truth of his remarks. But the day is coming when the scientists, when the men standing at the head of great business concerns, will always ask, when a man is needed to fill an important position, how he lives, what are his daily habits, what does he believe in, and does he live in accordance with his professed faith. When that time comes, and it is beginning now, I will be glad if the greater percentage of the people of our Church live the commandments, if they are clean and virtuous in their lives. This is almost a thing of the past in some sections of the world.
         But as the last days approach, I say to you, my brethren and sisters, it is going to come, and God will magnify a people who not only profess these wonderful truths but live them. God grant that we may have power to do so, that the Church as a church will never be called upon to apologize for men or women known as the leaders and members of the Church. Peace be with us. May God's blessings attend us during the remainder of this conference, I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

(Elder Reed Smoot, Conference Report, April 1933, First Day—Morning Meeting 20.) 

 

 
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