By and large any controversy in this matter has swirled around two doctrinal issues—our view of the Godhead and our belief in the principle of continuing revelation leading to an open scriptural canon. In addressing this we do not need to be apologists for our faith, but we would like not to be misunderstood. So with a desire to increase understanding and unequivocally declare our Christianity, I speak today on the first of those two doctrinal issues just mentioned. . . Now, to anyone within the sound of my voice who has wondered regarding our Christianity, I bear this witness. I testify that Jesus Christ is the literal, living Son of our literal, living God. This Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer.
I wish to testify today of the fulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which adds to the religious beliefs of other denominations, both Christian and non-Christian. This fulness was originally established by the Savior in His earthly ministry. But then there was a falling away. Some of the early Apostles knew that an apostasy would occur before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. To the Thessalonians, Paul wrote concerning this event, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.” With this falling away, priesthood keys were lost, and some precious doctrines of the Church organized by the Savior were changed. . . We believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restoration of the original Church established by Jesus Christ, which was built “upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” It is not a breakoff from any other church. We believe that the fulness of the gospel of Christ has been restored, but this is no reason for anyone to feel superior in any way toward others of God’s children. Rather, it requires a greater obligation to invoke the essence of the gospel of Christ in our lives—to love, serve, and bless others.
How truly remarkable was that vision in the year 1820 when Joseph prayed in the woods and there appeared before him both the Father and the Son. One of these spoke to him, calling him by name and, pointing to the other, said, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” Nothing like it had ever happened before. One is led to wonder why it was so important that both the Father and the Son appear. I think it was because They were ushering in the dispensation of the fulness of times, the last and final dispensation of the gospel, when there would be gathered together in one the elements of all previous dispensations. This was to be the final chapter in the long chronicle of God’s dealing with men and women upon the earth. . . Today I stand in wonder at the marvelous things which God revealed to His appointed prophet while he was yet young and largely unknown. The very language of these revelations is beyond the capacity of even a man of great learning. Scholars not of our faith, who will not accept our singular doctrines, are puzzled by the great unrolling of this work, which is touching the hearts of people across the earth. We owe it all to Joseph the Prophet, the seer and the revelator, the Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was foreordained to come forth in this generation as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty in restoring to the earth that which the Savior taught when He walked the roads of Palestine.
God’s people have not always been worthy of the marvelous experience we have shared today. The Apostles, after the Ascension of Christ, continued to exercise the keys He left with them. But because of disobedience and loss of faith by the members, the Apostles died without the keys being passed on to successors. We call that tragic episode “the Apostasy.” Had the members of the Church in those days had the opportunity and the will to exercise faith as you have today, the Lord would not have taken the keys of the priesthood from the earth. So this is a day of historical significance and of eternal importance in the history of the world and to the children of our Heavenly Father. . . Now our obligation is to remain worthy of the faith necessary for us to fulfill our promise to sustain those who have been called. The Lord was well pleased with the Church at the beginning of the Restoration, as He is today. But He cautioned the members then, as He does now, that He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. For us to sustain those who have been called today, we must examine our lives, repent as necessary, pledge to keep the Lord’s commandments, and follow His servants.
I want to say to the Latter-day Saints that it is our duty to put our faith in the revealed word of God, to accept that which has come through inspiration, through revelation unto his servants, the prophets, both ancient and modern, and whenever you find any doctrine, any idea, any expression from any source whatsoever, that is in conflict with that which the Lord has revealed and which is found in the holy scriptures, you may be assured that it is false and you should put it aside and stand firmly grounded in the truth in prayer and in faith, relying upon the Spirit of the Lord, for knowledge, for wisdom, concerning these principles of truth. If you will walk in the light as I have read here, and will receive the doctrines of our Redeemer, he will grant unto you, through the inspiration that will come from the Spirit of the Lord, a testimony of the truth and you need not walk in darkness nor in doubt, but may have a clear and a distinct comprehension, and understanding of the truth which will make you free. It is our duty to seek the Lord, to obey his laws, to keep his commandments, to put away from us lightmindedness, foolishness, and the false theories, notions, and philosophies of the world, and to accept with fulness of heart and in humility these solemn, God-given principles which will bring unto us eternal life in the Celestial kingdom.