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Out of Darkness
Since the Lord has revealed his everlasting gospel anew to us in this day and has made The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the custodian and dispenser of its saving truths, I desire now to restate for the Church and for the world a few of those eternal principles which must be accepted by mankind if they will save themselves. Our knowledge of these simple and yet profound doctrines has come to us by revelation in this dispensation. We know that our Heavenly Father is a glorified, exalted personage who has all power, all might, and all dominion, and that he knows all things. We testify that he, through his Only Begotten Son, is the Creator of this earth and of worlds without number, all of which are peopled by his spirit children. We testify that he is infinite and eternal and that he ordained the laws whereby his spirit children might have power to advance and progress and become like him. We know that salvation is in Christ; that he was the Firstborn Son of the Eternal Father; that he was chosen and foreordained in the councils of heaven to work out the infinite and eternal atonement; that he was born into the world as the Son of God; and that he has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. . . We know Joseph Smith is a prophet; that the Father and the Son appeared to him in the spring of 1820 to usher in this final gospel dispensation; that he translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God; that he received keys and authority from angels sent for this very purpose; and that the Lord revealed to him the doctrines of salvation. We announce that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on earth, the only place where men may come to learn the true doctrines of salvation and find the authority of the holy priesthood. We believe the Holy Ghost is a revelator and that he will bear testimony to honest people everywhere that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” There is no need for anyone to remain in darkness; the light of the everlasting gospel is here; and every sincere investigator on earth can gain a personal witness from the Holy Spirit of the truth and divine nature of the Lord’s work.
A Pledge of Faithful Service
I feel humble, beyond any language with which God has endowed me to express it, in standing before you here this morning, occupying the position in which you have just voted to sustain me. I recall standing before an audience in Tooele, after having been sustained as president of that stake, when I was a young man twenty-three years of age, pledging to that audience the best that was in me. I stand here today in all humility, acknowledging my own weakness, my own lack of wisdom and information, and my lack of the ability to occupy the exalted position in which you have voted to sustain me. But as I said as a boy in Tooele, I say here today: that by and with the help of the Lord, I shall do the best that I can to fulfil every obligation that shall rest upon me as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to the full extent of my ability. I will ask no man to be more liberal with his means, than I am with mine, in proportion to what he possesses, for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. I will ask no man to observe the Word of Wisdom any more closely than I will observe it. I will ask no man to be more conscientious and prompt in the payment of his tithes and his offerings than I will be. I will ask no man to be more ready and willing to come early and to go late, and to labor with full power of mind and body, than I will labor, always in humility. I hope and pray for the blessings of the Lord, acknowledging freely and frankly, that without the Lord’s blessings it will be an impossibility for me to make a success of the high calling whereunto I have been called. But, like Nephi of old, I know that the Lord makes no requirements of the children of men, save he will prepare a way for them, whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has required. With this knowledge in my heart, I accept the great responsibility, without fear of the consequences, knowing that God will sustain me as he has sustained all of my predecessors who have occupied this position, provided always, that I shall labor in humility and in diligence, ever seeking for the guidance of his Holy Spirit: and this I shall endeavor to do.
Progress Depends on Obedience
Here is the key-note, Latter-day Saints. Let us realize that God is mightier than all the earth. Let us realize that if we are faithful in keeping the commandments of God His promises will be fulfilled to the very letter. For He has said that not one jot or tittle shall fall to the ground unfulfilled. The trouble is, the adversary of men’s souls blinds their minds. He throws dust, so to speak, in their eyes, and they are blinded with the things of this world. Men do not lay up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust corrupt not, where thieves do not break through and steal, but they set their hearts upon the things of this world. and the adversary obtains power over them. I say to you, Latter-day Saints, that the pearl of great price is life eternal. God has told us that the greatest of all the gifts He can bestow upon man is life eternal. We are laboring for that great gift, and it will be ours if we keep the commandments of God. But it will not profit us to merely make professions and to proclaim to the ends of the earth that this is the Gospel, but it will profit us if we do the will of God. As the inspired servant of God said, speaking of faith without works: “What doth it profit my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, “And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” I say, what cloth it profit to go to the ends of the earth and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and yet fail to do your duty here in laboring for the advancement of God’s kingdom? I say to the Latter-day Saints, be honest with God, pay your tithes and your offerings, support every institution of Zion, build up the Church of Christ, pray for the authorities of the Church, and then sustain them in every labor and in all that they undertake to do.