You have seen evidence, as I have, that we are moving toward becoming one. The miracle of unity is being granted to us as we pray and work for it in the Lord’s way. Our hearts will be knit together in unity. God has promised that blessing to His faithful Saints whatever their differences in background and whatever conflict rages around them. He was praying for us as well as His disciples when He asked His Father that we might be one. The reason that we pray and ask for that blessing is the same reason the Father is granting it. We know from experience that joy comes when we are blessed with unity. We yearn, as spirit children of our Heavenly Father, for that joy which we once had with Him in the life before this one. His desire is to grant us that sacred wish for unity out of His love for us. He cannot grant it to us as individuals. The joy of unity He wants so much to give us is not solitary. We must seek it and qualify for it with others. It is not surprising then that God urges us to gather so that He can bless us. He wants us to gather into families. He has established classes, wards, and branches and commanded us to meet together often. In those gatherings, which God has designed for us, lies our great opportunity. We can pray and work for the unity that will bring us joy and multiply our power to serve.
Next to that, unitedly we plead with you for a continuation of your love and confidence as you have expressed it today. From you members of the Twelve, we ask for that love and sympathy expressed in our sacred Council. From the Assistants to the Twelve the Patriarch, the First Council of the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric, we ask that the spirit of unity expressed so fervently by our Lord and Savior when he was saying good-by to the Twelve, may be manifest by us all. You remember he said, as he left them: “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; “That they all may be one: as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” Brethren and sisters, brethren of the General Authorities, God keep us as one, overlooking weaknesses we may see, keeping an eye single to the glory of God and the advancement of his work.
The men who are sitting here this day ought to be, when in the presence of their families, filled with the Holy Ghost, to administer the word of life to them as it is administered in this stand from sabbath to sabbath. When they kneel down in the presence of their wives and children they ought to be inspired by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, that the husband may be such a man as a good wife will honor, and that the gift and power of God may be upon them continually. They ought to be one in their families, that the Holy Ghost might descend upon them, and they ought to live so that the wife through prayer may become sanctified, that she may see the necessity of sanctifying herself in the presence of her husband, and in the presence of her children, that they may be one together, in order that the man and the wife may be pure element, suitable to occupy a place in the establishment and formation of the kingdom of God, that they may breathe a pure spirit and impart pure instruction to their children, and their children’s children. But it is otherwise than this now; the man is full of tradition, and has not got rid of that which was taught him in the Gentile world, he has not become one with his file leader, as brother Kimball frequently remarks. . . We have got to be one, and to make ourselves worthy to receive the same Holy Spirit, and to receive it alike one with another. Jesus prayed to His Father that those He had given Him out of the world might be one, as He and the Father were one, and says he, I pray that thou wilt give them the same love which thou hast for me, that I may be in them, and thou in me, that all may be one. There is something very important in this, and we have got to practise ourselves until we become like the Father and the Son, one in all things.
In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord commanded us to become perfect even as our Father in Heaven is perfect. In the Book of Mormon the resurrected Lord asked the rhetorical question, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” and then he answered his own question, “Even as I am” In the Upper Room, just before the Lord left to go to the Garden of Gethsemane, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and in the presence of His Apostles offered what has come to be called the intercessory prayer. The prayer is found in John, chapter 17. President David O. McKay said that there is no more important chapter in the Bible. In that unique setting, the Lord prayed over and over that His disciples would become one as He and His Father were one. How are they one? They know perfectly what the ideal person ought to be, and that is exactly what they are. There is a perfect oneness or congruity between their ideal and actual lives. They are one. That is not always the case with us. We often do not actually measure up to what we know we ideally ought to be. Sometimes we are not “one” as we are commanded to become. In order to become one, we need to engage in the process of the “at-one-ment,” or making the Atonement of Jesus Christ operative in our lives. We can grow toward that perfect oneness by applying those basic principles of faith in Christ unto repentance. Thus we can change, and our actual lives will come closer each day to becoming one with our ideal selves. If we are moving in that positive direction, the Spirit will be with us, but if we are going in the other direction, it will not. As the Lord said, “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine”.
The Savior of the world spoke of that unity and how we will have our natures changed to make it possible. He taught it clearly in the prayer He gave in His last meeting with His Apostles before His death. That supernally beautiful prayer is recorded in the book of John. He was about to face the terrible sacrifice for all of us that would make eternal life possible. He was about to leave the Apostles whom He had ordained, whom He loved, and with whom He would leave the keys to lead His Church. And so He prayed to His Father, the perfect Son to the perfect Parent. We see in His words the way families will be made one, as will all the children of our Heavenly Father who follow the Savior and His servants: “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”. In those few words He made clear how the gospel of Jesus Christ can allow hearts to be made one. Those who would believe the truth He taught could accept the ordinances and the covenants offered by His authorized servants. Then, through obedience to those ordinances and covenants, their natures would be changed. The Savior’s Atonement in that way makes it possible for us to be sanctified. We can then live in unity, as we must to have peace in this life and to dwell with the Father and His Son in eternity. The ministry of the apostles and prophets in that day, as it is today, was to bring the children of Adam and Eve to a unity of the faith in Jesus Christ. The ultimate purpose of what they taught, and of what we teach, is to unite families: husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, ancestors, and finally all of the family of Adam and Eve who will choose it.