LDS Gospel Library E-texts
Return to Table of ContentsMORMONISM
by Hugh B. Brown
Electronic manuscript © 2008 Cumorah Foundation. www.cumorah.com.
All rights reserved.
The following address was delivered by President Hugh B. Brown, counselor in the First Presidency, on Monday, Feb. 26, 1962, to the students at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, Pa.
May I first express sincere appreciation for the very gracious invitation extended by your distinguished leader, Dr. Gerstner.
In this divided and imperiled world of chaos and confusion, it is incumbent upon the various and differing churches to seek a better understanding of one another. Frank and friendly discussion should increase our sympathetic appreciation of the religious beliefs and practices of our neighbors and cause us to review and clarify our own. We might perchance find kernels of truth in what we considered to be nothing but chaff.
The world needs understanding and friendship.
"Not understood. We gather false impressions,
And hold them closer as the years go by,
Till virtues often seem to us transgressions;
And thus men rise and fall and live and die
O God, that men would see a little clearer,
Or judge less harshly when they cannot see.
O God, that men would draw a little nearer
To one another -- They'd be nearer Thee --
-- Thomas Bracken
I am invited to discuss the "Mormon" Church. I use that term because it is generally current. It is, in fact, a nickname derived from an early publication, the Book of Mormon. The Church I represent is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am pleased to represent and discuss it with you who represent or are preparing to represent as clergy or ministers one of the major protestant churches.
My purpose today will be by exposition to briefly present authentic information. I shall avoid dogmatism, sermonizing, or criticizing or challenging the beliefs of other churches, and I do not wish to argue any issue. I shall attempt to state facts about the origin, organization, history and doctrine of the Church and refer to its present activity and status.
Your curriculum no doubt includes a study of the reformation and the great reformers: Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, and others, and the history of the protestant churches. I shall not discuss these subjects but as one reads the history of the reformation he becomes interested in the doctrines and practices which caused the reformers to protest. Suffice it to say that many people were dissatisfied with the teachings and practices of the dominant church. A few brave men dared to challenge the church and to speak for the many who were waiting for leadership. Once the layman's silence was broken and the charge of "heretic" lost some of its stigma, and especially after the Bible became more generally available, differences of opinion led to a multiplicity of sects. Unfortunately in some countries persecution was employed as a deterrent. But with all this you are familiar.
My reason for referring to the reformation is to call attention to conditions antecedent to the emigration of many early American settlers, who came to this new country in search of religious freedom.
Paradoxically, it was not long after the arrival of the early American settlers that the very spirit from which they fled was invoked against some of their own number in a vain attempt to secure conformity to majority opinion by coercion and force. I say vain attempt because men cannot be forced to believe. Religion is a matter of the inner man. Conviction is of the heart. Forced conformity breeds hypocrisy.
Religion played a very important part in the lives of Americans in the early 19th century. Most people at that time were familiar with their Bibles and attended church regularly.
At the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th, there lived in the state of Vermont a family whose very common name was to be known for good or evil wherever the word Mormonism might be mentioned. This was the Smith family, Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith, who were married in 1796. Their ancestors were among the early devout and courageous emigrants to America. Into this family a son was born who was destined to become the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith. He was born in Sharon, Vermont, December 23, 1805. When he was about 10 years of age his family moved from Vermont to Palmyra in New York State. When he was in his 15th year he became confused by the conflicting claims of the various churches and wondered which one of them he should join. While reading his Bible, as was his custom, he was deeply impressed by the unequivocal promise of the Apostle James: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." -- James 1:5-6
He was so impressed by this scripture that with the simple and unsophisticated faith of youth he sought a secluded spot in a grove near his father's home and there he did ask God for wisdom in deciding which one of the churches he should join. After a terrifying encounter with the powers of darkness and a fervent prayer for deliverance, he beheld a pillar of light. Of this experience he later wrote: "It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other -- 'This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!'"
Joseph Smith was instructed at that time that he was not to join any of the churches as there had been a universal apostasy not only from the church but an apostasy of the church, and that many drew near to the Lord with their lips but their hearts were far from Him. He was told that there would be a restoration of the pristine Church and that he had been chosen to be an instrument in its re-establishment under divine guidance.
Upon his telling his family and some friends of his miraculous experience he was surprised at some of their reactions. Some, including his parents, believed him but others were understandably skeptical -- it was an unusual claim, though not without precedent. The first church official to whom he reported his experience was a Methodist minister who said it was all of the devil. He told the boy there were no such things as visions or revelations any more, that all such things had ceased with the apostles.
The boy persisted in his declaration that he had seen a vision and received revelation, but he was ridiculed, reviled, and later persecuted, mobbed, tarred and feathered, imprisoned, driven from place to place and from state to state. Referring to his experiences he wrote:
"It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over 14 years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself.
"However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.
"So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation."
May I depart for a moment here to ask this question, and I am speaking more now, I suppose, as a lawyer than as a minister. Do men ordinarily give their lives to perpetuate a fraud? Do men die in support of what they know to be a lie, in order to deceive?
Time will not permit nor does the present discussion require a detailed story of this man's life, but his first vision constitutes the groundwork of the Church which was later organized. If this first vision was but a figment of Joseph Smith's imagination, then the Mormon Church is what its detractors declare it to be -- a wicked and deliberate imposture. If this vision was a reality, then this Church is exclusively the Church of Jesus Christ for the simple reason that He, the Savior, personally restored what in the meridian of time He had personally established. This was the beginning of a powerful, vital and progressive religion; one which is distinctly American and definitely Christian.
The Church grew rapidly despite bitter and unrelenting persecution. Many prominent people, including many ministers of other churches, became faithful members of the Church.
Emerson said: "Mormonism is the only religion of power and vitality that has made its appearance for the past twelve hundred years." Evans said: "A religion that has transformed a desert into a garden, penetrated every corner of the earth with its message, and established in the hearts of hundreds of thousands a living faith in the doctrine of new revelation from God, at a time when faith was decaying, and all in the teeth of continued, violent opposition, is certainly not to be despised."
A prominent American, a non-Mormon, visited Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois, shortly before the prophet's martyrdom, and after the tragic event he wrote:
"It is by no means improbable that some future textbook, for the use of generations yet unborn, will contain a question something like this: 'What historical American of the 19th century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen?' And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that question may be thus written: Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet. And the reply, absurd as it doubtless seems to most men now living, may be an obvious common-lace to their descendant. History deals in surprises and paradoxes quite as startling as this. The man who established a religion in this age of free debate, who was and is today accepted by hundreds of thousands as a direct emissary from the Most High -- such a rare human being is not to be disposed of by pelting his memory with unsavory epithets ... The most vital questions Americans are asking each other today have to do with this man and what he has left us ... Burning questions they are, which must give a prominent place in the history of the country to that sturdy self-asserter whom I visited at Nauvoo. Joseph Smith, claiming to be an inspired teacher, faced adversity such as few men have been called to meet, enjoyed a brief season of prosperity such as few men have ever attained, and, finally, 43 days after I saw him, went cheerfully to a martyr's death. When he surrendered his person to Governor Ford, in order to prevent the shedding of blood, the prophet had a presentiment of what was before him. 'I am going like a lamb to the slaughter,' he is reported to have said; 'but I am as calm as a summer's morning. I have a conscience void of offense, and shall die innocent.'" -- Figures of the Past by Josiah Quincey, p. 376.
Plates of Gold
In 1823 an angelic messenger revealed to Joseph Smith that the plates of the Book of Mormon were enclosed in a stone box buried in a hillside near Palmyra, and in 1827 they were delivered to him and later translated by the gift and power of God.
Beginning of Church
This Church is comparatively new among the churches, having been organized at Fayette, New York, in 1830. However, its basic philosophy, fundamental doctrines, scriptures and organization are not new. They are all based upon and are completely in harmony with the King James Version of the Holy Bible. Mormonism is not an innovation in religious history; it is a restoration of the primitive church. It affirms itself to be the Church of old established anew.
Belief in the restoration of the Gospel necessarily involves acceptance of the historical fact of a universal apostasy, for if there was no apostasy from and of the primitive church, there was no need for a reformation, which was the genesis of Protestantism, or of a restoration by which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came into existence.
Following a long night of spiritual darkness, foreseen by the prophets and attested by history, a faint light on the eastern horizon heralded the dawn of a new day. This challenge to the darkness is now known as the reformation, and it was followed by the morning light of the restoration. This is in fulfillment of John's prophecy. He said, speaking of the latter days:
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come; and worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." -- Revelation 14:6-7.
We have a hymn which begins with the hopeful message:
The morning breaks, the shadows flee;
Lo, Zion's standard is unfurled!
The dawning of a brighter day,
Majestic rises on the world.
Incidentally, at the time of the organization of the Mormon Church, Pittsburgh was the largest city in the United States with a population of fewer than 50,000 people. New York, Boston and Baltimore were smaller.
Relentless persecution forced the members of the Church to move from New York to Ohio, thence to Missouri, and later to Illinois, where they established the city of Nauvoo. The Prophet was martyred in Carthage Jail in June, 1844.
After the death of the Prophet the members of the Church living in Nauvoo, some 20,000 people, were driven from their city. (Nauvoo was then the largest city in Illinois.) Many of their homes were burned, their belongings plundered, their temple desecrated and later destroyed. They were compelled to cross the Mississippi River in the month of February. Later they undertook the modern exodus toward the Rocky Mountains to a very unpromising "promised land." I quote Dr. Thomas F. O'Dea, a Catholic author and scholar, who has a distinguished academic career at Harvard, Stanford, M.I.T. and at Loyola, who wrote:
"The Mormon Church defines itself as a restoration in the latter days of the original gospel of Jesus Christ, which had been corrupted and lost in part for the past 15 centuries. Its restoration is conceived in terms of Christian history ... It is a new interpretation of Christianity itself. A unique prophet and a unique and timely moment as well as a uniquely appropriate place are part of this conception. Mormonism holds itself to have been revealed in the fullness of time -- a fullness of time which involves the destiny of the Western Hemisphere and the American nation. The discovery of America and the development of the political institutions of the United States are seen as prepared by divine guidance for the restoration which was to be made through the agency of the original prophet. Joseph Smith.
"Within this larger framework, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has its own history, a record of wandering and persecution, of construction and conquest over hostile elements coming to fruition in the building of Zion in the mountain tops ... Mormonism lived its Exodus and Chronicles not once but many times. It had its Moses and its Joshua. Circumstances had given it a stage upon which its re-enactment of Biblical history was neither farce nor symbolic pageant."
Brigham Young, who was the president of the Council of the Twelve and later became president of the Church, led this great migration in covered wagons. The first company of 143 men and 3 women arrive din the Salt Lake Valley July 24, 1847, since which time they have turned what was then a sagebrush waste into a thriving and prosperous community if irrigated farms and orchards, towns and cities throughout Western America. The Church now has approximately 1,750,000 members.
We are often asked the question: What gives the Mormon Church such great vitality? We answer, Divine guidance and its unique organization resulting in general participation by its members.
............................The First Presidency
.....l-------------The Quorum of Twelve Apostles.......................................l
.....The First Council....l.................Assistants to the...........................Presiding Bishopric
.....of the Seventy.......l.............Quorum of Twelve Apostles................Presiding Bishop
.....l...........High Council.........l............................................................Ward Bishop
.....l...All in Stake...................l.................................................................l
.....l..High Priest's Quorum-----l.................................................................l---Priest's Quorum - 48
.....l--Quorum of Seventy - 70-l.................................................................l---Teacher's Quorum - 24
........Elder's Quorum - 96------l.................................................................l---Deacon's Quorum - 1
The presiding authority of the Church is the First Presidency, consisting of three high priests, a president and his two counselors. Associated with them and next in authority are twelve apostles who have twelve assistants, also a Patriarch to the Church. You students of the New Testament know that Paul referred to apostles and prophets as the foundation of the Church.
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
"And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone ..." -- Ephesians 2:19-20
Also numbered among the General Authorities of the Church is the First Council of The Seventy, consisting of seven men who preside over the quorums of seventy. Next in order is the Presiding Bishopric, three high priests, who have charge of the temporal affairs of the Church and who preside over the lesser priesthood. At present there are 38 men who are known as "General Authorities."
These presiding quorums in the Church are made up of men from various walks of life, doctors, lawyers, engineers, farmers, business men, presidents and professors of universities, etc. When men are called into this ministry they give up their other activities and devote themselves exclusively to Church work, generally for the balance of their lives. There is no paid ministry in the Church. It is composed of and presided over by laymen. The Reverend Frank S. Morley, of the Grace Presbyterian Church of Calgary, Canada, who made a careful study of the Mormon Church, commented as follows: "The government of their (Mormon) Church is a theocracy but it's a theocracy in which there is a blend of democracy ... I wish I had time to analyze it a little further with you because it is one of the most efficient church governments in the world ...
"What message does this hold for us? First of all, this Church is composed of laymen. The only paid people in it are the people who give it their full time -- office staff, folk like that, or the President at the head of the Church of the Twelve Apostles, but normally they have none ... It's a layman's Church. Just think of the work these laymen do ... Our protestant Church is built upon laymen. Our Presbyterian Church is built upon laymen. Unless we can revive the laymen of the Presbyterian Church, of the Protestant Church, I don't believe the Protestant Church has any great future ... Unless you can get the laymen of your Church to teach and to visit with the old-time zeal, I tell you your Church will be a dwindling Church. That's true of the Presbyterian Church, I think, perhaps more than any other, because more than any other we have emphasized this fact of the eldership, the eldership of the Church."
The Church is divided into stakes, wards, missions and branches. A stake is a geographical unit of the Church similar to a diocese. A ward is the Mormon equivalent of a parish. The term "stake" has both Old and New Testament background. The Church was prefigured in the Old Testament as a tabernacle or sanctuary -- a place of refuge and edification, of covenant and revelation. Isaiah uses this figure when he says of the Sanctuary: "... not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed ..." -- Isaiah 33:20
Also: " ... lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes." -- Isaiah 54:2
Each stake is a miniature church for the edifying, unifying, sanctifying and perfecting of the saints. -- Ephesian 4:11-13. It is presided over by three high priests and acting with them are twelve men known as the high council. All stakes, wards and missions are organized by and are under the directive authority of the First Presidency and the General Authorities of the Church.
The First Presidency presides over all the priesthood of the Church, and under their direction the stake presidencies preside over all the priesthood of the stakes.
All the affairs of the Church (general, stake, ward and mission) are directed by men who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, with the office of high priest, seventy, or elder, in descending order. Speaking generally, the administrative officers and presiding authorities of the Church are high priests. There is also the Aaronic Priesthood with priest, teachers, and deacons under the direction of the Presiding Bishopric and the ward bishops. Every male member in the Church over 12 years of age, if he lives worthily, has the privilege of being ordained to some office in the priesthood. There is wide distribution of authority and responsibility, resulting in unusual interest and activity by Church members.
In each stake there are from 4 to 10 wards, over each of which a bishop presides, assisted by two counselors. Acting under their direction are the home teachers who visit the homes of all members each month and report to the bishop on the physical, financial, and spiritual condition of members.
In addition to the priesthood organization are the following auxiliaries: Relief Society, Sunday School, Young Men's and Young Women's Mutual Improvement Associations, and Primary.
It will be noted that each of these auxiliary organizations is presided over by a president and two counselors, with a general board and stake and ward organizations comparable to those mentioned under the heading of General Church Organization. The women's Relief Society, for example is presided over, Church-wide, by three women, assisted by a general board of 35 women, more or less. This organization works under the immediate supervision of the general authorities.
The women of each of the stakes and wards are also organized into Relief Societies. In each stake there is a stake president and two counselors, with a board of 12 or more women, and in each ward there is a president and two counselors and a secretary. There are approximately 45,000 officers in the Relief Society; 93,000 visiting teachers of this organization made 3,800,000 visits to the homes of members last year. This is cited to indicate the activity of the women of the Church.
Each of the auxiliary organizations on the general, stake, and ward level has a president, two counselors, and a board. Thus all members of the Church have opportunity in one or more of the various organizations to share responsibility and participate in activities. For example, the Sunday School has a general board under a superintendent and two assistants, who act under priesthood supervision. The General Board of the Sunday School consists of 61 men and 23 women. There are approximately 83,128 officers and teachers in the Sunday School, which is organized in all stakes, wards and branches. The Young Men's and Young Women's Mutual Improvement Associations are similarly organized with General Boards and stake and ward officers. There are approximately 43,000 officers and teachers in each of these young people's organizations.
While the home is the most basic and sacred unit of the Church, the Primary Association assists in the welfare and teaching of the children. This organization is presided over by three responsible, well-trained, and dedicated women who serve with a General Board under the direction of the General Authorities. Here, too, there are executive officers and boards on the stake and ward level.
In addition to the stake organizations there are 67 missions in the Church operating in most of the countries of the world. Each mission is presided over by a president and two counselors. The acting missionaries -- thousands in number -- are assigned by the General Authorities of the Church to the various missions of the Church. They serve voluntarily and without pay for two years or more. Missions are divided into districts and branches, each presided over by a president and two counselors. Priesthood organizations are set up in the missions similar to those in the stakes. There are also auxiliary organizations in the missions where membership warrants it.
The grand total of officers and teachers in the stakes and missions is 650,508. Out of a Church membership of 1,683,000, the ratio of officers and teachers to membership is one officer to 2.65 members.
Our emblem is the beehive, signifying industry, and we are striving to achieve hives without drones, where each will contribute to the general good, where free agency will not be trammeled, where initiative is encouraged, and where love of God will be evidenced by service to fellow men.
You will remember reading that the Holy Ghost was given to the apostles at the time of Pentecost with the gifts, powers, and authority of the Holy Priesthood for the purpose, as Paul said, of "... perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ ..." -- Ephesians 4:12
In 1936, the Church inaugurated the program which is now known as the Church Welfare Plan. This has received national and international approval. The First Presidency announced that the purpose of the plan was to set up, insofar as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of the dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self-respect be once more established amongst the people. The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves. Work is to be enthroned as a ruling principle in the lives of our Church membership.
You will remember that Paul said to Timothy: "But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." -- 1 Timothy 5:8
As the Welfare Program developed, the Church organized Welfare Regions and put into operation welfare production projects, largely in the field of agriculture but also in manufacturing.
There is located in Salt Lake City what is known as Welfare Square -- a great tourist attraction. Nearly all of the work done on this tremendous building project was contributed or accomplished by men receiving assistance from the Welfare Plan, and much of the building material was salvaged from demolished buildings, including lumber, brick, flooring, glass, doors, electrical wiring, etc.
In 1938 the Deseret Industries program was organized and put hundreds of people to work at productive labor, taught many new skills, and channeled hundreds of Church members, who would otherwise have been unemployed, into private industry where they have become self-supporting. Deseret Industries now has three major processing plants and many retail stores. Members throughout the Church have co-operated in this project by turning in used clothing, furniture and appliances so that these items could be repaired or rebuilt for sale or use in the bishop's storehouse program and provide employment for hundreds of otherwise unemployables.
In 1940 we built some huge grain elevators on Welfare Square. The towers rise 240 feet from the ground and the bins provide space for 318,000 bushels of grain.
The program has provided its own facilities to can and process food required by the needy members. These activities are under the supervision of experts who contribute their time without pay. We have 31 modern, clean, and well-supervised canneries, two milk-processing units, and we also have a mill and elevators at Kaysville for the purpose of milling flour and cereal and making feed for livestock on Church Welfare projects. And here we have storage facilities for another 164,000 bushels of grain.
In 1947 the Welfare Plan began the active operation of a coal mine which supplies all coal required by the Welfare Program for needy homes.
The Welfare Plan has proved itself in many emergencies since it was organized. Time will not permit enumerating them, but illustrative of its effectiveness I call your attention to the recent floods in Idaho. At 10:30 one morning a phone call came to the Welfare office from Idaho Falls reporting that hundreds of families of Church members were in distress due to the floods. They called for emergency food, clothing and bedding. At 4 p.m. the same day trucks were on their way to Idaho Falls with beds, mattresses, springs, blankets, sheets, tons of clothing and food and many other needed items.
In cases of emergency such as this, no repayment is required from recipients.
Practically all of the items sent to Idaho Falls on this occasion were produced by Deseret Industries. This is the branch of the program which provides work opportunities for Church members who due to old age or physical or mental handicaps are unemployed in the competitive labor market. Practically all the food was produced on stake welfare projects. Processing plants include dairy, chickens, cattle, hogs, fish, vegetables, fruit, berries, nuts, honey, bakery and cannery production, etc. Foods produced or raised in one area are exchanged for those produced in another. For example, citrus fruits raised on Welfare projects in California and Florida may be exchanged for vegetables, meat, or grain produced in Idaho or Montana.
The stake, regional, and central bishop's storehouses are the reservoirs for the storage and distribution of the physical stocks of food, clothing, bedding, and fuel to meet the needs of those who are in distress.
We are teaching our people as a fundamental truth the proposition that the responsibility for the individual's economic maintenance rests (1) upon himself (2) upon his family and (3) upon the Church. We do not lean on the federal or state governments. The accumulative action of the many can generate the energy and power for good which can become irresistible. In 1960, millions of dollars' worth of food and clothing, etc. were distributed to the needy from the fast offering funds and commodities distributed from the bishop's storehouse.
In an attempt to provide employment and make provision for future needs, the Church owns and operates large farms and ranches in various states and in Canada. In Florida and Georgia we have grazing and feeding facilities for great herds of cattle on several thousand acres. Thus the Church attempts to help care for the physical needs of its people in case of emergency.
In an attempt to provide employment and make provision for future needs, the Church owns and operates large farms and ranches in various states and in Canada. In Florida and Georgia we have grazing and feeding facilities for great herds of cattle on several thousand acres. Thus the Church attempts to help care for the physical needs of its people in case of emergency.
The Church has a unique, though ancient, financial system. We accept and practice the law of tithing. Each member, including all officers, voluntarily pays to the bishop of his ward one-tenth of his increase annually. This money is used for ward, stake, and general expenses and for building chapels, tabernacles, and temples, and for relief of the poor and unfortunate.
Another source of income to the Church and one which is set apart for a specific purpose is the "fast day offering." On the first Sunday of each month each member of the church is expected to fast or abstain from two meals. The amount which the two meals would have cost is paid to the bishop and used by him for the benefit of the poor. This has been called a "painless extraction" as the family budget is really not affected. Should one ward or stake have more fast offering than needed to care for its own poor, the overage is made available to other groups where the need is greater.
Word of Wisdom
The Church has a health law known as the Word of wisdom. Members are taught to abstain from the use of liquor and tobacco and all forms of narcotics or stimulants.
Since 1955 we have built or have under construction 1,000 chapels in the United States and Canada, in Europe, in South and Central America, in the South Pacific, and in other parts of the world.
Church School System
Believing that the "glory of God is intelligence," and that man's glory will be measured by his intelligence, education becomes a part of our religion. A man cannot be saved in ignorance.
We have a unified Church school system under the supervision of a chancellor. The Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, is one of the largest church-related educational institutions of the country. In addition, the Church maintains the Ricks College in Idaho, the LDS Business College in Salt Lake City and the Juarez Academy in Mexico, plus many elementary and high schools. In this system there will be enrolled during 1962 nearly 100,000 students receiving religious instruction. (A large percentage of these are high school students attending seminary classes, some on a released-time basis and others attending during non-released time. Some are university students attending classes in our institutes of religion.) Also, in 52 colleges and universities there are Church clubs which meet weekly to study the Gospel and hold special socials and Church-related functions. In addition, under the direction of the First Presidency, the Church has established in the South Pacific the Pacific Board of Education. Under it are operated the Church College of Hawaii, a four-year, fully accredited liberal arts college; the Church College of New Zealand; plus three high schools and three elementary schools to serve the needs of Mormon students in the Pacific area.
We are searching for truth -- moral, intellectual, and spiritual truth-and attempting to share it as we search.
And now a brief discussion of the Theology of the Church.
We affirm the existence of the true and living God. He is the Supreme Being in whose image and likeness man was created. We accept the scriptural account of the creation and fall of man. Through the fall, physical degeneration and death entered into the world. Our earth life is but one stage of a continuing and eternal journey. The birth of the mortal body does not mark man's beginning nor will physical death mark the end of his progress. All things, including man, were created spiritually before they were created temporally. We lived as intelligent beings, and as the spirit children of God had free agency. We were endowed with the capacity of choice, but were and are warned, as was Adam, that we must take the consequences of our choice.
Our coming into mortality was part of a divine plan for man's continuous development throughout eternity. The earth phase of man's education toward salvation was foreordained but voluntary. This experience is the means by which embodied spirits will be subjected to trials and tests without which we could not achieve the perfection which Christ enjoined. The Apostle Paul reminds us, speaking of the Savior: "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered: And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him ..." -- Hebrews 5:8-9. In our Articles of Faith we state our belief in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost -- in other words, the Trinity -- but we believe they are separate and distinct entities. This is the first distinguishing and, to some, disturbing doctrine of the Church. We do not subscribe to some of the creeds which declare Him to be incomprehensible, immaterial, and without body or parts. While we agree that finite man cannot fully comprehend God, there is ample scriptural support for the faith that we may progressively increase our comprehension. In fact, life eternal depends upon our knowing Him. Note the words of Jesus who said: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." -- John 17:3. If it is life eternal to know Him and if we cannot know Him, what becomes of our exaltation and eternal life? Certainly our faith in Him will increase as we learn of Him. Comprehension and understanding our essential to intelligent worship.
That the three members of the Godhead are separate individuals, physically distinct from one another, is evidenced by the sacred records of His dealings with man. One example is when the Savior was baptized. John recognized the sign of the Holy Ghost; Christ stood before him in a tabernacle of flesh, and he heard the voice of the Father acknowledging the Son: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." -- Matthew 3:17. In this case the Holy Trinity manifested themselves, each in a different way, and each was distinct from the others.
You, of course, are familiar with the testimony of Stephen at the time of his martyrdom. "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of mar standing on the right hand of God." -- Acts 7:55-56. We are assured that Christ was in the express image of his Father: "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." -- Hebrews 1:3. Man also was created in the image of God: "So God created man in his own image in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." -- Genesis 1:27.
The question then is, did Christ have body? The answer is yes, while he lived on this earth. Many say not afterward. I call your attention to the fact that out there near Bethany when he was caught up in a cloud while the astonished disciples were looking, the angel standing by said, " ... Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." -- Acts 1:11. Before that event when he appeared before the disciples and apostles in that upper room, they were afraid because they thought they had seen a spirit. You remember his memorable words, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." -- Luke 24:39.
Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are personal as we are personal and are each in perfection what we are in embryo. Each of them possesses a tangible body, infinitely pure and perfect and attended by transcendent glory, nevertheless a body of flesh and bones.
But I came today not to argue my case but merely to state it.
Jesus of Nazareth
We accept the New Testament story that Jesus of Nazareth was born into mortality of the virgin Mary, that He lived approximately 33 years in and around Judea. After three years of transcendent ministry. He was crucified and His body was placed in a borrowed tomb. The miraculous resurrection of His glorified body broke the bonds of death and made resurrection possible for all men. As Paul said: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." -- 1 Corinthians 15:22. We believe in the literal resurrection of the bodies of all men.
After His resurrection from the dead, He appeared to many before ascending into heaven. you are all familiar with Paul's discussion of the resurrection as recorded in 1 Corinthians: "And that he was buried and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." -- 1 Corinthians 15:4-8
"Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." -- Acts 4:12
To all the distinguishing characteristics of surpassing greatness by which men have judged Jesus of Nazareth, the devout Christian must add an attribute that far exceeds the sum of all the others -- the divinity of Christ's origin and the eternal reality of His status as Lord and God. I quote Dr. James E. Talmage:
"The atonement accomplished by the Savior was a vicarious service for mankind, all of whom had become estranged from God through sin; and through that sacrifice of propitiation, a way has been opened for reconciliation whereby man may be brought again into communion with God, and be made able to live and advance as a resurrected being in the eternal worlds. This fundamental conception is strikingly expressed in our English word atonement, which, as its syllables indicate, is at-one-ment, 'denoting reconciliation or the bringing into agreement of those who had been estranged.'
"The assured resurrection of all who have lived and died on earth is a foundation stone in the structure of (Mormon) philosophy. 'Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.' -- Revelation 20:6.
"But there is a special or individual effect of the Atonement, by which every soul that has lived in the flesh to the age and condition of responsibility and accountability may place himself within the reach of divine mercy and obtain absolution for personal sin by compliance with the laws and ordinances of the Gospel as prescribed and decreed by the Author of this plan of salvation. The indispensable conditions of individual salvation are: (1) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; that is, acceptance of His Gospel and allegiance to His commandments, and to Him as the one and only Savior of men. (2) Repentance, embracing genuine contrition of the sins of the past and a resolute turning away therefrom with a determination to avoid, by all possible effort, future sin. (3) Baptism by immersion in water, for the remission of sins; the ordinance to be administered by one having the authority of the Priesthood, that is to say the right and commission to thus officiate in the name of Deity. (4) The higher baptism of the Spirit or bestowal of the Holy Ghost by the authorized imposition of hands by one holding the requisite authority -- that of the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood. To insure the salvation to which compliance with these fundamental principles of the Gospel of Christ makes the repentant believer eligible, a life of continued resistance to sin and observance of the laws of righteousness is requisite.
"The life we are to experience hereafter will be the result of the life we lead in this world; and as here men exhibit infinite gradations of faithful adherence to the truth, and of servility to sin, so in the world beyond the grave gradations will exist. Salvation grades into exaltation, and every soul shall find place and condition as befits him. Mormonism affirms on the basis of direct revelation from God, that graded degrees of glory are prepared for the souls of men, and that these comprise in decreasing order the Celestial, the Terrestrial, and the Telestial kingdoms of glory, within each of which are orders or grades innumerable. These several glories -- Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial -- are comparable to the sun, the moon, and the stars, in their beauty, worth, and splendor. Such a condition was revealed to the Apostle Paul: 'There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead ...' -- I Corinthians 15:40-42. Thus it is provided in the economy of God, that to progression there is no end."
We do not believe in deathbed repentance nor in instantaneous salvation. Salvation is an ongoing process, a lifetime endeavor, in fact an eternal quest. We believe in the efficacy of the atonement of Christ, that He did for us what we could not do for ourselves; that through his atoning blood all men will be raised from the dead, but our individual exaltation will, with His grace, be achieved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. A man cannot be saved in his sins, but from them. "We accept the scriptural doctrine of the atonement wrought by Jesus Christ. He broke the bonds of death and provided a way for the annulment of the effects of individual sin. He was the only sinless man who ever walked the earth; He was the first begotten in the spirit world and the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh and therefore the only one who possessed the full powers of godhood and manhood. He was chosen and foreordained in the primeval council before the earth was formed. "And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine Own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." -- St. John 17:5
We believe that He had that existence, premortal state, that He was the second member of the Godhead, the Son of God, and became the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He was the only one wholly free from the dominion of Satan, the only one who possessed the power to hold death in abeyance and to die only as he willed to do so. "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself." -- John 5:26. "Therefore doth my father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." -- John 10:17-18.
We emphasize energy, industry, thrift, work, and independence; this is part -- a fundamental part -- of the working out of our religion based on these spiritual truths. We do not subscribe to the belief of some that we are going to spend eternity in idleness, where initiative and effort are no longer needed and where the rewards of accomplishment are no longer sought, where adventure is impossible because all has been achieved.
We do not believe that salvation may be achieved by mere intellectual assent or acquiescence or by subscribing to some creed, nor yet alone by the administration of sacraments. But we believe in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ becoming effective to the individual if and when the individual puts himself in a position to have the benefits of this atonement. There is no name given under heaven whereby men can be saved except the name of Jesus Christ. Salvation is an eternal quest where rewards are dependent upon active obedience to divine law and where disobedience brings sorrow, remorse and condemnation unless sincere repentance leads to forgiveness. We hold that salvation from sin is obtainable only through obedience, and that while the door to the kingdom of God was opened by the sacrificial death and resurrection of out Lord Jesus Christ, 'no man may enter there except by his own personal and voluntary application expressed in terms of obedience to the prescribed laws and ordinances of the Gospel. 'We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws ordinances of the Gospel." -- Third article of Faith.
We believe that there is no other name under heaven whereby man can be saved but with James we add, "Faith without works is dead." "... he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." -- Hebrews 5:9. "Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God." -- Romans 2:6-11.
Original Sin -- Children Innocent
We do not accept the doctrine of original sin as taught by some of the churches, but believe that children are born innocent, and if they die in infancy they are saved through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. In this I think you agree with us. I read in the Westminster Confession as modified in 1902: "All who die in infancy are chosen of God and saved by Christ through the Spirit." This was confirmed by Henry Van Dyke, who wrote: "Presbyterians today believe that all who die in infancy are saved by Jesus Christ."
However, when children reach the age of eight Christ's injunction applies to them, viz: Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." -- John 3:5
We accept the King James Version of the Bible as the word of God. We teach the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, in our Sunday Schools, seminaries and Church schools and urge our members to learn and live by its precepts, and to emulate the example of the prophets and apostles and of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Book of Mormon
We also have a scripture known as the Book of Mormon which is a sacred record of some of the ancient inhabitants of America, some of whose descendants greeted Columbus when he arrived. This book was not written by Joseph Smith or by any of his contemporaries but was written by various authors who lived at the time when the recorded events transpired. To us it is a sacred record because its authors were prophets of God who were instructed by Him to preserve the records for future use. The location of the plates was revealed by the one who, under divine mandate, deposited them in a hillside about 400 AD and the record was later delivered to the Prophet Joseph Smith and by him translated by the gift and power of God.
The records were kept on metallic plates, some brass and some gold, and were written in the language of the times referred to as reformed Egyptian.
This record covers a period of history from approximately 600 years BC to 400 AD, although there is reference to other migrations and peoples preceding that time. The record states that the people who became the early Americans were led to this country under Divine behest and guidance and that they brought with them certain records from Jerusalem, including parts of the Old Testament from which the authors frequently quote.
The book informs us that the people became very numerous, built large cities, and developed a high state of civilization. (This is confirmed by archeological discoveries in Mexico, Central and South America.) But through wars and contentions most of them were destroyed. Some of the descendants of the original colonizer rebelled against their father and against God and were cursed with a dark skin. These were the ancestors of the American Indians referred to in the Book of Mormon as Lamanites. The other branches of the original families became extinct through internecine wars.
The Book of Mormon is in complete harmony with the Bible and quotes from it frequently. It is a new witness for Christ. On the flyleaf it is stated that one purpose for its publication is to convince both Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ. Throughout the whole of the book its authors bear fervent testimony that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Son of God, the Redeemer of the World. The book records personal visits by the resurrected Lord to the people of the American continent. This fulfills his promise to visit his "other sheep." "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." -- John 10:16.
To the Latter-day Saints the Book of Mormon does not in any way take the place of or substitute for the Holy Bible. It is a Bible or sacred record of another branch of the House of Israel, written and preserved in much the same way as was the Bible, except that it had fewer translations. Thus we have two sticks or books being the records of two branches of the House of Israel -- Judah and Joseph.
These ancient inhabitants who arrived in America, according to the Book of Mormon, were from Manasseh and Ephraim, the sons of Joseph, so that it is the book of Joseph; the Bible, of course is the book of Judah. The Lord said to Ezekiel "Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand." -- Ezekiel 37.16-17.
Anyone who reads the Book of Mormon will be impressed by its Biblical style, its simple but moving narrative, its prophetic utterances, and its admonitions to purity of life and obedience to the commandments of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Lord. Moreover it contains a promise to every one who reads it with a sincere heart: "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." -- Moroni 10:4
That is an unequivocal promise, a promise that has been tested and proven by hundreds of thousands of people in almost all countries of the world. Personally I have traveled in most of the countries of the world and I have heard men and women testify, each in his own language, through an interpreter to me, of course, that they of their own knowledge have come to know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is in fact the word of God, the companion volume to the Bible, representing that part of the house of Israel who lived between 600 BC and 400 AD.
Despite bitter persecution and violent scornful opposition to the book, it has been a best seller for over 130 years. It has been translated into 27 different languages and more than 3,000,000 copies have been sold. At this present time we are publishing approximately 400,000 copies of the Book of Mormon each year.
Some non-Mormon writers who have taken time to read and study the book describe it as unique, powerful, and inspiring. I shall quote but one or two of them. Charles H. Hull, Professor of Cornell University, wrote: "I am perfectly willing to say to anyone that I suppose the Book of Mormon to be one of the most famous and widely discussed books ever published in America. I think an arguable case can be made for the assertion that it is the most famous and widely discussed book ever published in America."
A Rochester newspaper editor, in 1930, wrote: "The book itself, however, remained on which was founded the greatest religion of the continent and the century ... It was not the book itself but the wonderful influence it had on America that counted."
Secretary of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace, wrote on November 5, 1937: "Of all the American books of the nineteenth century, it seems probably that the Book of Mormon was the most powerful. It reached perhaps only one percent of the United States, but it affected this one percent so powerfully and lastingly that all the people in the United States have been affected, especially by its contribution in opening one of our great frontiers."
And now I come to a brief discussion of one of the subjects I know you will be interested in and that is marriage.
To us the marriage covenant is sacred and when solemnized by proper authority it is known as celestial or eternal marriage. As God is love and is eternal, so love is eternal. The family relationship is intended to be a continuing association throughout eternity. We believe with Keats in "the holiness of the heart's affections." We deplore the ever-increasing rate of divorce in our country.
Each eternal or celestial marriage is solemnized by one of the general authorities or others who may be appointed by the President of the Church, who, as we believe, holds the same authority as was conferred upon Peter by the Savior when he said: "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." -- Matthew 16:19
Such marriages must be performed in temples, and only worthy members, i.e., those who live up to the standards of the Church, are permitted to enter. Written permission to enter a temple is given by a ward bishop with the approval of a stake president.
Temples are distinctive and unique within the Church. We build chapels, tabernacles, and other Church buildings for public worship but we reserve the temples for sacred rites and ordinance work such as baptisms, marriages, sealings, etc. Temples are generally the most attractive and beautiful buildings in the Church. There are thirteen temples in the Church. They are located in Cardston, Alberta, Canada; Mesa, Arizona; Laie, Oahu, Hawaii; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Logan, Utah; Surrey, England; Los Angeles, California; Manti, Utah; New Zealand; St. George, Utah; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Berne, Switzerland.
In this connection I am sure some of you will be wondering and probably wish to ask regarding the practice of polygamy by some members of the Church in its early history. Some members of the Church did practice polygamy with the sanction of the authorities of the Church -- this sanction was based upon the teachings of the Old Testament. About two percent of the members were polygamists, and they believed it to be a revelation from heaven and therefore a religious principle. It was discontinued, also by revelation, in the year 1890. Since that time, any member of the Church who practices or persistently advocates the practice of polygamy is subject to excommunication from the Church.
We believe in a single standard of morality. Both men and women are required to strictly observe the law of chastity. The commandments, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," applies to all. Promiscuity and all extramarital relationships are grievous sins in the sight of God and are punishable by excommunication from the Church.
Believing as we do that the Church is built upon the same foundation as existed in the primitive Church, viz. apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone, it inevitably follows -- and this constitutes the second basic difference between us and other churches -- that we believe in continued revelation from God through the prophets.
All of you, being familiar with the scripture, know that through all the dispensations of the Gospel referred to in the Old and New Testaments, the leaders of the Church, being prophets of God, were in contact with Him either by dreams, visions, revelations, or face-to-face communication as in the case of Moses.
An English divine recently said: "Oh, that some man would arise who could authoritatively say to the world, 'Thus saith the Lord!'" We believe that day has come.
We ask, is it possible that religion is the one department of human interest, investigation and research where progress is impossible? Would any professor say to his class in chemistry, astronomy, physics, or geology, that no further discovery or revelation of scientific truth is possible? Is religion the only human interest which is static? Did Christ intend to leave His Church without divine guidance?
For ourselves, because of our faith in the universal and unchangeable love and justice of God, we cannot believe that His Church in one dispensation would be blessed and led by, what in television parlance might be termed "live" revelation, and in other dispensations leave a distraught and imperiled world with only the recorded messages of ancient prophets, some of which messages were for specific purposes, given to meet special circumstances. We believe that revelation, both "live" and recorded, is now and will continue to be available to men. Whenever the Lord has recognized His Church, He has given through His prophets messages of warning, instruction, and guidance.
When we say that we believe all that God has revealed, we declare our faith in the scriptures. We believe the Bible to be a repository of Divine truth and that it is authoritative, though not beyond the need for interpretation and proper translation and, therefore, we say, when we declare our faith in the Bible, "as far as it is translated correctly." When we declare that we believe that God still speaks through His prophets, that He does now reveal, and that His word is scripture whenever and wherever given, we are simply teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and declaring as true the Judeo-Christian religion.
The Church of Jesus Christ was established and is now directed by revelation, and that fact is largely responsible for the appeal which this new Church makes, and when I say "new," I wish to emphasize again that to us it is not new but a restoration of that which was.
This Church is not committed to any formal, inflexible creed, but its members are taught to believe in and live by the revelations of the past and the present and thus prepare themselves for revelations yet to come. Our concepts and even our faith must be held subject to new light. The present and urgent need for continued revelation in this age of communism, atheism, godlessness and the spirit of the anti-Christ becomes more apparent when we realize that revelation gives us our most conclusive proof that there is a Divine Being, which fact is being savagely denied and challenged by the communistic world.
We accept the New Testament doctrine concerning the second coming of Christ, that He will rule and reign on the earth during a thousand years of peace known as the millennium. His second coming was predicted by the apostles and prophets of old, and He Himself promised to return. The angel standing by at the time of His ascension said to the astonished disciples: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." -- Acts 1:11. "And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." -- Acts 3:20-21
We accept the charge that the Gospel must be preached to all the world, that its blessings might be made available to all people, regardless of creed or nationality. We know Christ will rule and reign supreme and victorious despite the machinations of the evil and designing men who are organized to rob men of their liberty and enslave them both body and mind. Free agency is one of the choicest of all the blessings vouchsafed to man by our Heavenly Father. This He will not withdraw or trammel either here or hereafter. We believe that men should be subject to civil government, but never under the tyranny of despots. We believe in a democratic form of government, where free elections may be held, where people can elect or reject their representatives. To us the Constitution of the United States is an inspired document.
"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul -- We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." -- The 13th Article of Faith
In carrying out of the work committed to it, the Church is tolerant of all sects and parties, claiming for itself no right or privilege which it would deny to individuals or other organizations. It affirms itself to be The Church of old established anew. Its message to the world is that of peace and goodwill -- an invitation to come and partake of the blessings incident to the new and everlasting covenant between God and His children. Its warning voice is heard in all lands and climes: Repent ye! Repent! for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
To summarize then, we believe:
1. In a living personal God in whose image man was made.
2. In the pre-mortal existence of the spirit.
3. In the eternal nature of man -- immortality.
4. Intelligence is eternal.
5. Man has a god-like status.
6. Purpose of creation -- man's eternal joy.
7. The human body is sacred -- not evil, not born in sin.
8. Temple work for the living and the dead.
9. Celestial or eternal marriage -- the eternity of the family relationship.
10. That men may be saved by the atoning blood of Jesus if they keep His commandments.
I should like to add this one word to you young men by way of testimony. In my heart I have a conviction that this is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, that it has been restored in our day, that God is a reality. I know that He lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that there is no other name under heaven by which men can be saved. I say that at my age with, as you might say, one foot in the grave, knowing that I shall have to give an account for what I say -- and I repeat, in His Holy Name, I know that He lives, and I thank God for that knowledge.