History of the Gospel January 3rd

In 1521 – Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo X as a result of Luther not retracting what the Church saw as 41 errors in this 95 Theses written in 1517. Two of the errors might have been used to give Luther a “taste of his own medicine” (so to speak) which were:

  • Excommunications are only external penalties and they do not deprive man of the common spiritual prayers of the Church.
  • Christians must be taught to cherish excommunications rather than to fear them.

President Monson states why this act is important to the Church of Jesus Christ:

“The reformers were pioneers, blazing wilderness trails in a desperate search for those lost points of reference which, they felt, when found would lead mankind back to the truth Jesus taught.

“John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, Jan Hus, Zwingli, Knox, Calvin, and Tyndale all pioneered the period of the Reformation. Significant was the declaration of Tyndale to his critics: ‘I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the scripture than thou doest’ [see Roger Hillas, “The History of the Book,” Washington Post, Apr. 10, 1996].

“Such were the teachings and lives of the great reformers. Their deeds were heroic, their contributions many, their sacrifices great—but they did not restore the gospel of Jesus Christ.” —President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, “They Showed the Way,” Ensign, May 1997, 51.

Literally Putting on the Full Armor of God

Elder Hales showed an image of a young boy taking to heart his last conference talk concerning putting on the armor of God. We just couldn’t help creating a few fun, but hopefully tasteful, Internet memes. We welcome you to share your own captions in the comments. We have also provided a blank (no text) image for you to play with while you listen to conference.

Hope you have a great Conference weekend!

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That Awkward Moment (LDS)

That Awkward LDS Moment Ü

The Wise Words of Gordon B. Hinckley

Powerful Quote by Gordon B. Hinckley

For the last several months I have spent reading the conference talks given by President Gordon B. Hinckley. He was the prophet of my mission and for most of my adult life.  President Hinckley’s charisma and powerful stories both moved and inspired me on numerous occasions.

While courting my wife, we visited his funeral memorial and witnessed the hollow shell of a once great and powerful prophet of God. His lifeless body looked almost fake and plastic as he slumbered in the casket. I had never been that close in proximity to President Hinckley or any prophet for that matter. Yet, even in death President Hinckley seemed to be smiling, his wit and humor seemed to push beyond the boundaries of death and time.

This definitely is true with the countless words President Hinckley has shared over the years. From my studies I learned that during his life that President Hinckley spoke 237 times in General Conference. In fact, from the time he was called as an assistant to the 1st presidency in 1958 until he died in 2008 he spoke in every single General Conference, with the only exception of the  October 1961 General Conference.

Incidentally, this was the conference he was called and ordained as an apostle. President David O. McKay, the prophet of the time, probably felt that the new calling was overwhelming enough without adding the requirement to speak (though, I have no doubt that President Hinckley would have gladly spoke).

Below I have collected and linked to every single conference talk given by President Hinckley. LDS.org actually only has the General Conferences from 1971 to present day. So, I had to hunt down the rest, which I found at the LDS Scripture Citation Index (another great site to find old talks is the Corpus of LDS General Conference, which lets you see how many times any particular word was mentioned in General Conference).

I initially wanted to read every single talk before publishing this post, but I quickly realized that at the rate I am going it will be 10 years before I finish. So, I plan to update this post as I add new quotes, search tags, thoughts, and even word clouds.

President Hinckley has offered so much wisdom throughout his vast life that I invite any and all to share in the comments their favorite quotes (both from General Conference and elsewhere).  ~Paul

MY RESEARCH RESOURCES

GENERAL CONFERENCE TALKS FROM GORDON B. HINCKLEY (1958 to 2007)

1958

Notable Quote: “No man proceeds alone. We grow according to the help given us by those who teach us and lead us.”

Tags: Gratitude, Examples, Respect, Teachers

Notable Quote: “I recall a little widow in New Zealand, the mother of seventeen children. Her husband was gone. A number of her children were gone. As she knelt about the altar with the beautiful children who were left to her and received the assurance that all that she had lost would also be hers, she wept. And all who were with her on that sacred occasion in that dedicated room, wept also. As I have witnessed these and many more inspiring situations during the past six months in these widely scattered lands, I have felt to sing with that convert from the steel mills of Sheffield: “We thank thee, O God, for a Prophet, to guide us in these latter days.”

Tags: Temples, Temple Work, Prophets, Missionary Work

1959

Notable Quote: “One of the great compliments paid the Savior was that he taught as one having authority. The missionary who knows scripture and can quote it speaks with the voice of authority. It is not essential to memorize five hundred citations, nor even three hundred. Fifty well chosen verses of scripture will become a remarkably effective tool in the hands of a missionary. May I suggest that in our family night gatherings we make it a project to memorize one scripture citation a week pertinent to this work. At the conclusion of a year our children will have on their lips a fund of scripture which will remain with them throughout their lives.”

Tags: Missionary Work

1960

1961

1962

1963

1964

1965

Notable Quote: “There is belief but there is no faith. . . One cannot read the testimony [of the Word of Wisdom] without recognizing that true freedom lies in obedience to the counsels of God. It was said of old that ‘. . . the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light’ (Prov. 6:23). The gospel is not a philosophy of repression, as so many regard it. It is a plan of freedom that gives discipline to appetite and direction to behavior. Its fruits are sweet and its rewards are liberal . . .’Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage’ (Gal. 5:1). ‘. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.’ (2 Cor. 3:17).”

Tags: Addiction, Word of Wisdom, Smoking

Notable Quote: Can we expect stability out of instability? Is it any wonder that many of our youth wander in rebellion when they come from homes where there is no evidence of love, where there is a lack of respect one for another, where there is no expression of faith? We hear much these days of the Great Society, and I do not disparage the motives of those who espouse it, but we shall have a great society only as we develop good people, and the source of good people is good homes.

Tags: Youth, Homes, Education, Faith, Patriotism, Rebellion

1966

1967

1968

Notable Quote: “I make no defense of the war from this pulpit. There is no simple answer. The problems are complex almost beyond comprehension. I seek only to call your attention to that silver thread, small but radiant with hope, shining through the dark tapestry of war—namely, the establishment of a bridgehead, small and frail now; but which somehow, under the mysterious ways of God, will be strengthened, and from which someday shall spring forth a great work affecting for good the lives of large numbers of our Father’s children who live in that part of the world. Of that I have a certain faith. I have seen a prototype of what will happen as I have witnessed the development of this work in others of the ancient nations of Asia—in Korea, in Taiwan, in Okinawa, in the Philippines, and in Japan, where altogether we now have more than 25,000 Latter-day Saints. This marvelous membership is the sweet fruit of seed once planted in dark years of war and in the troubled days immediately following, when good men of the priesthood, both civilian and military, through the example of their lives and the inspiration of their precepts, laid a foundation on which a great work has been established.”

Tags: Missionary Work, War, Faith

1969

1970

1971

Notable Quote: “True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well being of one’s companion. Companionship in marriage is prone to become commonplace and even dull. I know of no more certain way to keep it on a lofty and inspiring plane than for a man occasionally to reflect upon the fact that the help-meet who stands at his side is a daughter of God, engaged with Him in the great creative process of bringing to pass His eternal purposes. I know of no more effective way for a woman to keep ever radiant the love for her husband than for her to look for and emphasize the godly qualities that are a part of every son of our Father and that can be evoked when there is respect and admiration and encouragement. The very processes of such actions will cultivate a constantly rewarding appreciation for one another.”

Tags: Marriage, Husband, Wife, Anger, Prayer, Honesty, Respect, Tithing, Finances

Notable Quote: “What marvelous things happen when men walk with faith in obedience to that which is required of them! I recently read the interesting story of Commander William Robert Anderson, the naval officer who took the submarine Nautilus beneath the polar ice from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, a daring and dangerous feat. It recounted a number of other exploits of similar danger. It concluded with a statement that he carried in his wallet a tattered card that had on it these words, which I commend to you: ‘I believe I am always divinely guided.I believe I will always take the right road.I believe God will always make a way where there is no way.’ I too believe that God will always make a way where there is no way. I believe that if we will walk in obedience to the commandments of God, if we will follow the counsel of the priesthood, he will open a way even where there appears to be no way.”

Tags: Faith, Obedience, Relying on the Lord

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

1978

Notable Quote: “To all within the sound of my voice who may have doubts, I repeat the words given Thomas as he felt the wounded hands of the Lord: ‘Be not faithless, but believing.’ Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the greatest figure of time and eternity. Believe that his matchless life reached back before the world was formed. Believe that he was the Creator of the earth on which we live. Believe that he was Jehovah of the Old Testament, that he was the Messiah of the New Testament, that he died and was resurrected, that he visited these western continents and taught the people here, that he ushered in this final gospel dispensation, and that he lives, the living Son of the living God, our Savior and our Redeemer.”

Tags: Faith, Resurrection, Christ, Thomas, Belief

1979

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

Notable Quote: “We are becoming a great global society. But our interest and concern must always be with the individual. Every member of this church is an individual man or woman, boy or girl. . . This work is concerned with people, each a son or daughter of God. In describing its achievements we speak in terms of numbers, but all of our efforts must be dedicated to the development of the individual. . . Service in behalf of others, study, and prayer lead to faith in this work and then to knowledge of its truth. This has always been a personal pursuit, as it must always be in the future.”

Tags: Missionary work, the Church, individual

Notable Quote: How glorious is the past of this great cause. It is filled with heroism, courage, boldness, and faith. How wondrous is the present as we move forward to bless the lives of people wherever they will hearken to the message of the servants of the Lord. How magnificent will be the future as the Almighty rolls on His glorious work touching for good all who will accept and live His gospel, and even reaching to the eternal blessing of His sons and daughters of all generations through the selfless work of those whose hearts are filled with love for the Redeemer of the world.

Tags: Missionary Work, Optimism, Faith

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Notable Quote: “May there be peace and harmony in your homes. Husbands, love and treasure your wives. They are your most precious possessions. Wives, encourage and pray for your husbands. They need all the help they can get. Parents, treat your children with great kindness. They are the coming generation who will bring honor to your name.”

Tags: Family, Marriage, Husband, Wife, Children

Notable Quote: “I will now present the General Authorities, Area Seventies, and general auxiliary presidencies of the Church for your sustaining vote. Before doing so, I should like to take note of the recent passing of President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. He was an extremely able man, a man of great faith and capacity, who contributed much to our meetings. We greatly miss him. We extend our condolences to his beloved companion, Ruth, and their children.”

Tags: Death, Church Business

Notable Quote: “Now the conference is adjourned for six months. We look forward to seeing you again next April. I’m 97, but I hope I’m going to make it. May the blessings of heaven attend you in the meantime is our humble and sincere prayer in the name of our Redeemer, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.”

Tags: Till We Meet Again

“Let us Keep the Lower Lights Burning”

Hymn #335 “Brightly Beams our Fathers Mercy” is a well known hymn in the church, especially by the priesthood. But many don’t know its origin. When understood this story takes on a much more profound meaning.

Philip Paul Bliss, a 19th century American composer was directing the singing for a series of services being conducted by Dwight L. Moody, a well-known preacher. As Reverend Moody closed his message, he told the story of a captain who was attempting to bring his boat to the Cleveland harbor on a very dark and stormy night.

The waves rolled like mountains, Moody stated, and not a star was to be seen in the clouded sky. Moody painted a picture to the congregation of a boat rocking on the violent waves while the ship’s captain peered through the darkness for the sight of a signal light by means of which to guide his vessel to safety. When he finally spotted a single light from the light-house, the captain turned to the pilot and asked:

“Are you sure this is Cleveland harbor?”

“Quite sure, sir,” the pilot replied.

“Then where are the lower lights?” the captain continued.

“Gone out, sir,” the other man answered.

“Can you make the harbor?” the captain asked anxiously.

“We must, or perish, sir,” the pilot replied.

But despite the captain and pilot’s brave hearts and steady hands, in the darkness the ship missed the channel. With a resounding crash the boat piled up on the rocks and then settled slowly to a watery grave.

As the congregation listened intently, Moody concluded with this admonition:

“Brethren, the Master will take care of the great light-house; let us keep the lower lights burning.”

That was all Philip Paul Bliss needed to pen one of his most popular hymns, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning.”

Hymn #335

Hymn #335 on lds.org

1. Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From his lighthouse evermore,
But to us he gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

[Chorus]
Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

2. Dark the night of sin has settled;
Loud the angry billows roar.
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.

3. Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.

Text and music: Philip Paul Bliss, 1838–1876
Doctrine and Covenants 18:10–16
1 John 2:10

Often the lower lights are simply the lights in the homes along the shore. In the LDS Bible dictionary under temple it states:

“A temple is literally a house of the Lord, a holy sanctuary in which sacred ceremonies and ordinances of the gospel are performed by and for the living and also in behalf of the dead. A place where the Lord may come, it is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.”

We must keep our homes sacred so they may be the lower lights in our lives.

I pray we may always be the lower lights for our brothers and sisters in and out of the Gospel, so that no one may be tossed to the spiritual rocks of life.

QUESTION: What is the new missionary verse to “Because I Have Been Given Much?”

The other day I received the following question via the LDSFriends contact form:

“On my way to church today I heard the song ‘Because I have been given much’ on the BYU-I radio station and there was an additional verse with something about because I have been called I too must serve, or something along those lines, really pertaining to going on a mission. Does anyone know the words to that verse? I would love to have them.”

I hadn’t heard that there was a new verse, but apparently there is (though, I am not sure if it is apocryphal or Church sanctioned). Here it is:

“Because I have been blessed Dear Lord, I too must serve.
I’ll leave the comfort of my home to teach Thy word.
I’ll find Thy sheep who’ve gone astray, and those who’ve never known the way,
I’ll make Thy work, my work today.
I shall give love to those in need
I’ll show that love by words and deed.
Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.”