For What Purpose by Alvin R. Dyer (March 18, 1961)

alvin-r-dyer_quote_for-what-purpose
Photo: Taken of Alvin R. Dyer on December 1958, just after he was released as the Superintendent of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association. The original photo was granular and difficult to see. I blended and blurred the image to allow for a smoother effect and added a Sepia filter.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following introduction was written to help better understand the Church’s current stance on Elder Dyer’s address. It is very important you first read the introduction, in its entirety, before evaluating the talk. If not, your perspective on the following doctrines will be inaccurate.

Elder Dyer is an interesting person in Church history. He was called as an apostle, but was never in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. President David O. McKay appointed him as an additional counselor of the First Presidency, but no one was certain if his calling was as a counselor “to” the First Presidency or “in” the first presidency. He is the only person in the history of the Church to be ordained to the office of seventy after having been ordained to the office of apostle.

However, I think all of these oddities would have been forgotten by history had Elder Dyer not given a talk in the spring of 1961 to a group of missionaries serving in the Oslo, Norway mission. His talk, “For What Purpose,” put forth an interesting doctrine about judgment in the premortal existence and blacks not receiving the Priesthood. His reasoning suggested that blacks were less valiant with their first inheritance (or premortal existence) and therefore received a “lesser reward” in their second heritance (or mortal existence).

In June 1978, after “spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance,” Spencer W. Kimball, the Mormon prophet at the time, received revelation that “all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood.” It was this revelation, which was later canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants as Official Declaration 2, which brought serious questions concerning Elder Dyer’s talk given over 17 years earlier.

Recently the LDS Church entirely disavowed Alvin R. Dyer’s racial premortal belief (though, not directly pointing out Elder Dyer) by officially stating:

“Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”

Even Elder Dyer had issues (however, probably not doctrinally) about people sharing this particularly talk when he stated,

“The author, while serving as president of the European Mission, during which time (1961-2) this volume was originally published, delivered an address to the missionaries of the Norwegian Mission at Oslo, based upon the materials contained in “The Day of the Gentile.” This talk, taped at the time, has in various ways and places been published and republished in mimeographed and printed form under the title of, “For What Purpose,” without the editing and approval of the author, except in one instance. This has resulted in the distribution of many thousands of copies. As might be expected, without editing, this distribution from many sources has resulted in some changes which do not reflect in a true light the knowledge and understanding of the author on certain subjects.” (Alvin R. Dyer, The Meaning of Truth, rev. ed., p.ii, 1970)

Regardless of the controversial nature of this talk, I publish it in its entirety, just as I received it as a missionary almost 20 years ago. I also state unequivocally that I do not believe Elder Dyer’s racial premortal theories. However, I do find the notion of a just God judging and rewarding his children before coming to this existence as an interesting theological argument.

Understanding this, I hope you realize that I do not teach premortal judgment as doctrine, nor did Elder Dyer (since this talk was before he was called as an Apostle). Rather, I encourage you to read Elder Dyer’s reasoning, remove the heavy racial overtones, and assess for yourself on why some individuals receive so much in life, while others receive so very, very little.

Paul L. Wilson


For What Purpose
by
Alvin R. Dyer

Talk given: March 18, 1961
Oslo, Norway
Missionary Conference

The following is a talk given by President Alvin R. Dyer at the missionary conference in Oslo, Norway, March 18, 1961. It is recommended that each missionary should read this message several times in order to get a better understanding of the purpose of the restored Gospel.

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We have talked a lot about missionary work and heard the testimonies of those who have spoken. I want to talk to you a little bit now about something that is not missionary work and what I say is not to be given to your investigators by any matter or means.

In the Korean War there was a thing that took place that, I don’t know as it brought disgrace upon our country, but it tends to prove the fact that so many of the young men of America didn’t have the concept of liberty and freedom as sponsored by our own beloved country. This was such a shock to our leaders that a program was instituted throughout the country, which still carries on, to better prepare our young people to meet the future, both physically and mentally. I was disillusioned at what took place.

Always in my life I have thought that a “Yankee” or an American was just about the greatest of everything in the world. I have always been a kind of hero-worshipper anyway, and a great football player or a great baseball player or something like that has been more or less my ideal. Anything American was the best. I still feel that way when it comes to my personal inward feelings. I still have an affinity for that.

There was an episode that took place in the Korean War that was very hard for me to take, and hard for me to understand. I am sure that it was much harder for those who were in it, who were called upon to endure the privations of that war, or any war for that matter. After the war was over, the information concerning the behavior of our young men who had been captured by the Koreans (Communist Koreans) revealed the fact that they behaved most ashamedly and with almost cowardice. In the interrogations that were made of our young men, there was less than 5% of them that even knew why they were fighting and what was meant by liberty and freedom and the America way of life. Less than 5% of them were reactionary to the point that they wanted to fight to live, though they had been prisoners, and I know that they must not have had a very easy life. But the official records also reveal that 38% of the American soldiers that were taken prisoners by the Koreans, who died in prison camps, didn’t die from starvation or from any punishment. They simply quit and laid down and died because they did not have the moral stability to fight. This was the disgraceful thing about it all. Nearly 4 out of 10 of the American prisoners died because they didn’t have the will to live. They did not have any reason or rhyme for what they were there for.

When this became known to our leaders, they immediately called into conference a great body of men and established in America what they called a physical fitness program. Ezra Taft Benson and Marion D. Hanks and several others from the Church were called upon and they are still serving on it. I was glad to see that President Kennedy has reinstated this program among our young people.

You might say, “What has that to do with us?” It doesn’t have a great deal to do with us except that I would feel rather embarrassed, as a leader of the Church, if any one of our missionaries did not know why he was in the mission field, and all you could say is, “I am here preaching the Gospel and I have been sent out here. I know the Gospel is true and I have a testimony of it.” If that is all you could say, you don’t have the full meaning for the purpose of missionary work.

I have always felt that if you would place in the minds of anybody the reason for doing things and the purpose behind it, you wouldn’t have to worry about what that person would do. If you young men and women know why you are here and why the Lord is so anxious for us to preach the Gospel today, and then would ask yourselves a number of questions connected with that, such as: Why is it that you are born today instead of 2,000 years ago? Why is it that you are sitting in this room today and were for some reason, not born in the day of Moses or in the day when Christ was upon the earth? Or do you think that is just something haphazard – that it just happened that way – that nobody had anything to do with it? You would ask another question maybe: Why is it that you are white and not colored? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Who had anything to do with your being born into the Church? Why not born a Chinese or a Hindu or a Negro? Is God such an unjust person that he would make you white and free and make a Negro cursed under the cursing of Cain, that he could not hold the Priesthood of God? Who do you think decided and what is the reason behind it? Then maybe you would ask yourselves another question: Why is it that you were kept in the Spirit World until the last dispensation to come forth among the children of men? Was there any reason for that, and who decided it?

When you begin to get the answers to these questions, then perhaps you will begin to understand why the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached in the world today, and why the plan of salvation is taking its affect upon people. I think that every missionary ought to know the answers to those questions. When he does know the answers, he stands before the Lord without excuse to go forth and labor with all his strength to serve the Lord.

There isn’t anyone in this room that would have the fantastic notion that this life is of any great duration. This life is merely a pinpoint or speck on the eternity of man’s existence. It is over so fast that it is merely a short period of time in the existence of eternal life of man here upon the earth – just a few short hours of the Lord’s time. To us it is many thousands of years.

I want to talk with you just briefly about this, not with any information that you would convey to your investigators, but that you, yourselves, may have a better understanding of what we are doing in the mission field today, and why it is that we come to you with encouragement to work with all your strength to get the people into the Church and why we set goals. It isn’t for the purpose of a goal. That is just a kind of game between us to become physically motivated to go out and to do our best and work as a team and as a mission. The real purpose behind this is more far reaching than that.

I will read to your from the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, “And the Lord said unto me,” speaking to Abraham, “These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they,” indicating that in the pre-existence there are three divisions of spirits. “These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all.”

This statement of Abraham’s is directly connected with the degrees of glory because we taught that when people die, all shall be resurrected who are born in this life – sons of perdition and all. They are then, after the Spirit World, assigned into one of these three degrees of glory – the Celestial, the Terrestrial, and the Telestial. Others who were spun off who can no longer repent, and because they can no longer repent, they can become Sons of Perdition and are not worthy to go into a degree of glory. The consequence of this is that they shall go with Lucifer and the disembodied spirits who never were permitted to take upon themselves a body of flesh and bones.

You recall the scripture that missionaries very often use in Corinthians when Paul is speaking of the three divisions of people. We often use that scripture as a resurrection scripture but we do not apply it properly. If you will read it carefully it says, “Such are they in the resurrection,” which means that Paul is calling to the attention of those who listen to him, that there are three degrees of glory of people who are in preparation on the earth while they live here. Now let’s suppose, to make this more plain, that the earth would end at this instant; that there would be no one upon the earth; that life would cease and that judgment was immediate. Obviously the people who had been living on the earth would be assigned to one of these three places. Therefore, the people are the embryos of these three kingdoms.

The suggestion here by Abraham is that they were born into this life with the same degree of division. There were three divisions of mankind in the pre-existence, and when you are born into this life, you are born into one of three divisions of people. There is an imposed judgment placed upon everyone who leaves the Spirit World, just as there will be when they leave this life and go into one of the three places. When they left the Spirit World, they had already been judged by what they had done in the Spirit World and in their previous life. When you understand that, you know then that God is not unjust to cause a righteous spirit to be born as a cursed member of the black race, or to be cursed as one of the other people of the earth who has been cursed. Everything is in order. The procreation of man is orderly and is in accordance with the plan of life and salvation.

In keeping with this thought, when Noah went into the ark, here again he took with him his three sons – one representing the chosen lineage, the second representing the lineage of adoption, and the third representing the cursed lineage. Thereafter, when men began to be born again into this life, they were born through one of these three sons of Noah, either through the lineage of Shem, Japheth or Ham.

I suppose you often may have heard missionaries say it, or have asked the question: Why is a Negro a Negro? And you have heard the answer: “Well, they must have been neutral in the pre-existence or they must have straddled the fence.” That is the most common saying – they were neither hot nor cold, so the Lord made them Negros. This, of course, is not true. The reason that spirits are born into Negro bodies is because those spirits rejected the Priesthood of God in the pre-existence. This is the reason why you have Negros upon the earth.

You will observe that when Cain was influenced by the power of Lucifer to follow him to fall down and worship him in the beginning, it was then that the Lord came to him and said, “Cain, if you will abide the law – if you will keep the commandments, you too can be acceptable to me.” But Cain rejected the counsel of God. He rejected again the Priesthood as his forebearers had done in the preexistence. Therefore, the curse of the pre-existence was made institute through the loins of Cain. Consequently you have then, the beginning of the race of men and women into which would be born those in the pre-existence who had rejected the Priesthood of God.

There was another division in the pre-existence – those who were not valiant in the acceptance of the Gospel. You see, there is a great difference between one who accepts and one who accepts and does something about it. We had a division in the pre-existence who did not reject the Priesthood, neither did they fully accept the plan of salvation that was advanced by the Christ. They, therefore, in accordance to the plan of the Gospel, became those of the lineage of adoption.

I want to read to you a very important scripture in the Old Testament. We talk about studying books and reading manuscripts to prepare ourselves to teach the Gospel, but there are very few missionaries who ever study they Old Testament. The 10th chapter of Genesis, according to my information, has had at least 2,000 volumes written about it – just about this one chapter. It is so important because the whole plan and purpose of life was understood by the ancient people of Israel and they knew and understood what was meant by the teachings of the Old Testament here given to us by Moses. I want to read something to you and make an explanation. “And Ham, the father of Canaan,” this is in the 9th chapter of Genesis, “saw the nakedness of his father and told his two his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and went backward and they saw not their father’s nakedness.” Now, that is a Jewish story – that is a Hebrew story, in legend form, that merely implicates the fact that Ham reinstated the curse of the pre-existence when he rejected the Priesthood of Noah, and in consequence of that, he preserves the curse of the earth. Therefore, the Negros to be born thereafter or those who were to become Negros were to be born through the loins of Ham.

All of this is according to a well worked out plan, that these millions and billions of spirits awaiting in the pre-existence would be born through a channel of race of people. Consequently the cursed were to be born through Ham. We cannot accept this story literally because, in order to understand that, you have to read the Pearl of Great Price very carefully. Because, in the early days when the Egyptian government was established under its first rulers, the Pharaohs, they set up a system that was exactly like the Priesthood of God. It was exactly like the Patriarchal Order, but they said, knowing that they could not have the birthright, they thought to capitalize on the form, or the order of administration. The Pearl of Great Price tells us specifically that they knew that they could not hold the Priesthood, yet they used the type of organization. Gradually the sons of Pharaoh began to denounce that concept and assumed unto themselves that they were the princes and not the descendants of Shem. There is a great deal more to it than that, but I wanted to point this out to you that all of this that we talk about with people is not just merely a little message that we proclaim to them; but all that we are doing is part of a great plan that was inaugurated under the same direction of the Christ in the pre-existence.

Listen to what Noah said to his other two brethren: “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” And he said, “Blessed be the Lord God of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant.” Who is Shem? Shem is who is known as the father of the Shemitics or the Semitics. He became the father of the children of Israel. Through the loins of Shem’s descendants, were born Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and then twelve sons of the twelve princes of Israel. Therefore, Shem became the father or the progenitor of those who were to be born into this life who were the noblest of the intelligences who Abraham speaks of here when he said, “Notwithstanding that these two spirits are intelligent and one is more intelligent than the other – there is still another spirit or another division that is more intelligent than both of them.” Then the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; and the Lord saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them and said: These I will make my rulers, for he saw that they were good, and he said unto me; Abraham, thou art one of them: thou wast chosen before thou wast born.” This is true with everyone who fits into the category of Israel. This is a part of the plan the world does not know anything about. The Christian churches never mention it. They never teach it because they know nothing about it.

Noah made another promise at this point and he said, “God shall enlarge Japheth, who was the eldest son, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” (tent or house). In those days that is the only thing they lived in. “God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the house of Shem.” What is the house of Shem? The House of Israel. Therefore, the descendants of Japheth shall be enlarged and they shall be permitted to dwell in the House of Israel. Therefore, we call the descendants of Japheth the children of the adoption. Now, who are the descendants of Japheth? The descendants of Japheth are in all of Europe. They are in America; they are in Japan and Korea. They are in India and all these people can be traced. For example, we have here the generations of Shem as the Lord gives it to us in the tenth chapter of the book of Genesis. Those ancient prophets were careful to preserve those generations, and those genealogies, knowing their full meaning which the world does not understand but which we know by revelation from the Lord.

“Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer” they are the French; “and Magog,” they are the Slavs; “and Madai,” they are the Hindu, the Korean, the Indian, the Japanese and the Phillipenos. We know who the people are who migrated eastward through India in the area of the Tungus and then into Korea and Japan. This is the reason today why we are having such tremendous success among the Koreans and the Japanese, because it is the day the Gospel is to be preached to them. Then he goes on to say, “Javan” the people of Greece and Italy and of Turkey, “and Meschech”, the Meshechites, the Russians, “and Tiras,” the Siberians. These are the descendants of Japheth.

The day was to come, according to Noah, that these people and their descendants would come in and dwell in the tent, or the house, of Shem, or the House of Israel. You have to know what the Lord is doing today in preaching the Gospel unto the Gentiles, because this is the day of the Gentile. They are the people of Europe. They are the people of America. This is the time of the Gentile. Only one portion of the House of Israel is being called, and they are the children of Ephraim.

Everyone of you here, I assume, has had a Patriarchal Blessing. Is there anyone here who is not of the lineage of Joseph? You know what I mean? They are the only ones of the House of Israel that are being called – the lineage of Joseph, through Ephraim, and there is a reason for that.

I want to mention again, the teaching of Christ unto the Nephites. You will find this in the 21st chapter of 3rd Nephi; the sign of the Father’s work, the glorious destiny of the repentant Gentiles, the condemnation predicted for the impenitent and the coming of the New Jerusalem or the city of Zion. And the Lord himself, speaking unto the Nephites said this: “And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place – that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O House of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion.” Then he goes on to tell that the first of this day shall be the day of the Gentiles, and you read that entire chapter. I won’t take the time to do it, but he says, “in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.” (The Prophet Joseph Smith). “But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.” The Prophet Joseph Smith suffered martyrdom but he was not harmed, and he said to his brother in Carthage prison, just before he was shot: “Fear not, brethren. They may take our lives and destroy the body, but they cannot kill us.” This is what the Lord was saying here. If you read the rest of the chapter, you will read how the Gospel is to be taken to the Gentiles. The Lord said in verse 22: “But behold if the Gentiles will repent,” meaning who”? The French, the German, the Norwegian, the Yiddish, the Finlander, the people of Denmark and the people all over the countries of Europe. “If they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance.” This was spoken of before by Nephi, and you will read it in the 13th and 14th chapters of the Book of Mormon, where the Lord makes plain that the day will come when the Gentiles will receive the gospel and will come in and be numbered among the Children of Israel.

I will just read one of these scriptures, although there are many found in 1st Nephi, the 14th chapter, starting with the first verse: “And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles;” let me explain now again who the Gentiles are. In the eyes of the Jew, anyone who is not a Jew is a Gentile. But correctly speaking, the Gentiles are the descendants of the House of Japheth, the oldest son of Noah. The cursed people are the descendants of Ham. The chosen people are the descendants of Shem the second of the three sons of Noah. Through these lineages the spirits that compare with their station are born in this life. This is why you have colored people, why you have dark people and why you have white people. The Lord is speaking of the Gentiles. “And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles,” the descendants of Japheth, “shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks.”

In other words, where they have resisted the church, resisted conversion, the Lord will remove the stumbling blocks, “And if they harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be a blessed people.” You see, this is the promise that was made anciently by Noah when he blessed Japheth. Because why? Because he did not rebel against the Priesthood that Noah held, like Ham did, neither did Shem.

We have a fulfillment of this scripture. When the Kirtland Temple was finished, there were a number of ancient prophets that made their appearances in the temple. The Christ was the first to come and receive the temple, and gave instructions to Joseph Smith many of which we have never been privileged to know about. Following this, there appeared unto them, Moses, and then came Elias and then came Elijah, each of them committing the keys of their specific work. Let me call your attention to the key of Elias. In the first place, who is Elias? Elias is Noah. Here we have the same one who gave the covenant unto Japheth anciently, that he would be blessed and that he would come in and dwell in the house of Shem. He returned to the earth to give the key unto the prophet Joseph Smith, to fulfill the promise to Abraham, that through the loins of Abraham, or the chosen seed, all of the children of the earth would be blessed.

There is another thing that you must understand for yourselves, to understand this whole thing, and that is that this life, or the day of this life, so far as the Gospel is concerned, begins the day you were born and ends after the period of the Spirit World – not when you die in this life. So the day of this life, so far as the plan of life is concerned is from the day you were born until the end of your period in the Spirit World. For this reason then, we can function and carry on the program than the Lord has intended in the Spirit World, so that they can be preached to, and have work done for them here upon the earth and that work will be binding in the worlds that are to come.

Now I want to go back again to the statement of Abraham and to emphasize here the importance of what we are doing. “Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers.” All right, what did the Lord mean by that? I call to your attention now, the washing and anointing that you received in the temple. All of you have been through the temple, I assume. When you went into the washing an anointing room where you were washed and anointed with water and oil, you were given a new name, and you were promised that some day you would be called up to be a King and a Priest or Queen and Priestess. Don’t ever suppose that it is for this life. It is not. It is for the next life, and the Lord is preparing today, the rulers that will be the administrators of these degrees of glory after the Spirit World. The consequence of this is that the Celestial Kingdom must be peopled first because it becomes the kingdom of administration; so all of it becomes a part of the plan.

The Terrestrial Kingdom will receive its administration through the Christ and the Melchizedek Priesthood, and there will be a system of government established upon that kingdom. The Telestial Kingdom will receive its administration through the ministering angels of the Terrestrial Kingdom, and they will have their form of government, but they will exist and live under a government. They will be controlled by laws and regulations of advancement and development and growth all in accordance with the plan of the Lord – the same in the Terrestrial and Celestial Kingdoms.

Now let us suppose that we were a board of directors here today and we were going to establish a vast corporation that would hire millions of men and women. Would we go out and hire all these men and women right at the outset, or would we first build an administrative building and hire our executives or administrators, and then place them over to control and govern? It is the same thing in the plan of life. The Celestial Kingdom must be founded first because it becomes the kingdom of administration. The Lord has revealed these things to us. They are very plain, and what we are striving for today is to find those whom the Lord wants to make His rulers.

You like to think, I know, and I do too, that the Gospel is going to be received by everyone, but it isn’t. I call to your attention to the statements of Christ when He said, “Straight is the way and narrow the gate, and few there be that find it.” There won’t be many but these the Lord has chosen in the preexistence. If they are worthy and prove their worthiness in this life and this probation, then they receive the endowment. When they get the endowment, they are promised that they will be leaders. We call them Kings and Priests, but the correct word in our terminology would be administrators, a leader, an executive who will have power to govern and control the millions and millions of people who will go into these other degrees of glory.

Now you see how the plan opens up, and there is purpose and meaning as to what we are doing. I have often said this, “It is a frightening thought but it is undoubtedly true, that only those who are worthy of leadership will enter the Celestial Kingdom because that is the Kingdom of administration. Others who are less valiant, who do not have the qualities of leadership and direction, will necessarily have to settle for the Terrestrial Kingdom.

I don’t know whether the knowledge or the revelation of these things will have an effect upon you as a missionary, but I know that it has an effect upon me because, if I am to fulfill my destiny and my purpose here in this mission (life), as has been given to me, and proven to me by my pre-existent identity, then I would do everything in my power to measure up to what I was in the pre-existence because if we could this day, by some miraculous means be permitted to see who we were, I wouldn’t be President Dyer up there, or you wouldn’t be Elder Smith or Brown or President Gunderson. Oh, no. You would be someone else, and the day will come when you will know who you are, because you are a person of nobility. You may not fully know that now but you were a person of nobility in the preexistence. If you were not, you would have been born into one of these other channels, and you would not have been born in this day and age because the Lord has withheld the choice spirits of the preexistence to come forth in this, the last dispensation and the reason for this is obvious. Why? Because in the world will be just that many righteous spirits who supported and sustained Him, and who accepted Him in the pre-existence. That is why today I am telling you now to preach the Gospel to the people. They do not need to have long teaching. These people today who are accepting the Gospel know all about it because they have been selected to know. That is why they recognize it when they feel the charge and the impact of testimony and spirit. Then it all unfolds to them and many of them are even more brilliant than we are because of the place which they had.

This is not like any other day in the history of the world. The Lord now is preparing to establish His Kingdom – the kingdom that will govern the earth for 1000 years before we go into the judgment period that leads into the establishment of the degrees of glory. In consequence of that, He has wisely chosen the ones that are to come into the world in this day and age. It is a battle. He fought the power of Lucifer, in the pre-existence. He had to use His best spirits to defend Him, and here again He will have to do the same thing and He knows that. Now what does that mean in a probation?

In the wisdom of our Heavenly Father, He has made this life a probation which means that a person who is born in a lower division can accelerate through this life to a higher division. For example, if a colored person, being born into the Telestial division, will receive and accept the Gospel he can be elevated to the Celestial division or the Terrestrial division. That is the purpose of a probation. That is why the Lord set the plan of the Gospel, so that those who had not merited it in the pre-existence, may merit it here through this life of probation. Don’t you see that? Don’t you see the purpose of the probation, the planning of the Gospel, to provide even this last opportunity in this life while men are taking upon themselves the element of a body, to have another chance to improve their place over what they had done in the pre-existence?

Now I want to read to you from the Book of Mormon on that. This scripture will have new meaning to you, I am sure, as you understand the things that I have spoken. The prophet Alma understood this very plainly, and I want you to pay particular attention to what he says. This is found in the 24th chapter, beginning with the 31st verse. I am sure you have read it, but let’s read it now for this concept. “Yea, I would that you would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer, for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation. And therefore if you will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.” Don’t you see?

All a man has to do is repent and open his heart to the Lord and immediately the plan will be made known to him. That doesn’t say the missionary will make it known to him. The power of the Holy Ghost will make it known unto him. He already knows it, because he stood in the councils of heaven and supported and sustained this plan. He recognizes Christ. He recognized the prophets, etc. “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God.”

If life did not extend beyond the grave, then why did Christ go to the Spirit World, undoubtedly where Elder Wheat went. Isn’t it something that he was driving on the highway doing missionary work, and in the twinkling of an eye he was doing missionary work in the Spirit World. He had changed from life to death still a missionary. It came upon him and he will never know what happened. I know as well as I know anything that he is preaching the Gospel there.

Many of the people in the world like the descendants of Meschech who are living in Russia, live and die without hearing the Gospel and go to the Spirit World, because their government won’t let us do it here. Then the descendants hear of it and they themselves wield a great influence. In this way the Gospel is preached to all nations, kindreds and tongues.

“Now behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meed God; behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.” Now listen closely: “And now as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end.” What is the end? The end of the Spirit World in this life.

“For after this day of life,” or from birth until the end of the Spirit World, “which is given us to prepare for eternity,” meaning if we do not improve our time while in this life, “then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.” Do you see how plain this is? If we do not improve ourselves from one division to another, born into the world in a lower division, improving to one of the higher, then we can do nothing about it.

“If we do not improve our time and our place in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.” It is just as plain and simple as anything can be simple.

I wanted to talk to you about that today because I want you to know the reason why you are preaching the Gospel. There is a purpose behind it and, knowing of your nobility, what kind of a missionary are you going to be from this day to the end of your mission? I know what kind you want to be. There will be no more wasted time because it is imposed upon you – the necessity of continuing you nobility, that you may prove your place. That you may be a ruler and a king and a queen and a priestess, as you were promised in the temple of God, if you are faithful in the fulfilling of you obligations.

I have always thought and have proven the point many times, that if you will place into the mind of a boy or a girl, firmly that they are noble persons born of noble heritage in the pre-existence, they will never stoop to anything that is sordid. They just won’t do it. You don’t need the preaching and the harassments of young people. All you need to do is accept that as your ideology, and what you do from now on will be the important thing, that you may not have known before, but you know them now, because the Spirit bears record. I bear record of their truthfulness in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

The Seven Deadly Heresies by Bruce R. McConkie

Brigham Young University, Marriott Center, June 1, 1980


When the announcement was made that I was a graduate of the University of Utah, a voice in the background spoke up, “That’s a forgiveable sin!” (Laughter.) I am pleased to certify that I have repented. (Much laughter.)

I have sought very diligently to be given utterance and have the guidance of the Spirit tonight in what I will be able to say to you. I’m going to depart from a normal and usual pattern and read portions of what is involved, because I want to state temperately and accurately the views that I have, and say them in a way that will not leave room for doubt or for question. I intend to speak on some matters that some would consider to be controversial — they ought not to be. They’re things on which we ought to be united; and proportionately as we are, we’ll make progress and advance and grow in the things of the Spirit, and prepare ourselves for a life of peace and happiness and joy here and for eventual, eternal reward in the kingdom of our Father.

There is a song, or a saying, or a proverb, or a legend, or a tradition or something, that speaks of “seven deadly sins.” I know nothing whatever about these and hope you do not. My subject is one about which some few of you, unfortunately, do know a little. It is “The Seven Deadly Heresies” — not the great heresies of a lost and fallen Christendom, but some that have crept in among us.

Now I take a text. These words were written by Paul to ancient Saints —in principle they apply to us:

“I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. [1 Cor. 11:18–19]”

Now, let me list some axioms. I guess in academic circles we’d call these caveats:

There is no salvation in believing a false doctrine. Truth, diamond truth, truth unmixed with error, truth alone leads to salvation. What we believe determines what we do. No man can be saved in ignorance of God and his laws. [D&C 131:6] Man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge of Jesus Christ and the saving truths of his everlasting gospel. Gospel doctrines belong to the Lord, not to men. They are His. He ordained them, He reveals them, and He expects us to believe them. The doctrines of salvation are not discovered in laboratory or on a geological field trip or by accompanying Darwin around the world. They come by revelation and in no other way. Our sole concern in seeking truth should be to learn and believe what the Lord knows and believes. Providentially He has set forth some of His views in the holy scriptures. Our goal as mortals is to gain the mind of Christ, to believe what He believes, to think what He thinks, to say what He says, to do what He does, and to be as He is. We are called upon to reject all heresies and cleave unto all truth. Only then can we progress according to the divine plan.

“Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. [D&C 130:18–19]”

Please note that knowledge is gained by obedience. There are some things a sinful man does not and cannot know.

Now may I suggest the list of heresies.

Heresy #1: There are those who say that God is progressing in knowledge and is learning new truth.

This is false — utterly, totally, and completely. There is not one sliver of truth in it. It grows out of a wholly twisted and incorrect view of the “King Follett sermon” and of what is meant by eternal progression.

God progresses in the sense that his kingdoms increase and his dominions multiply — not in the sense that he learn new truths and discovers new laws. God is not a student. He is not a laboratory technician. He is not postulating new theories on the basis of past experiences. He has indeed graduated to that state of exaltation that consists of knowing all things and having all power.

Now, the life that God lives is named eternal life. His name, one of them, is Eternal, and He applies that name to identify the type of life that He lives. And eternal life is the goal that we are able to obtain if we believe and obey and walk uprightly before him. And eternal life consists of two things:

life in the family unit; and, also of inheriting, receiving, and possessing the fulness of the glory of the Father. Anyone who has each of these things is an inheritor and possessor of the greatest of all gifts of God, which is eternal life. [see D&C 14:7]

And eternal progression consists of living the kind of life God lives and of increasing in kingdoms and dominions everlastingly. Why anyone should suppose that an infinite and eternal being who has presided in our universe for almost 2,555,000,000 years [Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, pp. 757-761], who made the sidereal heavens, whose creations are more numerous than the particles of the earth, and who is aware of the “fall of every sparrow” [see Matt. 10:29] — why anyone would suppose that such a being has more to learn and new truths to discover in the laboratories of eternity is totally beyond comprehension.

Will he one day learn something that will destroy the plan of salvation and turn man and the universe into an uncreated nothingness? Will he discover a better plan of salvation than the one he has already given to men in worlds without number? I have been sorely tempted to say at this point that any who so suppose have the intellect of an ant, and the understanding of a clod of mirey clay in a primordial swamp. (Laughter) But, of course, I would never say a thing like that. (Much laughter)

The saving truth, as revealed to and taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith is that God is “omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.” [Lectures on Faith, lecture 2:2] He knows all things, has all power, and is everywhere present by the power of His Spirit. And unless we know and believe this doctrine we cannot gain faith “unto life and salvation.” [ibid, 3:19]

Joseph Smith also taught that “three things are necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.” These he named as:

“The idea that He actually exists.” “A correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes”; and “An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to the divine will.” [ibid, 3:2-5]

The attributes of God are given as Knowledge, Faith or power, Justice, Judgment, Mercy, and Truth. [ibid, 4:4-10] The perfections of God are named as “the perfections which belong to all of the attributes of his nature,” [ibid, 5:1] which is to say that God possesses and has all Knowledge, all Faith or power, all Justice, all Judgment, all Mercy, and all Truth. He is indeed the very embodiment, personification, and source of all these attributes. Does anyone suppose that God can be more honest than He already is? Neither need any suppose there are truths He does not know or knowledge He does not possess.

Thus Joseph Smith taught:

“Without the knowledge of all things, God would not be able to save any portion of his creatures; for it is by reason of the knowledge which he has of all things, from the beginning to the end, that enables him to give that understanding to his creatures by which they are made partakers of eternal life; and if it were not for the idea existing in the minds of men that God had all knowledge it would be impossible for them to exercise faith in him.” [ibid, 4:11]

If God is just dabbling with a few truths He has already chanced to learn or experimenting with a few facts He has already discovered, we have no idea as to the real end and purpose of creation.

Heresy #2:There are those who believe that revealed religion and the theory of organic evolution can be harmonized.

This is both false and devilish. Yes, all truth is in agreement, and true religion and true science bear the same witness, Indeed, in the true and full sense, true science is part of true religion. But there is no way to harmonize the false religions of the Dark Ages with the truths of science as they have now been discovered. And there is no way to harmonize the revealed religion that has come to us with the theoretical postulates of Darwinism and the diverse speculations descending therefrom.

Do not be deceived and led to believe that the the famous document of the First Presidency issued in the days of President Joseph F. Smith and entitled “The Origin of Man” means anything except exactly what it says. The saving doctrine is that Adam stood next to Christ in power and might and intelligence before the foundations of the world were laid; that Adam was placed on this earth as an immortal being; that there was no death in the world for him or for any form of life until after the Fall; that the fall of Adam brought temporal and spiritual death into the world; that this temporal death passed upon all forms of life, upon man and animal and fish and fowl and plant life; that Christ came to ransom man and all forms of life from the effects of the temporal death brought into the world through the Fall, and in the case of man from a spiritual death also; and that this ransom includes a resurrection for man and for all forms of life.

Try as you may, you cannot harmonize these things with the evolutionary postulate that death has always existed and that the various forms of life have evolved from preceding forms over astronomically long periods of time? Try as you may, you cannot harmonize the theories of men with the inspired word that says:

“And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. “

And they [meaning Adam and Eve] would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

“But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. “And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.” [2 Ne. 2:22–26]

The atonement of Christ is the great and eternal foundation upon which revealed religion rests. No man can be saved unless he believes that our Lord’s atoning sacrifice brings immortality to all and eternal life to those who believe and obey. And no man can believe in the atonement unless he accepts both the divine Sonship of Christ and the fall of Adam. If death has always prevailed in the world there was no fall of Adam which brought death to all forms of life. If Adam did not fall, there is no need for an atonement. If there was no atonement, there is no salvation, no resurrection, no eternal life, nothing in all of the glorious promises that the Lord has given us. If there is no salvation there is no Go. The Fall affects man, all forms of life, and the earth itself. The atonement affects man, all forms of life, and the earth itself.

Heresy #3: There are those who say that temple marriage assures us of an eventual exaltation.

Some have supposed that couples married in the temple who commit all manner of sin, and who then pay the penalty will gain their exaltation eventually. This notion is contrary to the whole system and plan that the Lord has ordained under which we are privileged to work out our salvation with fear and trembling before him. If we believe and obey, if we enter the waters of baptism and make solemn covenant with the Lord to keep his commandments, we thereby get on a strait and narrow.path that leads from the gate of repentance and baptism to a reward that is called Eternal Life. And if we traverse the length of the path going upward and forward and onward, keeping the commandments, loving the Lord, and doing all that we ought to do, eventually we will be inheritors of that reward.

And in exactly and precisely the same sense, celestial marriage is a gate that puts us on a path leading to exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world. And it is in that highest realm of glory and dignity and honor hereafter that the family unit continues, and that those who so inherit receive the reward that is named Eternal Life. Baptism is a gate; celestial marriage is a gate. When we get on the path we are obligated to keep the commandments.

And my suggestion in this field is that you go to the temple and listen to a ceremony of celestial marriage, paying especial and particular attention to the words, and learn what the promises are that are given — particularly learning that all of the promises given are conditioned upon subsequent compliance with all of the terms and conditions of that order of matrimony.

Heresy #4: There are those who believe that the doctrine of salvation for the dead offers men a second chance for salvation.

This is false, false, false. I know a man, now deceased, a non-member of the Church, who was a degenerate, old reprobate, who found pleasure, as he supposed, in living after the manner of the world. A cigarette dangled from his lips, alcohol strenched his breath, and profane and bawdy stories defiled his lips. His moral status left much to be desired. His wife was a member of the Church, as faithful as she could be under the circumstances. One day she said to him, “You know the Church is true; why don’t you be baptized?” And he replied, “Of course I know the Church is true, but I have no intention of changing my habits in order to join it. I prefer to live the way I do. But that doesn’t worry me in the slightest. I know that as soon as I die, you will have someone go to the temple and do the work for me and everything will come out all right in the end anyway.” He died and she did [had the work done in the temple], and it was a total and complete waste of time.

There is no such thing as a second chance to gain salvation. This life is the time and the day of our probation. After this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, “then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.” [Alma 34:33] For those who do not have an opportunity to believe and obey the holy word in this life, the first chance to gain salvation will come in the Spirit World. If those who hear the word for the first time in the realms ahead are the kind of people who would have accepted the gospel here, had the opportunity been afforded them, they will accept it there. Salvation for the dead is for those whose first chance to gain salvation is in the Spirit World.

Now, in the new revelation recently added to our canon of holy writ these words come:

“Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God;

“Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;

“For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.” [D&C 137:7–9]

There is no other promise of salvation than the one recited in that revelation. Those who reject the gospel in this life and then receive it in the spirit world go not to the celestial, but to the terrestrial kingdom.

Heresy #5: There are those who say that there is progression from one kingdom to another in the eternal worlds; or if not that, lower kingdoms eventually progress to where higher kingdoms once were.

This is worse than false. (Laughter) It it an evil and pernicious doctrine. It lulls men into a state of carnal security. It causes them to say, “God is so merciful; surely he will save us all eventually; if we do not gain the celestial kingdom now, eventually we will; so why worry?” It lets people live a life of sin here and now with the hope that they will be saved eventually.

The true doctrine is that all men will be resurrected, but they will come forth in the resurrection with different kinds of bodies — some celestial, others terrestrial, others telestial, and some with bodies incapable of withstanding any degree of glory. The body we receive in the resurrection determines the glory we receive in the kingdoms that are prepared.

Of those in the telestial world it is written:

“And they shall be servants of the Most High, but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end.” [D&C 76:112]

Of those who remain unmarried in eternity the revelation says:

“Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven; which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.” [D&C 132:16]

Let me amend that — amend what I said — that is referring to to people who had the opportunity to be married right in this life and who wer not. And of them the revelation continues:

“For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all etemity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.” [D&C 132:17]

They neither progress from one kingdom to another, nor does a lower kingdom ever get where a higher kingdom once was. Whatever eternal progression there is, is in a sphere.

Heresy #6: There are those who believe or say they believe that Adam is our father and our god, that he is the father of our spirits and our bodies, and that he is the one we worship.

The devil keeps this heresy alive as a means of obtaining converts to cultism. It is contrary to the whole plan of salvation set forth in the scriptures. Anyone who has read the Book of Moses, and anyone who has received the temple endowment, and who yet believes the “Adam-God Theory” does not deserve to saved. (Laughter) Those ensnared by it reject the living prophet and close their ears to the apostles of their day. “We will follow those who went before,” they say. And having so determined, they soon are ready to enter polygamous relationships that destroy their souls.

We worship the Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And Adam is their foremost servant, by whom the peopling of our planet commenced.

Heresy #7: There are those who believe we must be perfect to gain salvation.

This is not really a great heresy, only a doctrinal misunderstanding, which I mention here in order to help round out our discussion and to turn our attention from negative to positive things. If we keep two principles in mind we will thereby know that good and faithful members of the Church will be saved even though they are far from perfect in this life. These two principles are:

that this life is the appointed “time for men to prepare to meet God.” This life is the day of our probation. [Alma 34:32); and that same spirit which possesses our bodies at the time we go out of this mortal life shall have power to possess our bodies in that eternal world. [see Alma 34:34] Now, what we’re doing as members of the Church is charting a course leading to eternal life. There was only one perfect being, the Lord Jesus. If men had to be perfect and live all of the law strictly, wholly, and completely, there would be only one saved person in eternity. The Prophet said there are many things to be done, even beyond the grave, in working out our salvation. [see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 348) And so what we do in this life is chart a course leading to eternal life. We determine in our hearts and in our souls, with all the power and ability we have, that from this time forward we will press on in righteousness, so that can go where God and Christ are. And if we’ve made that determination, and we’re in the course of our duty when this life is over, we will continue in that course in eternity, because that same spirit that possesses our bodies at the time we depart this mortal life will have power to possess our bodies in the eternal world. And if we go out of this life loving the Lord, and desiring righteousness, and seeking to acquire the attributes of godliness, we’ll have that same spirit in the eternal world, and we will continue to advance and progress until an ultimate, destined day when we’ll possess, receive, and inherit all things.

Now, I do not say these are the only great heresies that prevail among us. It seems to me that quite likely there are — there are others things also could be added. But my suggestion is that we become students of Holy Writ; that we conform our thinking and our beliefs to what is found in the Standard Works; that we have less concern about the views and opinions that others have expressed; and that we drink direct from the fountain that the Lord has given us, and that we come to an understanding of the points of His doctrine. And if we pursue such a course, we’ll find that it is in a different direction than the one that the world goes in; but we will not be concerned with the intellectual expressions of other people. We’ll soon obtain for ourselves the witness of the Spirit that we’re pursuing the right course and seeking righteousnees, and this will have a cleansing and sanctifying and edifying influence upon us.

Now, just to have things in perspective, let me mention the three greatest heresies that prevail in all Christendom. They do not prevail among us, fortunately.

The greatest truth known to man is that there is a God in heaven who is infinite and eternal; that he is the creator, upholder, and preserver of all things [see Lectures on Faith, lecture 3:19]; that he created us and the sidereal heavens, and ordained and established a plan of salvation whereby we might advance and progress and become like Him.

The great truth pertaining to Him is that He is our Father in heaven; that He “has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” [D&C 130:22]; that He’s a literal person; and that if we believe and obey His laws we can gain the exaltation that He possesses. Now that is the greatest truth and the most glorious concept known to the human mind, and the reverse of it is the greatest heresy in all Christendom. The reverse is that God is a spirit essence, three beings in one, a spirit nothingness that fills the immensity of space. Thee reverse of it is the heresy that is written in the creeds that are had in the churches of the world.

Now, the second greatest truth in all eternity is that which pertains to the divine Sonship of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It’s that He was foreordained in the councils of eternity to come down here and be the Redeemer of men, to come and ransom men from the temporal and spiritual death brought upon them by the fall of Adam. The second greatest truth is that Christ worked out this infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice so that all men are raised in immortality, and those who believe and obey are raised also unto eternal life.

Now, the opposite of that is the second greatest heresy in all Christendom. And the opposite is that men are saved by some kind of lip service, by the grace of God, supposedly, without work and without effort on their part.

Now, the third greatest truth known to mankind — the third greatest truth in eternity — is that the Holy Spirit of God is a revelator and a sanctifier; that He is a personage of spirit; that His assigned ministry and work in the eternal Godhead is to bear record of the Father and of the Son, to reveal them and their truths to men; and that His work is to be a sanctifier — to cleanse and perfect human souls, to burn dross and evil out of human souls as though by fire. We call that the baptism of fire.

Now, the opposite of that is the third greatest heresy in all Christendom, which is that revelation has ceased; that God’s mouth is closed, that the Holy Ghost no longer inspires men; that the gifts of the Spirit were done away with after the death of the ancient apostles, and that we no longer need to follow the course that they charted.

Well, I have named these things; I think you will want to weigh and evaluate. I think you will want to ponder and wonder and search the scriptures. After Jesus had been teaching, as a resurrected person, the Nephites, giving them as much truth as in His wisdom He felt they could absorb at one time — He counseled them to go to their homes, and to ponder in their hearts the things He had said, and to pray to the Father in His name to find out if they were true, and then to come again on the morrow and he would teach them more. [see 3 Ne. 17:3]

Well now, that’s a pattern by which we ought to operate in the Church. We come together in congregations, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, studying the revelations, reading the scriptures, and hearing expressions of doctrine and counsel of the Holy Spirit. These teachings ought to be received by the same power. And if they are, then the speaker and the hearer will be mutually edified, and we’ll have a situation of true and proper worship. And then when the meeting is over, the “amen” should not end it. We should go to our homes and to our families and in our circles, and we should search out the revelations and find out what the Lord has said on the subjects involved. And we should seek to get in tune with the Holy Spirit and gain a witness, not alone of the truth and divinity of the work in which we are engaged, but of the doctrines that are taught by those who preach to us.

We come into these congregations, and sometimes a speaker brings a jug of “living water” that has in it many gallons. And he pours it out on the congregation. And all that the members have brought was a single cup; and that’s all they took away. Or maybe they had their hand over the cup and they didn’t get anything to speak of. On Now, in other instances we have meetings where the speaker comes and all he brings is a little cup of eternal truth, and the members of the congregation come with a large jug, and all they get in their jug is a little dribble that came from a man who should have known better and who should have prepared himself and taught from the revelations and spoken by the power of the Holy Spirit. We’re obligated in the Church to speak by the power of the Spirit. We’re commanded to “treasure up” the words of light and truth [see D&C 84:85], and then give forth the portion that is appropriate and needful on every occasion.

Now, I have deliberately read portions of my talk tonight because I wanted the words to be the way you heard them — so that I would be on record on the matters that are involved, and so that, as far as I am concerned, the word would have been said in the plainness that I have given it. And those who hear would then be accountable themselves for their reaction to it.

I do not think that heresies as we have named are common in the Church. I think that the great generality of the members of the Church believe and understand the doctrines and seek to apply the principles to their lives. Unfortunately, there are a few people who agitate and stir these matters up, who have some personal ax to grind or desire to spread philosophies of their own that, as near as the judges in Israel can discern, are not in harmony with the mind and will and purposes of the Lord. It is incumbent upon us to believe the truth. We have the obligation to find out what is true, and then we have the obligation to walk in the light and to apply the truths that we have learned to ourselves and to influence others to do likewise.

Now, the glorious and wondrous thing about this whole system of revealed religion that the Lord, our God, has given us is the fact that it’s true. There isn’t a grander, a more glorious, a more wondrous concept than the simple one that the work in which we are engaged is true. And because it is true it will triumph and prevail, and the knowledge of God and His truths will roll forth until they cover the whole earth “as the waters cover the sea.” [Isaiah 11:9]

We do not expect to have a perfect society among us until the millennial day dawns. But that is not far distant. And when that day comes, we will all, as the scriptures say, “see eye to eye” and speak with “one voice,” and the Lord himself will dwell among us. [D&C 84:98] He could not dwell among us now because we are divided and we’re not living in that perfect harmony and unity and with that devotion that prevailed among the Saints in the days of the city of Enoch.

God grant that we may be wise in what we do, that we may seek truth, that we may live truth, that we may bear testimony of the truth, and that we may, as a consequence, have joy and peace and happiness that comes to people who so do — have it here and now, and thus be inheritors in due course — and eventually of eternal reward in our Father’s kingdom. This is my prayer for myself and for all of you, and for all of the members of the Church, and for honest truthseekers everywhere, and I offer it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.