In his opening remarks for the October 1971 conference, President Joseph Fielding Smith struck a powerful and reassuring note that is even more relevant today.
“We the Latter-day Saints are a blessed and favored people. It is our privilege to become “a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Ex. 19:6.) The Lord has chosen us, as he chose our fathers anciently, “to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” (Deut. 7:6.)
Our position is one of strength because it is founded on eternal truth. We need not fear the fiery darts of the adversary, nor be troubled by world conditions, as long as we walk in that light which a gracious Father has so abundantly shed forth upon us in this final gospel dispensation.”
It can be hard to feel blessed and favored while living in a society that is moving further and further away from Gospel principles.it can be hard to come from a position of strength when we worry about mockery and scorn both inside and outside the church. And it can be hard not to be troubled when we see chaos in the world around us.
But President Smith makes it clear that we have every reason in the world to rest assured and walk in the light with confidence. He highlights just a few of the ways reasons that we should take courage.
First of all, we are a kingdom of priests. It seems to me that we take it for granted sometimes that all worthy men can, from an extremely young age, hold the priesthood of God. Anciently, very few in Israel were able to hold the holy priesthood. It was a sacred birthright and privilege. But today, all males can have that same priesthood authority which the ancient apostles held. Like them we can call upon the powers of heaven in the Name of Christ. How much more powerful could we be, as individuals and as a people, if we remembered and magnified the gift of priesthood? We should be so much more confident when we face trials and temptations. For Satan does not stand a chance against a worthy priesthood holder.
Second, we are a holy nation. I don’t believe that we current even begin to approach the power that Heavenly Father wishes us to have. We live far below our privilege. But fortunately, all of the tools needed to consecrate and sanctify ourselves are accessible. Chief among them are the ordinances of the sacrament and of the temple. Temple worship in particular is another immense blessing that we can take for granted. I’m ancient times, only the high priest could enter into the holiest part of the temple and only once a year. But Christ’s atonement rent the veil of separation that kept us from God’s presence. He has promised us an endowment of power when we regularly worship I’m the temple. And this power should enable us to stand strong and I’m a position of strength.
Finally, we are founded on eternal truth. The gospel doctrines and principles in the Church are true and represent an eternal yardstick by which as can measure the teachings and philosophies of the world. If we hew closely to the inspired teachings of the Brethren, then we can with confidence reject wordlt philosophies that contradict eternal truths. We can have the eternal vision and perspective to reject false deterministic segments which dominate public discourse. And we need not be afraid when we speak in defense of truth, because we can be certain that we are defending true doctrine. The world may reject us, but we can rest assured that our lives and sacrifices are acceptable to God.
As world opinion turns hostile to core eternal truths, it can be discouraging. But the last days offer compensatory blessings which give us the strength to remain steadfast. I love the notion that we should come from a position of strength. As long as we are on the Lord’s side we need not be apologetic or apprehensive about preaching eternal truth.
Other posts covering this session of conference
|Nathaniel Givens||It’s Dangerous to Go Alone|
|G||Working Out Our Collective Salvation|
|J. Max Wilson||LDS Conference October 1971 – What is Failure? Zion’s Camp and Liberty Jail|
|Chastity Wilson||Free Agency and God’s Interference|
|John Hancock||Choose Ye This Day: General Conference or Elvis, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones|
|Ralph Hancock||I Was So Much Older Then, I’m Younger Than That Now|
|Walker Wright||A Little Bit of Heaven on Earth|