Concluding Address
President George Albert Smith
President of the Church
(Conference Report, April 1949, pp. 165-171)

This is a solemn occasion. We are met in the concluding session of a great conference. Representatives are here from many parts of the world. We have been privileged to listen to the counsel and admonition and encouragement of those who have been called to direct in Israel.

I am sure everyone who has attended these sessions has been edified, and our minds have been directed to him who is the Author of our being. I have rejoiced in the delightful music we have had, and take this occasion to thank this splendid chorus that comes from, what to me, is the greatest university in all the world. [Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.] I know you will pardon me for referring to it that way, because it was where I went to school. I hope these young people, members of the chorus from Brigham Young University, have rejoiced in meeting with us as much as we have in listening to them.

Perilous Times

We are living in perilous times. We are approaching the evening of the sixth day. All the world is in confusion, and unfortunately, as has been the case before, the majority of the men and women who live upon the earth are in darkness, because they do not have the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of light.

I trust that the few moments I occupy I may have the benefit of your faith and prayers, that I may be led to say that which will be a source of encouragement and blessing to us all.

We live in a wonderful land, choice above all other lands (1 Ne. 2:20), blessed as no other nation is blessed, and yet we are in danger. Our Heavenly Father has told us that there is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven from before the foundation of this world upon which every blessing is predicated (D&C 130:20-21). If we observe the law, we will obtain the blessing. If we fail to observe the law, we have no promise.

Loss of Blessings

As my mind goes back to the beginning as recorded in Genesis, and follows down through the centuries that have since elapsed, I realize that many people have lost the truth and turned to falsehood, thereby losing their blessings.

The Lord has been mindful of his children all the time. He has never punished them, but he has taught them so that they might not be punished by their own conduct. Those who would not listen to God's representatives were destroyed. On one occasion the whole population of the world was wiped out with the exception of a few who listened to Noah (1 Pet. 3:20), a servant of God, who for more than a hundred years had called the people to repentance. Only those who were in the ark were preserved.

Sodom and Gomorrah

We have the instance of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18:23-33). Abraham learned that the cities of the plains were to be destroyed because of the wickedness of the people. He pleaded for those who were righteous, saying to the Lord, "Surely, you are not going to destroy all of them. There must be some people who are worthy to live." The reply to him was, "If there are fifty righteous people in those cities, they will all be preserved from destruction."

Then Abraham asked, "Well, what if there are forty?" "Yes, if there are forty," was the answer. "Then if thirty?" "Yes, if thirty." "If twenty? If ten?" "Yes," ten would be sufficient to hold off the destruction of the cities, but there were not ten people in those two great cities who were worthy to live. Lot and the members of his own family fled, then the whole community was consumed by fire.

Prophets of the Old Testament warned the various communities from time to time. They were fully warned before destruction came, but notwithstanding that warning, Jerusalem, one of the great cities of the world, was repeatedly destroyed. Babylon, the greatest of all nations at one time, had been warned of its wickedness, but the people would not do what the Lord wanted them to, and they were destroyed.

Sons of Helaman

In our own country when the Nephites and the Lamanites were warring among themselves, they were given certain promises if they would keep the commandments of God, told that if they did not, destruction would follow. Then we have that marvelous record of 2,060 Lamanite boys—just boys—who joined the army of the Nephites in order to help preserve themselves and their families, and who faced certain death—from any natural standpoint—because they were opposing skilled warriors. But they had been taught by their mothers that God would protect them if they would do their duty.

These 2,060 boys, part of the army of the Nephites, went into battle repeatedly. The last struggle was so terrible that we are told all were wounded; two hundred of them fainted from the loss of blood. When Helaman, their commander, saw their enemies driven away, anxious for his young charges (he called them striplings) he went through the battlefield and gathered the living. He found the 2,060 alive, although many had fainted from the loss of blood.

Helaman, who was amazed at their miraculous preservation, questioned them. Their response was one of the greatest compliments to motherhood to be found anywhere: "We knew our mothers knew" (Alma 56:47-48; Alma 57:25-27).

They believed what their mothers taught them. They had faith in God. They were preserved, and they helped save their homes and families from destruction.

Preparation for Restoration

During the great struggle for independence in the country under the leadership of George Washington, our Heavenly Father was preparing the way for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity.

He gave to certain individuals the inspiration to frame the Constitution of the United States (D&C 101:80) that has been referred to in this conference, the greatest palladium of human rights that we know anything about. Under such a Constitution the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth one hundred nineteen years ago.

These facts are part of the history of the world, including many more that time will not permit mentioning.

The hand of our Heavenly Father has always been extended in love to his children through his prophets who pleaded with them to repent of their wrongdoing and keep his commandments. When they did, they were blessed, and when they failed, they lost their blessings.

The Standard Works

We have here on this stand the Holy Bible containing the Old and New Testament, as well as the Book of Mormon which is the history of the ancestry of the American Indian. We also have the D&C, containing the revelations of God to the Prophet Joseph Smith, all available to the children of God. We have also the Pearl of Great Price containing other scripture.

We look upon these four volumes as the teachings of our Heavenly Father, and accept them. There is no teaching in them that any individual in the world belonging to any church or no church can find fault with. In every case the admonition is to make men and women better wherever they may be.

These scriptures are available to all. You have been told that there are thousands of your sons and daughters in the world now, seeking to share with our Father's other children the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ before it is too late. We are coming dangerously near to a time when our Heavenly Father will withdraw his spirit from the world because the people of the world will not accept it.

We have been told today that there are now a million and forty thousand members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I say to you, not boastfully, but seeking to explain the truth, that this Church has received in this latter-day a new witness: God the Father and the Son did appear in the woods of Palmyra. A boy received a witness that enabled him to endure all kinds of persecution, and finally, as he was taken by his enemies, he said:

I am going like a lamb to the slaughter . . .I have a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward all men. . . and it shall yet be said of me—"he was murdered in cold blood" (D&C 135:4; see also DHC, 6:554-555).

Progress Under Constitution

Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and his brother Hyrum (the great-great-grandfather of the man who sits at my left here on the stand and grandfather of the man who sits behind me in this congregation) died as martyrs at the hands of a wicked mob. They were sacrificed not for any wrong they had done but because they had sought to teach the truth and call the people of the world to repent before it was too late. The work has gone on and under the Constitution of the United States we have been permitted to carry on in this great land. We have been permitted to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our missionaries of course have gone all over the world, but I am speaking now of the United States of America. However, there are many people, many men and women in this land, some of whom may be friends or relatives who are misguided by the idea that the Constitution of the United States isn't as fine a system of government as they have in Russia or Germany or Italy or some other part of the world, notwithstanding the fact that the Lord himself said that he raised up the very men who framed the Constitution of the United States (D&C 101:80) and directed that the membership of this Church should pray for and sustain those who represented the Constitution of this land. I hold in my hand the Bible and can read the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:3-17) that were given to Moses for the guidance of the people wherein the Lord told Moses what the people should live for and do. If those Ten Commandments had been lived up to by the people of the world down to the present time, this earth could long ago have been celestialized. But the people refused.

Obedience to Commandments

You know, and I know, that the Ten Commandments contain the will of our Heavenly Father, and I am grateful, not only for the civil laws but also for the laws God has given to us. I feel bound to conform my life to the teachings of the Ten Commandments. I feel equally bound to sustain the Constitution of the United States which came from the same source as the Ten Commandments. Unless the people of this great nation can realize these things and repent, they may forfeit the liberty that they now enjoy, and the blessings that are so multiplied among us. I do hope and pray that they will discover before it is too late that God has spoken again. Your responsibility and mine is to let our light so shine that others seeing our good works will be constrained to glorify him who is the Author of our being (Matt. 5:16).

These books contain the advice of the Father of us all, the Father of the Jews, the Gentiles, the Christians, the pagans. God is the father of our spirits, and down through the ages he has tried to encourage people to do the thing that would bring them happiness rather than unhappiness. Yet today we find this world in such a condition that there is uncertainty upon every hand. It is our duty not only to obey the commandments of our Heavenly Father but also to pray for those who represent the constitutional law of our land. It is our duty to pray for those who hold high positions in the states, and in the nation. Why? Because if they can be influenced by the Spirit of the Lord, and there have been many cases where they have been, the people will receive the blessing they need.

Blessings of Conference

Brothers and sisters, we are coming to the time when we will return to our homes, and I ask you: Where in all the world could we have spent the last five days under sweeter influences than we have enjoyed here in this great Tabernacle? We have been blessed beyond our ability to appreciate our blessings, I think. And now as we go to our homes, will we take to them the influence that we have found here—the blessing that we enjoy here—will it be carried out to encourage those who are not doing what they should? If we do, then this conference will have been to us an added blessing, because inasmuch as we endeavor to bless the children of our Heavenly Father, we receive a blessing ourselves. In other words, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren," the Master said, "ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:40). We are living in perilous times. Brethren and sisters, set your houses in order. Gather your families around you, have your prayers, ask the blessing upon your food, give of your substance to those who are in need.

When I heard the reading of that marvelous record of the funds that have been utilized by this little Church and think of what has been given, and the millions that have been expended by this group of people, I marveled, and I stand here to say that not one of you who has contributed will be one dollar poorer than you were before.

Brigham Young University

We have this great chorus here today representing Brigham Young University. There isn't any good that could come to that school that would not please me. The leaders of that school are struggling, working, planning, but I am afraid there is a limit to what may be accomplished in a financial way in the immediate future. There are wealthy people among us. There are those who are well-to-do who may feel disposed and happy to help this institution grow. I want to say that it is one of the finest places for our young people to go to school that can be found anywhere. I hope that these young people here will feel a blessing; I hope they will go back to the school and take with them the spirit that is enjoyed here, grateful for the blessings of our Heavenly Father. They are always close to those who honor him and keep his commandments. And I now advise these young men, protect the virtue of these girls as you would protect your lives, and to these young women, I say, protect the virtue of these boys as you would protect your lives. You are all the children of God, and he loves you, but the adversary will do everything he can to tear down and destroy your opportunities for happiness. That same admonition in regard to these students of the university I give to all the sons and daughters in the Church wherever they may be, and if we will honor God and keep his commandments and live as we should, no matter where the storms may strike, the winds may blow, and the lightnings may flash, we will be as the children of God always have been when they have kept his commandments: we will be under the protecting hand of him who is all-powerful.

We will continue to go forward and grow and develop in life, and in the end we shall find a reward as inheritors in the celestial kingdom of our God right here upon this earth and enjoy the companionship of those we love forever.

Our Father's Work

May the Lord bless you, my brethren and sisters, for your faithfulness. And I bless you as he gives me power to do so, that you may continue not only to do as well as you have done in the past but that you may also strive harder than ever to save the world by teaching the people in it who are worthy to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, until it shall have been proclaimed to all, and the opportunity be given to them to understand the truth, because this is our Father's work. This is not the Church of any man. It is the Church of Jesus Christ, and the only Church of Jesus Christ that is on the earth which is entitled to that name by his appointment. Do you appreciate it?

Men, do you appreciate your wives? Wives, do you love and appreciate your husbands? Parents, do you appreciate your children? Children, do you love and appreciate your parents? If we do, then we will love one another, and there will be peace and happiness in our lives and in our communities, and our homes will be the abiding place of the Spirit of God.

I pray that this may be the case and that we may now go from here renewed in our determination to support the Constitution of the United States of America, to maintain the standards of the Ten Commandments, and to observe the advice and counsel of our Heavenly Father, as given by his servants from time to time. When the time comes that this earth shall be cleansed and purified by fire, and the celestial kingdom shall be set up here (D&C 130:7-9), may we find our names recorded in the Lamb's book of life entitling us to a place in that kingdom, that there will not be one missing but that every one of us and those we love may be there. This I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.