Liberty Under the Constitution
President George Albert Smith
President of the Church
(Conference Report, October 1950, pp. 4-9)

This is a beautiful picture this morning, to see the Lord's house filled with his children who have come here to worship. Since our last conference many things have occurred. While our Singing Mothers were singing, I thought of one of our brothers who went to the South Seas with me about thirteen years ago. When we arrived at British Samoa, the people were having a holiday. We had been persuaded to stay aboard the boat at night because it could not go around the reef, and we could not land in small boats in the dark. We were told that the people wanted to give us a welcome, so there was nothing else for us to do. We could not wade it, so we had to wait until they took us in.

Welcome in Apia

The boat anchored, and the next morning out came a war canoe all decorated and rowed by great husky men, one oar to a man, and there were fifteen oarsmen including the captain. They had persuaded us to wait because they said they wanted to give us a royal welcome, and when we arrived, it was a real welcome. Everybody was out, apparently. People were all along the shore. Among them was a group of women, more than a hundred, all dressed in light colored dresses of tapa cloth made from the bark of the mulberry tree. They had made them themselves for that occasion.

When I saw this group of Singing Mothers all dressed alike this morning, my mind went back to Apia and Brother Rufus K. Hardy who was with me on that trip. He has been gone a long time.

Those Singing Mothers sang beautifully at our meetings and at such celebrations as they had, as our sisters have sung this morning. And since that time I have heard the Singing Mothers in many places, but I think I have never been more impressed with them than I was there in the islands.

Brethren Who Have Gone

Our first meeting was in the open air, and there were between two and three thousand people whom the Singing Mothers entertained. But the thought that came into my mind is that Brother Hardy is gone. He has finished his work. Since our last conference President George F. Richards of the Council of the Twelve has finished his mission and has gone to find his reward. I miss these brethren.

I am glad that Brother Thomas E. McKay is here this morning. He has had a long siege of illness. I am sure that Brother Stephen L Richards and those with him are having a real experience. In all probability they are in the vicinity of Jerusalem today.

Joy of Conference Meetings

It is a joy to come to one of these conference meetings and meet people not only from all sections of the United States, but also from other parts of the world. It is one of the greatest gatherings of religious people that meet anywhere in the world, and you will find no other such place in all the world dedicated to the Lord for worship.

I would like us all to remember that this is the Lord's house. You will find no other place in all the world dedicated to the Lord that gathers together a congregation such as is here this morning, many of whom have come thousands of miles, not to see and be seen, but to wait upon the Lord. And he has promised us that if even two or three shall meet together in his name (Matt. 18:20), he will be there to bless them.

This morning, that we may claim our blessings, there are approximately ten thousand here in the Tabernacle and in the Assembly Hall—all at worship. There are thousands more enjoying the conference by means of radio and television. We are here in the name of the Redeemer of mankind, and I am sure when we go from this conference back to our homes, we will have an intense desire to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the only gospel that is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16) in the celestial kingdom.

Observance of Commandments

This morning, brethren and sisters, I congratulate you: Not that you are here, but that you are here to worship. What a privilege it is to worship the Lord and to do it in the way he has indicated. There are some people who are members of the Church—their names are on the record, and they have an idea that that is all that is necessary—but the time will come when they will have to face their record, and their admission into the celestial kingdom will be conditioned upon the way they have observed the advice of our Heavenly Father right here upon earth. How grateful we ought to be, not to be uncertain as to where we are going.

I had a man say to me one day after I had taught the gospel to him for an hour or so on a train, "I'd give a lot to have the assurance that you have." And I replied: ''You do not have to give anything to have the assurance that I have except to keep the commandments of the Lord. If you do that, you will know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is on earth. You will know that the authority of the priesthood is on earth." How beautiful it is to realize that men who are worthy may receive that priesthood, and in the authority that is given them, do so many thinks that are a blessing to our Father's other children.

Faith Grows With Righteousness

Within the week, I listened to one of the brethren who has just returned from the mission field. He has been out nearly five years, and he told of some of the experiences in the weld. He told of people that had illness and the doctors did everything they could for them, but they could not heal them. But the humble missionaries, the humble men who held the priesthood, placed their hands upon the heads of those who were afflicted and rebuked their ailments, and they were healed.

That would not occur without faith, and our faith is conditioned upon our righteous lives. We cannot live improperly and have faith as we should, but if we keep the commandments of the Lord, we can have faith, and it will grow and increase as our righteousness increases.

Political Campaign

I am happy to be here with you, my brothers and sisters, in the Lord's house to wait upon him. We are right now in the midst of a political campaign here in America. It ought to be a source of education to the people. It ought to inspire men and women to choose for their officers in the various sections of the country, particularly in the nation, men and women who believe in God. That is their privilege, but unfortunately so many times people become allied with a group, and they insist on everybody supporting the individual that they support, and the result is a campaign of bitterness.

Brethren and sisters, you have your agency; you do not have to be angry with your brother and your sister because they do not see as you do. We are not supposed to criticize and find fault with the members of the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, because they cannot understand all of the gospel.

I think it is fine to encourage them to understand all that they have and then add to it. Now if that is true in regard to our religious belief, surely we will not lose our way during a political campaign, and cultivate anger and displeasure and hatred for those who do not believe as we do.

Constitution of the United States

And that brings me to something that is frequently on my mind. No nation in the world has a constitution that was given to it by our Heavenly Father except the United States of America. I wonder if we appreciate that. The Lord gave us a rule of life for this great nation, and as far as we have lived up to it and taken advantage of it, the nation has grown, and the people have been blessed. But there are many people who prefer, or at least they seem to prefer, something else.

As one man said to me, "Why not try what Russia has tried and Germany has tried?" And my answer to him was, "Why try something that has already failed? Why not hold on to what the Lord has given?" The Constitution of the United States was written, it is true, by men, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and others who were their associates, but we have in this book that I have in my hand, the book of Doctrine and Covenants, a revelation in which the Lord tells us that the Constitution of the United States was prepared by men raised up by him for this very purpose (D&C 101:80).

As Latter-day Saints we ought to know that there is nothing better anywhere else. And so we should cleave to the Constitution of the United States and in doing so, earn the blessings of our Heavenly Father.

Observance of Ten Commandments

It was a long time ago that the Lord gave to Moses the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17). If the people of the world had observed the Ten Commandments from that time until now, we would have a different world. There would be millions of people who would live longer than they have lived and be happier. The Ten Commandments are in force today, and if we are good Latter-day Saints and are observing what the Lord has advised, among other things, we will honor the Sabbath day (Ex. 20:8) and not make it a day of pleasure. The Constitution guarantees us liberty that no other nation enjoys. Most of the nations are losing the liberties they have had because they have not kept the commandments of the Lord.

Most of the difficulty is the bid that is made by the leadership of nations to people that if they will follow the plan that the leaders map out, they will be fed and clothed without having to work so hard for it, but it does not work. People are being misled with the idea that they can get something for nothing and are not encouraged to work for what they need and desire.

Brothers and sisters, you are approaching a political campaign. Go to the Lord in prayer. Seek his guidance. We do not want to turn this nation over to the folly of the teachings of other nations that have failed. What we should do is to cling to what we have, and it is wonderful what the Lord has given to us in this nation.

Now it does not make any difference to me what a man's politics is; as long as he observes the advice of our Heavenly Father, he will be a safe companion and associate. We should not lose our tempers and abuse one another. I want to say that nobody ever abused anybody else when he had the spirit of the Lord. It is always when we have some other spirit.

Seek the Lord

Seek the Lord, brothers and sisters. We do not have to live as they are living in many other parts of the world. We can continue to live under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord and worship. One of the most populous nations in all the world restricts the people in their worship. They cannot worship as we do here, and yet there are many people in our land who would like to try what they are doing over there because they want something different.

I hold in my hand a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants, and in it the Lord tells us another thing, to pray for and sustain the Constitution of the land (D&C 101:77-80) and those who represent us in its offices. So, pray for the President of the United States, pray for those who have been elected to Congress, pray for your governor and the members of your legislature. If they have the Spirit of the Lord, they cannot go wrong; but without it they can go a long way on the bypath.

Hawaiian Centennial

Here we are this morning, on a beautiful day. No people could be more comfortable in worship than we are this morning. I am so grateful that I am able to be present. Recently I, with a group of my brothers and sisters, went to Hawaii to celebrate the centennial of preaching the gospel in the Hawaiian Islands. Some of our party expected to find most of the people Hawaiian. But it was found there were Hawaiians, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Samoans, and several other nations I might name, all living there at peace. When our meeting was held in a large building, all of those races were there as members of the Church.

Gospel for All People

The gospel of Jesus Christ is not just for us. It is for the people of the world, all our Father's children, and at the present time we have over 5800 missionaries out in the world, from this little Church. What for? To go to all these people and say, "Keep all the good things that you have, keep all that God has given you that enriches your life, and then let us share something with you that will add to your happiness and increase your satisfaction." That is the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our happiness is conditioned upon our loving our fellow men (Matt. 22:39), all of whom are children of our Heavenly Father.

Right here on this block is one of the greatest missionary fields in the world. I see a man sitting down here in the audience who spends much of his time with the people on this block. He is a wonderful missionary and just as happy as he can be when he is talking about it. When we are doing missionary work to bless the people, we are doing it under the influence of the Lord, and we are sure to be happy.

Spirit of Prayer and Gratitude

We welcome you all here this morning. Let us all come into this house, into the houses that may be necessary to be used for the conference, with a spirit of prayer, the spirit of gratitude. Let us appeal to the Lord to bless us, and then those who address us will be inspired. I pray that we may all live in such a way that our Heavenly Father can have us in his keeping, that we may have joy and satisfaction, and we will have if we have this Spirit.

I pray that his peace may be with us during the continuance of this meeting and the other meetings of the conference, that we may meet with a feeling of gratitude for all our blessings. And when the conference is concluded, and we return to our homes, may we do so with the appreciation of the fact that we did wait upon the Lord and that he fulfilled his promise and was with us to bless us. I pray that we may be filled with that spirit that comes from him, and that is a spirit of love, of kindness and helpfulness and of patience and forbearance (D&C 121:41). Then, if we keep that spirit with us in our homes, our boys and girls will grow up to be what we would like them to be.

That the Lord may add his blessing, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.