Our Father's Work
President George Albert Smith
President of the Church
(Conference Report October 1949, pp. 4-9)

The use of the radio has made it desirable to make some announcements that we did not need to make when everybody who came into the building could see and hear. Not only is this building now filled to capacity, but there are also thousands of people listening in on the outside. Many are witnessing what you are this morning by television.

A Wonderful Age

We live in a wonderful age. I wonder if we appreciate what it is to live today with all the advantages gained in the nearly six thousand years since our first parents came into the world. Here we are in the tops of these everlasting hills (Gen. 49:26; D&C 133:31), in this building today that was erected when the people were very poor and in distress. The building itself yet unsurpassed in all the world as a house of worship where one's voice may be heard by so many people.

During the last few weeks we have had many visitors here, some of them of national prominence, some of international prominence. They have come into this structure that our forbears prepared; they have looked around; and they have said, "This is unlike anything I have seen."

Some of them have remarked, "There is an influence here that is different." So there should be. This house is the Lord's house. It was dedicated to him by the people after they had struggled to prepare it. It was presented to him after it had been fully paid for, and since that time all people who have come into this house have come here as the guests of our Heavenly Father.

I say all people. Sometimes I have had individuals interrogate me in regard to whether those who are not members of the Church would be permitted to come here. I have been pleased to answer them, "All of our Father's children are welcome in his house."

Today, we are met not just as a matter of curiosity. We have not met just because it is customary. I hope we have come here with the spirit of worship, with a desire that whatever is said here may be inspired by our Heavenly Father.

"Come and See"

Our sisters have sung beautifully for us this morning. The great organ has been their accompaniment. We who have come to worship must now think seriously of the purpose of life because this world is in a pitiable condition. Notwithstanding the fact that our Heavenly Father down through the ages has been counseling and advising his children through men that he raised up for that purpose, prophets of God, yet there has been controversy. Even in the days of the Savior, among his own associates, there was controversy. People have been suspicious of one another. They have not believed what they have heard, and they have not been willing to do as Philip, one of the disciples of the Savior, recommended to Nathanael who was visiting with him. Philip said, "The Lord has come."

And he described him and Nathanael asked, "Where did he come from?"

And Philip answered, "Why, he came from Nazareth." And then the good man said, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip said, "Come and see" (see John 1:43-46).

Nathanael had been taught to believe that no good could come from Nazareth, and yet he was the man whom the Savior later referred to as an Israelite without guile (John 1:47)—a good man, but deceived because of the stories that he had heard.

But when he once learned, when he had accepted the invitation of the disciples to "Come and see," he came to see.

We have had great joy under the influence of His Spirit. We would like everybody to enjoy that blessing, and so when they have asked, "What kind of people are these here?" our answer has been, "Come and see." This morning we are here as children of our Heavenly Father—members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and others, all welcome to his house, all guests of the Lord. And we ought to have a good time.

Just think of our privileges and our blessings. Think down through the ages of the multitudes of wars and destructions that have wiped people out in many parts of the world and entirely obliterated nations, and yet for some reason or another there are many good people who, like Nathanael, cannot believe the truth.

Someone has said of the people of the world that they would rather believe a lie and be damned than accept the truth. That is rather a severe statement, but I think perhaps it will bear acceptance as fact. There is nothing in the world more deleterious or harmful to the human family than hatred, prejudice, suspicion, and the attitude that some people have toward their fellows, of unkindness.

Two Influences

The spirit of the adversary is the spirit of destruction. There are two influences in the world. The one is the influence of our Heavenly Father and the other is the influence of Satan. We can take our choice which territory we want to live in, that of our Heavenly Father or that of Satan.

I have many times repeated what my grandfather said. He, too, talked from this stand, and it was he who gave me his name. In advising his family he said, "There is a line of demarcation, well defined. On one side of the line is the Lord's territory. On the other side of the line is the devil's territory." And he said, "If you will stay on the Lord's side (Ex. 32:26) of the line, you are perfectly safe, because the adversary of all righteousness cannot cross that line."

What does that mean? It means to me that those who are living righteous lives, keeping all of the commandments of our Heavenly Father are perfectly safe, but not those who trifle with his advice and counsel.

Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are just as necessary for us to observe today as they were by Israel when they were given to Moses in the wilderness (Ex. 20:3-17). If the people of this world were keeping the Ten Commandments, honoring them, there would be no war. There would be no sorrows and distresses such as afflict mankind, but because there are so many who cannot put themselves in a frame of mind to live righteous lives, they are in confusion and they are in distress.

This building, as I say, was dedicated to the Lord. Some people have criticized in their minds that it has been open to other faiths, to other churches, to people with other beliefs who had a message, as they felt, for us. I am sure that if you had lived in the days of Jesus of Nazareth and followed him, as many people did, through the fields and through the country, you would have found many of them, a majority of them, were not believers in his mission until they were touched by his spirit, and then they became disciples.

They were welcome, and so I say all our Father's children are welcome here, and we hope that when they come they will do so with a receptive mind, and with a prayer in their hearts such as was offered this morning by our brother from Canada. [President Octave W. Ursenbach of Lethbridge Stake.]

A Sick World

We are living in a sick world, in a time when, as we read in the scriptures, the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid (Isa. 29:14). That is the condition of the world today. The leaders of the nations—many of them—desire to do the thing that will benefit their nation or the group they belong to, but selfishness in many cases characterizes their conduct, and the result is that instead of peace we have sorrow and distress.

There is only one way. We can legislate until doomsday but that will not make men righteous. It will be necessary for people who are in the dark to repent of their sins, correct their lives, and live in such a righteous way that they can enjoy the spirit of our Heavenly Father.

Think of the beautiful prayer that was offered by Jesus of Nazareth, who gave his life for us, who represented a great race of people who were despised by other races, and who came into the world to bring a blessing. When he was asked, "Teach us to pray," what a beautiful simple prayer he gave (Matt. 6:9-13). Anybody could repeat it, and if they repeat it with their hearts in tune with the Spirit of the Lord, they can feel the influence that comes from it.

It was not very long after that until he was cruelly murdered, as have been the prophets of God almost from the beginning. The fact remains that all this time our Heavenly Father has had upon the earth men and women who are righteous, who are seeking to do his will and keep his commandments.

Gospel Message

Many of you here today are either from foreign lands or the descendants of those who came from foreign lands. Many of you or your forebears have heard the gospel as it has been taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a little over a hundred years. Sometimes you have heard it on the street where there was a humble missionary, teaching what the Lord had called him to teach.

There was something that touched the hearts of those who heard. I have had experiences in the mission field. I have seen groups of people stand and listen to a humble missionary explain the purpose of life and talk to the people and encourage them to repent of their sins, and I have sometimes heard people say, "I have never before felt an influence like I feel while I hear that man talk."

I take this occasion to express my appreciation for the opportunity of being here, for the privilege of associating with such men and women as are present this morning. I am grateful for the privilege that came to me of being reared in this part of the world under a government that God himself said was prepared by men that he raised up for that very purpose. I refer to the Constitution of the United States (D&C 101:80).

I am grateful for my blessings—all of them—and thank you, my brethren and sisters, who from day to day and from year to year as I have gone through life, have encouraged me to go on and represent, as I might, the desires of our Heavenly Father in my own life, that I might receive many blessings.

There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven from before the foundation of this world upon which every blessing is predicated, and unless we observe that law, we cannot enjoy the blessing (D&C 130:20-21). The Lord has told us that. If people disagree with us, if our Father's other children do not believe the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in this latter day to the Prophet Joseph Smith, that ought not to incur our displeasure. It ought to enlist our sympathy, because if we know, as Philip knew when he testified of the man who came from Nazareth, we could invite our friends to come and see (John 1:46). If we are just as sure as that, we will let our light so shine that others, seeing our good works, will be constrained to glorify our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16).

Acceptance of Truth

I have traveled much in the world, approximately a million miles, advocating the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in this latter day. I have found good people everywhere, wonderful people, kind and friendly, but until they received an understanding of the truth and conformed their lives to the teachings of our Heavenly Father, they were not taking advantage of all their opportunities, and when that time came and they accepted the truth, they added to what they possessed before.

When we go into the world and talk to our Father's other children, we do not ask them to give up any truth that they have. We do not ask them to surrender what they have believed, if it is true.

At the present time we have approximately five thousand missionaries traveling among the nations of the earth who are saying to our Father's other children, "Come and see. Keep all the good that you have. Let us sit down with you and add to what you already possess for your own happiness and for your own good, and without money and without price" (Isa. 51:1)

That is the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I assure you I am grateful for the knowledge that I have that it is the truth. It has given me comfort and satisfaction, and I praise his name who is the Author of our being, that we are permitted to be his guests in his house today.

Blessings of Gospel

This morning there is peace and quiet all around us, and yet in many parts of the world there are distress and anguish, and threat of war—disturbances of all kinds. Many people have come out of the world for the gospel's sake and come to the valleys of these mountains in response to the promise,

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).

I bear witness to you that that has been realized by the faithful men and women who have come into this part of the world for the gospel's sake.

I pray that during this conference we may rejoice together, that we may feel the influence that makes us happy when we possess it. And when the conference meetings have been finished, and we go to our various homes, I pray that we will have felt that we have been fed the bread of life, that we may live as our Heavenly Father has desired us to live, and devote our time as he has expected us to do, and then as real Christians, as real sons and daughters of the Living God, let us reach out and try to touch those who have not yet received the blessings that we have received, and offer them an opportunity to enjoy what we appreciate.

Testimony

This is the work of the Lord. This is the Church of Jesus Christ, which name was given to it by our Heavenly Father. I do not say that boastfully. I hope no one here this morning will feel that I am arrogant because of my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have no such feeling, but I have a feeling of humility, of gratitude, of thanksgiving for the companionship of such men and women as are here, and men and women in the world whom I have traveled with and associated with during these many years, many of whom have not been able to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope for their sakes and for the sake of those they love that they will eventually receive that blessing, and it will have to come, if it ever does, from the Author of our being through the inspiration of his Spirit.

Again I say, this is our Father's work. This is the Church of the Lamb of God (1 Ne. 14:10,12). We who know that have a responsibility that no other people in the world have, and if we will be righteous in our lives, having our own homes and our own lives in order, the spirit of our Heavenly Father will be with us always. People will rejoice in our companionship, and when we go to the other side, we will find our names enrolled in the Lamb's Book of Life (Rev. 21:27; D&C 132:19), and that will entitle us to an eternal inheritance in the celestial kingdom, and this earth will be that kingdom. I bear you witness of it in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.