Untitled Priesthood Address
President George Albert Smith
President of the Church
(Conference Report, April 1950, pp. 184-188)

I wonder if there is anybody in the audience tonight, other than the man I am going to have stand, who is ninety-four years of age. I do not see very many hands up. I would like to know whether any of you have attended a hundred and thirty-five general conference meetings, and never missed a meeting. All those who have raise their right hand. (No hands were raised).

Brother Walter Cox of Provo is always at meeting, never misses anything, and he is the man I have been talking about and I thought I would like to have you look at him. He appears to be good for another ten or fifteen years.

Work Among Indians

This is a great Church. Today we have had a number of Indians in the congregation and I thought we might be able to locate some of them tonight, but we hope to find them by tomorrow morning. I mention the Indians, because in this particular case, the men I am referring to have been in the Church a long time and they are very faithful. One man came to the Temple within the last two or three days and had his wife sealed to him. This means they are moving our way, in the direction that we are going, and that causes me to call your attention to the fact that the way is opening for the dissemination of the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the Indians.

Dr. John R. Nicholls, who is the Commissioner of Indian Affairs was here some months ago and he seems to be very friendly to our work among the Indians, not more than to any other Church, but some of the other Church organizations have sought to keep us out of the reservations. Within the last year or two we have appointed a committee whose duty it is to find a way of reaching the Indians in the various sections of the country, wherever they may be.

Intermountain Indian School

The Intermountain Indian School is located at what was formerly called the Bushnell Hospital at Brigham City. Dr. George Boyce is the Superintendent there, and he has manifested his kindness in every way. He wants to help the Indians all he can, their children who are there.

I take this occasion to say to our people who live at Brigham City, and I hope you will carry the message on to your wives who are not here, that you are doing a fine piece of work in looking after those Indians that are in the school at Brigham City. They are our Father's children. If they were not Indians a good many people would be concerned about them, but because they are some people are not so concerned. You people who hold the priesthood, not only at Brigham City but in every part of the world, enjoy a blessing from our Heavenly Father that carries with it a responsibility to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all of His children, and that includes the Indians.

Importance of Indians

These Indians in the western world are the descendants of Father Lehi who left Jerusalem, centuries ago at the direction of our Heavenly Father. They are His children, and I hope that there will be no member of the Church, in any department, who will feel that because it is the Indians, they are not important. They are just as important as are the whites. They are entitled to the priesthood if they live to be worthy of it, and our Heavenly Father is anxious that they should have that blessing. I want to emphasize this to all you brethren, tonight.

Of course it is not necessary to say anything to the General Authorities of the Church. They know that a committee has been appointed, that we can no longer neglect our responsibility of carrying the Gospel to the Indians. And I hope that the presidents of stakes and bishops of wards and those who are in the mission field will feel the responsibility that is ours. And if we will do our duty the Lord will bless us for it, while he is blessing his Indian children. That is one of the matters that I had on my mind tonight.

Reference has been made to the development and growth of the Church. This meeting tonight is an evidence of the growth of the interest in the Church, because a good many of you people have come from afar to be here, and we appreciate it.

Friendly Minister

A good many people are friendly with us. I had a visit with a good man not very long ago who is not a member of the Church. In fact, he is a minister. He is just as friendly and nice as can be, in fact, I received a birthday congratulation from him. The last time I saw him he was not very well, and he seemed to be afraid I was going to preach to him. He gave me to understand that he was not able to believe that Joseph Smith could have been a prophet. He was just in the same condition exactly that Nathaniel was in the days of the Savior when Philip said to him: "We have found our Lord."

Nathaniel asked: "Where did he come from?"

"Why, he came from Nazareth.

"And then this good man said: "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?"

And Philip, who was talking to him, said: "Come and see."

And when he went to see he became a devoted follower of the Savior and was the one whom the Savior later referred to as "an Israelite without guile" (John 1:45-47).

So I am not worrying but what our brother, if we can just get him to come and see—and not only him but hundreds of others—will understand as Nathaniel did, eventually, that this is our Father's work that we are identified with.

Statistics

Utah's birth rate was 33.9 per thousand in 1947. It was 31 percent above the national average of 25.8. New Mexico alone, had a higher birth rate than Utah.

Our death rate in Utah was 7.8 percent per thousand in 1947 and was 22 percent below the national average, and was the lowest in the nation.

The ratio of Utah's population attending school in 1940 in the age group of five to twenty-four was sixty-four percent. This is the highest ratio in the nation and is twelve percent above the national average of fifty-seven, according to the statistical abstract.

I thought you would like to know that this Church you belong to is not only better informed about the purpose of life, better informed as to where we came from and where we expect to go than any other organization in the world, but we believe in education and refinement and culture, and we believe that we will be saved no faster than we gain knowledge and apply that knowledge in our lives. We have nothing to apologize for among our brothers and sisters of the various churches.

I congratulate all of us who are here that we can be here in peace and quiet. Can you think of a more delightfully quiet place to be than here, and have the joy and satisfaction and companionship of good men, the very finest men and boys in all the world. And when we go from here I hope we will not forget that it is our privilege to carry the message that has been so beautifully portrayed to us today with regard to our responsibilities, by the brethren, carry the message to those to whom we may minister and with whom we associate.

Duties of Presiding Officers

There is one more thing I would like to emphasize. We have had quite a number of our boys and girls, due partly to the war conditions, that have become careless. In some cases the bishops have kept in touch with them not only in their own wards, but where they have moved away have had others contact them, and see that they did not stray away from the Church and lose their virtue. I thought when I heard of this how beautiful it was. Here was a father of a ward of six or seven hundred people and yet he had time to go outside of his own area to follow this boy or this girl, children of our Heavenly Father, and try to hold them in a path that would entitle them to eternal life in the Celestial kingdom.

Brethren, you men who are presidents of stakes, and bishops of wards and presidents of missions, branch presidents, holding positions of authority, you have tremendous duties, and I want to say to you that they carry with them tremendous responsibility. Let us not neglect our opportunities and our privileges. Let us labor while the day lasts.

We may not all live to be as old as Brother Cox here, ninety-four, ninety-four years of activity, always on hand when there was an opportunity to hear the Gospel preached or partake of it. He is always at the Brigham Young University affairs because there he can meet with members of the Church. Let us each year, as the years continue to come on, lay up our treasure in heaven so that when the time comes for us to go to the other side, our Heavenly Father will be able to welcome us home because we have not neglected our opportunities and because we have been anxious to share his Gospel with his other children.

The Power of Love

There is one other thing that I should like to mention. The increase in the Church for 1949 was 16,261 members. Think of that in one year, and so it goes and goes if we will do our part, as the brethren have called to our attention tonight, if we will be true to one another, be true to our Heavenly Father, and if we will use our authority with kindness and love. We cannot drive these young people, and our neighbors and friends into the kingdom of heaven by scolding them and finding fault with them, but I want to tell you that we can love them into the direction of our Father in heaven, and by and by, perhaps, lead them there too.

That is our privilege. Love is the great power to influence this world, and if we do not find more love in the world soon, if people do not get together better than they are, then, as you have already been told, the predictions that are in the scriptures will be fulfilled.

Ministry of the Savior

Reference has been made to the fact that the Son of our Heavenly Father appeared in Jerusalem and his own race refused him. He was crucified in the home of his friends, so to speak, but he was resurrected. Now a good many people in the world do not know what the resurrection is. Do you teach your children and your associates what it means?

Reference also has been made to the fact that the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith (JS—H 1:17). There are many people who do not believe it, but it is true just the same. And then we have the additional information of the appearance of the Savior after he was crucified when he came to this Western Hemisphere. as he had told them in the East: "Other sheep have I that are not of this fold, and them must I bring that there may be one fold and one shepherd" (John 10:16), and so he came to the Western Hemisphere where the descendants of Father Lehi were, and appeared among them and while they had been told that he would come, and while he came in the clouds of Heaven with power and glory, when he came to them, so that there could be no question, he said: "I am Jesus Christ for whom you have been looking" (3 Ne. 11:1-10).

Meaning of Resurrection

There could be no question about it. His resurrection is plain to the Latter-day Saints who understand the gospel, but there are so many who do not understand what it means. But how beautiful it is to know that in our day, not only the Savior, but our Father in heaven appeared, and other resurrected beings in addition, the Angel Moroni, John the Baptist, Peter, James and John men that have lived upon the earth as we have lived, who have gone on and performed their part and have been resurrected and sent back to earth. That is what the resurrection means, and the purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to prepare every man woman and child for the time when all those who have died will be brought forth from their graves, and when our Heavenly Father will establish his kingdom upon this earth and the righteous will dwell there and Jesus Christ will be our King and our Lawgiver (D&C 45:59).

This is my testimony tonight. I want to thank you all for the delightful privilege I have of being with you. When I go out among the people of the Church, they are always so kind and helpful and I pray that the Lord may bless them and bless you for all these good things, and I do it in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, Amen.