Value of Testimony
President George Albert Smith
President of the Church
(Conference Report, April 1946, pp. 123-126)

I am sure, my brethren, this has been a joyous experience to all of us, to be here in the house of the Lord and rejoice in his blessings. I want to emphasize what President Clark has said to the effect that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ, that it is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16), that Jesus Christ was our Elder Brother and lived upon the earth and died that we might live again, that he brought about the resurrection and has appeared to the children of men since that time. I marvel how some of our people can lose their faith and go off on a sidetrack when the evidences are as great as they are as to the truth of the gospel.

Divinity of the Church

Among the strongest evidences of the divinity of the work in which we are engaged, and of the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith are the facts that the Church exists today, more powerful than it ever was, and that the predictions that were made by Joseph Smith as a prophet have been fulfilled and are still in course of fulfilment. There are no people in the world anywhere, who enjoy the blessings that we enjoy, physically and spiritually. The majority of people do not know God; they do not understand the purpose of life. They have been sidetracked by some of the men whose philosophies have taken the place of the truth. That is the reason that the world is in the condition that it is.

The Value of a Testimony

I am grateful to be here. To look into your faces is a testimony to me of the divinity of this work. Go where you will, you will find no other group assembled, each of whom has faith in God; and if we were to ask all of you how many have a testimony, not a belief because somebody else has said so, but how many of you have an assurance that this is God's work, that Jesus is the Christ, that we are living eternal lives, that Joseph Smith as a prophet of the Living God, you would answer that you have this testimony that buoys you up and strengthens you and gives you satisfaction as you go forward in the world. And just to test my belief in regard to that, all of you who have this testimony, raise your right hands. Thank you. It is evident by this show of hands that most of you who are here tonight, have received a testimony and know that the truth is upon the earth. Of course the adversary will try to blind the human family. He will try to lead them into by-and forbidden paths; that is his business. However, if we will live the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, if we will observe the advice and counsel of the prophets of God, if we will carry out the program that the Lord has given to the Church with which we are identified, we will lead all the world in knowledge and intelligence and in power, because we may have all that the world has, plus the inspiration of the Almighty.

I know that it will not be very long before my work will be finished, in the natural course of events. I have had many experiences and have traveled in the world and mingled with many wonderful men and women, and I would like to say that I learned when I was a boy that this is the work of the Lord. I learned that there were prophets living upon the earth. I learned that the inspiration of the Almighty would influence those who lived to enjoy it, so we are not dependent upon one or two or a half dozen individuals. There are thousands of members of this Church who know—it is not a question of imagination at all-they know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ and that we are the children of God. He is the Father of our spirits. We have not come from some lower form of life, but God is the Father of our spirits, and we belong to the royal family, because he is our Father.

Aristocracy of Righteousness

We talk about the philosophies of men and hold them up sometimes as a pretty picture, but when they conflict with the teachings of our Heavenly Father as contained in Holy Writ, they are valueless. They will never lead anybody into eternal happiness, nor help him to find a place in the kingdom of our Heavenly Father. We cannot retain that testimony unless we keep the commandments of God. A knowledge of truth will not remain with us unless we live as our Heavenly Father desires and advises us to live.

We sometimes hear people speak of the aristocracies of the world, the royal families of the world. I want to say, the only true aristocracy in the world is the aristocracy of righteousness, and the only families that will persist are those who keep the commandments of our Heavenly Father.

Our Missionary Obligations

So tonight, let me say, brethren, our missionary field is before us. Our Father's sons and daughters need us. We are grateful for the responses being made to the call that has gone out for missionaries. Some are anxious to go, but because they are not physically able or other conditions are unfavorable we cannot accept their offer. There are in this Church thousands of men and women who are capable of teaching the gospel and who can become more capable by doing their duty in the mission field. They will be blessed with means, sufficient to take them to perform the work that the Lord wants us to perform. I would like to say to the men who would retain their means in preference to laying up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:20), their wealth will decay in their hands, and their opportunity to gain eternal life in the celestial kingdom will pass them by.

Preparation for the Celestial Kingdom

This is the Lord's work. It is his Church. It is his way of preparing us for eternal happiness in the celestial kingdom, and surely not any of those who have seen the result of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the world will question its divinity. Judge the tree by its fruits (Matt. 7:16-20), and you will find no other tree in the whole world that compares with the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no other plan in all the world that leads to the celestial kingdom of our Heavenly Father; knowing that, surely we will not be misled by the philosophies and the sophistries of men who pretend to know that which they do not know.

In conclusion, let me say, I am grateful to be here. I want to thank you for your kindness to me, one of the weakest of all our Father's sons. I know my limitations. I don't stand here with the idea that I am more than an ordinary individual, but I thank you for your faith and your prayers for me and for my associates and the brethren who lead this Church. I thank you for the manner in which you stand for that which is righteous and put aside that which is not righteous. I hope that in the near future when another opportunity will be given to the people of this state to manifest their desire to observe the Word of Wisdom and keep the commandments of God, that this group of men here will not be afraid to stand for what our Heavenly Father has advised us to do, regardless of what the habits of the world may be.

Disobedience Destroys Faith

I would like to say that the loss of faith in this Church, in many cases, is traceable directly to a violation of the Sabbath day, failure to observe the Word of Wisdom, the advice of our Heavenly Father, failure to attend to our prayers and to thank him for the blessings we enjoy, refusal to give of our substance to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. All these things that are intended to uplift us, if we observe the teachings of our Heavenly Father, become a pitfall for us if we fail to keep his commandments.

God does live; Jesus is the Christ; Joseph Smith is a prophet of the Living God; and the authority of the priesthood is with this Church today and will continue to administer to those who are willing to be ministered unto under the inspiration of our Heavenly Father. I bear you this testimony tonight, knowing the seriousness, if it were not true, of saying it, and I bear it in love and kindness and gratitude to God, and say that I know these things are true, and I bear you that witness in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.