HAROLD B. LEE
11th President of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (July 7, 1972 – December 26, 1973)

First Counselor in the First Presidency (January 23, 1970 – July 7, 1972)

President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (January 23, 1970 – July 7, 1972)

Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (April 10, 1941 – January 23, 1970)

General Conference Addresses

  • April 1972 General Conference
    • A Time of Decision
      • “One of the ambitious sons of God’s spiritual creations in the premortal world promised salvation for all mankind without effort on their part, provided he would be given almighty power, even to the dethroning of God himself, whose divine right it is to reign over the earth. Intense bitterness ensued between that son, who became Satan, and those who followed after him, and the beloved Son of God and those who followed after him, whose plan of salvation, by contrast, would give to every soul the right of choice, and the glory be to the Father.”
      • “Today we are constantly hearing from the unenlightened and misguided, who demand what they call free agency, by which they apparently mean, as evidenced by their conduct, that they have their agency to do as they please or to exercise their own self-will to determine what is law and order, what is right and wrong, or what is honor and virtue.”
      • “These are frightening expressions when you reflect upon what I have just quoted from the revealed word of God. A moment’s reflection will help you to see that when one sets himself up to make his own rules and presumes to know no law but his own, he is but echoing the plan of Satan, who sought to ascend to God’s throne, as it were, in being the judge of all that rules mankind and the world. There has ever been, and ever will be, a conflict between the forces of truth and error; between the forces of righteousness and the forces of evil; between the dominion of Satan and the dominion under the banner of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.”
      • “So, likewise, it is inspired wisdom that our efforts must be spent in teaching truth by the power of Almighty God, and thus we can forge the most powerful of all weapons against the vicious doctrines of Satan.”
      • “If we overemphasize the philosophies of the enemies of righteousness instead of teaching forcefully the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, such overemphasis can only serve to stir up controversy and strife and thus defeat the very purpose of our missionary work in all the nations of the world.”
      • “Wherever you are, wherever you live, pray for the leaders of your country, for remember that they too hold in their hands all that you hold dear.”
  • April 1956 General Conference
    • “After All We Can Do”
      • “Years of experience since that time and interviews with those who have unfortunately taken that short, broad highway, have convinced me that because of their suffering, those who have or are living lives of unrepented sinning would have given all that they possessed if someone could have warned them and could have told them of the awfulness of the sins from which they now suffer.”
      • “We see some of the signs which like the signs to the state penitentiary we know lead us downward. Some are called taverns; some are called lounges; and some are called roadhouses. They have bright, neon-lighted signs outside with catch-phrase names. They are dimly lighted inside; they have sensuous music. These are the unmistakable trademarks of the hell holes of Satan.”
  • October 1945 General Conference
    • Our Responsibility before God and Men
      • “To true Latter-day Saint girls, far more to be desired than wealth and handsome profile is a young man who is virtuous, who is honest, who has integrity and is true to the teachings of the gospel.”
      • “Clearly it was the intent of our Heavenly Father that this, our day, was to be a day of demonstration of the power and effectiveness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the lives of all who are to be members of his Church. This likewise according to the scriptures, has evidently been his purpose, concerning his chosen people in every dispensation.”
      • “In every dispensation, the Lord has commanded that if members of his Church, having taken upon them his name, should sin grievously and refuse to repent, they should be cut out from among his people, lest they be a stumbling block to the world. To continue all such in membership would be to reflect discredit and dishonor upon the work of our Heavenly Father.”
      • “While it becomes us to seek the good will of righteous men and women everywhere, it is well for us to remember that when the lewd, the immoral, and the corrupt begin to compliment us and to curry favor with us, that we had better begin to examine ourselves to see if we are doing our full duty.”
      • “Our failure to be a “peculiar” people in maintaining our standards, despite the jeers and the criticisms of the crowd, will be our failure to be chosen for that calling to which we are called.”
      • “Let us beware lest we set our hearts upon the things of this world and lest we aspire so much to the honors of men that we compromise our standards.”
  • April 1945 General Conference
    • Challenge to the Priesthood
      • “Now, if you want to help these boys when they come back, may I ask that you do like my little bishop friend who sits here on the front seat who came as a convert from another Church and who is now a bishop in one of our stakes? He says to speakers who come to his meetings, “We want speakers who come to our ward to preach the gospel. We would prefer you not come than to have you come and not preach the gospel to our people.” May I urge that you take a leaf out of his book, and the books of our boys.”
  • October 1944 General Conference
    • On Detecting Truth from Error
      • “Some of those were to be led astray who were to be members of his Church so I am not surprised in this day when with the power of these evil spirits they are finding a following from those who profess membership in the Church.”
      • “In modern revelation the Lord told us more about this when he spoke of the light which was to shine, which was to enlighten our understanding, and was to give light and intelligence to all mankind; it was to be in the light of the sun, the moon and the stars; indeed, we might say this light was to constitute the reason in man and the instinct in animal life.”
      • “These powers are given to us on condition. And the conditions as to the ways by which man might be darkened and be unable to see and perceive by these great God-given powers were well set forth yesterday by Brother Kimball in his very excellent address. We are to understand further that the wicked one would come and that he should take away light and truth from the children of men through disobedience.”
      • “We as individuals must maintain our connection with the source of divine intelligence if we, too, are to maintain and direct the growth of our spiritual lives properly.”
  • April 1944 General Conference
    • The Gospel Plan
      • “Such a one, who believes thus, would have no faith in the teachings of the scriptures or an understanding of their import. To one such the Church of Jesus Christ would be relegated to a mere organization of man, lacking either the reason for or the authority to administer the ordinances of salvation.”
      • “To say that there would be no such a place as the state where one could have rewards or punishments for the things done in the flesh, would be to say that there would be no such a thing as a judgment; and to say that there would be no judgment would be to deny that there was atonement for the sins of mankind or that Jesus Christ was the author of salvation, the plan by which man could be sanctified for that holy state. To say that there was no such a thing as the atonement would be to define sin merely as a philosophical formula. If one were to doubt in a life after death or in a resurrection from the dead, as such a belief would imply, then man would be of all men most miserable, because he lacks faith in that which would follow after her life here upon this earth.”
      • “Without the discipline of the rewards and punishment that are spoken of in the plan of life and salvation, passions and appetites would go on unbridled; vice and crime would go on unchecked and wickedness would stalk our days. If the Church is but man-conceived, then our care of the needy would not be for the spiritual and temporal welfare of those who are to be assisted, but our care would be extended, as is the case with so many public institutions, merely with the political or the social or the economic welfare of the state or of the individuals who administer it as the chief consideration.”
      • “I have a feeling that whenever we have among our leaders those who would say that the care of the needy should be left to public institutions and not to the Church, there we have men who lack the spiritual insight into the spiritual values involved in caring for the unfortunate.”
      • “I remember their testimonies. I remember their doctrinal discourses. I remember how I as a boy, grew upon that kind of spiritual food. I am asking today, are we partaking of a modern trend that makes of our sacrament meetings little else sometimes than a place for political discussions or for concerts? This is a place and a time when we ought to do more to teach the plain simple doctrines of the Gospel than we have ever done before. Our ward teachers should be prepared to go out into the homes of those who have not been privileged to come to sacrament meetings. So in all our activities may we be faithful. May we be as the teachers of Zion.”
  • October 1943 General Conference
    • Wells of Living Water
      • “Great reservoirs of spiritual water, called scriptures, have been provided in this day and have been safeguarded that all might partake and be spiritually fed, and that they thirst not.”
      • “Through these generations the messages from our Father have been safeguarded and carefully protected, and mark you likewise that in this day the scriptures are the purest at their source, just as the waters were purest at the mountain source; the purest word of God, and that least apt to be polluted. is that which comes from the lips of the living prophets who are set up to guide Israel in our own day and time.”
      • “The strength of the Church is not in a large membership, but the real strength of this Church lies in the power and authority of the holy Priesthood which our Heavenly Father has given to us in this day. If we exercise properly that power and magnify our callings in the Priesthood, we Will see to it that the missionary work shall go forward, that the tithing shall be paid, that the Welfare plan prospers, that our homes shall be safe, and that morality among the youth of Israel shall be safeguarded.”
  • April 1943 General Conference
    • Hearing the Voice
      • “When the testimony of the Elders ceases to be given and the Lord says to them, “Come home; I will now preach my own sermons to the nations of the earth.” All you now know can scarcely be called a preface to the sermon that will be preached with fire and sword, tempests, earthquake, hail, rain, thunders and lightnings, and fearful destruction.”
      • “And it is a matter of record that hardly had the last missionary been called home until all hell seemed to break loose in Europe, in veritable fulfillment of the prophecy that had been given. When likewise the missionaries were called from the island missions of the sea, we heard the same clamor, criticizing these brethren because they were doing things that seemed to some members of the Church to be not necessary, and yet we see the great wisdom displayed in what already has been done.”
      • “That also is not without its shadow today and its lesson to Israel. Here sits today on this stand the man as President of this Church who holds in his hand the rod of the Lord; he is sitting upon the mount, and as long as his hands are upheld by obedience to his direction and his counsel, Israel will prevail against her enemies. But whenever we come to a time when we allow his hands to fall, and we as the Priesthood of the living God fail to uphold his hands, just in that day we may expect our enemies to come upon us and to destroy us.”
      • “I know now that the place of safety in this world is not in any given place; it doesn’t make so much difference where we live; but the all-important thing is how we live, and I have found that security can come to Israel only when they keep the commandments, when they live so that they can enjoy the companionship, the direction, the comfort, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit of the Lord, when they are willing to listen to these men whom God has set here to preside as His mouthpieces, and when we obey the counsels of the Church.”
      • “When a decision has been reached by the presiding councils of the Church and a majority in these councils has decided on a certain policy, and then there comes a minority voice contrary to that majority decision one may know with a surety that that minority voice is not speaking the will of the Lord. I tremble when I think of the truth of that statement. I am greatly concerned when I now sit in one of the presiding councils of the Church, and remember that in days gone by there have been those who have fallen by the way because they went out in contradiction of the majority decision of that body. And so that places before you a safe guide. Should there be those, even though in high places, who may come among you not speaking the policy of the Church as declared by these men whom we sustain as the prophets of the living God, the Church may know that those who thus speak are not speaking the mind of the Lord and the voice of the Lord and the power of God unto salvation.”
  • October 1942 General Conference
    • Remaining Steadfast
      • “One who has a testimony of the purpose of life sees the obstacles and trials of life as opportunities for gaining the experience necessary for the work of eternity; he sees death as one of the greatest experiences of life. One of the saddest things I see as I travel throughout the stakes and wards of the Church is occasionally a person who because of a little worldly learning or wealth has come to think he has outgrown the Church and the faith of his fathers. To one who has high spirituality, faith in the gospel and in the doctrines of the Church supersedes scientific theories and the philosophies of men; Priesthood quorum activities supplant service clubs and lodges; and Church social and recreational responsibilities come before fraternities and sororities.”
      • “Security that comes from the brotherhood of a Priesthood quorum with a Church membership and the living of the Church standards is valued above a fancied security that is purchased with wealth or political prestige.”
      • “The spiritually-minded seeks the respect of the high-minded who obey the law, who revere womanhood and virtue and encourage purity of thought and action rather than cater to the applause of the tipsters who secretly despise the man who thinks and acts below the standards he professes.”
      • “When prospering in a material way, those with great spirituality show appreciation to God, to whom they are indebted for all that they have, by a thrifty, frugal husbanding of their substance and by extending generosity to the unfortunate according to the laws of the Church, rather than indulging in a reckless, riotous living as a prodigal in defiance of the laws of both God and man. In adversity he does not despair; When his bank fails he does not commit suicide; he lives above his world, and all that he does is with his eye ever fixed upon the goal of eternity.”
  • April 1942 General Conference
    • Unity for the Welfare of the Church and the Nation
      • “From the beginning of time, as recorded in sacred scripture, the prophets of the Lord have sounded the warning note to the world and to the membership of the Church. There have always been those with apostate leanings who have ridiculed, and have stood on the side-lines and made light of the efforts of those who sought to follow that counsel. It was so in the days of Noah, and that history is repeating itself at the present time.”
      • “The Lord will hold us responsible for the blessings that He has given us, and if the calamities that have been foretold come upon this people, they will come because we have not done our full duty, and we have not made the most of our opportunities, nor have we discharged the responsibilities we bear before our Heavenly Father.”
      • “This is a people whom the Lord has chosen to preach the gospel of righteousness. We talk of security in this day, and yet we fail to understand that here on this Temple Block we have standing the holy temple wherein we may find the symbols by which power might be generated that will save this nation from destruction. Therein may be found the fulness of the blessings of the Priesthood. Yesterday morning, as we assembled and heard the broadcast from that place, broadcasting to the world a message, it to me was significant of the prophecy that from this place “the law shall go forth to the world, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” The spires on the eastern towers of the temple are to represent the presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood; the spires to the west, the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood; the gilded figure of the angel Moroni symbolizes the preaching of the gospel to the world. The gospel must be preached as a witness under the direction of the holy Priesthood: “Fear God and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come.” Therein lies the responsibility of this Church in sanctifying this people and this nation, that they might be spared the judgments that otherwise might come upon them, were it not for the preaching of the humble elders of this Church.”
  • October 1941 General Conference
    • The Lord is Concerned for Our Welfare
      • “The uncertainty of the leadership of men of the world in this day is evidenced by the fact that we have many changing programs that over night, and day by day seem to fluctuate between poles of the greatest of uncertainty. We hear much about “the abundant life,” and “social security,” and there are some I fear who are believers in the thought that these goals will come from the working out of the philosophies of men.”
      • “My purpose in the few minutes that I stand here will be to give you something of what the Lord has said pertaining to this day, and what might be the expectation of the Latter-day Saints concerning the way by which the Lord would guide us to safe shores. Not only has the Lord given us the plan to follow, but He has given us in the revelations one of the basic, if not the most basic reason for the ills that beset mankind. This is what the Lord said, and I suppose as you understand this you will recognize in it the reason for selfishness and for jealousies that develop into bitterness and hatred, and finally into war and bloodshed.”
      • “While the world today is groping for a solution, (and I repeat that some of our people, I am afraid, have the mistaken notion that they must look to some development of the philosophies of men in this nation or copied from nations abroad, to solve present problems) the Latter-day Saints should never lose sight of the fact that for over one hundred years the Lord has given us the way, and the plan by which might come the ultimate solution of all the economic problems of this day.”
      • “The United Order will not be a Socialistic or Communistic set-up ; it will be something distinctive and yet will be more capitalistic in its nature than either Socialism or Communism, in that private ownership and individual responsibility will be maintained. I am sure also that when it comes it will come from the leaders of this Church whom you sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators, and will not come from some man who does not occupy that position. It will not come as a political program, legislated by men not possessed of that authority. I am also convinced that the time is here when Zion must put on her beautiful garments preparatory for the second coming of the Savior, and I believe firmly that that preparation is in progress. I am likewise persuaded that the Church Welfare Plan is contributing mightily to that preparation.”
      • “In my mind there is grave doubt that any man can abide the day of the Second Coming who is not willing and able to follow the leadership of these men whom the Lord has set to counsel and guide us in this day.”
  • April 1941 General Conference
    • Thoughts Stirred by New Assignment
      • “Since nine o’clock last night I have lived an entire lifetime in retrospect and in prospect. I spent a sleepless night. I never closed my eyes one moment, and neither would you if you had been in my place.”
      • “I shall come boldly unto the throne of grace, and ask for mercy and His grace to help me in my time of need. With that help I cannot fail. Without it I cannot succeed.”

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