7th President of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
November 23, 1918 – May 14, 1945

President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (November 18, 1916 – November 23, 1918)

Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (October 16, 1882 – November 23, 1918)

General Conference Addresses

  • April 1945 General Conference
    • Keep the Commandments of God
      • “I rejoice exceedingly in the many blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we enjoy. I rejoice in having the fellowship and the faith and prayers and good feeling of those with whom I associate, I rejoice in the integrity, the faith, and the diligence of those who preside in the various stakes of Zion. I realize that we are beset with faults and failings and imperfections, but I am convinced that almost without exception those who have the charge of the Saints in the wards and stakes of Zion, and in the missions are men of God, and that their integrity is beyond question, and that, if need be, they would be ready and willing to lay down their lives for the advancement of the kingdom of God. I believe that the elders of Israel in all the different wards and stakes of Zion earnestly desire to know the mind and will of our Heavenly Father, and that they are ready and willing to do anything that is within their power, to fulfill that mind and that will and to carry it out in their lives. It is this integrity and this desire that give me joy and satisfaction, and that encourage me in the responsibilities that devolve upon me.”
      • “I realize and appreciate the fact that the Lord could pour out upon us an abundance of the wealth of this world, that he could make us all rich, because the mountains are full of wealth, and he could open up avenues to us that we could all become wealthy, but in doing this we would have no opportunity of showing our faith by our works we would have no opportunity of developing our manhood and of fitting and preparing ourselves by actual labor to go back and dwell in the presence of our Heavenly Father.”
      • “It is by the exercise of our mental faculties that we improve upon them; it is by the exercise of our physical powers that we strengthen them; it is by the cultivation and the exercise of our spirits that we grow in spirituality, that we grow in the testimony of the gospel, that we grow in ability and strength to accomplish the purposes of our Heavenly Father upon the earth.”
      • “On the subject of tithing I heard a very splendid illustration given by a teacher in one of our children’s classes: She brought with her ten beautiful red apples. She explained that everything we have in the world came to us from the Lord, and she said, “Now, if I give one of you these ten apples, will you give me one of them back again? Now, any one of you children that will do that, hold up your hand.” Of course, they all held up their hands. Then she said, “That is what the Lord does for us. He gives us the ten apples, but he requests that we return one to him to show our appreciation of that gift.” The trouble with some people is that when they get the ten apples, they eat up nine of them, and then they cut the other in two and give the Lord half of what is left. Some of them cut the apple in two and eat up one-half of it and then hold up the other half and ask the Lord to take a bite. That is about as near as they see fit to share properly and show their gratitude to the Lord.”
      • “And may we always remember, because it is both true and comforting, that the death of a faithful man is nothing in comparison to the loss of the inspiration of the good spirit.”
      • “It is a principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ, now, as it always has been, to help every man to help himself—to help every child of our Father in heaven to work out his own salvation both temporally and spiritually.”
      • “It comes to each man, according to his needs and faithfulness, for guidance in matters that pertain to his own life. For the Church as a whole it comes to those who have been ordained to speak for the Church as a whole—and I say to you again, that it is the duty of the presidency of this Church to ask the people to do anything and everything that the inspiration of God tells them to do. We as Latter-day Saints, holding the priesthood of God, should magnify it, and we should respect the General Authorities of the Church; and as we respect them, God will respect us.”
      • “There is but one path of safety for the Latter-day Saints, and that is the path of duty.”
      • “I say to all Latter-day Saints: keep the commandments of God. That is my keynote—just these few words: keep the commandments of God!”
  • October 1944 General Conference
    • Admonition and Blessing
      • “I desire to bless the men and women who are thus giving their time and thought and are setting examples that are worthy of imitation, not only to those over whom they preside, but to all men. Every man and woman who is laboring for the salvation of the souls of men and keeping the commandments of God is entitled to be blessed, and I pray God that his blessings may come to them.”
      • “I pray that those who are at home and those who are away, in the armed forces and elsewhere, will be kept from evil in all its forms, by the prayers and righteous example of their parents, by remembrance of the teachings in their homes and church, by their own faithfulness and prayerfulness, and by the protecting influence of the angels of heaven.”
      • “I am sure that we need a light to surround our boys and girls in this day, and I pray that the protecting influence of faithful, God-fearing, God-serving parents may follow them and keep them wherever they go. I believe that with the faithfulness and obedience of parents and proper influences in the home, and with proper instruction and example to youth, we can keep them from all the temptations of the evil one.”
      • “The devil is ready to blind our eyes with the things of this world, and he would gladly rob us of eternal life, the greatest of all gifts. But it is not given to the devil, and no power will ever be given to him, to overthrow any Latter-day Saint who is keeping the commandments of God. There is no power given to the adversary of men’s souls to destroy us if we are doing our duty. But if we are not absolutely honest with God, then we let the bars down, then we have destroyed part of the fortifications by which we are protected, and the devil may come in. But no man who was chaste and who was keeping the other commandments of the Lord has ever lost the testimony of the gospel; no man who had the knowledge of the truth has ever turned to the right or to the left, who was attending to his duties, who was keeping the Word of Wisdom, who was paying his tithing, who was responding to the calls and duties of his office and calling in the Church.”
      • “May every father and mother so order their lives that their example will be an inspiration to their children; and may all realize that every Latter-day Saint carries, to a certain extent, upon his or her shoulders the reputation of the Church of Christ. We are trying to raise our children to be God-fearing, and to live lives worthy of the imitation of all men. May we read the revelations of the Lord Almighty and his Son Jesus Christ, that have been given to us, as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants; may we read them with a prayerful and a humble heart, seeking God for power and strength to live them, whether we are at home or away from home; and may we listen and give heed to the counsel of our leaders who fire with us today, I pray with all the power that I possess.”
      • “I have little or no fear for the boy or the girl, the young man or the young woman, who honestly and conscientiously supplicates God daily for the guidance of his spirit.”
      • “The minute a man stops supplicating God for his spirit and directions just so soon he starts out to become a stranger to him and his works. When men stop praying for God’s spirit, they place confidence in their own unaided reason, and they gradually lose the spirit of God, just the same as near and dear friends, by never writing to or visiting with each other, will become strangers. We should all pray that God may never leave us alone for a moment without his spirit to aid and assist us in withstanding sin and temptation.”
      • “The Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner; it is, to all those who are privileged with the sweets of liberty, like the cooling shades and refreshing waters of a great rock in a weary and thirsty land. It is like a great tree under whose branches men from every clime can be shielded from the burning rays of the sun.”
      • “And such the Constitution of the United States must be to every faithful Latter-day Saint who lives under its protection. That the Lord may help him to think straight, and to pursue a straight course regardless of personal advantage, factional interest, or political persuasion, should be the daily prayer of every Latter-day Saint. I counsel you, I urge you, I plead with you, never, so far as you have voice or influence, permit any departure from the principles of government on which this nation was founded, or any disregard of the freedoms which, by the inspiration of God our Father, were written into the Constitution of the United States.”
      • “One fundamental thing for a Latter-day Saint is to be honest. Another is to value his word as faithfully as his bond; to make up his mind that under no circumstances, no matter how hard it may be, by and with the help of the Lord, he will dedicate his life and his best energies to making good his promise; and that he will not permit some personal advantage to cause him ever to compromise his principles.”
      • “I say to you that it is not an insignificant thing to hold the priesthood of God—to have the right to influence the powers of the heavens for good; and it is not a slight thing for us to neglect to honor the priesthood of God in those who preside over us, nor to ignore them in their counsel. My faith is such that I could lay down all that I possess rather than ever depart from the Latter-day work. I value all things as nothing in comparison with having the spirit of God to guide me.”
  • October 1899 General Conference
    • Obedience
      • “As Latter-day Saints, let us have a desire to live lives of usefulness, and to be instruments in the hands of God of accomplishing much good.”
      • “That is the kind of faith to have. Let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of God and then we know that we can win the battle, though we may be opposed by a man with his tens of thousands.”
      • “A man’s duty was to pay his debts to the Lord if he did not pay his debts to his fellowman.”
      • “Therefore, I say, shall I not fulfill the duties and obligations that I owe to my Creator and loving Parent before I fulfill my obligations to my fellowman. Has any man ever loaned me money because he loved me? No; he has loaned it to me because he wanted his interest. With the help of the Lord I propose to keep the commandments of the Lord, and then I do know that I shall De able to pay all that I owe; because I know that God blesses those who keep His commandments. I know that I never made a sacrifice of a financial nature in my life to help the advancement of God’s work, without being abundantly rewarded therefor.”
      • “If you desire the Spirit of God, be honest in keeping the commandments of God.”
      • “If you are not honest with God, you may prosper and you may be blessed with the things of this world, but they will crowd out from your heart the spirit of the Gospel; you will become covetous of your own means and lose the inspiration of Almighty God.”
  • April 1899 General Conference
    • The Work of God Will Go Forth
      • “When I look around and see the mistakes that I have made, and those that my brethren make from time to time; when I realize how many of those who have been wonderfully blessed of the Lord have fallen by the wayside, it fills me with humility; it fills me with the spirit of meekness and with an earnest desire that I may ever seek to know the mind and the will of God and to keep His commandments rather than to follow out my own desires.”
      • “Never have I rejoiced more in my life, that my lot has been cast among the Latter-day Saints, that I have been born in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, than I did in mj\y recent visit to the East, when I came in contact with members of the Reorganized church. When I visited Kirtland, Ohio, and saw there the temple, and realized the fact that at the time it was erected by the Prophet Joseph and his brother, that it was a mighty work; when I considered the ordinances that aro being performed in our temples here in Utah; when I reflected that we have the Gospel in its fulness; when I thought that they have the temple but know not how to put it to any use; when I realized that they are absolutely devoid of the inspiration of God, I rejoiced that my lot had been, cast among the Later-day Saints.”
      • “We know that Joseph prophesied that the Latter-day Saints should be driven from city to city; that they should be driven from county to county; and that they should be driven from state to state; and finally, that they should be driven out of the confines of the United States to these Rocky Mountains and become a great, a prosperous, a mighty people. We know that this has been fulfilled to the letter. The Re-organized Church can lay no claims to being persecuted and driven from city to city, from county to county, from state to state, or of being driven to the Rocky Mountains. They have not become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains. Not only did Joseph Smith proclaim that the day should come when a city, a county, and a state should be arrayed against this people called Latter-day Saints, but he said, “the time shall come when the whole United States shall be arrayed against the Mormons;” and the day did come.”
  • October 1898 General Conference
    • Necessity of Faith and Courage
      • “I realize that we all have our weaknesses, and that we do and say many things that are not pleasing in the sight of our Heavenly Father; but if we desire above all other things upon this earth to know the mind and will of God, and if we desire the strength of character, after we shall learn the mind and will of our Heavenly Father,  to carry it out in our lives, I do know that God will help us, and that as we grow in years and in knowledge and in understanding- that we will grow also in the power and the ability to accomplish His will.”
      • “I believe when we determine within our hearts that by and with the blessings of God our Heavenly Father we will accomplish a certain labor, God gives the ability to accomplish that labor; but when we lay down, when we become discouraged, when we look at the top of the mountain and say it is impossible to climb to the summit, while we never make an effort it will never be accomplished.”
      • “We should have an ambition that no man shall do more for the onward advancement of God’s kingdom than we. As laborers in the different Stakes of Zion, standing as presidents of Stakes or as counselors to a president of a Stake, no man should allow any other member of that Stake to be a more honest tithe payer than he is. I say no man should preside over a Stake unless he is absolutely honest with God in paying his tithing. Why? Because he cannot conscientiously urge upon other people to be strictly honest. If we have been careless in this particular in the past, let us be careless no more. I say no man presiding over a Stake of Zion or over a ward should fail to pay his tithes, or should fail to observe the Word of Wisdom. Why? Because he is unable to stand up before a body of people and teach them by the demonstration of the spirit of God that they ought to obey these commandments from the Lord. This is our duty —to place ourselves in a position whereby when we stand up to teach the people, we can teach them by the inspiration of the spirit of God as it shall descend upon us; but if we are not observing the commandments of God, we can not with power, and with force, and with strength urge upon other people that they obey the commandments that we ourselves are failing to obey.”
      • “I say here today that I know the mantle of Joseph Smith fell upon the Prophet Brigham Young. I know it, and I am willing to meet the testimony that I bear. How do I know it? I know it because of my mother, a more honest woman than whom never lived, a more devoted Latter-day Saint can not be found; because she and scores of others have told me that they saw the Prophet Brigham Young when he spoke with the voice of Joseph Smith; when he looked like the prophet Joseph; and I know that these people are honest; and in addition to this I kniow by the inspiration of God to me that Brigham Young was a Prophet of God. I know that those that lost the spirit of God, that failed to follow the Prophet Brigham Young, have come to naught.”
  • April 1898 General Conference
    • The Need of Inspiration
      • “It has ever been my desire in addressing the Latter-day Saints, that my mind might be lighted up with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I realize that, in teaching the people, unless the speaker is inspired of our Father in Heaven it is impossible to say anything that will be of benefit or worth to the Saints.”
      • “We sometimes meet people who say they would like to have witnessed the trials of the early Saints and taken a part in them, but I have no wish to nominate myself for a martyr. I tell you what I do desire; it is to be tested and tried only so far as is necessary to qualify me for the duties which have been imposed upon me, and to gain an exaltation in the presence of my Heavenly Father.”
      • “We are not ready and willing to keep the commandments of God, but we are ready and willing to carry out our own wishes. We do not ask what it is desired that we should do, but generally suit ourselves as to what we would like to do. Is this right? No, it is not. I feel that there is plenty of room for improvement, and we should improve.”
      • “A man will say, “I owe my neighbor and must pay him before I can settle my tithing.” Well, I know I owe lots of my neighbors, and they try to collect from me. But I owe God an honest tithing;- He has given me a testimony of Jesus and a hope of eternal life, and I intend to pay Him first and my neighbors afterwards. It is our duty to settle with the Lord first, and I intend to do it, with the help of Tny Heavenly Father. And I want to say to you, if you will be honest -with the Lord, paying your tithing and keeping His commandments, He will not only bless you with the light and inspiration of His Holy Spirit, but you will be blessed in dollars and cents, you will be enabled to pay your debts, and the Lord will pour out temporal blessings upon you in great abundance.”

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