6th President of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
October 17, 1901 – November 19, 1918

President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (October 10, 1901 – October 17, 1901)

First Counselor in the First Presidency (October 6, 1901 – October 10, 1901)

Second Counselor in the First Presidency (April 7, 1889 – October 6, 1901, October 10, 1880 – July 25, 1887)

Counselor in the First Presidency (July 1, 1866 – August 29, 1877)

Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (July 1, 1866 – November 19, 1918)

General Conference Addresses

  • April 1918 General Conference
  • April 1884 General Conference
    • Divine Mission of Joseph Smith, etc.
      • “I do not wonder that the enemies of righteousness are stirred up about this matter. I am not surprised that the wicked rage and the heathen imagine a vain thing. I am not astonished when certain men get mad, or that their souls are vexed within them, that their minds are perplexed, and that they feel wrought up with anger against a people who have never injured them or theirs. One thing I am surprised about in relation to this matter is, that the Latter-day Saints themselves should not be as strongly aroused in the interest of the Kingdom of God, as the enemies of truth are against it. When I contemplate the situation as it is presented to my mind, I am astonished that so many of the Latter-day Saints should be so indifferent and neglectful of duty that they cannot, apparently, appreciate the importance of living their religion. I am surprised that there should be any necessity for reformation among the Latter-day Saints, that is, if I should be surprised at all; though surprised is not the appropriate word to use, the word grieved, perhaps, might be used with greater propriety in this sense. If I would allow myself to indulge in a feeling of sorrow, I might indeed feel grieved that any of us should find ourselves in a condition to require reform in our lives.”
      • “And although many in their day and time have arisen either to ridicule or disprove the truths it contains, their efforts have been futile, resulting only in their own dismay. It cannot be disproved, for it is true. There is not a word or doctrine, of admonition, of instruction within its lids, but what agrees in sentiment and veracity with those of Christ and His Apostles, as contained in the Bible. Neither is there a word of counsel, of admonition or reproof within its lids, but what is calculated to make a bad man a good man, and a good man a better man, if he will hearken to it.”
      • “When a man is called to go on a mission, and a field of labor is assigned him, he should, I think, say in his heart, not my will be done, but thine, O Lord.”
      • “I have been thankful only once since I went to the Sandwich Islands on my first mission, and that has been ever since.”

Other Reported Addresses

  • Belief and Knowledge, Discourse in St. George, April 2, 1877
    • “I long ago learned to prize the principles of the Gospel, as of far greater importance than all earthly things; they are of more value than this present life, for without the Gospel it is valueless, the grand object and purpose of life being attainable only through being obedient unto the Gospel.”
    • “Having entered into this covenant, being cleansed from sin, and endowed with the gift of the Holy Ghost, why should we not abide in the truth, continuing steadfast before God and firm in the great work he has established on the earth? We should never cease to serve Him, nor thwart his mercy and goodness towards us; but ever live so that the Holy Spirit may be within us as a living spring, calculated to lead us to perfection in righteousness, virtue, and integrity before God, until we accomplish our earthly mission, performing every duty that may be required at our hands.”
    • “God will give us knowledge and understanding, he will lead us in the path of truth if we put our whole trust in him and not in man.”
  • The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, Discourse in Salt Lake City, February 9, 1873
    • “The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is a very important and sacred ordinance; however simple it may appear to our minds, it is one which will add to our acceptance before God, or to our condemnation.”
    • “These are some of the injunctions and commandments that are given in relation to the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Now let us be careful what we do, that we may not incur the penalty affixed to the transgression of this law, remembering that the ordinances which God has given are sacred and binding, that his laws are in force, especially upon all that have covenanted with him in baptism, and upon all unto whom they come, whether they embrace them or not, as Jesus said, “This is the condemnation of the world, that light has come into the world, but ye love darkness rather than light.” Therefore all men will be held accountable for the use they make of the light which they possess. For this reason we are commanded to preach the Gospel unto every creature, that those who obey and are baptized may be saved, and those who reject it may be condemned.”
  • No Time to Do Wrong, discourse at the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, September 3, 1871
    • “It behooves us as the children of God to be always prepared for every duty and for every event that may transpire in life, that we may not be taken unawares, caught off our guard or out of the path that leads to eternal life.”
    • “There is no time to swear, no time to cheat our neighbor or to take advantage of him, there is no time to waste and fritter away in foolishly decorating our bodies, or to acquire means to devote to that which will grieve the Spirit of the Lord and disqualify us to receive solid blessings from his hands.”
    • “For it is this class that they do see, and yet many that are falling into these disreputable habits are men who hold the priesthood—Elders in Israel and their sons; and perhaps strangers who come here have seen and heard some of them preaching the Gospel abroad, and when they come here they find them spending their time and means in whiskey and billiards, and in other foolish and wicked ways—indeed every way but the right way. What do such habits speak for men who indulge in them? Shame and disgrace. I want to tell my brethren and the strangers before me today that we have no fellowship for any such men, no matter who they are. They may call themselves Latter-day Saints, and you may have seen them abroad preaching the Gospel; but when you find them indulging in the course I have indicated they have fallen, dishonored their calling, disgraced themselves; they are no longer Latter-day Saints, but apostates, and we have no fellowship with them, for they are unworthy of the Redeemer’s cause. That cause has for its object the reclaiming of the world from sin; the overturning of everything that tends to degradation and evil and to the shame and degeneracy of the people, and the Saints are the chosen instruments in God’s hands to accomplish this work, and we mean to prosecute it to the uttermost—to fight the good fight of faith, and though many may turn aside, the work is onward and upward, and it will grow and spread until the purposes of God are consummated.”
    • “We do not want these things here; but we are not supreme; we cannot govern as we would wish. Not that we desire to rule with an iron hand, oppressively. It would not be oppression to me, for the proper authorities to say—“You shall not take intoxicating liquors; you shall neither manufacture nor drink them, for they are injurious to your body and mind,” nor would it be to any Saint—but what oppression it would be to a certain class! Yet I hope to see the day when, within the pale of the kingdom of God, no man will be allowed to take intoxicating liquor; and make—I was going to say, a beast of himself. But I do not name it, rather to make a degraded man of himself. Beasts would not degrade themselves as men do.”
  • The Gospel and the Things of the World, Discourse delivered in the Ogden Tabernacle, Nov. 12, 1870
    • “But the great difficulty is—we are too careless, listless and unconcerned in relation to what is taught us from time to time; we do not weigh, with that thought and care that we should do, the instructions and counsels which we receive. We allow other things to occupy our minds; the cares of the world, the desire for gain, the anxiety to promote our own interests and to provide for the necessities of life choke out the word of God to some extent.”
    • “But he who asks in a proper manner, who humbles himself before the Lord like a little child before its earthly parent, and is willing to trust in God, and comes before him doubting nothing, that man, or that woman, will receive what he or she shall ask for. God has said it; He has promised it by the mouths of His servants, the Prophets and the Apostles, and the promise is sure and unfailing; and if there is any fault, it is on our part, and through our own lack of faith, meekness and humility before the Lord.”
    • “The inconsistent conduct of parents has a tendency to blunt the sensibilities of children, and to lead them from the way of life and salvation, for if parents teach their children principles which they do not practice themselves, that teaching is not likely to have much weight or effect, except for evil. We do not look at and reflect upon these things as we should.”
    • “The path is clear, so that all may know whether we speak the truth and have received the Holy Ghost and the Gospel of the Son of God or not—repent of your sins by forsaking them; be baptized by one having authority, for the remission of sins, and have hands laid on you for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and you shall know whether the doctrine we preach is true or false, and whether or not this is, as we say, the only way in which man can obtain eternal life. We invite all men to walk in this path, and we are fearless as to the result, for in my own experience, in hundreds and thousands of instances, I have received a witness and testimony that this is the truth.”
  • The Sacrament, Etc., Discourse delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Jan. 10, 1869
    • “It is a great privilege, after a lapse of 1,800 years; to participate in the memorials of the shed blood and broken body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And whilst we are doing this we look forward to the time when Jesus will again come, and when we shall eat bread with Him in the Kingdom of our God. These are thoughts that naturally crowd upon the mind while partaking of the Sacrament of the Lord’s supper. The ordinance has a tendency to draw our minds from the things of the world and to place them upon things that are spiritual, divine, and heavenly; and that are in accordance with the nature, desires, and attributes of man. It is a great privilege to have one day in seven set apart for the worship of the living God.”
    • “Notwithstanding our many weaknesses, imperfections and follies the Lord still continues His mercy, manifests His grace and imparts unto us His Holy Spirit, that our minds may be illuminated by the light of revelation. He is still leading us onward, very slowly, it is true, in the paths of life, in the way that leads to principalities, powers, thrones and dominions in the eternal worlds.”
    • “Our religion is not a religion of a day, a month, a year or a lifetime; but it reaches back into eternity, operates in time and stretches forth again into eternity. It embraces every truth that ever did exist, that exists now, or ever will exist. It is adapted to the wants and capacious desires of immortal minds. It emanated from God and leads back again to Him, and it is very properly said that in Him we live and move and have our being.”
    • “The fact is the Gospel of Christ embraces all truth. It found us, when first revealed, ignorant, dark, benighted, besotted, depraved, corrupted, and degenerated, ignorant of God and of almost every true principle. It is humiliating to reflect that, after all our boasted intelligence and knowledge of collect principles, government, morals and religion, we should be found so weak, ignorant, degraded, and debased. It is humiliating in the highest degree to reflect, that, after all the boasted intelligence of men, we can scarcely find one true principle in existence. Men say, “we have been taught good morals.” To a certain extent good morals are taught, but even their teachers did not know them correctly; they exist in most instances in principle only, and not in practice. They think they have had some tolerably good religion, but their religion is little better than that of the ancient heathens who used to bow down to sticks and stones. “
    • “What knowledge have we, of ourselves, of our relationship to eternity? None. Where is the man on the face of the wide earth who has a claim to a wife in eternity? There is not one outside of this church. They do not profess it, they know nothing of such a principle. The extent of their covenants is that they are married until death parts them, and that ends the matter. Who is there who has any idea of associating with their children in the eternal world? They think about it. There is nature, or a kind of instinct that leads to reflections of this sort. But they have not the privilege of entering into covenants of this kind. There are a great many other principles connected with this Gospel of which, as the scriptures say, they are as ignorant as brute beasts that were made to be taken and destroyed.”
  • The Testimony, Etc., Discourse delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Nov. 25, 1868
    • “We testify that the barriers which separated man from God have been overcome, that the Lord again communicates His will to man. “But,” says one, “How shall we become acquainted with these things? How can we know that you are not deceived?” To all such we say, repent of your sins in all sincerity, then go forth and be baptized, and have hands laid upon you for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and that spirit will bear record to you of the truth of our testimony, and you will become witnesses of it as we are, and will be able to stand forth boldly and testify to the world as we do.”
    • “We are working for the triumph of righteousness, for the subjugation of sin and the errors of the age in which we live. It is a great and glorious work.”
    • “We believe it is necessary to live our religion every day in the week, every hour in the day, and every moment.”
  • None Perfect Except Revealed from God, Discourse delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Feb 17, 1867
    • “Why should we fear to stand up and speak the truth, although aware of our weakness and feeling our dependence on God? Have we not the promise that God will give us strength according to our day, and that he will help those who desire it to accomplish all the good that is in their hearts? God has made this promise, and it is our duty to go forward and engage in the work he requires of us, fearlessly and with a determination to carry it out regardless of man. God being our helper.”
    • “I desire so to live continually that my thoughts and feelings may be right before God, that my heart may be pure and open to the influences and dictations of the Holy Spirit, that I may be led wholly by the truth, and in the path that leads to eternal life.”
    • “So far as they have light and knowledge and understand the principles of truth, so far do thousands of the inhabitants of the earth today honor them in their lives, But that does not constitute them the people of God, neither does it argue that they have the holy priesthood, nor that the Gospel in its purity and fulness has been revealed to them; nothing of the kind. Then I say that they are wanting. Although I feel liberal in my heart towards mankind, and willing to accord this truth to the benefit of the honest in heart; yet I am compelled to acknowledge that they are lacking.”
    • “One cause of the diversity in our thoughts and reflections is that some have had greater experience and comprehend the truth more perfectly than others.”
    • “There was a time when we could walk up and down the streets and tell by the very countenances of men whether they were Latter-day Saints, or not; but can you do it now? You can not, unless you have greater discernment and more of the Spirit and power of God than I have. Why? Because many are trying as hard as they can to transform themselves into the very shape, character, and spirit of the world. Elders in Israel, young men, mothers and daughters in Israel are conforming to the world’s fashions, until their very countenances indicate its spirit and character. This course is to the shame and disgrace of those who are so unwise.”

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