10th President of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
January 23, 1970 – July 2, 1972

Counselor in the First Presidency (October 29, 1965 – January 18, 1970)

President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (April 9, 1951 – January 23, 1970)

Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (April 7, 1910 – January 23, 1970)

General Conference Addresses

  • April 1963 General Conference
    • The Sabbath Day
      • “The Lord has decided the matter for Latter-day Saints, as I think he did to former-day Saints, and Sunday is our Sabbath.”
      • “Brethren and sisters, all I want to say is that the Lord has set the time for our Sabbath by revelation. We know which day we should worship. We should follow it, and we should be true and faithful, and I think we should support those who likewise observe that day.”
      • “Now on Sunday in Salt Lake City there will be a wonderful ball game played by two of the great teams. There will be, I am positive, members of the Church who will go to the ball park instead of to their Sacrament meetings. Our duty is to serve the Lord and to remember him and the covenants that we have made.”
  • April 1947 General Conference
    • Keeping the Sabbath
      • “Now I have been thinking, as I have thought many times in the past, of this great legacy which is ours, the great blessings which have come to us, built upon the foundation of persecution, death, hardships, men and women laying down their lives that we might dwell in this land in peace and safety; and how do we feel today about it? Do we keep the Sabbath day holy? Do we pray? Are we grateful in our souls for all that has been done for us by these sturdy people who loved the truth and came here that they might worship God according to the dictates of their consciences? How do we feel? When I see reports of conditions in this state and surrounding states where Latter-day Saints dwell, the amount of liquor that is consumed and tobacco that is consumed, and tea and coffee and other things destructive of health, and contrary to the commandments of the Lord, when I see the people violating the Sabbath day and committing all other kinds of sins contrary to that which they have been taught, I wonder if the Lord is pleased with us.”
      • “If we don’t keep the Sabbath day holy, he may still be our God, but we may not be his people, for all the people of the earth are his, but we are a peculiar people, and by that we mean that we are different and should be different from the rest of the world because we are not of the world. We are in it. We are not of it.”
  • April 1942 General Conference
    • The Necessity of Working on Our Own Lineage
      • “It is our opportunity in this dispensation, and our privilege and duty to spend our time in searching out our dead. We are of the house of Israel. We learn that through revelation, and that being true, then we reach the conclusion unless we have been adopted through the gospel and were gentiles, that our ancestors were also of the house of Israel. In other words, the promise made to Abraham that through the scattering of his seed all nations would be blessed, has been fulfilled, and our lineage has come down generation after generation through the loins of Abraham and the loins of Israel. Therefore our fathers are more likely to receive the gospel if they did not hear it in this life, to receive it in the spirit world than are those whose descendants are not in the Church, and who refused to received the gospel here. It seems to me this is a logical conclusion.”
      • “When the Lord said the meek shall inherit the earth, He had reference to those who are willing to keep the commandments of the Lord in righteousness and thus receive exaltation.”
  • April 1915 General Conference
    • Prohibition
      • “And I wish to say to Brother John W. Hart, that while I am very much chagrined, humiliated and ashamed of the condition that prevails in the State of Utah, not because the people so willed it, I am proud to know that the State of Idaho and the State of Colorado and the State of Arizona, and the States of Washington and Oregon, in this Rocky Mountain region and the Pacific Coast have set an example that is worthy to be followed. And just one more word. The remark has been made that whispering is being indulged in to some extent by some of the people to the efifect, that the authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not want prohibition, and I think I am in a position to say, that the authorities of the Church, the Presidency, and the Council of the Twelve, stand for temperance, and they do want such prohibition. Those who declare to the contrary, when they come to you, tell them that they speak that which is not true. And I think I know what I am talking about.”
    • Doctrines of the Gospel
      • “I believe in the doctrine of repentance from sin; that it is necessary for all men to repent. I accept the doctrine of baptism for the remission of sins, by immersion in water, the ordinance being performed by one having authority to administer in the name of the Lord. I believe in the doctrine of laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, by which we are brought into communion with our Father in heaven and learn of His ways, that we may walk in His paths. I firmly believe in the doctrine of revelation and inspiration; the privilege of man to communicate, under proper conditions and circumstances, with the Lord. I believe in the principle of prayer, and that no man can come unto God without he has in his heart the spirit of prayer, by which he communicates with the Father. I believe in the salvation of the human family, and that it is the intention and desire of the Lord to save all His children, with the exception of a very few who will not be saved, who reject salvation against themselves because of their utter wickedness and sinning against the light.”
      • “I believe it is our solemn duty to love one another, to believe in each other, to have faith in each other, that it is our duty to overlook the faults and the failings of each other, and not to magnify them in our own eyes nor before the eyes of the world.”
      • “We should not be jealous one of another, nor angry with each other, and there should not arise in our hearts a feeling that we will not forgive one another our trespasses. There should be no feeling in the hearts of the children of God of unforgiveness against any man, no matter who he may be.”
      • “There is no place in Zion for the willful sinner. There is a place for the repentant sinner, for the man who turns away from iniquity and seeks for life eternal and the light of the Gospel. We should not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, any more than the Lord can do so, but walk uprightly and perfectly before the Lord. It is our duty to look after each other, to protect each other, to warn each other of dangers, to teach each other the principles of the Gospel of the kingdom, and to stand together with a united front against the sins of the world.”
  • October 1914 General Conference
    • Testimonies of Christ
      • “Could a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called to be a minister to the people—a Bishop of a ward, a President of a Stake, or one occupying a position in any other capacity—go forth among the people declaring that he did not believe-that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, and denying His great and glorious mission in the world, and hold his position? No! Because it is in opposition to the very foundation of Christianity. It is contrary to the Gospel and teachings of the Redeemer of the world. It contradicts His entire life, and ministry and is destructive of faith in His name. Any officer in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who should put forth such a declaration would very soon be relieved of his responsibility.”
      • “It is no wonder, however, that blind teachers will hold to these ideas, for they are without the Spirit of God, and therefore, I suppose, we can afford to be charitable unto them and pity them.”
      • “We accept Jesus as the Redeemer of the world. We know, as it was testified to us this morning, that He revealed Himself in this dispensation. We are not dependent upon the testimonies of these ancient worthies, who lived in His day and conversed with Him in His ministry, and to whom He appeared after His resurrection. We have witnesses who have lived in our own day, who have seen Him, who knew that He lives and have testified to us and to the world of this fact. We know their testimonies are true. Joseph Smith was not left alone to bear witness in this dispensation of the mission of Jesus Christ, for the Lord raised up other witnesses who, with the Prophet Joseph Smith, saw the Redeemer, received instruction from Him and beheld Him in the heavens sitting on the right hand side of the Father surrounded by the holy angels.”
  • April 1914 General Conference
    • The Saints Shouldn’t Need Admonishment
      • “We are advancing, we are gaining in knowledge, in wisdom, and in power. This is as it should be, and as it will always be in the church and kingdom of our Father; for there must be progression, there must be advancement. Knowledge will be poured down upon this people and the Lord will make known unto us from time to time, through revelation, and the spirit of inspiration, many things that are for our good, when we are prepared and ready to receive them.”
      • “It ought not be necessary for the teachers to come into my home to teach me the law of tithing. It should not be necessary for them to come to me and my family and teach us the word of wisdom. It should not be necessary for them to call upon us to teach us the necessity of prayer, or of fasting, or any other of these simple and fundamental principles of the Gospel. We ought to know enough from what we have constantly been taught and the knowledge we have from our natural understanding of the scriptures as we are guided by the Spirit of the Lord, to do these things without being taught or commanded more than to follow the general commandment as it is written in the scriptures. While it is necessary, of course, that the teachers visit in the homes of the people, to see that there is no iniquity in the Church, no back-biting, fault finding, no envy, no strife, and that all the members do their duty, yet I say we should so live that when they come to us to teach us, we can tell them with a clear conscience that we are performing these labors and accepting these principles with an eye single to the glory of God. I feel this to be our duty as members in the Church.”
      • “We ought to so prepare ourselves through study and through faith, through observance of the law of the Gospel, through attendance at meetings and the magnifying of our callings generally, to know what the Lord expects at out hands without the necessity of someone telling us.”
      • “We should be faithful, we should have knowledge, we should have understanding and be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us, and walk uprightly and justly before the Lord, and keep the commandments as they have been given to us.”
  • October 1913 General Conference
    • Living Consistent with the Gospel
      • “We should feel to rejoice in such teachings as we receive in this dispensation; teachings that are uplifting and will make us better not only as members of the Church but better as citizens in the community. There is nothing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is not uplifting. There never was and never will be advice given to the Latter-day Saints from their leaders that will not be for their good, for our leaders have but one desire, and that is the salvation of the people, both temporally and spiritually.”
      • “We are not walking in darkness. We are not led by blind leaders who have taken to themselves authority and prerogatives which do not belong to them; but we are led by and directed through the spirit of inspiration, and it behooves each one of us as members of the Church to heed the warning voice and follow the instruction that is given at our conferences.”
      • “I believe, further, that the Latter-day Saints are the only people who are consistent in their belief, and practice. We accept Jesus as the Redeemer of the world without qualification, and that is not done generally in the world, among those who profess to believe in Him and call themselves Christians. Even among many ministers who affix to their names the title of reverend, He is not accepted as the Redeemer of mankind. They are not consistent, because they do not teach and they do not practice the principles that have been set forth by the Savior, and which are recorded in the scriptures. Men stand up before the people in the congregations of the so-called Christian communities, and declare that they do not accept Christ as the Redeemer of the world. They teach the people that they do not believe in the resurrection from the dead. They do not even accept the eternal resurrection of the Christ. They do not believe that He came into the world to take upon Him the sins of the world and redeem us from our sins. They scoff at the idea that He had power to offer Himself a sacrifice for the sins of others. They deny the miracles that the Savior performed, and say they do not believe in them. They call themselves progressive, and declare that they have received greater light, greater understanding, greater development through their researches, through their study and their own wisdom, by which they have come to the conclusion that these things recorded in the scriptures are fables, and were written in a day when the people were inclined to believe and accept as miracles things which did not and could not occur. I am just simple enough in my belief to accept that which is recorded in the scriptures. I believe it with all my heart. I know that Jesus is the Christ, that He did come into the world to redeem the world from sin, and that men through acceptance of the principles of the Gospel—those principles which were taught at the opening of our conference—will receive a reward and an exaltation in the kingdom of our God.”
      • “There need be no idlers among us. We have heard all of these things, and we should remember them and put them into practice, so far as our duties are concerned as members of the Church. The blessings of the Gospel will not come unto us if we disregard our duties and break the commandments of the Lord, we will not be blessed if we refuse to listen to the priesthood and will not follow the instructions that are given to us from time to time.”
      • “I do not mean to say that we ought not to associate at any time with those not of our faith, for there are many good people who have not embraced the Gospel. We are not required to avoid them, for our mission in the world is with them, to convert them to the truth if we can. Rut we need not be partakers of the sins of the world; we need not follow the- foolish fashions of the world. We need not corrupt ourselves because many in the world are corrupt. We have received better things. We are walking in the knowledge and the understanding of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and are entitled to that inspiration which will warn us of danger and guide us in the path of duty, and give us power to resist and overcome evil.”
  • October 1912 General Conference
    • Prophecies Fulfilled
      • “In my travels among the people, I have seen, in part at least, the fulfillment of the words of the Lord. I have seen where the water has been increased, where the deserts have been made to blossom; pools of water have sprung forth, and barren places had become fruitful fields. This has been through the activity and industry of the Latter-day Saints and the blessings of the Lord which have attended them. I feel that we should honor the Lord, and sing praises unto him, be true and faithful to our covenants, honor the priesthood, love the Lord our God, and seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, giving him all the honor the praise and the glory for the blessings he has poured out upon us as Latter-day Saints; for they are many, and will be continued, as we know, from day to day if we are faithful.”
    • The Church is Guided by a Prophet
      • “There has never been a time since the restoration of the Gospel when we have not had a prophet, some one to lead us, to direct us, to teach us the commandments of God that we might walk in the straight and narrow path. We are not without leaders; and the time shall never come when the Lord will not find some one that He can trust; in whom He has confidence, and who will be qualified to stand to represent Him among the people. This is my testimony and I rejoice in its truth. I do not feel that because the Prophet was taken and the Patriarch; because President Young was taken, or President Taylor and other leaders were taken, that the time has come when we have not an inspired leader to teach us the truth. The time will never come when we will not be able to put confidence and exercise faith in the teachings and in the instruction of those who lead us. I am satisfied of this for I know the promises of the Lord are sure.”
      • “Therefore, we must put our faith in those whom the Lord hath called, if we want to have a standing before the Lord, and none of us desire, if we have the proper spirit, to be cut of? from among the people. But this punishment will befall those who do not prove faithful and will not pay that heed or give that attention to the counsel of those who are called and appointed and inspired of the Lord to teach and direct us in all things.”
  • April 1912 General Conference
    • The Gospel is Applicable to All
      • “Many who have assembled to do homage unto Him do not accept Him as the Redeemer of the world; but with us there is no reservation; He is indeed the only begotten Son of God, and through His grace, and the grace of His Father, hath redeemed us from sin on condition of our repentance.”
      • “The laws of that kingdom are that a man must believe; he must have faith in the Lord; he must repent of his sins; he must receive a remission of sins through the water of baptism, and have hands laid upon his head for the gift of the Holy Ghost, by one who is empowered, having authority to officiate in these ordinances and then he must endure to the end, keeping the laws and the commandments given unto us by our Heavenly Father, otherwise he will lose his reward. Faith is not enough to save us. Our faith must be coupled with works, with good deeds, with a prayerful heart, and with the desire to magnify our callings before the Lord, laboring diligently all the days of our lives for the benefit of our fellow-men, bringing them unto repentance.”
      • “Our mission is twofold, to save all the living who will believe, and to warn all who reject the truth; that they may be left without excuse and to redeem the dead from their sins, or at least put the means within their hands, which were denied them in this life and of which they can partake in the spirit, that they also might receive salvation as well as we.”
      • “I trust that we will have enough love for the gospel of Jesus Christ, enough appreciation for the great atonement that was made for us, and sufficient love in our hearts for our fellowmen that we will desire their salvation as well as our own.”
  • October 1911 General Conference
    • Salvation for the Dead
      • “It is our duty to save the world. That is our mission, in so far as they will listen unto us and receive our testimony. All those who reject the testimony of the Elders of Israel will be held responsible, and will have to give an accounting for their stewardship, just as we will give an accounting of our stewardship as Elders and teachers of the people.”
      • “All, even down to the end of time, shall receive salvation who will repent of their sins and come unto the Lord with a desire to keep His commandments and serve Him and obey Him in all things. They are heirs of the celestial kingdom.”
      • “It is, however, our duty to save the world, the dead as well as the living. We are saving the living who will repent by preaching the gospel among the nations and gathering out the children of Israel, the honest in heart. We are saving the dead by going into the house of the Lord and performing these ceremonies—baptism, the laying on of hands, confirmation, and such other things as the Lord requires at our hands, in their behalf.”
      • “We cannot be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God unless we have within our hearts the desire to do this work and perform it, so far as it is within our power on behalf of our dead.”
  • April 1911 General Conference
    • Blessed Are They Who Obey When They Hear the Truth
      • “What does it profit us in assembling together to hear the words of the Lord as they may be given unto us from His servants, if we go back to our homes and forget all that we have heard?”
      • “No commandment, at any time, has He given us, that was not for our comfort and blessing. They are not given merely to please the Lord, but to make us better men and women, and worthy of salvation and exaltation in His kingdom.”
      • “The time will come, just as sure as we live, that there will be a separation between the righteous and the unrighteous. Those who will not keep the law of the Lord will deny the faith, for He will withdraw His Spirit from them if they do not repent, after laboring with them and doing all that is possible to keep them in the line of duty. He will withdraw His spirit from them and they will be left unto themselves. They must take one side or the other, for this separation must surely come. Let us see to it that we are numbered with the children of the Lord.”
    • The Greatest Event in the Modern World
      • “It would be a sorry day for any nation, where the gospel is being preached, should it conclude to drive the elders of the Church from its borders and deny them the right to preach the gospel among the people. The elders insure peace unto the nations, so long as they will hear the message of salvation and will protect and defend the truth. When the time comes that the nations will cast the elders out, and no longer receive their testimony, but “bow to Satan’s thrall,” as we heard in the anthem this afternoon, woe be unto them.”
      • “The Jews, in due time will be established in their own land, and the Lord will come, according to His promise, unto His people in the hour of their distress, and will deliver them from their enemies. Then will they look upon Him and discover His wounds and shall say: “What are these wounds in Thine hands.” And He shall answer them: “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” Then will they fall down and worship Him as their Redeemer —the Son of God.”
  • October 1910 General Conference
    • The Sin of Criticizing or Fault Finding
      • “It is a serious thing for any member of this Church to raise his voice against the priesthood, or to hold the priesthood in disrespect; for the Lord will not hold such guiltless; so He has promised, and He will fulfill.”
      • “It seems to be the heritage of the ungodly, of the bigoted, and of those who love iniquity, to sit in judgment and to place themselves as dictators, saying what shall be done and what shall be said by the authorities of the Church. They accuse the brethren of all manner of iniquity, dissimulation, falsehood, and try to cause a division between them and the people over whom they preside. They take unto themselves the prerogative of saying what shall and what shall not be the doctrine of the Church, what shall and what shall not be the government of the Church, when it concerns them not at all. But it is not of this class particularly that I desire to refer, but to those members of the Church who have entered into the waters of baptism and have made covenants before the Lord, that they will observe His laws and respect His priesthood, who have been persuaded, or who are in danger of being persuaded, by such characters. Occasionally, when a man has himself committed sin and has lost the spirit of the gospel, he will raise his voice against the actions of the authorities who preside over the Church; he will call them in question, sit in judgment upon them and condemn them. I wish to raise a warning voice to all such who hold membership in the Church, and say unto them, that they had better repent and turn unto the Lord, lest His judgments come upon them, lest they lose the faith and be turned from the truth.”
      • “The statement is often made by the enemies of the people, and we hear it upon the streets of this city, from time to time, that there is no revelation in the Church, I say to you that there is revelation in the Church. The Lord not only blesses the men who stand at the head and hold the keys of the kingdom, but He also blesses every faithful individual with the spirit of inspiration. He gives His people revelation for their own guidance, wherein they keep His commandments and serve Him. That is a blessing promised, and within their power to receive. We are blest with revelation; the Church is built upon that foundation. All the revelations given do not have to be written. The inspiration may come to the brethren, stating what shall be done, or what shall not be done, as the Lord directs them.”
      • “Whenever you find a man who spends his time abusing his neighbors, trying to tear down other people, you put it down that that man is not possessed of the Spirit of the Lord. But when a man tries to build up, when he tries to show you a better way, even though he be deceived, you may know that he is honest ; but never the man who tries to tear you to pieces, who tries to destroy, without offering you something better in return. Never is such a man honest.”

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