F. Burton Howard

First Quorum of the Seventy (September 30, 1978 – October 1, 2005)

General Conference Addresses

  • April 2003 General Conference
    • Eternal Marriage
      • “Sadly, the significance of these beautiful words is subsiding. Far too many marriages today end in divorce. Selfishness, sin, and personal convenience often prevail over covenants and commitment.”
      • “A covenant is a sacred promise. We promise to do some things, and God binds Himself to do others. To those who keep the covenant of marriage, God promises the fulness of His glory, eternal lives, eternal increase, exaltation in the celestial kingdom, and a fulness of joy. We all know that, but sometimes we don’t give much thought to what we have to do to receive these blessings.”
      • “Nor are those who neglect the commandments or who fail to sustain their leaders. Even those who merely decline callings, neglect neighbors, or moderately adopt worldly ways are at risk. If we are not keeping our part of the covenant, we have no promise.”
      • “For years I thought she was just a little bit eccentric, and then one day I realized that she had known for a long time something that I was just beginning to understand. If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.”
  • April 1996 General Conference
    • Commitment
      • “Our justifications are many. We say we will do it later. We have something more important to do right now. We don’t feel well or we don’t feel qualified or we don’t want to be fanatical about it.”
      • “The Church does have many needs, and one of them is for more people who will just do what they have agreed to do, people who will show up for work and stay all day, who will quietly, patiently, and consistently do what they have agreed to do—for as long as it takes, and who will not stop until they have finished.”
      • “Promises are not just pretty words. Promises have eternal consequences.”
  • April 1991 General Conference
    • Repentance
      • “When faced with the consequences of transgression, rather than looking to ourselves as the source of the discomfort which always accompanies sin, many of us tend to blame someone else. Rather than getting out of a vicious and senseless circle, we fault our neighbor for our pain and try to pass it on. But to repent we must leave the circle.”
      • “This not only means that we will not be punished for what Adam did in the Garden, but also that we cannot excuse our own behavior by pointing a finger to Adam or anyone else. The real danger in failing to accept responsibility for our own actions is that unless we do, we may never even enter on the strait and narrow path. Misconduct that does not require repentance may be pleasant at first, but it will not be for long. And it will never lead us to eternal life.”
      • “The truth is that we are judged by the means we employ and not by the ends we may hope to obtain.”
  • October 1986 General Conference
    • Come Back to the Lord
      • “Now, did you notice the elements of their return? It wasn’t easy. They had always known. She had prayed for years. There was a lot of wasted time. Finally, before it was too late, they talked to the bishop, repentance took place, old attitudes and habits were forgotten, and they came back.”
      • “Now notice again, the scripture speaks of darkness overshadowing those who have abandoned the faith. The effect of darkness is to prevent one from seeing clearly. To find the way back, as Aminadab discovered, one must repent and pray until doubt and darkness disappear and important things can be seen again.”
      • “Some years ago it was fashionable in certain circles to use the phrase, “You can never go home again.” That is just simply not true. It is possible to return. It is possible for those who have ceased to pray, to pray again. It is possible for those who are lost to find their way through the dark and come home.”
  • April 1983 General Conference
    • Repentance
      • “Many know they are not living up to their potential but for various reasons have procrastinated making changes in their lives. Some long for they know not what and spend their lives in a haphazard pursuit of happiness.”
      • “Free agency in the plan of salvation contemplates that men and women are free to choose the direction of their lives for themselves. Repentance means that as imperfect beings sometimes make imperfect decisions, they may correct their course.”
  • April 1981 General Conference
    • In Saving Others We Save Ourselves
      • “I have come to know that in this age of anxiety, and sometimes selfishness, there are not many of us willing to forego comforts or hard-earned security in order to concern ourselves with the welfare of others outside of our immediate circle of acquaintance. But some are—and some do. Everywhere I have been, I have met some faithful Saints who love, pray for, and watch over their fellowmen, both in and out of the Church. By means of a parable (I believe I can call it that), I would like to speak to that comparative handful of God’s children who have learned to live for others—and more particularly to those who have not.”
      • “And so it is. None of us could have arrived at the point where we listen to and enjoy this great conference without others. Our testimonies, our greatest blessings, our membership and activity in Christ’s church—all of these we owe to the often unremembered and always unnumbered hundreds who gave of their time and their patience and their love to us when we were trying to find our way in the desert. They brought living water to us, or to our parents, or to our parents’ parents. Whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not, whether we are grateful or not, we are where we are because of others.”
  • October 1978 General Conference
    • Be One with the Prophet
      • “At the risk of being unduly personal, I would like to tell you how I feel about the gospel. I love it, not compelled by lack of choice or circumstance nor by the uncritical adoption of patterns commanded from afar; not manipulated, but acting consciously, constructively, purposely, giving a freewill offering of the heart. I want to be involved in the Lord’s work—humbly, totally, positively, and honestly; neither subordinating my soul to nor seeking dominion over others, but being freely one with those who are his, sharing and caring, thankful to be a part of the work wherever it may be, not to escape aloneness nor to fill life with self-deceptive activity, but rather knowingly and willingly doing what must be done; a grateful fellow servant, supporting, building, loving, lending heart and breath to a great cause.”

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