Mark E. Petersen

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (April 20, 1944 – January 11, 1984)

General Conference Addresses

  • April 1975 General Conference
    • The Sabbath Day
      • “But in spite of all the Lord has said, mankind still trifles with his word, and either by neglect or outright disobedience they set aside his word with impunity and go on their merry way.”
      • “One of the most glaring of our inconsistencies is our attitude toward the Sabbath day. It is a sacred day. It is holy, and we should not trifle with it.”
      • “No law in all scripture has been more clearly defined than that of the Sabbath. From the time of Genesis to our own day, there has been no subject spoken of more directly or repeatedly than the Sabbath. It is one of the laws most dear to the heart of God. Yet it is noted far more in its desecration than in its acceptance and proper observance.”
      • “The Lord does know what he is talking about. Sabbath observance will help us to more fully remain unspotted from the world.”
      • “If we are to do none other thing on Sunday but to devote the day to holy purposes, what is our situation if we willfully choose to operate our businesses on the Sabbath, or if we patronize such Sunday businesses, or if we go to places of recreation on Sunday?”
      • “If we violate his holy day—willingly and willfully—to that extent do we not become enemies of God? We do most certainly become covenant breakers, for he gave us his Sabbath by covenant—a perpetual covenant throughout all generations. (See Ex. 31:16.)”
  • October 1947 General Conference
    • A Strong America
      • “We often speak of our freedoms. There is no freedom like the freedom of righteousness. The penalty of sin is slavery and death. He who is the victim of his own evil conduct is in reality much more a slave than the cowering subjects of the most dictatorial despot.”
      • “If America would remain mighty, she must have the strength of sobriety, of chastity and virtue, of honesty and integrity, and the power of true spirituality. If she would be strong, America must enjoy—in addition to her political freedoms, indeed one might say, as a condition to the perpetuation of her political freedoms—those other freedoms which are as essential to her welfare as any of the liberties listed in the Bill of Rights.”
      • “The strength of the nation is measured in a large degree by the home life of the individual citizens. What makes a home strong? It is character, and good character mean integrity, honesty, morality, the spirit of fair play, self-reliance, and an abiding faith in God. As we speak of the great men in history, we frequently refer to their home life, with a fireside about which the family met, a saintly mother, a period of devotion, the reading of the Sacred Word, a family prayer. Out of such an atmosphere our great men acquired an attitude of self-reliance, an enterprising spirit, a willingness to work, with honesty and integrity as guiding stars, and a due regard for the teachings of the Almighty. Is each American family today contributing in this manner to our national greatness? Are we strengthening the sinews of our country with homes like this, or are we content to settle back into conditions which lead to disruption of these foundation stones of a strong democracy?”
      • “That we should work for what we get is a divine principle.”
      • “Let us remember too, that faith in God is inseparably connected with sincere repentance from sin, and that as a people, to enjoy the fruits of faith—including continued freedom—we must live in keeping with the principles of revealed religion.”
  • April 1947 General Conference
    • Love of Neighbor
      • “There are too many among us who do not live the way we pray.”
      • “Well, some people say: “I would like to help the poor in my own way.” I think we all should help the poor in our own way, but I think likewise we should help the poor in the Lord’s way.”
      • “We need the faith and prayers of the Saints. But remember that you have a responsibility to live the way you pray, and when you ask that the leaders of this Church may be guided by inspiration, then you be willing to live by the inspiration that comes from those Authorities.”
      • “Yes, we are in a testing ground, testing whether or not we are worthy to be called Saints, whether we love the Lord our God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. We are being tried to see if we are willing, even in a time of extremity, to share, if it is our last crust of bread, with another who is hungry.”
  • October 1946 General Conference
    • Train Up a Child
      • “I do not in any way wish to minimize the responsibility of the parents with regard to their children, but if Bishop Brown had read further into the reports of these national experts, he would have discovered that these same authorities declare that a large part of the responsibility for the juvenile delinquency in America must also be borne by the local leaders of various churches; that the religious leaders of our communities must shoulder a good part of the responsibility. Some of the young people who had gone astray came from that bishop’s own ward. Did he ever connect their delinquency with his own work as a bishop? Did he connect it at all with the work being done by his Sunday School, Primary, Mutual Improvement Associations, or Aaronic Priesthood leaders? Did he trace the difficulty in which these young people found themselves to any failure on the part of the leadership of the various organizations in his ward to carry out successfully the youth program of the Church?”
      • “When our young people fall, can you count the cost of it? Remember there is a price tag attached to every evil deed, and that price tag is a big one. The cost of sin is so great that it can hardly be measured by mortal men, but it must be counted in remorse, broken hearts, lost opportunities, and lost souls. Compare that price with the price of well-supervised, Church-sponsored recreation. Compare that price with the expenditure of time and effort required to conduct good M Men and Cleaner activity, or a good Boy Scout, Aaronic Priesthood, Junior girl, or Bee Hive program. Which price would you rather pay?”
  • April 1946 General Conference
    • In Defense of Liberty
      • “Latter-day Saints, of all people, should stand firm in defense of freedom. Free agency has a special meaning to us. We know that without free agency there would be no progress. We all know that the gospel itself is based upon the principle of free agency. Yet there are some among us who have allowed themselves to slip to one side or the other, and they need to reorient themselves in line with the divine revelations we have received concerning the principle of freedom.”
      • “I appeal to every Latter-day Saint to accept the divine principle of free agency and to adopt it in his life. I appeal to you to remember this principle when you are confronted by organizations and groups and movements in this country, which are now arising and assuming great power. Before you become engulfed in them, measure their practices and their purposes by the measuring rod of free agency, and you remember that God said it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.”
  • October 1945 General Conference
    • Be Ye Not Deceived
      • “We have always felt that that merchant was an extremely wise man, because he was willing to give up all that he possessed in order to acquire the pearl of great price. But let me ask you, what would you have thought of that merchant had the parable been reversed and he had given up the pearl of great price in exchange for something of little or no value?”
      • “We have some among us who are doing that very thing. In their own lives they reverse the parable of the Lord and they give up the pearl of great price for a fleeting fancy. They actually sell their birthright in the kingdom of God for less than a mess of pottage.”
      • “From time to time in the Church section of The Deseret News—which section I do recommend to all of you as one of the finest publications that you can have in your home from time to time that publication carries a list of names of individuals who have been excommunicated from this Church. These excommunicants at one time were all members of the kingdom of God, and at one time they all possessed the pearl of great price. But each one of them has reversed that parable in his own life and has given up the pearl of great price with all its values and with all its blessings. What a pity! What a tragedy!”
      • “One of the reasons people apostatize from this Church is that they have failed to heed the warning of the scriptures against listening to false teachers who raise their voices in our midst. In spite of the fact that these warnings of the scriptures are crystal clear, many of our people fail to heed them.”
      • “How do these false teachers lead people astray? They do so by attacking the fundamental doctrines of the Church. They attack the Authorities of the Church. They attack the teachings of the Authorities. They seek to develop doctrinal disputes among the people to undermine their faith, and they lead people into apostasy when they do such things as that. Very often false teachers who have come among us endeavor to justify their position by claiming to have received some revelation or dream directing them, they say, in the paths which they tread.”
      • “There were disputes anciently among the Jews, over the doctrines of the church, and these disputes led people to apostasy. There were disputes among the ancient Nephites likewise, just as there are disputes among some of our people today, disputes, let me remind you, which lead to apostasy and excommunication from the Church.”
      • “Salvation comes not by being tossed about by every wind of doctrine but by learning the truth as it is taught by the inspired, authorized leaders of the Church, and then having learned that truth, by living up to it and enduring in faithfulness unto the very end.”
  • April 1945 General Conference
    • On Sustaining Authority
      • “So with the Lord we take sides. We are either for him or we are against him. We are strengthening his work or we are weakening his work. Every Latter-day Saint should ask himself whether he is for the Lord or whether he is against the Lord; whether his deeds are sustaining and strengthening the work of God or whether his deeds, even his indifference, are weakening the work of the Lord.”
      • “I ask you again, my brethren, and my sisters on the air, are you for the Lord and his program or are you against them? Are you for the authorities of the Church or are you against them? Are you gathering with them, or are you scattering abroad? Are you on the Lord’s side?”
  • October 1944 General Conference
    • Watchmen of the Vineyard
      • “The gospel plan has many fields of activity. Each one of those fields is vital and essential. We have the work of the priesthood quorums for men and for boys; we have the Church welfare plan; we have our financial system of tithing, and fast, and other offerings; we have the work of the auxiliaries: we have the plan of clean living, known as the Word of Wisdom, and many other fields of activity. Each one is positively essential in its place; each one was set there by the Lord himself as part of the plan of salvation. It is not for us to say that any part of the plan of God is not essential. It is not for us to say that any part is unimportant, to be disregarded with impunity.”
      • “The Lord expects us to live the gospel by participating in the program of the Church. Every part of that program may be likened unto the trees and the tower in the parable I have read to you. Each tree was planted by commandment of the Lord; the tower was to be erected likewise by the commandment of the Lord, who clearly explained to his servants the purpose of the construction of such a tower.”
      • “That is so much like human nature. When we regard our work in the Church, let us remember that we are working in the vineyard of the Lord, and that we are his servants, just as the servants who worked in the planting of those olive-trees. And remember, too, that if we esteem lightly the word of the Lord in the day of our prosperity, in the day of our trouble he may be slow to hearken unto our prayers, to answer us and provide for our needs.”
  • April 1944 General Conference
    • Gratitude for Blessings
      • “I am indeed grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am most happy that the Lord permitted me to be born in a Latter-day Saint home, where my parents taught me to believe in the message which they had received in a foreign land, the message which I shall bear to all the world through the rest of my life.”
      • “I know that God lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God. I know it as well as if I had seen him, and I shall take great pleasure in declaring His word for the remainder of my life.”
      • “I am thankful for my testimony of the divinity of the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I love him. I have read all I could find about him. I know that God spoke to him and appeared to him, and I know that his testimony, for which he died, is true.”

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