Theodore M. Burton

First Quorum of the Seventy (October 1, 1976 – September 30, 1989)
Assistant to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles (October 8, 1960 – October 1, 1976)

General Conference Addresses

  • October 1961 General Conference
    • Trust the Prophet
      • “So, if you were to translate that word you would have to know how it was used. Thus a translator must understand the meaning of the information he is to present; otherwise, his translation is impossible. So, if he is to translate, he must become an authority in other fields much more than just an authority in the language with which he is working. He must understand something about the subject being translated.”
      • “Life for the ordinary man is ofttimes frightening and bewildering. There is so much that we mortals fear. There is so much that we do not understand. There is so much that we do not know. When we talk of knowing, we talk of knowledge, and it would be well to ask ourselves what we mean by “knowledge.” Knowledge is only our interpretation of the evidence before us. If our interpretation of the evidence is wrong, our knowledge is false.”
      • “Thus one can trust a seer because a seer may see the heavens open. He may see the great vision of God working in all his majesty. He may see the fulness of truth as it is revealed to him by God who makes no mistakes. The evidence is clear, therefore, and the interpretation is clear. The seer can bear personal testimony, not based on books, not based on scholarship, not based on tradition, but based on the evidence of things that God himself can reveal to him in an actual experience with Deity. He may receive a revelation from God by actually seeing and hearing and being instructed in the real truth.”
  • April 1961 General Conference
    • With All thy Getting Get Understanding
      • “We must take this responsibility very seriously and realize that we were not chosen nor set apart to rule, but chosen and set apart to serve, to be the servants of all with whom we come in contact. We can best serve by teaching the divinity of Jesus Christ.”
      • “A simple tool in the hands of a skilled craftsman would be a marvelous thing. On the other hand, the finest of hand tools, or even a machine tool, in the hands of a clumsy oaf would be valueless.”
      • “God did not hesitate to use simple tools wherever he had to.”
      • “In other words, they were cursing those who believed the Son of God. In the pride of their learning they were not humble enough to believe, and God could not use such people. They had ears, but they could not hear. They had eyes, but they could not see. And so it was that God promised that in the last days he would restore all things of the kingdom, and just as the Lord had promised, he had to fulfil. So it came time for the Lord to keep the promise he had made and restore all things, but he needed someone on earth he could trust. He needed someone he could teach.”
      • “What causes intellectual apostasy? Why do some learned men and women turn from the faith? It is not learning, for there are hundreds of us, thousands of us, equally well-trained. It isn’t being exposed to different ideas, for we too were exposed to these ideas in the finest universities of the land. Why, then, do they lose their testimony? Principally out of vanity and pride. They want to impress others with their learning. To put it indelicately, it is the problem of the swelled head, because that is exactly what the Prophet said.”
      • “Now remember, it isn’t the simplicity of the tool that determines its value, but the skill of the workman who uses that tool. God, I am sure, would prefer to use the most skilled, the most able, the best-trained person that he could find, but that person must be humble and he must be teachable, and he must be willing to learn something new. We, with all our learning, stand just at the threshold of things that we need to know, just at the beginning of wisdom, with the rudiments of wisdom in our hands.”
  • October 1960 General Conference
    • Gratitude
      • “I am frightened, but only to this extent—frightened that I might not measure up to the responsibility that has been given me. President McKay told me that my responsibility would be to principally bear witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ, and this I can do from the bottom of my heart. I do know that Jesus is the Christ. I have covenanted with him to be his son. I have covenanted to bear that name, and I pray that I might always bear it honorably, that I might never do anything to bring dishonor to that glorious name.”

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