B. H. Roberts

First Council of the Seventy (October 7, 1888 – September 27, 1933)

General Conference Addresses

  • October 1912 General Conference
    • United in the Mission of the Church
      • “We know God through the revelation of Himself in the person of Jesus Christ; and that the Father and the Son and the spirit-personage known as the Holy Ghost, constitute the supreme godhead for us men, to whom we owe allegiance; to whom we submit our judgment and our will, for this alone is true worship.”
      • “We know also that in addition to this commission received of God to teach the truth, it is the mission of the Church to perfect the lives of those who receive the truth she teaches; and that through teaching, persuation, patience, and long suffering.”
      • “The Latter-day Saints are a blest people. There does exist—I was about to say there can exist, but I would rather say there does exist—perfect unity in relation to all these essentials; in regard to the faith we have received, in regard to the dispensation of the fulness of times which God has revealed in these days unto us. And so I rejoice in these blessings, and can look forward with perfect confidence that in all these great and essential things, touching the salvation of men, the Church of Christ will remain absolutely united. Belief in and acceptance of these things are essential to the unity and integrity and the very existence of the Church.”
      • “If only we can infuse into this sphere of the non-essentials, where one man’s judgment may be as good as another’s, if in that field we can only bring in the principle of charity, and of tolerance and the recognition of the liberty of all men, it seems to me then we shall have good reason to believe that in this sphere of nonessentials, we shall get along quite as happily as we may in the field where we are united in reference to absolute essentials.”
      • “While governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, there goes with that the awful, moral responsibility, direct to God, of every man and woman participating as sovereigns in a free government, for the kind of government that obtains in such country.”
  • April 1911 General Conference
    • Access to Truth
      • “Therein lies our strength—not in numbers, not in wealth, certainly not in political influence, certainly not in renown for learning, but in the truth or principles we have received from God, we are strong; not so much, either, because of the little truth that has been revealed to us, the little knowledge to which we have attained, but more because of that great ocean of knowledge that we have access to, through one of the great principles we announce as a doctrine to the world, namely this: “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important truths pertaining to the kingdom of God in these last days.” Through the acceptance of that doctrine we have access to God’s hidden treasures of knowledge; which, in comparison of that which men in this world have received, is as some mighty ocean to a lakelet.”
      • “I proclaim to you, my brethren and sisters, that in the Book of Mormon, more than in any other book written in this world, and I do not except the New Testament—in the Book of Mormon more than in any other book, we have there the necessity of, and the truth of the atonement of the Christ taught to the children of men as nowhere else. I rejoice in these truths; may the Lord seal them upon our hearts and give us grace and strength to live in harmony with them, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.”
  • October 1910 General Conference
    • The Glorious Restoration
      • “So I might continue to go on, step by step, through the whole catalog of those great and true principles that God has revealed to His Church—the doctrine of resurrection from the dead—the reality and tangibility of it I mean; salvation for the dead; the eternity of the marriage covenant, and so following, if time would permit; but the one thought, the one idea, only, that I hope to suggest in these remarks is simply this: Since, admittedly, these things are splendid and glorious, if true, why will not men approach an investigation of them from that standpoint? From the standpoint that it is desirable to have them established as true, if possible—these several events in which the Church had its origin, and these splendid doctrines which would mean so much for the uplifting of the race—if true? Why not start the investigation of this wonderful message which we proclaim to the world from that standpoint?”
  • October 1909 General Conference
    • God Does Not Walk in Crooked Paths
      • “God does not walk in crooked paths; and when men represent Him as varying from truth, or as walking in crooked paths, they blaspheme His name. And what the Lord Himself declares He will not do, He does not inspire men to do; therefore, God and His Church are anchored to the truth.”
      • “Neither God, nor His servants, nor His Church are out on a fencing match with Lucifer, using as weapons untruth, and chicanery.”
      • “Such is the Church of Christ to me. Love it? Why, what man, who even in a small degree catches a glimpse of the glory of this kingdom of Christ can fail to love it? Who, seeing its excellence, would not love it, and desire to see it honored among the children of men? Its honor and its word, when pledged, is the most sacred thing that can be plighted.”
  • April 1908 General Conference
    • Preaching in the Spirit of Peace
      • “We carry with us the Gospel of Peace, it is true, but occasionally we find Elders who shoot it at the people as if it were porcupine quills, with the result that they stir up needless animosities by their actions.”
      • “Now, take the passages together and you get something like the truth out of them. Let scripture interpret scripture; do not take it in fragments.”
      • “We should look upon the hosts of our Father’s children as our friends, as our brethren and sisters; and even where they are stirred up in animosity against us it should not create animosity in our hearts—nay, not even for those down here on the firing-line, with whom we are in immediate conflict. While they may hate us, it is no part of our business to hate them. We may have enemies, but we can, under the Gospel, be enemy to no man.”
      • “We will sacrifice no truth to please mortal man. We can’t be untrue to God; that is out of the question; but we can proceed peacefully in teaching this truth that God has committed to us and which is so perfect; we can and ought to cultivate the spirit of preaching it in the spirit of peace.”
  • October 1907 General Conference
    • Lessons from Missouri
      • “It is a pleasure to speak of honorable Christian conduct wherever we find it.”
      • “Now, I have pointed out to you the fact that you Latter-day Saints are beneath the protecting care of God; and, what strength that gives! what comfort, what a consolation! How brave it should make us! How strong it should inspire us to be! But it should not make us proud; rather it should make us humble; it should make us full of mercy and gentleness and consideration for others—for the strong and the brave are ever gentle and generous—and feeling about us as we must the strength of God, these qualities of gentleness, generosity, and justice towards others should always characterize the Church of God, the Latter-day Saints.”
  • April 1907 General Conference
    • The Church Interprets it Own Doctrine
      • “The Church, and the Church alone, holds the right of interpretation; and we are not bound to accept either the interpretation or the logical deductions built thereon that are made by others than the Church.”
      • “Here, then, is where we stand on this question of the interpretation of our doctrines—we insist upon our own interpretation—we refuse ‘to be bound by the interpretation of others, or by what they may consider logical deductions from our beliefs; and in this position we are sustained by the example of the great Catholic Church; by such authorities as Macaulay and Senator Hoar; and, what is better still, by the reasonableness of the thing itself.”
  • April 1906 General Conference
    • The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Evil
      •  “We ought to understand that. We do understand it. And it is important that the world should understand it, that they may come to regard us in our true light, as friends of humanity, and not enemies.”
      • “”The church of the devil” here alluded to I understand to mean not any particular church among men, or any one sect of religion, but something larger than that—something worldwide— something that includes within its boundaries all evil wherever it may be found; as well in schools of philosophy as in Christian sects; as well in systems of ethics as in systems of religion—something that includes the whole empire of Satan—what I shall call “The Kingdom of Evil.””
    • Teaching and Learning Truth
      • “In my thought upon the Gospel and its development, there is no one thing connected with it which has more impressed me than the fact that of all the teachers, the Lord is the wisest instructor. He adopts strictly scientific methods in teaching. He is a splendid workman.”
      • “In giving instructions to a prophet or to a people, we shall find that He prepares the minds of the people to receive the truth before the truth is announced.”
      • “We may be proud without limit of the Church which God has founded but whether we may be as proud of our own personal conduct within the Church is a question that may present a different aspect.”
      • “This is important, brethren, because if we are going to master this world, we must master it through our ideas, through the truths that God has given us; and we may not master the world even with that truth if we ourselves remain ignorant of it and its relations.”
  • October 1905 General Conference
    • The Truth of the Work
      • “Much has been said during this conference concerning the opposition that is waged against the work of God, and by the remarks made I have been reminded of a saying current in France to the effect that for a man guilty of crime two courses only lie before him: one is confession, the other is suicide; and they add, “suicide is confession.” So -with those who feel disposed to attack this work. They may attack the administration of it, or they may attack its fundamental doctrines and seek to disprove it altogether; and in either event the attempt will end in failure as surely as confession or suicide ends in one result. To attack the administration of the work of the Lord under our present circumstances, in this year of grace 1905, is vain; for the testimony of all who have spoken and the testimony in the hearts of the Saints of God bear witness that there never was a time in the history of the church, when individual liberty was more respected than now, and when the necessarily great administrative power in. The presiding officer was exercised in more moderation. So that to my mind: those who assail the administration of this work proclaim their own unwisdom and fret out only their own folly. To attack the Church in its fundamental doctrines is useless; for they are invulnerable, and not to be overthrown, by the efforts of the ungodly to disprove their truth. Therefore, if these people who interest themselves in our concerns will take a word of advice, I would suggest, in the language of one of old, that they would best let this work alone; for if it be of man, it will come to naught of itself; and if it be of God, they cannot do aught against it, and possibly they may find themselves fighting against God.”
  • April 1905 General Conference
    • Revelation of Christ
      • “But great and magnificent as is this revelation of God’s glory and power through His works, it is inadequate to meet all the requirements of man. There are great questions that the stars cannot answer. There are great problems that this world of ours cannot solve. I ask the question in the presence of this great revelation that comes from God, through nature. Whence is man, and the purpose of his existence? And the stars give no answer to that question.”
      • “Another mode of revelation recognized by ourselves and also by the Christian world is the revelation of God through Jesus Christ. He is the crowning revelation; for in Him, in His person and character, was revealed the Divine. The Father was revealed through Him. He is spoken of as being the express image of the Father; and henceforth the world has a means by which they may know, not only the being, the existence of God, but the kind of being He is, namely, that He is the express image of the Lord Jesus Christ; for as the Son is the express image of the Father, so also the Father must be the express image of the Son.”
      • “If God says, move forward, we will move forward. If He says, halt, we will halt. If He says, turn to the right or turn to the left, we will turn accordingly. And our faith is if we shall walk under the guidance of God no harm can come to us individually, nor harm come to the work of God. Only such things will happen as will tend to the progress of God’s work, and the glorification of His name in the earth.”
      • “For the life of me I cannot understand how anyone, Jew or Gentile, Heathen or Christian, who believes in God at all can stop short of this perfect submission unto His will; which submission of the mind to God is alone true worship.”
      • “I believe that doctrine, and it ought to be a mighty source of encouragement to the Elders who are preaching the gospel among the nations of the earth. They toil and labor, they distribute tracts, they try to make their voice heard in the midst of the world’s clamor, and they may think from surface indications that their labors are vain, that their voice is lost as though they were crying in a wilderness. Not so; but as they speak in halls or crowded thoroughfares God’s Spirit bears witness to the hearts of those at all susceptible to its influence in testimony of the truths uttered; and it will be because the world rejects that testimony which comes to their souls that there will be condemnation for them, and not because they have rejected the words spoken by the Elders.”
      • “And though “the world”—regarding “the world” in the light of my suggestion—may hate us, let us see to it that we do not hate the world. We may dislike their acts; we may not be able to look upon their actions with the least degree of allowance; we must say that their actions are wicked and that they and their actions are ungodly; but after all, they are the children of God, though they have wandered far from Him, and it is our mission to send forth the voice that shall call them back, to stretch out a hand that shall lead them into the fold. Such is the spirit of the gospel as we have received it, and such our faith in the revelations of God.”
  • October 1904 General Conference
    • The Growth of the Church
      • “Side by side with this early development of the work of God, there was also developed a spirit of opposition and persecution against it. Wherever the work spread, the spirit of opposition accompanied it.”
      • “And so step by step, step by step, line upon line, precept upon precept, these principles have been revealed, and they have been operating, and have brought to pass that which men may see this day.”
      • “This work in which we are engaged is not a mere skirmish with error. It is not a battle of the outposts. It is not an occasion where a more or less brilliant mind has seized upon and developed some fragments or truth, and made them honorable for a moment in the eyes of men, but soon to be lost sight of—to be forgotten with the death of him who advocated them. Our work is not a mere guerilla warfare taken up against error and sin, and against the spiritual bondage of mankind. It is God’s heavenly army of peace and of righteousness in the earth with all its companies, battalions and divisions properly organized. Its movements remind one of the marching of the old Roman legions. It is God’s spiritual kingdom, which is going to remain and prevail in the earth.”
  • April 1904 General Conference
    • Jesus the Christ
      • “The various sects of Christendom may be in error in relation to many things, and in error concerning some matters pertaining to this fact of the resurrection; but I rejoice that through all the apostasy from the true religion of Jesus Christ this one part of the Gospel remains in the minds and hearts of so many people, and is with them a hope and an inspiration to higher and to better living.”
      • “It was glorious in this for one thing—it brought forth a full and complete revelation of God through the person and character of the Lord Jesus Christ. For, in addition to the work of redemption that He wrought out for mankind, Jesus Christ stood forth as the revealed Deity, as God manifested in the flesh, the revelation of God to man; so that henceforth all the mists that befog philosophy, all the errors of science falsely so called, all the mystery that Paganism had interwoven with this theme, might stand remove from the vision of man, and hencefort God should be known not only as to the fact of His being, but also as to the kind of being He is.”
      • “Running parallel with that great truth is this other truth, that he must school himself to live in harmony with truth as God reveals it. The sooner he learns that lesson the sooner will he be in the way of perpetual and eternal happiness. He must conform to law, for it is universal and infinite.  It is everywhere operating. Man cannot escape it. Observance of the law will bring him happiness and peace, and he will find himself in harmony with all the infinities through obedience to law.”
      • “We have a word of warning- to the Gentile races upon this promised land of the western world. Honor the God of this land, says our Book of Mormon. If ye honor Him not, but steel your hearts against Him, however great our love may be for you, the warning word of God is, that if you honor not the God of this land, who is Jesus Christ, you may read your fate in the calamities that have overtaken the former nations, who in pride and worldly glory once occupied this land from north to south as you do. But we will not be doubtful of you, but hopeful, that you will honor the God of the land—Jesus Christ.”
  • October 1903 General Conference
    • Witnesses
      • “Truly the dawning of a brighter day has arisen majestically on the world! The dawn of that day began when God once more renewed divine communication with men.”
      • “There is much glamor of sophistry, which may be taken for profound reason and argument, in the work to which I call your attention. But one word answers this philosophical accounting for our Prophet. The work accomplished by him, the institutions he founded, destroy the whole fabric of premises and argument on which this theory is based. Great as was the Prophet Joseph Smith—and he was great; to him more than to any other man of modern times was it given to look deep into the things that are; to comprehend the heavens and the laws that obtain there; to understand the earth, its history, and its mission.”
      • “As I understand the Church of Christ its mission is two-fold: first, it is to proclaim the truth; second, it is to perfect those who receive the truth. I think these two things cover, in a general way, the entire mission of the Church.”
      • “I rejoice in these truths. They cannot be accounted for by any theory that refers their origin to hallucinations of an epileptic’s mind. They are too substantial, too grand, too rational, too sublime, too soul inspiring, to have any such contemptible origin. Their own intrinsic value—their own self evident truth—the institution to which they are committed as to a sacred depository for the benefit of mankind — The Church—all this proclaims their divine origin.”
  • April 1903 General Conference
    • The Effect of the Restoration
      • “If time would permit it, I should only be too glad to call attention, not only to the direct evidences of growth and of interest in the work of God, but also to the indirect means that God is employing in the matter of enlarging His work and preparing the way for nations to be born within it in a day. It does seem to me that the whole world is fermenting with the leaven that God planted when He brought this work into the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. To the Church has been assigned the honor of the title role in God’s great drama of the last days. But as in the drama the actor bearing the title role does not alone develop the thought of the poet’s mind, so we as the Church of Latter-day Saints, though bearing the honor of the position assigned to us, do not constitute the only force that God is using in bringing to pass His great and mighty purposes.”
      • “The theology of the world has changed since the introduction of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can find no minister today to voice from his pulpit the doctrine of infant damnation. You can get no minister today to deny the possibility of continued revelation from God. You can get no minister today to undertake to defend the position that God, by a mere caprice of His sovereign will, “sends one to heaven and ten to hell”—not for any good or ill they have done before Him, but just for His glory. The doctrine which the poet Burns satirizes in substantially that language is a thing of the past in the pulpits of men. These modifications in the Christian world’s theology—and a hundred other modifications—have been due chiefly to the truths God revealed through Joseph Smith the prophet; and thousands of eloquent tongues and pens have been employed teaching these truths which have led to the correction of many errors in religion, without knowing the origin of their doctrine.”
      • “If man with his limited knowledge and intellectual powers can accomplish so much, is it difflcult to believe that God has accomplished all that is accredited to Him in the revelations of the prophets?”
  • April 1902 General Conference
    • Futility of Opposition to the Church
      • “I cannot help but rejoice just a little—the brethren must excuse me if there is just a little worldliness in my makeup, enough at least to rejoice in the failure of those who have assailed the work of God. Truly, it must be just a little humiliating to them when they see all their purposes thwarted, and every storm they start passes over the Saints only to leave them the stronger and the more confirmed in their faith. I cannot help but exult just a little at this condition of things.”
  • October 1901 General Conference
    • The Bread of Life
      • “When the exodus from Nauvoo took place, there were some hundreds, perhaps thousands, that were not able to face the wilderness march and take their chances with the people of God. They were weak in the faith—you have to say that of them; and doubtless they will not be numbered among those who will be accounted valiant for the testimony of Jesus. But the spirit of wicked apostasy did not enter into the hearts of all those who thus, in these various trials, lacked the strength to keep up with the vanguard of the Church in all its movements.”
      • “The Lord gives unto His people periods of rest from outside pressure. I believe that these periods of rest from persecution, while they are full of danger, may also be made very profitable unto the people. It gives us an opportunity to drive the roots of our faith still deeper into the soil of the soul, so that when the storms shall again assail us we shall be more firmly rooted and less liable to be shaken than before our faith took its deeper rooting. And the outside storms will come.”
      • “But just now we are at rest, and have an abounding prosperity. Let us, therefore, take advantage of this period of rest, and see to it that we strengthen the faith of the youth growing up in our midst; so that when the storms that they must meet shall come, they will be rooted and grounded in the faith and be able to follow in the footsteps of their faithful fathers and mothers, In Israel. That is what I desire to see done.”
    • Reverence for God, Parents and Priesthood
      • “So that however harsh you may think the law of God as given to Moses upon this matter of requiring that there shall be honor for father and for mother among God’s people, I answer your charge of harshness against the law of God with the statement that the Lord Jesus Christ approved of it, harsh as it may seem. And reproved sharply those who rendered of non-effect the commandment, by their tradition.”
      • “Now all I desire to do on this occasion is to impress upon your minds the importance of this doctrine, of honoring father and mother, as well as of honoring the name of Deity. These are kindred commandments, and there is almost as much need to teach the youth of Israel respect for father and mother as there is to teach them reverence for the name of Deity.”
      • “Priesthood is God’s power delegated to man, and the humblest that holds that power has a claim upon the respect of both old and young in the midst of the Saints.”
      • “We take into account too much the weaknesses of men, and do not honor sufficiently the Priesthood they hold, and by which they teach the children of men and administer the ordinances of the Gospel.”
      • “We make a mistake if we think we are fulfilling the law of God which commands that His servants shall be honored by honoring the more prominent officials In the church while we sneer at and laugh at and deride the efforts of the more humble servants of God who come among us to instruct us in the things of the Kingdom.”
  • April 1898 General Conference
    • Great Cause for Serving the Lord
      • “I wish to bear testimony to you that the testimony of the Spirit of God to my heart is that there is a wonderful significance in the opening of the way for the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the nations. The Lord hath softened the hearts of the children of men, and in fulfillment of the prediction of His servant, President, Prophet, Seer and Revelator of the Church of Christ, hath broken down the barriers and opened up pathways for the servants of God, that they might cry repentance unto this generation, and that the warning might be sounded in their ears before judgment shall be poured out upon them. The Lord in this generation hath not left Himself without witness unto the children of men. He has not only given this word that I have read to you, for His servants to make proclamation of among the inhabitants of the earth; but He has gathered together a people from every land, brought here by the proclamation of this warning message, and hath in this manner builded a monument of warning unto this generation. It seems to me that He has taken more pains to proclaim unto the present generation of men the judgments that are in store for them than He did in the days of Noah; for if the teachings of Noah and the building of an ark were a witness unto that generation of the destruction that was threatened, surely the gathering together of this people, together with every temple that they have erected, and every mighty Conference that they have held, is God’s witness and voice unto the inhabitants of the earth that the controversy He hath with them is most surely to take place.”
  • October 1897 General Conference
    • Testimony of the Truth
      • “I know of no greater reward to strive for than this, and with all my soul, I desire to overcome the weaknesses and imperfections of humanity and at the last be received into the kingdom of our God.”

Other Talks

  • Joseph Smith’s Mission, Lecture at the 14th Ward, Salt Lake City, January 28, 1884
    • “In considering the subject of our lecture, the question naturally arises; What was Joseph Smith’s mission? It was the mission of Joseph Smith, under God’s direction, to establish the Church of Christ and the Kingdom of God upon the earth; and to the accomplishment of this work he devoted the whole energy of his life, and was faithful unto death.”

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