John Wells

Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric (July 18, 1918 – April 6, 1938)

General Conference Addresses

  • April 1922 General Conference
    • Service and Selfishness
      • “What a glorious blessing it is to feel the power and influence of the Holy Spirit, under which we make new resolves and determinations to better serve the Lord. There is something in “Mormonism,” commonly so-called, or the gospel of Jesus Christ, that forces every one of us, when under its influence, to think better, to act better and to make new resolves.”
      • “No one can perform a good act or a service for the Lord but what he rids himself of some selfishness.”
      • “The more we love God, and the more we try to serve Hi-m, the more we shall love our fellow men; and the more we shall desire to labor for our Master. We cannot separate our religion into two parts, to be forgotten in worldly affairs and to be remembered on the Sabbath day only. Every Latter-day Saint who has in his heart a desire to love God and to keep His commandments, must, at the same time, love his fellow men, and this great body of Latter-day Saints demonstrate, as no other people on this earth have done, the force and power behind the great commandment of our Lord and Master, and the sacrifice and labors of the Latter-day Saints for the love of their fellow men. This is almost beyond comprehension.”
  • October 1921 General Conference
    • Cooperation
      • “We cooperate wonderfully in spiritual things. Our system of organization, and the operation of the stakes, wards and missions, are the admiration of all unbiased investigators. In all the affairs of the wards and stakes, cooperation is the basic idea. But when it comes to business, we are actuated purely by the spirit of competition. That competition is for the profit of individuals or groups of individuals, and not in the interest of the community. Under our present competitive system of living, you will find in the small communities a number of people in commercial pursuits, supplying our needs for the purpose of making profit for themselves. Why not develop the spirit by which the community owns these institutions? Why not develop cooperative purchasing as we are now developing cooperative selling? This cooperative spirit could be developed in the cultivation of large tracts of land, in flocks and herds, merchandising, banking, canals and water problems, and in many other ways, some of which have already been developed in the older states and in the countries of Europe.”
  • April 1920 General Conference
    • Building the Kingdom of God
      • “I thank my heavenly Father that I belong to a Church that has placed upon me the duty of working out my own salvation; where I can labor in the cause of the Master; where I can be one of the ministry, serving him and assisting to bring about his purposes on the earth.”
      • “If we want to see temples dotting this land of Zion, this choice land above all other lands, let us remember that it can be done by the payment of our tithes and offerings. If we want beautiful houses of worship, let us pay our tithes and offerings. If we want to be content in this land that it shall be a land of Zion unto us, let us pay our tithes and offerings.”
  • October 1919 General Conference
    • The Sabbath Day
      • “I see before me Latter-day Saints who have felt in their hearts the power and influence of the gospel and who, in their daily lives, are striving with all their human weaknesses to serve the Lord and to keep his commandments.”
      • “Some of us go to meeting because it is a habit (and it is an excellent habit too). I would not decry nor speak against any habit that is a good one. Do we enter the sacrament meeting as if it were a commonplace affair?”
      • “There is something more important in this sacrament meeting than going to listen to speaking. The Lord has commanded us that as often as we shall meet together and partake of the sacrament in remembrance of his sufferings that we shall worship him in spirit and in truth. We should enter our meetinghouses with a spirit of reverence to God and to his servants, reverence for the house of worship and for the sacrifice made by our Lord and Savior, for he has promised us that if we will partake of the sacrament worthily and renew our covenants before him, he will grant unto us his holy Spirit. We should, therefore, enter the house of worship with the Spirit of the Lord in our hearts. Peace and order should prevail in that building and throughout the whole of the service.”
      • “We should set the example and teach our young people that when we enter the house of the Lord, we should do so with the spirit of devotion in our hearts, and partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, remembering his death and sufferings. Whatever we do should be done in the spirit of devotion and worship. We should not partake of the sacrament mechanically, we should repeat mentally the sacramental prayer. Our eyes should be closed and our thoughts concentrated on the sacred duty we are performing when we partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper.”
  • June 1919 General Conference
    • Remembrances of Pres. Smith
      • “That same night, as the train was moving across the plains of Wyoming, President Smith stood at the back of the car taking a rest from a long, tedious day’s journey. Any of you who have traveled day after day in a railway train know what relief it is to stand up or move around for awhile. I tell you this incident to show you how President Smith was susceptible to the Still Small Voice. While standing at the back of the train he heard a voice telling him to go into the car, and he did so. Later he was walking up and down the corridor and was told by the same Voice to sit down. He did so. A few moments later the engine ran off the track and tilted the train on an angle which scared us all. Had President Smith been in the back of the train or walking in the corridor he might have been very seriously injured, but the Lord had regard for him and he was prompted by a Voice which he understood so well, and he acted accordingly.”

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