The Book of Mormon and the Constitution
W. Cleon Skousen. The Book of Mormon and the Constitution. May 17, 1990. For most of his adult life, W. Cleon Skousen participated in the BYU “Know Your Religion” series, where BYU religion professors travel throughout the United States giving talks to instruct and inspire the Saints. This speech was given at one of these series, at the Riverton North Stake, Riverton, Utah, on May 17, 1990.
I want to congratulate the Sunday School and all of you for participating in this special Education Week program. Since we’ve had the block approach for our Sunday services, it has been just great to get through the necessary exercises. However all of our classes have to be extremely concentrated and there’s no time for a Parley P. Pratt to speak for two hours like they used to do. Everything has to be very condensed and very concentrated, and maybe that’s a good discipline for us anyway.
But these Education Nights are designed especially for a little deeper probe into some aspects of the gospel.
The 1990’s: The Last Decade of the Sixth Seal
As all of you know and realize, beginning with the year 1990 we have probably reached one of the most important benchmarks in world history. This is the great decade that constitutes the last ten years of the sixth seal. The Lord has a tremendous amount of work to accomplish in these ten years.
The secular prognosticators thought that they had the 1980’s all figured out and they were predicting certain things to happen in a certain way. Then suddenly, the Lord’s time-line cut across 1989, turned it upside down, changed everything, and you are in a new world today. The Berlin Wall is down. That was the Lord’s time-line.
You’re going to see the Lord’s time-line cut back and forth all the way across the 1990’s, because he has a lot to do. Many of the things that secular prognosticators have anticipated will not come to pass, because [page 138] the Lord has to get his work done.
So tonight I’m going to mention a few things that are significant as we go into the decade of the 1990’s, with special emphasis on what President Benson has said that we have a responsibility to accomplish.
Prophecies of the Fall of the Berlin Wall
Six months before the Berlin Wall came down you could have seen what was coming. You could anticipate it. Six months before that you couldn’t have. A person would have been foolhardy to have predicted eighteen months ago that the Berlin Wall would come down by November 9, 1989. No one would have dared to predict it! But nevertheless, it came down.
The leaders of the Church have been talking about this ever since 1859, as far as I can tell. Orson Pratt was the first one to say that there are some tremendous things that have to be done to change the climate of the Slavic countries and Russia before the gospel can go in, but it is going to go in. 1
In 1 Nephi 14, Nephi had a vision, and he saw our day, as Moroni later did, and he said that we were there: the missionaries were in Russia. We were in China. We were in India. We were in every one of the 168 nations in the world today. 2 This is the decade when we go. Well, as I said, eighteen months ago that was impossible. Then after November it looked plausible, and now, it’s happening!
Apostle Melvin J. Ballard, the father of our present Apostle M. Russell Ballard, spoke at General Conference on April 6, 1930, while I was just getting ready to go on my mission. He said, “I want you to be aware that the Lord is working in Russia.” It was interesting what he said:
“Much as we are disturbed over the tyranny and the oppression that is waged against religion in that land, it is not a new thing, for that has been the order for ages in Russia. But I can see God moving also in preparing the way for other events that are to come.
“The field that has gone to wild oats needs to be plowed, and harrowed, and prepared for new seed. So it will be in Russia. It may seem appalling to us, but it is God breaking up and destroying an older order of things that must pass away. The [page 139] process will be the accomplishment of God’s purposes within a very short period of time, when it happens, which normally may have taken generations.”
Isn’t that something? It happened in three months!
“But that people will come back, for I bear witness that there are thousands of the blood of Israel in that land, and God is preparing the way for them.” 3
The ten tribes disappeared right up in that area, right in the Slavic countries. They don’t know who they are now. We didn’t know who we were. Patriarchs lay their hands on our heads and tell us that we are of the tribe of Ephraim. Imagine that! We’re Israelites. We came out from among the Gentiles, and had ourselves identified. That’s pretty thrilling.
We are those that fought for God, those whom Moses was talking about in Deuteronomy 32. 4 We succeeded and helped Heavenly Father, and were his soldiers in that great war in heaven. We were named Israel there in the pre-mortal existence, which means “soldiers of God.” 5
Is the Church Ready To Go Into Russia?
Now, at the time when we had 20,000 missionaries, President Kimball announced that the Berlin Wall was ready to be brought down by the Lord but the Church wasn’t ready. 6 When we doubled the number of missionaries and reached 40,000, the Berlin Wall came down that year. Now, obviously, the Lord thinks that we are ready.
Jesus said that before the end could come, “This gospel of the kingdom must be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.” 7 That’s why eighteen months ago you would read that passage and say, “Someday….” But suddenly, here it’s 1990 and the time is now! We’re moving in.
A Soviet spokesman was at BYU, as you probably read in the paper, just two weeks ago. While here he told us that they will welcome our missionaries in Russia. In the MTC today, they’re being trained. All of Eastern Europe is now allowing our missionaries to go in, and I won’t be surprised if we see them going into Russia, in quantity, in the not too [page 140] distant future. It really is an exciting time to be alive.
A Spirit of Urgency
Now, among the Brethren there is a spirit of urgency. I don’t know whether you have felt it or noticed it, but there is a spirit of urgency. If you haven’t felt it, just reread some of President Benson’s talks. And it’s in the other Brethren’s talks too. I met one of the Twelve at a wedding reception recently. “Oh,” he said, “Brother Skousen, you won’t believe what the Church is going to do!”
I said, “Yes?”
He said, “But you will!” I could tell he had just come out of some important meeting and he was just bubbling over with enthusiasm.
You know, one of the worst burdens in the world is to keep a secret. It’s a tough thing to do. They say the definition of a secret is something you just tell one person at a time! But the Brethren, they don’t even do that. They’re under very strict discipline.
The Brethren know what Joseph Smith said about this decade that we’re going into. He said, “There will be some more wars. There is going to be a terrible military dictatorship descend on Europe and Asia. When those wars are threatening, everyone will have to flee to Zion.” 8 So we are going to go out there and gather in as much of Israel as we can. We’re going to bring them right back to America. I’m just guesstimating now, but I don’t think we have much more than ten years.
I think you’re going to see the Church drained of womanpower, manpower, and finances as we hit this thing just like a tidal wave. Brother Joseph said, “Ye shall not have time to have gone over the earth until these things begin to come.” 9 That’s urgency. We need to get as many as we can.
The Lord also said, “Prepare yourselves for the ministry to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time, as many as the mouth of the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the Saints for the hour of judgement which is to come; that their souls may escape the wrath of God, the desolation of abomination which will then be poured out upon the wicked.” 10
So it’s a desperate hour. It’s a time of going out there and finding our brothers and sisters, because we’ve got them out there. In a moment, [page 141] I’ll indicate to you the way that President Benson suggests that we will be finding our brothers and sisters. And the reason we will have to bring them back to America is in the Doctrine and Covenants:
“And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.” 11
We really have got a job on our hands, and this won’t be a time, obviously, to dally. The Lord has been accelerating his program in the Church for forty years. He was building it up before then, but the acceleration in the last forty years is astonishing.
The Phenomenal Growth of the Church
In 1950 we had a little over a million members and 180 stakes. Now we have seven million members and nearly 2,000 stakes. Did you know that 90% of all the stakes created in the Church were all created since 1950? That’s 90%! And 36% of the stakes in the Church were created since 1980. The momentum is going and it is increasing. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we hit twenty million members within the next ten years.
Let me give you a few statistics. A few of you, I notice, are taking notes. So let me give you a few that will show the direction that we are now headed. President Benson has already said, “If you’ll just listen to us now, and follow our leadership, you’ll see this Church get a blessing hitherto unknown in the history of the Church.” 12
I sometimes like to go back to when I was born — I know some of you think it was before the Flood. It was in 1913. We had 431,000 members worldwide. That’s all we had. By 1930 they couldn’t find a thousand elders to send out in the mission field, the most they got was 898. So they began scraping the bottom of the barrel, and our bishop was allowed to send me at the age of seventeen, and Dix W. Price from Mesa, Arizona also went at the age of seventeen.
Being so young, we didn’t even think that we were going to get to be senior companions. We find that age means nothing in the mission [page 142] field. Dix W. Price ended up in charge of the London area, and my assignment was to be in charge of northern Ireland. Why, if you had told me that when I was in the mission home, I’d have been scared spitless!
As of December 1989, we had 41,000 missionaries. We’re shooting for 60,000. I think before the end of the decade is over, we’ll probably have 100,000 in the field.
It’s like Brother A. Theodore Tuttle said. He was at a meeting and he saw a young man twenty years of age. He said, “Why aren’t you on your mission?”
“Oh,” he said, “I don’t want to go on a mission.”
Brother Tuttle said, “What’s that got to do with it?!” In other words, we’re on a roll, and the Church needs us. It needs all of us functioning in our particular area of activity.
We now have three temples that are in the process of being built, and 46 are finished. We’ll probably have 50 temples here before the end of the decade. We’ve doubled the number of temples in the last ten years.
The Church has now divided this entire planet into eighteen regions, covering all 168 nations. The gospel is now being preached, already, in 100 of these nations. So we have about 68 to go, and some of them are big ones — India, China, Russia.
The State of China Today
Deng Xiaoping, China’s present dictator, has a strange combination of characteristics. He was one of those leaders in China who helped wipe out somewhere between 40 and 60 million Chinese in order to set up the big communes and appropriate all their property. When Mao Tse Tung died, Deng took over as a reform leader. It was he who dismantled all of the communes. It was he who invited in foreign capital. It was he who started a great drive toward bringing China back into the mainstream of civilization.
But, a year ago June, something happened for which he had no answer: a million students, on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, were asking for participatory democracy. He didn’t know what to do with them. A Marxist is only trained to do one thing and that is to establish order, and then do whatever he thinks is good for the people. And things were out of order. The whole nation was beginning to say, “Perestroika! Glasnost! Hooray for Gorbachev!” Gorbachev came over and visited, and they practically worshiped him.
Deng panicked, as you know, and mowed down thousands of those [page 143] students and burned their bodies. Now he’s dying, they tell us. We’re told by those who know the situation that Deng Xiaoping represents the end of the old, conservative, Marxist, revolutionary, Leninist sentiment. As soon as he does disappear from the scene, the whole machinery that he set up will be dismantled, and you’ll get reform in China. So I expect that by the time that we’ve gotten into Russia, and gotten ourselves oriented there, China will be opened up.
Membership of the Church Continues To Grow
We’re adding about 500,000 new members to the Church each year, but I don’t think it will be long before we add a million each year.
The Book of Mormon is now translated into 48 languages, which fits the language requirements of 114 nations. Sometimes it’s not the whole Book of Mormon, but all of the salient parts.
We have about 100,000 men and women serving in the Church without compensation, and learning how to govern God’s people. We actually have 100,000 in training, right now, in this Church! No other church duplicates it or comes close to these numbers.
We have about 500,000 young people that are learning about the gospel in the Church Educational System.
Those are just a few statistics to remind us that something rather remarkable is happening.
What Others Are Saying About the Church
This growth is not being missed by other people. I have here a page from one of the very latest textbooks in the California schools. In a section titled “Religious Innovations and Creation of the Mormon Faith” it says:
“What is remarkable about Mormonism is the phenomenal degree to which it has grown since its inception. While most new religions die in almost total obscurity, Mormonism has enjoyed the highest growth rate of any new faith in American history. By 1840, only ten years after Smith and his five followers declared themselves to be the first Mormons, membership in the Mormon church had reached about 30,000.
“Ten years later in 1850, there were 60,000. This doubling of membership took place despite persecution from non-Mormons, a change in leadership following the death of Joseph Smith, and a grueling migration across the plains and Rockies to start a new community in Utah. By 1950, there were over a [page 144] million Mormons, and by 1980, 4.6 million.” And of course now, it’s 7.3 million.
“This means a growth rate of well over 50% for three intervening decades. Such an impressive growth rate was due in part to the custom of young Mormon men, and increasingly young women, volunteering for several years of unpaid missionary work. In 1980, there were 30,000 young Mormons serving as missionaries around the world, converting other young adults to the Mormon faith. By projecting into the future, we see there could very likely be over 250 million Mormons by the next century.”
Of course it will be a lot more than that — that will be during the Millennium!
I have several examples here where other people, in rather commendatory ways, say that it is amazing how the Church is catching on. It gives us a more pleasant climate for the missionaries to go out and preach the gospel when we have that kind of background rather than the misinformation and propaganda that used to go out when I was a boy in school in California.
President Benson and Communism
It is very interesting that Michel Gorbachev came to power in March of 1985. Ezra Taft Benson became President of the Church in November of 1985. Gorbachev had orders to conquer Europe and overcome NATO within about 18 months and he started to do it.
I remember when I used to tell my students about Nephi’s great vision in which he saw the missionaries in Russia 13 and my students would say, “Well, Brother Skousen, we’d have to conquer those people before you could preach in Russia and China.”
I would reply to them, “Well, don’t forget that God can soften the heart of Pharaoh.” When he softens the heart, it reverses itself. Do you remember the brothers of Nephi? Here they were going to kill him and a little while later they were practically worshiping him. 14 It’s amazing! If they let a little of the Spirit of the Lord in, they become different people. Their personalities change and their attitudes change.
Ezra Taft Benson is the foremost spokesman against Communism among all the leaders of the Church. When he became President of the [page 145] Church it was immediately expected that he would really unload on them. He didn’t say a word. So finally somebody went up to him and said, “President Benson, aren’t you going to say anything about Communism?”
“No,” he said, “the Saints have been warned long enough and now the Lord has something more important for us to do.” It wasn’t long before we heard it. He stood up in Conference and said, “I have a vision of the whole Church getting nearer to God by abiding by the precepts of the Book of Mormon. Indeed I have a vision of flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon just like Enoch saw in his vision in Moses 7:62.”
President Benson Pushes
the Book of Mormon Forward
He said, “My beloved Saints, I am now entering my ninetieth year. I do not know fully why God has preserved my life to this age, but I do know this, that for the present hour he has revealed to me the absolute need for us to move the Book of Mormon forward in a marvelous manner. You must help with this burden and with this blessing which he has placed on the whole Church. Even the children of Zion can help if they will just do what they are asked to do.” 15
Why is President Benson so concerned about the Book of Mormon? There are three things he says that the Book of Mormon will help us do in the 1990’s. It is the manual for the three things that we have to do, and much of it will be launched in this decade.
First, President Benson said we must know the Book of Mormon well enough to use it as a missionary vehicle. Most people read the Book of Mormon just enough to get a testimony that it’s true. Then they put it on the shelf and say, “I tell you, it’s true!”
What’s in it? What does it say? If you met a Jewish rabbi, how would you use the Book of Mormon to convert him to the gospel?
You would say, “Rabbi, have you ever had a chance to read Isaiah 53?”
“Well, of course!”
“Who is this person that would be born, and would be killed, and would be resurrected?”
“Does it say that?”
“It’s in your Bible.” Of course, it’s explained in the Book of Mormon. You get it out of the Book of Mormon so you know with confidence what you can tell the rabbi.
“What do you think your ancient prophet Zechariah meant when he said that when your Messiah comes, he will have wounds in his hands and in his feet?” 16
“Does it say that? Where do you think that might be?”
Suddenly you’ve got a vehicle where you can transfer your knowledge from the Book of Mormon over into the Bible, and talk to a rabbi, and astonish him with his own book.
Suppose that you meet a minister — a Baptist minister — and say, “Do you believe the Bible?”
“Oh yes, every word!”
“What do you say about Ezekiel 37 where it says that in addition to the Bible we’ll have another book from the hands of Joseph and they will be two books to go together in the latter days?” 17
“Does it say that?”
“Yes, and we have that book! Would you like to have a copy?”
“Well, yes, I guess I would.” He looks at it, and it says “The Book of Mormon.”
“The Book of Mormon! That can’t be the Lord’s book!”
“Have you ever read it? Do you know anything about it? How do you think the Jews felt when the Christians came with all their new literature? You don’t want to miss knowing about the other book, do you? I’ll give you a copy.” That’s the way we approached a Baptist minister who is just about ready for baptism.
We have to know the Book of Mormon so well that it becomes the tool for the converting of masses of people. We’ve been converting others on a one-on-one basis. But how do you convert a minister and his whole congregation like Wilford Woodruff did? How do you go into communities in Russia and the Slavic countries and convert our fellow Israelites in great quantities?
President Benson says that if we know the Book of Mormon well enough, we can do it. So in my own mind I work out a little scenario. I [page 147] imagine that I am allowed to go into a town where the Russians say the missionaries will be welcome. In fact, I hope that they’re much like the three Russian leaders that recently visited the state of Utah.
The Russians Enjoyed Their Visit to Utah
Oh, they said they liked this state! The man that was interviewing them, a local TV interviewer, tried to depreciate Utah. He said, “This is a religious state. If you want to know how politics are run in a state, you shouldn’t have come here. This is a very religious state and dominated by one religion.”
“Oh,” they said, “that’s what we like about it. Our people want religion, and they want to know” — this is a quote — “what the man upstairs is thinking.”
Well, this interviewer was being driven up the wall. He happens to be anti-Mormon and anti-Utah, and so he was expecting these Russians to really bash the state. It was just the opposite. He said, “Of course we have some problems, you know, in America. We have racism.”
“Oh, racism — that’s universal. You’re doing as good a job here as anybody did.”
“Well, we have air pollution.”
The Russian replied, “You’re talking to a man that was raised in the fumes of a Russian industrial city. You know nothing about air pollution! You’re ignorant of air pollution! Over here in America I like it, and Utah is the best of all. I love the Utah air!” This poor interviewer, he didn’t know what to do with himself.
Anyway, the Russians were very friendly. They talked to our governor, they talked to our state legislature and they were real friends. They were asked why they wanted to come to Utah, because they first went to Washington, D.C., and talked to Congressmen. All that the Congressmen would tell them was what a great job Washington was doing for the States. That’s not what they wanted to hear. They wanted to know: how do you handle a state so it doesn’t want to secede? See, that’s Gorbachev’s main problem. How much freedom do you give them? How do you handle them?
So they weren’t happy and they were asked, “Well, where do you want to go?”
They said, “We want to go to Utah.”
So when they got out here, this interviewer said, “Why did you [page 148] choose Utah?”
“Well,” he said, “some of our people were here with Thiokol, inspecting the armaments, and they were treated better than our inspectors anywhere. Our inspectors like Utah, and they like the people, and they like the way they were treated, and we like the way we’re being treated.”
Preaching to an Audience in Russia
Anyway, President Benson has said, “I want you to know that book well enough so that you can make it a tool for the conversion of masses of people.” As I was saying, I’ve tried to work out a little scenario in my mind: what would I do if I had the responsibility to teach a large audience of Russian people, and I could speak Russian?
It has been unlawful and illegal for the Russian people to have a Bible until just recently. But now they’re being shipped into Russia by the tens of thousands and it’s a matter of status to have a Bible. So that’s where I’d begin.
I’d say, “Folks, I know you’re happy to get your Bibles. I hope all of you have gotten one. If you haven’t, try to get one as soon as you can, because there are things in the Bible that you need to know. I want to see how many Bibles there are in this congregation,” and I’d have them hold them all up.
Then I’d say, “All right. Not as many as I hoped there would be, but all of you who have a Bible now, I want you to turn to page 1,080.” Of course, they don’t know their Bibles yet, so you can’t say, “Turn to Ezekiel.” They don’t know what you are talking about. So you give them the page number, and then you give them verse 16 in Ezekiel 37, and then you say, “Now that’s where a prophet of God in nearly 600 B.C. said that you would get your Bible.”
“He then said, ‘God will also give you the book of your own people, the book of Joseph.’ You may not have known it, but most of you are probably of the blood of Israel since this is right where the ten tribes disappeared. So this message will sound familiar to you. The Bible says 18 that it will sound familiar, it will be like a voice coming up out of the ground, and when it’s translated and published, it will sound familiar.”
“I’ll tell you what this book of Joseph will do. It will give you a wonderful understanding of what’s in the Bible that you may not have known before. It was written by the prophets of God in the Western [page 149] Hemisphere. Isaiah and three or four of the prophets 19 talked about a people that were beyond Africa, over on the American continent.”
“God raised up prophets among them, and they received everything the Jews received. You can get both books. You’ve got the Bible, and if you want the book of Joseph, they’re here for you tonight and they’re free. They’re free. I’ve got a couple trunk-loads here donated by the home wards.”
I’d then say, “I want to now quote a few things about that great book, in your Bible.” I’d give them the page number of Isaiah 29. “This passage tells about the second book coming forth. We have several of the prophets talking about the time when you would get your second great book. And I’ll tell you what else they said, ‘The end is very close.’ It’s very close. As a matter of fact, we only have a short period of peace, and then it’s going to be terrible. There’s going to be the worst, monstrous military dictatorship in the history of the world.” 20
“So here’s my message to you, and I want to bear testimony to you because we don’t have much time left. We are here with your second book, and it will tell you that it’s necessary for you to turn away from those things in your life that you know are not correct, so that you can start living God’s law, and accept a covenant-making baptism. It won’t be a sprinkling, but a baptism by immersion just like Jesus’ baptism was. And then you will be confirmed by the Spirit of God, and you will become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ as it was originally organized on the earth.”
“How many of you used to be Catholics? I want to see your hands. All right, this is the original Christian Catholic church. Over the years it was changed a little. The Lord wanted you to have the real, original Catholic church. It’s back!”
I think that would be a good way to begin.
The Book of Mormon Contains
Principles of Righteous Government
The second thing the Book of Mormon is a manual for, according to President Benson, is to learn the principles of righteous government that we one day will have to teach this country after our present government becomes unraveled. All of you remember the prophecy that our [page 150] Constitution will be on the verge of destruction. 21 We won’t rush forward to save it. The people will come to those who seem to be getting along all right and who seem to have order. They will lean on this people as a staff, and we will lead the Constitution away from the verge of destruction.
I’m a Constitutional lawyer. That prophecy used to scare the wits out of me, because I learned nothing in law school that would be of much help when we came to a time of great distress in this nation and the people would say, “All right now, set us up again. How should we do this?”
I made a wonderful discovery in the Book of Mormon. In Mosiah 29, the king issued a proclamation of independence for the people. It was a declaration of independence for the people, but a proclamation by the king. He said, “You’re free. God has shown me how to set you up the way it was originally designed by God.” Well, what they did was fantastic. The only thing is, what they set up is not in the Book of Mormon, it was in the plates of brass.
So where are we going to find what they set up? Do we know what was in the plates of brass? Most of it. Some of the prophets like Zenoch and Zenos we don’t have. But where are most of books from the plates of brass available to us? In the Bible. Nephi said, “I’m not including that in my plates because I’ve already been told you’ll have it.” 22
So I went diving into God’s revelation in the Bible of how you set up an ideal government. Then to my astonishment I found, from John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, that they already had that in mind. 23 They would have given us that form of government. The people wouldn’t buy it and we got a watered-down version.
Joseph Smith Tries to Amend the Constitution
When Joseph Smith learned for the first time that the Constitution is actually the Millennial form of government, he decided to fix any problems it might have. He said to the Quorum of the Twelve, in early 1844, “Let’s amend the Constitution in any way that we feel is necessary, and then I’ll take it to the Lord.” 24
So they worked on it, and they couldn’t amend it. They tried to fix it in one place, and it would get unbalanced in another. And so they would try another place. Finally they said to Joseph Smith, “We don’t know enough to amend the Constitution. You try it.”
He worked on it for a week, and finally he went to the Lord and said, “How would you like this Constitution perfected?”
The revelation that came was kind of a reprimand. The Lord said in the revelation, “If I wanted to amend it, I would have told you. You are my spokesman.” 25 Then in Doctrine and Covenants 101 the Lord said, “I established the Constitution. I didn’t do it by ministering of angels. I didn’t do it by laying on of hands. I did it by wise men that I raised up for this very purpose.” 26
And in Doctrine and Covenants 98 he said, “Anything that’s more or less than this is evil. It doesn’t need amending. What you are calling weaknesses is actually the work of wicked men. When the wicked rule, the people mourn.” 27
So Joseph Smith ran for President, and wrote a pamphlet titled Views on the Powers and Policy of the Government. 28 When I read that, I knew I was getting closer to home base. There I found the great things that we will want to be implementing when they start leaning upon us and ask, “Will you restore order?”
The Majesty of God’s Law
So I’ve been working the last twenty years, off and on, on a book that I hope to complete this year — my wife doesn’t believe it, but I really think I can complete it this year — which will be called The Majesty of God’s Law.
If you are approached and asked to establish order for the people, in that book you’ll find the first thing you need to do, the second thing, the third thing — there are about 22 things you need to know. You don’t need to have a Ph.D. in political science to carry this out.
Not only can you restore order, but by establishing those principles, Alma was able to eliminate poverty and crime in five years! 29 If the people are all members of the Church — which of course they won’t be, [page 152] but if they are — then it can be done in one year like Nephi IV did. 30 I’ll tell you, if you want to see the Constitution shiny and brilliant, this is where you find it.
When we are asked to restore the Constitution, we’ll do just what John Adams advocated, what Benjamin Franklin advocated in the Convention, and what Thomas Jefferson tried for ten years to get the state of Virginia to adopt. All they were able to get were a few fragments, so we ended up with a watered-down version.
When I found out that those men had been inspired to set up the original thing that Mosiah did, I got pretty thrilled. So I put all of that together in this book which will be called The Majesty of God’s Law.
I’ve been asked to advise some of those who are getting a master’s certificate in advanced political science, and I’ve been sharing this with them. I recently talked to about fifty very fine scholars from ten different states, representing many faiths. Because I can teach this right out of the Bible, nobody gets nervous about it. But I teach it with confidence because of the Book of Mormon! They are excited about it, just like I’ve become excited about it.
So I wanted you to know that the topic I was assigned to talk on tonight, which is the Book of Mormon and the Constitution, is all there in that wonderful book of scripture. Now, to share with you all that it contains, and how you do it, and those 22 things that you need to know in order to restore what God calls a perfect order of government, well, that takes about a week, which I understand is more than you are allowing tonight!
The Book of Mormon Teaches
How to Set Up a Zion Society
The third thing President Benson said the Book of Mormon is designed to do is to teach us how to set up a Zion society. Three Book of Mormon prophets were able to do this: King Benjamin, 31 Alma the Younger 32 and Nephi IV. 33 Nephi IV was able to make his last almost 200 years before it finally caved in. 34
As Alma discovered, one of the problems of setting up a Zion society [page 153] is that it immediately becomes rich. 35 It isn’t very long before everybody is well-off, and there aren’t any poor people.
Alma also used God’s law to eliminate the criminal element. He said, “I didn’t eliminate criminality, but when they saw what happened to them when they committed crimes, they became more still [that’s a quote].” 36 As a chief of police at the time I discovered this I thought, “Now there is something worth studying. I need to know more about that.”
How do you set up a Zion society? Actually, you can’t have a Zion society unless you have a Zion people, and that’s the very foundation of a good Constitutional government. So I am going to talk about that for just a minute as a concluding part of my talk.
Decathlon Mormon Champions
How do you develop Zion people? What I would like to suggest is that we try to become “decathlon Mormons.” What’s a decathlon athlete? He’s a champion of ten sports, and I want you to listen to them: the 100 meter dash, the broad jump, the 16 pound shot-put, the high jump, the 400 meter dash, the 110 meter hurdles, the discus throw, the pole vault, the javelin throw, and the 1,500 meter race. If you’re a champion in all of those ten areas, you’re a decathlon champion — decathlon, which means ten events.
If you can be a champion in ten facets of Mormonism, I think the rest will take care of itself. So for those of you who are taking notes, I’ll run through the list of ten things that seem to be fundamental. In fact, it’s an agenda or an inventory by which we can judge ourselves to see if we are gradually developing Zion people in our families.
Our Savior said, “When I come, about half of the Church will be acceptable to me, or about half of them will be decathlon champions. The others I won’t be too happy with, because they will not have gone on their missions, they will not have done their home teaching, they will not have been paying their tithing and otherwise helping me do my work. But they’ll want to be with me, and they’ll want to say that they are part of my kingdom. I will have to shut the door, and say, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t know you.'” 37
This is in the Doctrine and Covenants, 38 and also the New Testament, 39 where it talks about the ten virgins. The Lord said, “Five of them will be acceptable to me. The others are virgins, they’re good girls, but not good for much.” So he said, “They won’t make it and their lamps will have gone out. They won’t be able to receive me when I come.”
So I want all of you to make it! On a scale of one to ten, I want you to grade yourselves as we go through these ten things that will qualify you to be a decathlon Mormon champion.
1. Get in a “Yes” Mode
The first thing to ask yourself is: “Am I doing what the bishop wants me to do?” This is fundamental to a Zion society. “You need to get in a ‘yes’ mode,” my father used to say. When the bishop asks you to do something, always say yes, and then explain to him why you can’t do it. In other words, you leave it up to him.
Once or twice I’ve had to say to a stake president or somebody that wanted me to do something, “I’ll be glad to do it. What do you want to release me from? Because I now have five jobs in the Church, and I would be dishonest if I told you I could accept any more and do justice to all of them.”
The stake president in this instance was very reasonable, and he said, “Yes, thank you. I didn’t know that. That’s too much.”
Accepting Church Callings Can Bring Blessings
When I was a young fellow, the bishop said, “We have the droopiest bunch of singers in the San Bernardino Ward. We need to get somebody that is like a cheer leader, that will get up there with some pep and get them to sing.” So the superintendent of the Sunday School asked if I would lead the music.
I said, “Yes, but there’s one problem. I don’t know anything about music.”
“Oh,” he said, “it’s easy. Just follow the beat, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4. And there’s also another beat, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, which is waltz time. You can do that.” So I got up there, and it wasn’t long before those people were singing! They would sing so heartily that we would have them all stand up, take a big breath and really sing.
However, the most important part of that assignment was the pianist, a little younger than myself, but a very lovely brunette who had blossomed a little early. She and I had to talk over the program, and it wasn’t very long before we were making beautiful music. She’s now my wife. So the moral of the story is: it pays to say yes!
What Makes a Great Bishop?
I also ought to add one other thing. Do you know what makes a really great bishop? Is it being set apart and ordained by the stake presidency? Does that make a great bishop?
No. The thing that makes a great bishop is when the priests go on missions, and the deacons are in their place, and the teachers are teaching exciting lessons, and everybody is on fire in the ward. Other people are trying to get houses and move into the ward. Everybody is supporting the bishop.
This is what the Lord says in the Doctrine and Covenants, “The ordination comes from above. Your power comes from below. This is also true of myself.” 40 Power in the priesthood comes from those that you supervise who are under your stewardship. So, that number one is very important: “Am I doing what the bishop asks me to do?” That’s what makes a great bishop.
2. Use The Power of Prayer
The next one: “Am I a prayerful person? Am I really a prayerful person?” Don’t be embarrassed if you have to say, “Well, you know, I do it once in a while. We say a blessing on the food once in a while.” I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about reaching a stage where you look forward to talking to Heavenly Father. First by yourself, when you get up, and then with your family around you. At night, your family once again goes to your family “altar” — sometimes it’s the kitchen table that you surround, or you go to the front room where there’s a “postum” table — and you surround that with the family. Then you go to your room and talk to the Lord by yourself.
We need to learn to pray like Baptists. They have learned to do what God wants you to do when you pray. Too often we are inclined to pray in generalities: “Heavenly Father, we thank you for these blessings.” “Keep ’em coming!” — that’s really the general tenor of it!
But when you watch a Baptist pray, he’ll say, “Oh, Lord our Father. What a beautiful day you’ve given us today. And moisture yesterday. [page 156] The grass is out, the flowers are up, the air is clean. Here is a congregation of thy children that want to thank you for this good and beautiful earth on which we live.” Isn’t that something? That’s the way to pray. Be specific!
What are you really thankful for? That’s the way we should begin our prayers. “Heavenly Father, oh, I’m so thankful for my sweetheart. Bless her with health and strength; she’s having a little difficulty. Bless her. Bless her that we may live together during these golden years for a long time to come.” That’s the way you talk to the Lord.
After you have thanked him for membership in the Church, thank him for all of the things that he has given us. Think of what God has done for you! Be specific. Then ask him for blessings, and once again, what do you really want? Usually, I first pray for those that I’m duty-bound to pray for. I want to pray for President Benson. I love him. I worked right under him in Washington, D.C. I know both of his counselors personally and I love them and I pray for them. I know most of the General Authorities. If you live long enough, that happens! I pray for them.
I pray for our bishop and our stake presidency. I don’t multiply words. I pray for our two missionaries. We’ve got a sweet niece in Hungary. There are only two hundred missionaries in Hungary, and we’ve got a niece who’s one of them. They are already getting baptisms. It’s pretty exciting. I pray for Jered, our grandson, who’s up in Scotland, laboring in President McKay’s old hometown. I pray for him, too.
Sometimes you pray in desperation. You talk to Heavenly Father, and let him know in all earnestness, praying with all your heart, might, mind and strength, “Heavenly Father, if it be thy will, please, spare her life. Please let her remain. Please let us have her to maturity.” We worked for nine years with one of our daughters, and she died two days after her twentieth birthday.
We learned how to pray before the Lord, and how to cry before the Lord. He’d bless her and sustain her just a little bit longer, but she wasn’t to be here forever, and he finally took her. But, oh, she was such a beautiful girl. How we miss her, and how we wanted her to stay if it was the will of the Lord.
So ask yourself, are you a prayerful person? Get used to praying in the morning privately, then with the family, and then pray in the evening with the family, and then privately, and be specific.
3. Follow the Prophet
Now, number three: “Do I follow the counsel of the prophet?” We’ve [page 157] got a great leader. We’ve had a whole series of great leaders. I don’t know of a single prophet we’ve had that was mediocre. They were all marvelous human beings.
Back in the early days of the Church, people used to write to the Brethren for counsel. “Shall I buy the north forty, or do you think a section is enough?” “Do you think I ought to have Jerseys or Holsteins? Or should I have a mix?” Brother Leonard Arrington says that they just found a whole box of letters from the Saints to Brigham Young, with all of his answers. He was kind of the “Dear Abby” of pioneer days!
I thought one was particularly interesting. A woman wrote, “Dear President Young. My husband told me to go to hell. What shall I do?”
President Young wrote back and said, “Dear Sister. Don’t do it! Signed, Brigham Young.”
You remember that President Kimball really began pushing missionary work as the prophet. President Benson is on top of that. He’s also really after us to read the Book of Mormon, and to be scriptorians. I’ll talk about that more in just a minute.
President Benson is also emphasizing the need for us on the Wasatch Front to stop being so proud and trying to keep up with the Joneses. 41 We need to have a sweet and humble spirit. You know, you can try to catch up with the Joneses, but they will just refinance! You never can catch up with the Joneses.
I wish I could say to a number of my friends, “Do what my father told me to do about thirty years ago when he said, ‘Son, enough is enough! Your house is paid for. You’re relatively secure. Now serve!'” We’ve got many people that could afford to do marvelous things in this Church if they would just say to themselves, “Enough is enough!”
When you reach that point, enjoy life! Don’t say, “Well, another million would make it so that I could do that much more good! Think of all the tithing I’d pay!” The next thing you know, you’ve had a heart attack and died. Well, you will do work over on the other side, I guess.
Listen to the counsel of the prophet.
4. Attend the Temple Regularly
The next one: “Do I go to the temple on a regular basis?” The Brethren go every week. We certainly ought to be able to go once a month. I want to tell you, our temples are so crowded now. It is just [page 158] great. Just a few weeks ago you had to wait for a couple of hours to get into a session at the temple. The word got out that the Brethren have made the endowment ceremony one of the most beautiful things that has ever happened to anybody.
My wife and I finally got to attend a session. I’ve been to the temple, of course, scores and scores of times. I never have cried before during an endowment, but when that music started, and I saw the beauty of God’s power, I couldn’t hold back the tears. What a blessing it is to belong to this Church.
For four years, 500 people worked on that production to do it just the way the First Presidency and the Apostles wanted. Did you know about it? Not a whisper. At least I didn’t hear a whisper. Suddenly, there it was. We’ve gone back and taken all our children, a couple at a time. We sit there and marvel. Afterwards in the Celestial Room we visit a little bit, and discuss the changes.
It’s important to know what changes were made, because when the endowment was first given you could do it in one room, divided into four parts. But Brigham Young was told by the prophet to set it up so that there would be additional material put in so that you could bring fifty or a hundred people through. It would give time to handle large numbers. And that’s what they were able to take out, because now we are in one room. It’s beautiful. This is the way the Prophet Joseph and the Quorum of the Twelve received it in the first place. None of the endowment has been changed, but some of the extra that was put in by Brigham Young, under the instructions of Joseph Smith who later approved it, was essentially, shall we say, padding. It’s gone.
Go to the temple. If you don’t have a recommend, say to yourself, “What do I have to do to be a decathlon Mormon champion?” If you’re a decathlon Mormon champion, you’ll get a recommend, guaranteed.
5. Live a Clean and Virtuous Life
Now, the next one is: “Am I living a clean life?” Nobody knows that but you. Not even your spouse or companion knows it; only you do. It was very interesting when Jesus gave the 48 principles of the Sermon on the Mount. He made a great deal of the point that some of his listeners were proud that they hadn’t committed adultery. He said, “I’m going to tell you a new order of the gospel, and this is called the new covenant. Under the new covenant you should not commit adultery in your heart.”
So you haven’t committed the act. But what’s all that pornographic literature doing under the bed? What are those X- and R-rated movies [page 159] doing, that you’ve got all cased up there for your TV when nobody is at home? You will be judged for committing adultery in your heart.
Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly. 42 That’s something everybody has to deal with. The great procreation drive that is in everybody is not something to just be ignored. You can’t ignore it, but you have to deal with it. The Lord says, “You will keep it under control, and honor that power, or else you’ll lose it.” You’ll be resurrected without the capacity to have children — you’ll be a ministering angel. 43 If you want eternal lives, keep yourself clean.
6. Study the Scriptures Daily
The next one is a good one, and this is what President Benson is talking about : “Do I study the scriptures daily?” I know you’re busy, and it’s awfully hard to find time, because there isn’t any. So what you have to do is make some time! I have a little challenge for you. Give yourself a minimum of seven pages of scripture a day, and you’ll get a blessing that I could only tell you about. But a year from now you’d be the one to tell me what a blessing it was.
Read seven pages per day, and don’t just read them, but mark two or three of the words in each verse that will help you remember what that verse is about. For example, a verse says, “There was a great flood.” So I’d underline “great” and “flood.” Do that to each verse, because a marked scripture can be reviewed in about ten seconds per page. I can go down though every verse in my marked Bible, for example, and as I’m looking for something I can say, “No, that’s not it…. That’s not it….” And in ten seconds, I’ve gone over that page. I know that the verse that I am looking for is not on that page. You can do it.
Seven pages a day really isn’t much. What is your profession? Is seven pages of instructions supposed to be overwhelming in your profession? You think nothing of it! It’s necessary reading. So is this! Seven pages a day will take you through the entire Old Testament, the entire New Testament, the entire Book of Mormon, the entire Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price in a year. You can then get a brand-new quad, and start all over again!
If you do that for two or three years — guess what? — you’ll be a rabbi, you brethren. Do you know what a rabbi is? “A master of the scriptures.” I teach the High Priest quorum, and I’ve got them all trying to become rabbis. Most of them are reading seven pages per day, [page 160] marking a couple of words in each verse, so that it will help them remember that verse.
Some of the high priests in the Church think that they’ve graduated out of activity. I say to them, “You must remember the prayer of the old Scotsman who said, ‘Oh Lord, I pray that I shall live as long as I’m alive.'” Think about that for a minute. I look around, and sometimes people are living, but they’re not alive. High priests need to become rabbis.
Everybody should be reading the scriptures every day. I get in about two hours of scripture reading every day. I’ve done that all my life. It takes a long time to devour them. I wish I had four hours to devote to the scriptures. But I squeeze in a little in the morning, a little at noon, a little in the afternoon or whenever I have any spare time. I get into those scriptures, trying to be a good rabbi. Master the scriptures. That’s your calling, brethren and sisters.
We Need to Become Scriptorians
We need to learn a lot more things about the gospel that we don’t know. What chapter in Isaiah tells about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon? Isaiah 29. Where is Isaiah 29 discussed verse-by-verse in the Book of Mormon? Nephi fills in a lot of the details that Isaiah didn’t include. What would you say? 2 Nephi beginning with chapter 25.
Which section tells about the Civil War? Doctrine and Covenants 87. Does it say where it will start? Does it say what countries will be involved? All right. Where does it talk about World War I and World War II? See, you can guess now. Doctrine and Covenants 87. In fact, it lumps them together, and it says “world wars” in the plural.
Where does it say that the slaves will rise up against their masters and overthrow them? Where is that found? It’s not talking about black slaves, but it’s talking about all slaves. Where is that? Doctrine and Covenants 87. Has that happened? Isn’t that amazing? That’s being fulfilled before our very eyes, D&C 87:4!
In D&C 88 the Lord says, “When I fulfill prophecies, you brethren need to sit down and talk about it. Remind yourselves. You’re supposed to know prophecy and its fulfillment, and talk about it, and teach each other.” 44 Where does it say that if the United States does not repent, it will be invaded by Latin America? How do you like that? What would you guess? It’s D&C 87:5.
The Lord said in 3 Nephi 21 that this invasion doesn’t have to happen. “But if this nation becomes anti-Christ, and wicked, and vicious so that I can’t use it as my launching pad for the great work I have to do, it will come to pass. The remnant of Jacob will be like lions among the sheep.” 45
President McKay used to say that we need to work hard to save this nation. The Lord has promised us the United States will help us build the New Jerusalem if we can get them to repent. It will be a lot easier to have this nation help us than to start from scratch with a nation in ruins. Isaiah 54:3 says that it could be in ruins. That’s kind of ominous, isn’t it? All right. It’s great to know the scriptures! So let’s all get at it. Let’s read all four standard works by this time next year.
Where are the political beliefs of the Church in the scriptures? D&C 134. Which section tells about Jesus preaching to the dead in the spirit world? This is a new one that was just put in the scriptures. That is D&C 138. Where does Jesus describe how terrible it was to go up on that cross? “Just the contemplation of it,” he says, “caused me to sweat drops of blood.” D&C 19.
7. Be a Good Record Keeper by Keeping
a Journal and Taking Notes in Church
The next one is: “Am I a good record keeper like President Benson wants me to be?” 46 How can you tell? Do you make a daily account of your life? What did you do today? Did anything interesting happen? Where did you go today? Who did you hear? What did they say? Have you got a little bit of that in your journal? Is there anything worthwhile in your journal?
Don’t write the other kind like, “Dear Diary, today he smiled at me.” If you use your diary for confessions, that will be the one you burn just before you get married, so that doesn’t do us any good. We want an accounting of your family and what you’re doing.
Are we doing what President Benson said to do? I’m afraid we’re a little slothful. We enjoy hearing the prophet. Brother J. Reuben Clark used to say, “You don’t need new prophets or more prophets. You need listening ears.” So let’s try to do that. And when it means something to us, record it.
When Joseph Smith was alive he said to the Brethren, “When I’m in [page 162] the Spirit, write what I say!” 47 There was one man, the least educated of all the General Authorities, who took it seriously. He worked up a system of shorthand, and the vast majority of the things that we know Joseph Smith said were recorded by Wilford Woodruff. Wasn’t that a blessing? The rest of the Brethren got scraps, but not much. This man is almost the exclusive custodian of the prophet’s teachings, in his shorthand and longhand.
When I was young I complained to my father that I couldn’t remember things well enough. He said, “Well son, your brain is a Danish brain.”
I said, “Is that a handicap?”
“No,” he said, “it’s a normal brain. But you ought to know that it’s like a Danish wooden bowl. First of all, it’s shallow and doesn’t hold much. Number two, things spill out of it very easily. Number three, with the passing of time, it warps!”
“So,” I said, “how do I remember things?”
He said, “Write it down and then review it. Frequency and recency is the key to memory.”
Have you noticed how some people seem to know so much? Guess what? They spent time on it. Let me give you a test. What is six times six? You can remember it right away. What is twelve times twelve? You can remember it right away. What is thirteen times thirteen? The answer is not there so fast.
Whatever you’ve spent time on you can recall instantly. When you haven’t spent the time you’ll say, “Just a second, I’ve got to figure that one out.” Try twenty-one times twenty-one. Or thirty-nine times thirty-nine. We haven’t worked those out yet, have we? That’s memory.
At the university I had a student once say, “Brother Skousen, I hope you don’t make us memorize things like we had to do in high school.”
I said, “Then why did you come to college?”
“I want to learn how to think.”
I said, “With what?”
Most of learning is memory. You hit those scriptures, get them planted in your mind and take notes. You will hear people who went to a meeting say, “Oh, it was so great!”
“What was it about?”
“Well, it was just great. It had a great spirit.”
Someone else will pull out some cards and say, “I learned how to become a decathlon Mormon champion.”
8. Do I Have a Good LDS Home?
Next question: “Can I say that my home is representative of a good Latter-day Saint home?”
How many of us get the Ensign? Okay, nearly everybody. The whole Ensign is magnificent. The last issue we got in May covered April’s General Conference. But on this subject I want you to turn to the last twelve pages if you want to get a thrill. There is the life story of each of the ten new men who were put into the Council of Seventy. And also a summary of our new Relief Society presidency and Sister Hales, the new counselor in the Young Women. I read them all this morning in anticipation of this meeting. I was going to do it later, but I thought I’d do it now.
What great men! They have all been stake presidents. All but one of them has been a mission president. The one from England has not been a mission president. They were all outstanding in their professional lives, but most of them said, “Enough is enough,” and then went out and served the Lord. All have great wives, and three of them were converted to the Church by their wives. Their wives converted a General Authority and didn’t know it.
There’s one from England and one from Brazil. He’s the first black among the General Authorities, Brother Martin. There’s one from Chile, two from Idaho Falls, five from Utah, but nearly all of them from small towns in Utah — Moab, Blanding, that sort of thing. It makes you stop and think. Maybe it’s a little harder to raise a good LDS family in the big city. It’s a challenge.
All of them talk about the importance of family prayer. They talk about the importance of frequent private prayer. Every time that anything important is happening, they ask the Lord for help. They talk about studying the scriptures, vigorously, continuously and consistently, and going to the temple regularly, as often as they can. The Brethren do it to recharge their spiritual batteries every week.
Make the General Authorities
Real for Your Children
Do you try to make the General Authorities come alive as human beings for your children? Do you ever tell them stories about them? Your [page 164] children see them up there in a dark suit, maroon tie and white shirt. They give their talks for twenty minutes and then sit down.
“Who’s that man?”
“Oh, that’s … a … you know … Elder Nelson.”
“Oh, who’s Elder Nelson?”
“One of the world’s greatest heart specialists, that’s who that man was who was just talking to you.” Our children need to know that. These people have got to be somebody besides an Apostle. That’s a great honor, but where is he coming from? Who is he?
I took a little story out of Ezra Taft Benson’s biography because some of my grandchildren thought he was kind of straight-laced, and very serious. 48
“Did he ever smile, Grandpa?”
I said, “Most of the time! But when he’s talking to the Saints, it’s very serious.”
“Yea, it seems like he is always serious.”
“Well,” I said, “Did you know he was one of the greatest basketball players that Utah or Idaho produced? Did you know he was a great basketball player?”
“Oh really? Tell us about it, Grandpa.”
In a championship game between Utah and Idaho, it was just nip-and-tuck. First one team was ahead, and then the other. It came down to one minute left in the game, and Utah was one point ahead. Ezra Taft Benson was the man from the Idaho team that needed to get the ball. He had his father’s name, so they used to call him “T.”
So he tried to get in the open, and of course the other side knew that he must not be allowed to shoot. But he got the ball, and they practically triple-guarded him. He managed to get around them and make a shot, but it missed. So he tried to get clear again, and they batted it around, trying to get it to him. Finally they got it to him, and he tried a shot from the other side, but he missed again.
Only ten seconds were left. Only one basket was needed to win the championship between these two competitive states. So, finally he got in the open, they threw the ball to him quickly, and a big man stood up in [page 165] the audience and yelled, “Hell, T! Put it in!”
It was his father. So he put it in, and Idaho won.
President Benson said, “That’s the first time I ever heard my father swear. I never heard him swear before or after that, so I decided that he really meant it!” You know that story has changed my grandchildren’s attitude toward Ezra Taft Benson. He’s a regular fellow now. And that’s one of the things that we should do — help our children learn about our Church leaders.
9. Pay an Honest Tithing
The next question is: “Do I pay an honest tithing?” When I was a boy, honest tithe payers in a ward were about 10% and the Church went bankrupt. The Lord said, “If you don’t get the Saints to pay their tithing, they won’t be blessed! Neither will the Church!”
So we worked and worked. President Grant worked, President Snow worked and President Joseph F. Smith worked to get us to pay our tithing.
Today it’s finally getting closer to 40-50%. The Lord only promised us five wise virgins, you remember that? Okay. So we need to be up to at least 50% in attendance at sacrament meeting and payment of tithes.
Already the Church is able to look around and see that it can handle almost all of its finances if we’d just pay our tithing. We don’t have to have raffles and special funding. So generous fast offerings and honest tithing is number nine.
10. Live the Word of Wisdom
Then the last one is, “Am I living the Word of Wisdom?” In the fourth verse of Doctrine and Covenants 89, the Lord said that it would be addictive liquids, addictive tobacco, and addictive alcohol that would be the foundation of the great secret combination of the last days.
We are at the point where billions of dollars are going into the hands of the criminals. And it is all because our nation is addicted to alcohol, something you shoot, or something you sniff. Billions of dollars. So the Lord asked us to live the Word of Wisdom so that we can have treasures of knowledge, run and not be weary, and the destroying angel will pass us by. 49
I appreciate being with you tonight. I want to tell you I’m so grateful to Heavenly Father for his scriptures, for the gospel, for my sweet wife [page 166] and family, and for the priesthood. May he bless us in this great decade that lies ahead of us, that we can all be decathlon Mormon champions, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.