98th SEMI-ANNUAL General Conference, October 7, 1927

ELDER DAVID O. McKAY

[11] And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.

Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him. Alma 53:20, 21.

The mission of the Latter-day Saints may be considered in two great aspects; one, the proclamation to the world of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ the declaration to all mankind that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ appeared in this dispensation to the Prophet Joseph Smith. That in itself is a wonderful message.

There are in this audience sixty-two missionaries who are preparing to go abroad to give this proclamation. They are but representative of two thousand others who, paying their own expenses, are abroad in the world declaring in all sincerity that God, as a loving Father, ever mindful of the children of men, has revealed the means whereby mankind can return to his presence. That is one important phase or mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The other great purpose of the church is to translate truth into a better social order, or in other words, to make our religion effective in the individual lives of men, and in improving social conditions. It is the second aspect to which I wish to call attention this morning.

I have read from the fifty-third chapter of Alma, which gives an [12] account of young men who were exceedingly valiant for courage, for strength, and activity men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted. Who were these young men? They were sons of parents who were equally true to every trust. Their parents were converted Lamanites who, when the spirit of God came upon them, devoted their lives to the service of their fellow men, and in their ministry in the Church covenanted that they would never more take up arms against their brethren, never more go to war. Such was their oath; such was their covenant; and they were true to it even unto death.

a most beautiful picture

One of the most beautiful pictures given in all literature is the picture of these parents going out to meet enemies who came against them with swords, and sacrificing their lives rather than to uncover the swords they had buried and given their word not to unearth. One thousand of these parents suffered death rather than violate their covenant. Meeting no resistance, the enemy being conscience-stricken, stopped the massacre, after a thousand men had proved that they preferred death to the violation of a trust.

the responsibility of parenthood

I mention this because parenthood has much to do in inculcating courage and trustworthiness in children. The law of cause and effect is working in parenthood as it is in any other law of nature. There is a responsibility upon us all, and especially upon fathers and mothers, to set examples to children and young people worthy of imitation. Parents must be sincere in upholding law and upholding the priesthood in their homes, that children may see a proper example. Respect for law and order, as charity, begins at home.

These young men were true to every trust. They were men of integrity. I cannot think of anything which will contribute more to the establishing of law and order than for each individual to cherish integrity and honesty in his or her heart. Integrity, honestyCthe Latter-day Saints stand for these fundamental principles. They are generally noted for their integrity and honesty, and it is with sorrow we receive the word, whenever it comes through the press or by voice, that one of the Latter-day Saints has failed in his obligation to trust.

the value of integrity

I remember with what pride I listened to a conversation over the telephone in one of our stakes. The president was called from the dining table to the telephone. His part of the conversation I heard, and I can give both. The gentleman at the other end, not a member of the Church, was a real estate man. He had in his office a man who was making a purchase but who could not pay the entire sum for the property. The purchaser claimed to be a member of this Church, and the real estate dealer called up the president of the stake to confirm this statement.

[13] Do you know, said the realtor, AMr. Blank?

Yes, said the president.

Is he a member of your Church?

He is.

Is he in good standing?

Yes, replied the president.

Thank you, said the real estate dealer. He is here to make a loan. If he is a member of your Church in good standing I will trust him.

Integrity, the first principle of success. Give us the man of integrity, on whom we know we can thoroughly depend, who will stand firm when others fail, the friend faithful and true, the adviser, honest and fearless, the adversary, just and chivalrous; such a one is a fragment of the rock of ages. Integrity is the first step to true greatness. Men love to praise, but are slow to practice, integrity. To maintain it in high places costs self-denial. In all places it is liable to opposition, but its end is glorious, and the universe will yet do it homage. AA man of integrity will never listen to any plea against conscience.

mr. babson's comment

Many of you are familiar with a comment on this fundamental principle by Mr. Roger W. Babson, the great statistician:

The things which we look upon as of great value: the stocks, bonds, bankbooks, deeds, mortgages, insurance policies, etc., are merely nothing. While 51 per cent [sic] of the people have their eyes on the goal of Integrity, our investments are secure; but with 51 per cent [sic] of them headed in the wrong direction, our investments are valueless. So the first fundamental of prosperity is integrity. Without it there is no civilization, there is no peace, there is no security, there is no safety. Mind you, also, that this applies just as much to the man who is working for wages as to the capitalist and every owner of property.

Integrity, however, applies to many more things than money. Integrity requires the seeking after, as well as the dispensing of, the truth. It was this desire for truth which founded our educational institutions, our sciences and our arts. All the great professions, from medicine to engineering, rest upon this spirit of integrity. Only as they so rest, can they prosper or even survive.

Integrity is the mother of knowledge. The desire for truth is the basis for all learning, the value of all experience and the reason for all study and investigation. Without integrity as a basis, our entire educational system would fall to the ground; all newspapers and magazines would become sources of great danger, and the publication of books would have to be suppressed. Our whole civilization rests upon the assumption that people are honest. With this confidence shaken, the structure falls. And it should fall, for unless the truth should be taught, the nation would be much better off without its schools, newspapers, books and professions. Better have no gun at all, than one aimed at yourself. The cornerstone of prosperity is the stone of Integrity.

George Washington, the father of our country, said:

AI hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.

the application

Now, the application of this thought. In addition to what we have [14] heard this morning from the President, I would like to read this from the Doctrine and Covenants:

We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.

We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people.

No Latter-day Saint can be true to his country, true to his Church, true to his God, who will violate these laws which relate to the moral welfare and the spiritual advancement of mankind.

latter-day saints must uphold the law

There is much being said now about the law prohibiting the manufacture and sale of liquor. Latter-day Saints should uphold that law everywhere, at socials, at banquets. Civil officers, members of clubs, who are contributing to the formation of public opinion ought to be proud to uphold that law. It is a constitutional law, and it is time that the leaders of this country, the politicians, the statesmen, the leaders in civic affairs in the state and in the cities should so speak of this law, so act towards it, that public sentiment would be turned in favor of its enforcement. Latter-day Saints, we are expected to uphold it and to uphold every other law which contributes to the advancement and peace of mankind. And these laws against the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors are such laws, and our conditions now in society, with millions of automobiles, the drivers of which must be at their very best, active mentally, quick to respond physically in emergency, make it necessary that we eliminate from society anything that will becloud the brain or leave the driver's hand unsteady. We are living in a condition in which we cannot with impunity foster traffic in intoxicating liquors. God said long ago that they were not good for man. Our boys and girls, from the standpoint of integrity and consistency, should take a stand against the use thereof.

translate our religion into perfect social conditions

All should take pride in making Mormonism a synonym for trustworthiness, temperance, chastity, honesty, justice these are fundamental principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and by exemplifying them in our lives we contribute to the transformation of society, we translate our religion into better social conditions and bring salvation and peace to men here and now.

May our Father in heaven guide and protect the missionaries who are out proclaiming the restoration of the gospel. May he bless Israel here at home, who, through faithfulness, will contribute to an improved social order. May it be recorded also of our young men: They are men of truth and soberness men who are true at all times in whatsoever thing they are entrusted, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

McKay, David O. Address for the 98th Semi-Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Conference Reports of the LDS Church, October 7, 1927 by the LDS Church. Salt Lake City: the LDS Church, 1914, 11-14.