President David O. McKay

139th Conference, Sunday April 6, 1969

[150] My dear brethren and sisters; As we approach the conclusion of this outstanding annual conference of the Church, my soul is filled with appreciation and thanksgiving for the privilege we have had of partaking of the wonderful spirit and feeling of brotherhood that have permeated the meetings held during the past three days.

I am impressed with the thought that everyone who has attended, either in person or by listening in, no matter where he or she may be, could not help but leave this conference with a greater desire and determination to be a better man or a better woman, a better citizen of his own city, country, or nation, than he or she has ever been before.

Responsibility to contribute

However, we cannot go from this conference without an added responsibility to contribute to a better life around us. As individuals, we must think nobler thoughts. We must not encourage base thoughts nor low aspirations. If we do, we shall radiate them to others. If we think noble thoughts, if we encourage and cherish noble aspirations, there will be that radiation when we meet people, especially when we associate with them.

Every man, every person radiates what he or she is. Every person is a recipient of radiation. The Savior was conscious of this fact. Whenever he came into the presence of an individual, he sensed that radiation, whether it was the woman of Samaria with her past life; whether it was the woman who was to be stoned, or the men who were to stone her; whether it was the statesman, Nicodemus, or one of the lepers. Christ was ever conscious of the radiation from the individual, and, to a degree, so are you, and so am I. It is what we are and what we radiate that affects the people around us.

As it is true of the individual so it is true of the home. Our homes radiate what we are, and that radiation comes from what we say and how we act in the home. No member of this Church, no husband or father, has the right to utter an oath in his home, or ever to express a cross word to his wife or to his children. By your ordination and your responsibility, you cannot do it as a man who holds the priesthood and be true to the spirit within you. You contribute to an ideal home by your character, controlling your passion, your temper, guarding your [151] speech, because those things will make your home what it is, and what it will radiate to the neighborhood. You do what you can to produce peace and harmony, no matter what you may suffer.

True to the divine

The man who is true to his manhood will not lie against the truth. There is within every man that which is divine.

The man who will be true to the divine within him is true to his Lord and to his fellowmen. The man who is untrue to that which he knows to be right is wavering and weakening. He may go so far that he will step out of the light, out of that divine presence, and woe be unto him when he does.

We have declared to the world that we have the gospel of Jesus Christ; that we are going to stand against vice and sin. Shall we forsake this cause in order to please men, or because we desire to give lip service rather than heart service? No! We shall stand true to ourselves, true to the divine within us, true to that truth which we have received. We need to know that it is not good to have evil surrounding us to draw away our young men and women and lead them into the darkness of misery and despair. When we are thrown into the company of men who try to tempt us, let us be true unto the death.

We know that man is a dual being. He is physical; he has his appetites, passions, desires, just as any animal has; but he is also a spiritual being, and he knows that to subdue the animal instincts is to achieve advancement in the spiritual realm. A man who is subject to his physical appetites and passions only, who denies any reality of a spirit, is truly of the animal world. Man is a spiritual being, and his real life is the spirit that inhabits his body. He is a son of God, and he has within him that which will cause him to yearn and to aspire to become dignified, as a son of God should be dignified. The dignity of man, not the degradation of man, has been emphasized throughout this conference.

Men of truth

All men who have moved the world have been men who will stand true to their conscience—such men as Peter, James, and Paul, and their brethren of the ancient apostles, and also others. When the religious leaders of Palmyra, New York, turned against the youthful Joseph Smith for what he had seen and heard in the Sacred Grove, he said, having a testimony of the Lord Jesus in his bosom: "I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it. . . ." (Joseph Smith 2:25).

Joseph Smith was true to his testimony to the last. When he approached his martyrdom at Carthage, Illinois, he said to those who were with him: "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer's morning. I have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward all men" (Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 555). He was true to his testimony and to his manhood. He was a man who possessed divine manhood.

Defense of truth

That is the manhood a true member of this Church should possess in defending the truth. That is the manhood we all need, as we labor in our callings to inspire our young people with that same truth. It is that truth that we need in combating the error and evil which exist in this critical period in the history of our own country and that of the world!

Courage to maintain our ideals is an area in which we can manifest manhood and activity and merit the approval of God. These are times when men should keep their heads, and not be swept from their moorings by every will-o'-the-wisp theory that is offered as a panacea for our present ills. The times call for courageous youth to hold aloft the moral standard. In that field we may find the truest courage.

Our greatest heroes are not always found on the battlefield, although we read of such men daily. We find them also among our youth at home—[152] young men and young women who will stand up fearlessly and denounce those things which they know will sap the character, the very life-giving energy, of youth.

Message for the world

What a message the Church has for this distracted world: Its appeal is to all, to the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, the learned and the unlearned. It proclaims God to be not only the one supreme ruler of the universe, but the Father of each individual—a God of justice, yet a God of love, constantly watching over and guiding even the humblest of his children. With its complete organization, the Church offers service and inspiration to all. It is preeminently a social religion. Instead of taking men out of the world, through its priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations it seeks to develop perfect, God-like men in the midst of society, and through them to solve the problems of society.

There is not a principle that is taught by the Savior of men that is not also applicable to the growth, development and happiness of mankind. Every one of his teachings touches the true philosophy of living. I accept them wholeheartedly, and it is a joy to study and teach them. Every phase of the restored Church is applicable to the welfare of the human family.

I appeal to the youth to be courageous in maintaining the moral and spiritual values of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The world needs moral heroes! The most important thing in life is not the discoveries being made in our secular world, but a belief in the reality of moral and spiritual values. After all, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matt. 16:26)

Triumph of the truth

We cannot truly believe that we are the children of God, and that God exists, without believing in the final inevitable triumph of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we believe that, we shall have less worry about the destruction of the world and the present civilization, because God has established his Church never to be thrown down nor given to another people. And as God lives, and his people are true to him and to one another, we need not worry about the ultimate triumph of truth.

And, young men and women, if you have that testimony on your side, you can pass through the dark valley of slander, misrepresentation, and abuse, undaunted as though you wore a magic suit of armor that no bullet could enter, no arrow could pierce. You can hold your head high, toss it fearlessly and defiantly, and look every man calmly and unflinchingly in the eye. You can feel the great expansive world of more health surging through you as the quickened blood courses through the body of him who is gladly, gloriously proud of physical health. You will know that all will come out right in the end; that it must come; that all must flee before the great white light of truth, as the darkness slinks away into nothingness in the presence of the sunburst.

So, with truth as our guide, our companion, our ally, our inspiration, we may tingle with the consciousness of our kinship with the Infinite, and all the petty trials, sorrows, and sufferings of this life will fade away as temporary, harmless visions seen in a dream.

Testimony of resurrection

Today as we commemorate the coming forth from the tomb of the crucified Lord, I bear my testimony to you and to all the world that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts the resurrection not only as being real, but as the consummation of Christ's divine mission on earth.

I know with my whole soul that as Christ lives after death, so shall all men, each taking his place in the next world for which he has best fitted himself.

Answer to prayer

I have cherished from childhood the truth that God is a personal being, and is, indeed, our Father whom we [153] can approach in prayer and receive answers thereto. I cherish as one of the dearest experiences of life the knowledge that God hears the prayer of faith. It is true that the answers to our prayers may not always come as direct and at the time, nor in the manner, we anticipate; but they do come, and at a time and in a manner best for the interests of him who offers the supplication.

There have been occasions, however, when I have received direct and immediate assurance that my petition was granted. At one time, particularly, the answer came as distinctly as though my Heavenly Father stood by my side and spoke the words. These experiences are part of my very being and must remain so long as memory and intelligence last. Just as real and just as close to me seems the Savior of the world. I feel as I have never felt before that God is my Father. He is not just an intangible power, a moral force in the world, but a personal God with creative power, the governor of the world, the director of our souls. I would have all men, and especially the young people of the Church, feel so close to our Father in heaven that they will approach him daily—not in public alone, but in private. If our people will have this faith, great blessings will come to them. Their souls will be filled with thanksgiving for what God has done for them; they will find themselves rich in favors bestowed. It is not imagination that we can approach God and receive light and guidance from him, and that our minds will be enlightened and our souls thrilled by his Spirit.

Conference messages

God bless these General Authorities of the Church for the inspirational messages they have given us throughout this conference. They have testified as to the truth of the restored gospel, and have borne their testimonies that God, the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ have appeared in these latter days to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that the gospel in its fullness has been restored to the earth.

Blessings extended

We send greetings and blessings to our missionaries and the mission presidencies in their respective fields of duty throughout the world. We deeply appreciate the unselfish service they are rendering.

God bless our young men in the service of our country, wherever they may be. To each of you I send my greetings and a message of confidence and trust, and say to you: Keep yourselves morally clean. Being soldiers or sailors is no justification for indulgence in vulgarity, intemperance, or immorality. Others may be impelled to do these things because of the beastliness of war, but you who are members of the Church and hold the priesthood of God cannot so indulge with impunity. For your own sweet lives, and for others who trust you, keep yourselves unpolluted. We pray that God's protecting care and divine guidance will be with each of you.

And now, my dear brethren and sisters, my fellow workers, with all the power that the Lord has given me I bless each of you and pray that from this hour you may go forth with renewed determination to discharge your duties more faithfully, more successfully under the inspiration of God than ever before.

Gratitude for support

My heart is full of appreciation for your service and your presence here, and for the privilege of being associated with you in this great cause. I am grateful to you all for your loyal support and your prayers in my behalf. This gospel gives us a chance to live above this old world and its temptations and through self-control and self-mastery, to live in the spirit, and that is the real life here and hereafter.

God bless you in your individual lives, in your home life, in your Church activities, and give you the comfort that comes to every soul who loses himself for Christ's sake. I pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Address of David O. McKay for the 139th Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, April 6, 1969, In 1969 Conference Reports of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 150–153.