President of the Church, 1898-1901
Lorenzo Snow received a personal revelation about the destiny of mankind that the Prophet Joseph Smith later confirmed as true. Lorenzo related: "The Spirit of the Lord rested mightily upon me—the eyes of my understanding were opened, and I saw as clear as the sun at noonday, with wonder and astonishment, the pathway of God and man. I formed the following couplet, which expresses the revelation, as it was shown to me ... : As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be" (quoted in LeRoi C. Snow, "Devotion to a Divine Inspiration," Improvement Era, June 1919, 656).
After the death of President Woodruff in 1898, President Snow saw and was instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ in the Salt Lake Temple. President Snow later related this experience to his granddaughter, adding, "I want you to remember that this is the testimony of your grand-father, that he told you with his own lips that he actually saw the Savior, here in the Temple, and talked with Him face to face" (quoted in LeRoi C. Snow, "An Experience of My Father's," Improvement Era, Sept. 1933, 677).
"Jesus has commanded us to be perfect even as God, the Father, is perfect," taught President Snow. "It is our duty to try to be perfect, and it is our duty to improve each day, and look upon our course last week and do things better this week; do things better today than we did them yesterday, and go on and on from one degree of righteousness to another" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1898, 13).
Lorenzo Snow, fifth President of the Church, was instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ in the Salt Lake Temple following the death of President Woodruff. President Snow later told his granddaughter, "I want you to remember that this is the testimony of your grand-father, that he told you with his own lips that he actually saw the Savior, here in the Temple, and talked with Him face to face." President Snow taught the Saints to pay their tithing and that if they did, the Lord would bless them with all they needed.
Artist, Lewis A. Ramsey
Joseph F. Smith
President of the Church, 1901-1918
In 1915, when Joseph F. Smith was President of the Church, the First Presidency wrote a letter encouraging families to hold "home evening" activities. They promised blessings to families who would participate: "If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influence and temptations which beset them" (in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , 4:338-39).
Just six weeks before his death, while reading and pondering the scriptures, Joseph F. Smith received a beautiful and magnificent vision. This vision showed Jesus Christ visiting the spirits of righteous people who had died. The Savior organized the spirits into a missionary force to preach the gospel to those who had died without a knowledge of the gospel or who had rejected the truth. Among the faithful who were teaching others were his father, Hyrum Smith, and the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Church accepted this revelation as scripture, and it was published in 1976 as section 138 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Joseph F. Smith, sixth President of the Church, was five years old when his father, Hyrum Smith, was killed at Carthage Jail with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph F. Smith was nine years old when he drove an ox team across the plains. As President of the Church, he encouraged families to hold "home evening" activities, promising that "great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influence and temptations which beset them."
Artist, A. Salzbroning
Heber J. Grant
President of the Church, 1918-1945
Heber J. Grant was an example of persistence and determination. He lived by these words: "That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1901, 63).
"Keep the commandments of God," he urged. "That is my keynote speech, just those few words: Keep the commandments of God" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1920, 10).
He reaffirmed such principles as the Word of Wisdom, the law of tithing, and industry and thrift. Under his direction, the Church moved to secure financial footing.
As the Lord's prophet, he invited all people to come unto Christ: "No matter in what land we may dwell the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ makes us brothers and sisters" (in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [1965-75], 5:311).
Heber J. Grant, seventh President of the Church, was an example of persistence and determination. He led the Church during the difficult time of World War I and through World War II and helped the Church become financially secure. He urged members to keep the Word of Wisdom, pay tithing, and be thrifty. He invited all people to come unto Christ and keep the commandments of God.
Artist, C. J. Fox
George Albert Smith
President of the Church, 1945-1951
George Albert Smith was the fourth generation of his family to serve as a General Authority. He and his father, John Henry Smith, served in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the same time—the only time in Church history for this to occur.
He developed a creed that included the following ideals: "I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor. ... I would not seek to force people to live up to my ideals but rather love them into doing the thing that is right. ... I would not knowingly wound the feeling of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to do him good and make him my friend. ... I would not be an enemy to any living soul" (quoted in Bryant S. Hinckley, "Greatness in Men: Superintendent George Albert Smith," Improvement Era, Mar. 1932, 295).
He served the youth of the Church as superintendent of the YMMIA for over a decade and as a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America.
He repeated many times these words of his grandfather George A. Smith, for whom he was named: "There is a line of demarkation, well defined, between the Lord's territory and the devil's. If you will stay on the Lord's side of the line you will be under his influence and will have no desire to do wrong; but if you cross to the devil's side of the line one inch, you are in the tempter's power, and if he is successful, you will not be able to think or even reason properly, because you will have lost the spirit of the Lord" (Sharing the Gospel with Others, sel. Preston Nibley , 42-43).
George Albert Smith was the eighth President of the Church. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather also served as General Authorities. He enjoyed Scouting and camping. He developed a creed that was a guide for his life: "I would be a friend to the friendless. ... I would not be an enemy to any living soul."
Artist, Lee Greene Richards
David O. McKay
President of the Church, 1951-1970
"Every member a missionary," taught President McKay (in Conference Report, Apr. 1959, 121-22). The Church accelerated its missionary work under his direction.
He championed the family and the home, reminding us that "no other success can compensate for failure in the home" (quoted from J. E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization , 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116).
He often quoted, "To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved" (Gospel Ideals , 187).
"Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God's greatest gift to man" (Gospel Ideals, 299).
Although he valued education highly, he said, "Character is higher than intellect" (Gospel Ideals, 443).
President McKay explained the importance of good works: "Spirituality is best manifested in doing, not in dreaming. Rapturous day dreams, flights of heavenly fancy, longings to see the invisible, are not so impressive as the plain doing of duty" (True to the Faith, comp. Llewelyn R. McKay , 244-45).
David O. McKay, ninth President of the Church, encouraged missionary work when he said, "Every member a missionary." He also taught the importance of home and family by saying that having a righteous family is the best success we can have in this life.
Artist, Alvin Gittins
|« Previous 1 2  4 5 Next »|