Joseph Fielding Smith
President of the Church, 1970-1972
President Joseph Fielding Smith invited all people to come unto Christ: "There is no cure for the ills of the world except the gospel of Jesus Christ. ... And so we invite all our Father's children, everywhere, to believe in Christ, to receive him as he is revealed by living prophets, and to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ... To the honest in heart in all nations we say: The Lord loves you. He wants you to receive the full blessings of the gospel" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 13; or Ensign, July 1972, 27).
He left this blessing on the youth of the Church: "The Lord bless you and keep you, which most assuredly will be so as you learn his laws and live in harmony with them. Be true to every trust. Honor thy father and thy mother. Dwell together in love and conformity. Be modest in your dress. Overcome the world, and do not be led astray by the fashions and practices of those whose interests are centered upon the things of this world" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 1314).
Joseph Fielding Smith, 10th President of the Church, invited all to come unto Christ. He said: "There is no cure for the ills of the world except the gospel of Jesus Christ. ... The Lord loves you. He wants you to receive the full blessings of the gospel."
Artist, Shauna Clinger
Harold B. Lee
President of the Church, 1972-1973
"The greatest miracles I see today," expressed President Lee, "are not necessarily the healing of sick bodies, but the greatest miracles I see are the healing of sick souls, those who are sick in soul and spirit and are downhearted and distraught. ... We are reaching out to all such, because they are precious in the sight of the Lord, and we want no one to feel that they are forgotten" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 178; or Ensign, July 1973, 123).
"I know that there are powers divine that reach out when all other help is not available" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 179).
"Take time for family home evening. Draw your children around about you. Teach them, guide them, and guard them. There was never a time when we needed so much the strength and the solidarity of the home" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 130; or Ensign, July 1973, 98).
To the Saints in Mexico and Central America, he told a sacred experience following his call as President of the Church: "On the early morning thereafter with my wife I kneeled in humble prayer, and suddenly it seemed as though my mind and heart went out to over three million people in all the world. I seemed to have a love for every one of them no matter where they lived nor what their color was, whether they were rich or poor, whether they were humble or great, or educated or not. Suddenly I felt as though they all belonged to me, as though they were all my own brothers and sisters" (in Conference Report, Mexico and Central America Area Conference 1972, 151).
Harold B. Lee, 11th President of the Church, had a great love for the members of the Church. He told the Saints to hold family home evening, teach their children, and protect them from the temptations of our world.
Artist, David Ahrnsbrak
Spencer W. Kimball
President of the Church, 1973-1985
Because of surgery on his vocal cords, President Kimball had a quiet voice, but his life spoke loudly of good works. He inspired Church members worldwide: "Put your shoulders to the wheel, lengthen your stride, heighten your reach, increase your devotion" (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 564). He was an example of action. On his desk was a plaque with the motto "Do It."
"The Lord will not translate one's good hopes and desires and intentions into works," he wrote. "Each of us must do that for himself" (The Miracle of Forgiveness , 8).
On Sabbath worship, he instructed: "We do not go to Sabbath meetings to be entertained or even solely to be instructed. We go to worship the Lord. If the service is a failure to you, you must have failed. No one can worship for you; you must do your own waiting upon the Lord" ("The Sabbath—A Delight," Ensign, Jan. 1978, 45).
Under his direction, temple work expanded rapidly worldwide. The Church dedicated temples in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico, the Philippines, the United States (five locations), South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, and Japan. New temples were announced for Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, South Korea, and the United States (three locations).
Spencer W. Kimball, 12th President of the Church, told the members of the Church, "Lengthen your stride." His life was an example of good works and action. On his desk was a plaque with the motto "Do It." Under his direction, temples were built in many areas of the world.
Ezra Taft Benson
President of the Church, 1985-1994
President Ezra Taft Benson placed renewed emphasis on the Book of Mormon: "The Book of Mormon is the instrument that God designed to 'sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out [His] elect' (Moses 7:62). This sacred volume of scripture needs to become more central in our preaching, our teaching, and our missionary work. ... Indeed, I have a vision of flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1988, 35; or Ensign, Nov. 1988, 46).
"Let us continually reread the Book of Mormon so that we might more fully come to Christ, be committed to Him, centered in Him, and consumed in Him" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 104; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 85).
"There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. ... This is my prayer, that the Book of Mormon may become the keystone of our lives" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 67; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 7).
He is remembered for his condemnation of pride: "Pride is the universal sin, the great vice. ... Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 67; or Ensign, May 1989, 67).
Elder Mark E. Petersen wrote this tribute to President Benson: " 'What is best for the kingdom?' The answer to that question has been the deciding factor in every important matter that has come before [him] throughout his life" ("President Ezra Taft Benson," Ensign, Jan. 1986, 23).
Ezra Taft Benson, 13th President of the Church, encouraged every member to read the Book of Mormon. He testified that the Book of Mormon will help us come unto Christ. He said, "There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. ... This is my prayer, that the Book of Mormon may become the keystone of our lives."
Howard W. Hunter
President of the Church, 1994-1995
"Look to the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of your membership," President Hunter urged. "It is the deepest desire of my heart to have every member of the Church worthy to enter the temple" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 8; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 8).
"Let us follow the Son of God in all ways and in all walks of life. Let us make him our exemplar and our guide. We should at every opportunity ask ourselves, 'What would Jesus do?' and then be more courageous to act upon the answer. ...
"What manner of men and women ought we to be? Even as he is" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 84; or Ensign, May 1994, 64).
"I invite all members of the Church to live with ever more attention to the life and example of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially the love and hope and compassion he displayed. I pray that we will treat each other with more kindness, more patience, more courtesy and forgiveness" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 7).
Howard W. Hunter, 14th President of the Church, encouraged each member to live worthy to receive the blessings of the temple. He told us to follow the example of Jesus Christ and to "treat each other with more kindness, more patience, more courtesy and forgiveness."
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