Educating All Parents To Ensure The Future Of Our Republic

J. Reuben Clark, April 1937 General Conference Address

First Counselor in the First Presidency

My brethren and sisters, I am indeed honored to be with you again and to partake of the spirit of this conference.
I should like again to pay my tribute, for I feel they richly deserve it, to this great Tabernacle Choir mission. The influence which they are radiating for good, and the prejudice which they are overcoming cannot be measured. I am grateful for the devoted service of every member of the choir, for the devoted service of Brother Cornwall, their leader, of Brother Asper, the organist, and of Brother Evans who makes the announcements. Each is doing a splendid job.
During the course of the conference I believe we are to hear again from the Singing Mothers, under the direction of Sister Lottie Sackett. I should like to pay to them my respects and my assurances of appreciation of the great work they are doing. They are indeed becoming one of the great musical institutions of this Church. May the Lord continue his blessings unto them.


When the Savior came upon the earth he had two great missions; one was to work out the Messiahship, the atonement for the fall, and the fulfilment of the law; the other was the work which he did among his brethren and sisters in the flesh by way of relieving their sufferings, and again by teaching to them the great spiritual facts out of which by observance may come eternal life. He left as a heritage to those who should come after him in his Church the carrying on of those two great things work for the relief of the ills and the sufferings of humanity, and the teaching of the spiritual truths which should bring us back into the presence of our Heavenly Father.

This afternoon I wish to speak somewhat concerning matters which are directly related perhaps to the work of relieving our sufferings and our human ills, and I shall leave to others primarily the instruction with reference to those great spiritual truths which shall bring us back into the presence of God.


I want to read you the last verses of the first chapter of Jacob in the Book of Mormon, and the second verse of the second chapter, as indicating to you the responsibility which I regard the Authorities of this Church to be under as between themselves and yourselves and between all of us and our God.

For I, Jacob, and my brother Joseph had been consecrated priests and teachers of this people by the hands of Nephi.

And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.

Now, my beloved brethren, I, Jacob, according to the responsibility which I am under to God, to magnify mine office with soberness, and that I might rid my garments of your sins, I come up into the temple this day that I might declare unto you the word of God."

I am not proposing to talk to the people about their sins, but I am hoping to say to you by way of warning and admonition some of the things which have come within my knowledge and of which I feel under a solemn duty to tell you.

Recently I have had opportunity to discuss world conditions with men from both sides of the Atlantic who are leaders in industry and finance.


Pursuant to the responsibility of which Jacob spoke, I deem it my duty to tell members of the Church, by way of warning and admonition, of what the near future may bring insofar as these men can foresee. I devoutly hope they may be in error in their judgment; I fear they may speak too near the truth. But whatever the eventuality may turn out to be, I am now giving the soundest human forecast of which I know.


European industrialists make these statements: That European countries are now spending eleven billions of dollars a year on military armament; that Great Britain alone is spending two billion dollars; that European nations are piling up enormous quantities of raw materials used in war, particularly the metals; that one nation has placed an order for the total world output of a certain metal for a year and a half ahead; that stocks of raw materials of all war-like sorts now accumulating are many times greater than were gathered together at the and of the World War. On this statement it is clear that these gathered materials are not now destined for any useful purpose; that they are not for the service but for the destruction of man; that if they shall be used in war, they will be just that much human labor burned up without beneficial return to man just as if so much money were burned up in a furnace. It will be a tragic and wicked waste.


These men also assert that these tremendous purchases of war stocks have advanced prices of the materials concerned; that these price advances have reacted on other manufactured commodities, the prices of which have also advanced; that these advances have resulted in advances of labor costs; and that on account of all these advances, there will be in the immediate future a period of prosperity or inflation, which ever you choose to call it, in which the costs of living will go up, and we shall pay more for food, clothing, fuel and shelter. American financiers say this means the value of the dollar will go down that is, a dollar will buy less and less of the necessaries of life.


These experienced financiers and industrialists further say that this prosperity period will be over, some say in two years, some say in ten, that if war shall come, the period will last till the end of the war; but that if the war does not come, then this prosperity period will end so soon as the nations feel reasonable security in a period of peace.
These same authorities declare that if war shall come, its ending will leave the world in a state of exhaustion heretofore unknown to modern times; that the depression from which we are now emerging will be but as a shadow of the real hard times which will then come. They affirm that if war does not come, but instead this sense of temporary security, that then the nations will dispose of their excess war materials, that this will close great industries and bring idleness; that the resulting loss of markets and trade will bring ruin to industries, and that the depression and industrial paralysis which follows will be the full equal of that which would follow another World War. They feel that this next world depression will be near, if not quite, a chaos which will, in the existing state of mind of the peoples of the world, threaten the very existence of government, of property, of human rights, of liberty, even of the family itself.

Everyone who reads the newspapers knows that the naval and military leaders of all nations believe the next war will look to the extermination of nations, not the destruction of armies; that not alone shall the able-bodied soldiers be cut down, but that innocent babes, their mothers, the aged, decrepit, and infirm are to be slaughtered. Great Britain is providing a gas mask for every man, woman, child and infant in the United Kingdom, and the people are being trained to use them as a protection against the poison gas their enemies are expected to use. The next war will not be a series of battles, but of butcheries.


Notwithstanding the fact that our former associates in the World War owe us the money which we lent them amounting to over ten billions of dollars, and also owe us the great bulk of the interest which we, the people of the United States have been paying on that loan, and notwithstanding they took tremendous loot from Germany at the end of the War of which we did not, I am proud to say, take a cent, war loot, counting the German colonial possessions, many, many times greater than the money they owe us, nevertheless there is strongest reason for believing that some of the most skilled, astute, and shrewd diplomats, politicians, and statesmen of all Europe are now planning to have the people of the United States finance the next European war either before the war begins or during its progress.

Furthermore, certain of these same diplomats, politicians, and statesmen are planning to entice the United States into an offensive and defensive military alliance in order that we shall participate in that next world war by sending our young men to the battlefields of Europe The argument they now plan to use to bring this about is that in this way only can the peace of the world be preserved. While this is a most profound fallacy, it will unfortunately find a sympathetic ear among many of the people of this country who do not fully understand international relations. It will require the wisest statesmanship on our part to prevent the United States from becoming again the victim of a world military catastrophe.


We shall hope and pray that these men who predict such a dire future are in error. But whether or not these men are seeing false visions or are peering accurately into the future, yet I know of no responsible authority who challenges the forecast that within the next few years we shall, in the normal course, suffer a depression far more serious, affecting intimately far greater numbers of the people, than the one we are now finishing.

This prospect gives a new significance to the Church Security Plan and gives the final but unneeded evidence of the inspiration which led President Grant to inaugurate that great and far- reaching movement. If that chaos shall come which these men fear, then those only will survive who shall extend the one to the other a mutual, brotherly, loving, unselfish help. In this view we may not believe we are at the end of the Security Plan; we are only at the beginning.
These men to whom I have referred bemoan with united voice this great world-wide tragedy which they feel they clearly foresee, but which they assert they have no power to avert. Indeed, one feels, rather than sees, that no human power can cope with and ward off this threatening cataclysm.

Reading together the Scriptures and the signs of the times, and remembering that the measure of time with God is not the measure of time with man, one cannot but consider whether we be not now in the very times foretold by the Savior in his great discourse on the Mount of Olives, and predicted by the prophets from most ancient times.
Are not the anti-Christs now walking the earth?


When we see how far beyond the reach of human mind and hand the world today has gone, when we calmly ponder and reflect upon the crumbling of human ideals and institutions no matter how sacred they have been heretofore held, and when we peer down into the unfathomable abyss into which man seems ready to plunge, unless in God's mercy he shall be drawn back, we do glimpse darkly and in broadest outline only, the working of those great infinite forces of right and wrong which had their birth, so far as we know, when Satan and his hosts were thrust from heaven, and truth and falsehood began their millenniums of conflict for mastery. May the Lord give us strength to meet this test if it shall come.


What may we as a people and as individuals do for ourselves to prepare to meet this oncoming disaster, which God in his wisdom may not turn aside from us?

First, and above and beyond everything else, let us live righteously, fearing God and keeping his commandments, that we may in part claim his blessing as of right, and not as of mercy only. Along this way only lies happiness and salvation. For the Lord has said:

Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full. * * * *
Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul.
And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life." (D&C 101:36-38.)

Let us avoid debt as we would avoid a plague; where we are now in debt let us get out of debt; if not today, then tomorrow.

Let us straitly and strictly live within our incomes, and save a little. Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead. You of small means put your money in foodstuffs and wearing apparel, not in stocks and bonds; you of large means will think you know how to care for yourselves, but I may venture to suggest that you do not speculate. Let every head of every household aim to own his own home, free from mortgage. Let every man who has a garden spot, garden it; every man who owns a farm, farm it.

Let us again clothe ourselves with these proved and sterling virtues honesty, truthfulness, chastity, sobriety, temperance, industry and thrift; let us discard all covetousness and greed.


We must purge our hearts of the love of ease; we must put out from our lives the curse of idleness. God declared that mortal man should earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. That is the law of this world. In the past it has taxed our economic strength and system to keep the relatively very few idle rich. That task shows us that no great groups can be kept in idleness. It surely is not natural to believe that they may. People have been insufficiently fed and clad with every one working who was able to work. Why delude ourselves into thinking that a third of us may live in idleness and all of us be better off? If a third may be idle, and all be better off than now, then why not a half idle and increase the prosperity; and if half, why not two-thirds, and if two-thirds, then all of us idle and have every man a millionaire, and nobody working.

Furthermore, to provide by law that a third shall live off the two-thirds, is to set up a legal slavery of the two-thirds who work. As one within the age of the proposed idle class, I protest with all the spirit and strength I possess against the infliction upon me of such a curse. May the Lord forbid that this shall come.

For the decrepit and infirm, from any cause, I have, we all have, the deepest sympathy, as also for those in distress from causes beyond their control. To all such we owe a sacred duty to help. God's law has always been "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self." This we must do. But side by side with this law is that other law, declared from the beginning, that while man can work, he must work. These are the two great laws, the two fundamental principles behind the Church Security Plan. The aim of that plan is to put those two great truths into the lives of all of us.

May God give unto us the power always to see the truth. May he increase our faith day by day. May he enable us from hour to hour to live more nearly to him, to keep his commandments, to follow along the lines which he has marked out for us. May he give us wisdom to foresee and to vision the future. May he give us the strength and the power of the Spirit, to prepare for that future, whatever it may be. That these blessings may come to us, I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


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