Educating All Parents To Ensure The Future Of Our Republic

J. Reuben Clark, April 1952 General Conference Address

Second Counselor in the First Presidency

Brethren, this is a humbling experience. I pray the Lord to bless me for the few minutes that I stand before you, that I may be able to say something that will be helpful and encouraging.

Thirty years ago, from this pulpit, in a public meeting, I voiced a warning against what we then knew as Bolshevism and Socialism, and what we now know as Communism. I thought I saw it coming, and it came. No one can listen to what we have heard tonight, without joining in the feeling that President Stover expressed, thank God for this country and for our citizenship. And there is nothing that we should not do to preserve this country, and its liberties, and its free institutions.

Brother Stover is not telling us fairy tales. He knows what happens over there, and he has told it in language that we can all understand. A system destructive of the great principle which lies behind our great plan, that utterly wipes it out and makes it as if it did not exist, the great principle of free agency.

Brethren, I do not suppose that any of you have had communistic leanings. I suppose that all of you love your country, love the Constitution, love the free institutions under which we live, love our freedoms. But if there be any, may I ask you, prayerfully and humbly, think this thing over, because if it comes here it will probably come in its full vigor and there will be a lot of vacant places among those who guide and direct, not only this government, but also this Church of ours.

Brethren, I urge you, think this thing over in the light of the facts. And I know that Brother Stover has not told us tonight, a tithe of what he could tell.

That brings me rather naturally to my favorite theme before you brethren. "If you are not one, you are not mine." Now, that should mean, and must mean, if we are to preserve our freedoms and our liberties, that we shall be one.
Last night I voiced the thought that I feel is sound. I can think of this Church as having three great functions. The first function is to maintain and build up the body of the Church as we exist, those who already belong to it. The second function is to warn the world and to teach the truth to those who wish it. And the third function is to do the work for the dead.

We cannot successfully carry on the latter two without having a strong central Church, and to build a strong central Church requires unity, real unity, not verbal, make-believe unity.

We need unity in administration, from the deacons' quorum, up. We do not want deacons' quorums going off on their own and handling the meetings as they wish; the members going when they wish, and coming when they wish, and talking about what they wish. That is not the way to build a deacons' quorum.

You bishops of the wards, you do not want your auxiliary organizations carrying on, each one by itself, without any regulation or any control. You presidents of stakes do not want your wards carrying on in that way. And I can assure you that the presiding authorities of the Church cannot do their work unless they have unity among the stakes.
Do not, brethren, get the idea in your minds, that you have a very unique situation in your own place. We hear that frequently. But when we analyze it down, we do not find the uniqueness that sometimes you feel you have.

Be a unit. Follow your file leaders. Do what you are asked to do, and do it willingly and do it with a determination to make it a success.

You need this unity, brethren, if we are going to build this Church and if we are going to fulfil the mission which the Lord has given to us.

And you need unity in doctrine. I incorporate by reference these two fine sermons we have heard today, one from Brother Stapley and one from Brother Bowen. I endorse all that each of them said. The principles of this gospel are clear and reasonably few, that we need to act upon. And there is only one man on earth who has the final word as to what is the true doctrine of this Church and that is President David O. McKay today. When there comes a time to change the doctrines of the Church, he will let you know.

Read your books. There is a startling parallel between the course that is coming in to us today and the course that was in the early Church, so startling that one becomes fearful. We have these little groups going off on their own doing their own interpreting of the scriptures, more or less laying down their own principles. They are small now, of no particular consequence, but that is the way it began in the early Christian Church, and these little snowballs grew and grew and grew until they became great.

" Scholasticism" took its root among those early peoples. There were a number of "schoolmen," they were called who undertook to define the doctrines of the early Church, then developing into the great Catholic Church-Bede, Alcuin, Damiani, Scotus, and others, Thomas Aquinas-they began the development, these individuals, of great heresies that took hold of the imaginations of the people and finally were adopted by the Church.

Now, of course, the Church in those days was not organized as we are. The bishops were independent, one from the other. They had no real, there was no real central control. The pope exercised some, but it was very ineffective and inefficient. Some popes ruled some of these heresies wrong as heresies, then later other popes came along and ruled them as truths. We must be united in doctrine, we must follow the scriptures. Do not try to wander off too much brethren, I beg of you, into the mysteries. Do not write in to the First Presidency and ask them to solve every mystery that you can think of, either.

Then there must be a unity of faith.

When I say a unity of faith, I am distinguishing between what we ordinarily term as unity of faith, which is a unity of doctrine, and a unity of the exercise of faith. What I mean is illustrated by what happened at Jericho, when they marched around the city and the walls fell. What I am thinking about is a statement in the scriptures, that if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed you can say to yonder mountain, remove ye hence, and it will be removed.
And that great crusade under Peter the Hermit, made up in good part, of the ragtail and bobtail of the whole western Christian Church, who were promised an indulgence if they went on that crusade and the forgiveness of all the sins they had committed in the past, and all that they might commit in the future-I am not talking extravagantly, I am telling you what that indulgence really was-when the crusaders got to Jerusalem the clergy that were with them tried to imitate the great miracle at Jericho and so they marched round Jerusalem, but the walls did not fall. Finally they took the place by storm, and one account says that the narrow streets leading up to the temple mount flowed in the blood of victims up to the horses knees. These crusaders, apparently dedicated to the redemption of the Holy Land from the pagans, took babes and dashed their brains out against the wall, took them by the legs and threw them over the wall, shut them up in houses and went in and slaughtered them, piled up the remnants in grat piles.

I assume if he told all he knew Brother Stover might almost equal that.

Now, brethren, we must have unity in faith. Let us practice the unity, brethren, before it is too late. We well may be the leaven that shall leaven the lump. We well may be the few that will save this country, even as the Lord told Abraham he would save Sodom and Gomorrah if he could find ten righteous persons. I appeal to you, brethren, in all earnestness, in all kindliness, that we become united, united in following the directions of those who preside over you in the matter of administration; united in the matter of doctrines, that we do not permit ourselves to be led astray, that we study the scriptures and that we hold fast to the few, simple and elemental principles of the gospel, which are all-sufficient to gain us our salvation.

I urge unity in the matter of faith, let us have faith, let us exercise it, let us fit ourselves that we can exercise it, if, when, and as the time comes.

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