First Presidency Message of October 1942
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James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, Vol.6, pp.170-185; Improvement Era 45:686-87, 757-59, 762-65; 767, November 1942; Liahona, the Elders' Journal 40:194-203, October 13, 1942.
President Heber J. Grant had suffered partial paralysis in 1940. His mind, however, was clear and active. As in the April 1942 Conference, the message of the First Presidency was read by President Clark. It contains a prayer to God to "Stay the hand, O Father, of the Destroyer. Let him not further curse the world with the slaughter of Thy children." It further contains an acknowledgment that all our God's children have erred, but asks God to "close Thine eyes to our misdoings and recall not our frailties, nor withhold forgiveness for our transgressions...."
Read by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., at the first session of the 113th Semi-annual Conference, Saturday, October 3, 1942, in the Tabernacle, Temple Square, Salt Lake City.
To the Saints in every land and clime we send our love and greetings and say unto you: May the Peace of Christ which passeth human understanding enter your souls and be and abide with you always. During the coming winter, may the Lord in His wisdom, give food to the hungry, raiment to the unclothed, heat and shelter to those who are cold; may His Spirit bring comfort to the broken hearts, bind up the aching wounds, heal those who are sick, preserve from plague and pestilence those who are victims of this worldwide holocaust.
We again bear you our testimony: that God lives and that He loves those who keep His commandments and walk in His ways; that Christ, His Only Begotten, came to earth and lived His mission through, that He was crucified, died, the Lamb of God sacrificed for the sins of the world, and after three days came forth from the tomb, a resurrected being, thereby making the Atonement which brings the blessing of a resurrection to all God's children; that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, raised up to usher in the last dispensation of the fulness of times, and to bring about the restoration of the fulness of the everlasting gospel and the Holy Priesthood of God, lost to earth through the wickedness of men.
We bear witness that this is the one true Church of the Christ, and that except through it and the following of the teachings and commandments it proclaims, men may not reach the highest exaltation in the eternities to come.
We say unto you that in the darkest hours of these days of dread, tumult, and woe, the Lord is near to us, that He mourns over the iniquities and the sorrows of His children, that He would lead us into paths of peace if we would but follow Him; that He holds in His loving hands, nurtured by His boundless mercy, every one who lives righteously, and who seeks His protection; that He listens and hearkens to those who, having pure hearts and contrite spirits, come to Him with prayers of unshaking faith. He stands today ready as always to gather us in, "even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings," would we but yield our lives in righteous service to Him.
Drink and the Word of Wisdom
The world is smitten, nigh unto death, with great and grievous tribulations, following the commission of cardinal sins.
Over the earth, and it seems particularly in America, the demon drink is in control. Drunken with strong drink, men have lost their reason; their counsel has been destroyed; their judgment and vision are fled; they reel forward to destruction.
Drink brings cruelty into the home; it walks arm in arm with poverty; its companions are disease and plague; it puts chastity to flight; it knows neither honesty nor fair dealing; it is a total stranger to truth; it drowns conscience; it is the bodyguard of evil; it curses all who touch it.
Drink has brought more woe and misery, broken more hearts, wrecked more homes, committed more crimes, filled more coffins, than all the wars the world has suffered.
Therefore, we thank the faithful Saints for their observance of the Word of Wisdom, for their putting aside of drink. The Lord is pleased with you. You have been a bulwark of strength to this people and to the world. Your influence has been for righteousness. The Lord will not forget your good works when you stand before Him in judgment. He has blessed and will continue to bless you with the blessings He promised to those who obey this divine law of health. We invoke the mercies of the Lord upon you that you may continue strong in spirit, to cast off temptation and continue teachers to the youth of Zion by word and deed.
But so great is the curse of drink that we should not be held guiltless did we not call upon all offending Saints to forsake it and banish it from their lives forever.
God has spoken against drink in our day, and has given to this, the Lord's own Church, a specific revelation concerning it, as a word of wisdom by revelation --
"That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father . . .
"And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies." -- (D&C 89:5, 7.)
This declares the divine wisdom. It is God's law of health, and is binding upon each and every one of us. We cannot escape its operation, for it is based upon eternal truth. Men may agree or disagree about this word of the Lord; if they agree, it adds nothing; if they disagree, it means nothing. Beyond His word we cannot reach, and it is enough for every Latter-day Saint, willing and trying to follow divine guidance.
For more than half a century President Grant has on every appropriate occasion admonished the Saints touching their obligation to keep the Word of Wisdom. He has told them what it means to them in matters of health, quoting the words of the Lord thereon. He has pointed out that treasures of knowledge, even hidden knowledge, would come to those who lived the law. He has, over and over again, shown what it would mean financially to every member who would keep the law, what it would mean financially to our people, and what it would mean financially to a nation. He has told us what it would mean in ending human woes, misery, sorrow, disease, crime, and death. But his admonitions have not found a resting place in all our hearts.
We, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, now solemnly renew all these counsels, we repeat all these admonitions, we reinvoke obedience to God's law of health given us by God Himself.
We repeat here the directions heretofore given by President Grant: We ask that every General Authority, every stake and ward officer, every officer of Priesthood quorums, every auxiliary officer in ward, stake, or general board, every president of mission, every regular or stake missionary, in short, every officer in every Church organization, strictly to keep the Word of Wisdom from this moment forward. If any feels too weak to do this, we must ask him to step aside for someone who is willing and able so to do, for there are thousands of Latter-day Saints who are willing to obey the commandments and who are able to carry on the work of the Lord.
We ask all Church presiding officers immediately to set their official houses in order.
The Lord will not otherwise fully prosper us in our service in His cause, wherefore we shall stand accused before Him that we walked not in the lead of His flock in the full stature of worthy, righteous example. Furthermore, we make a like call upon all these officers to keep also the law of tithing, to live the law of strictest chastity, and to observe and do the commandments of the Lord.
That in these dire days, we may, each in his own place, enjoy the abundant physical blessings of the righteous life, we call upon all true Latter-day Saints, in or out of office, to keep this law of health, -- completely to give up drink, to quit using tobacco, which all too often leads to drink, to abandon hot drinks and the use of harmful drugs, and otherwise to observe the Word of Wisdom. We urge the Saints to quit trifling with this law and so to live it that we may claim its promises.
Upon you parents, laden with the divinely imposed responsibility of guiding pure, eternal spirits through the early years of their earth existence, we urge a faithful performance of your sacred duty, to teach this law of health to your children both by precept and example. Of a surety the Lord will not hold us guiltless if we fail one whit in guarding, protecting, and guiding these innocent and precious souls on their way to exaltation
Parents, these are not the times for weak attempts and half measures, but for the full strength of righteous, prayerful, God-fearing effort to walk ourselves, and to lead our children, along the paths of sobriety and chastity.
How great are the blessings promised to those who observe the law:
"And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones:
"And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
"And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
"And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them." (D&C 89:18-21.)
When, as the Lord Himself has declared, plague, pestilence, famine, and death shall be poured out upon the nations for their wickedness, and when these shall break over our heads and our loved ones are smitten nigh to death, when hearts are torn and the anguish of grief almost overwhelms us, who can fathom the joy or measure the blessing of that father and mother who can stand before the Lord and say: "We have kept Thy commandments. We and ours have lived The law. Vouchsafe Thy promised blessings unto us. We remember Thy word, 'I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say.' Let Thy healing power rest upon our afflicted ones 'that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.'"
As with a person, as with a people, so it is with a nation. A drunken nation cannot expect that God will withhold His judgments, nor ward off the ravages of the destroyer. A drunken nation is a seedbed for disaster -- political, physical, moral, and spiritual. A drunken nation may not, even in its hours of direst distress, pray to God for help, with that simple assurance and unpolluted faith which bring aid and comfort to those who abide the law of sobriety and keep His commandments.
Rulers of nations may not suppose that their peoples will be less drunken than they themselves. We call upon the rulers of all nations to show their peoples by their examples how to live the sober and virtuous life. We call upon them to bring into their counsels, the reenthroned reason of undrunken minds. Then will wisdom and vision return, and peace will leave her hiding place to bless the world. We exhort men and rulers the world over to learn the blessings which come to those who live God's full law of health, that they may, under His hands and by His power, help to bring salvation, temporal and spiritual, to the whole human race.
Upon the heels of the demon drink, tread the demons of unchastity -- harlotry, fornication, adultery, while murder itself lurks not far behind. From Adam until now, God has commanded that His children be sexually clean.
Here again we extend gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the great body of the Saints who have kept the moral law. To the Corinthians, Paul said:
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy: for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." -- (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16.)
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" -- (1 Cor. 6:19.)
You who have observed the law of chastity have kept the temples of God undefiled. You can stand unabashed before the Lord. He loves you. He will bestow honor and reward upon you. Every overcoming of temptation brings strength and glory to the soul. May the Lord continue to bless and prosper you in all your works of righteousness.
But some of us have forgotten what the Lord has said about these sins. Some of us have failed to teach our children the need for sexual purity. Some teachers have tried to lay bare to our youth the mysteries of life, and so have robbed the creative act of all the sanctity with which from the beginning God has enshrouded it. These have given no restraining righteous principle in its place. So, with too many, modesty has become a derided virtue, and the sex desire has been degraded to the level of hunger and thirst. From Sodom and Gomorrah until now, sex immorality, with its attendant evils of drink and corruption, has brought low the mightiest of nations, has destroyed powerful peoples, has reduced erring man almost to the level of the beasts in the field.
That we may be reminded of the enormity of the sin of unchastity, it is well that we recall some of the things which the Lord and His prophets have said concerning it.
One of the ten basic principles of Christian society, and accepted by all worshipers of the true God, came to men at Sinai when God wrote with His own finger: "Thou shalt not commit adultery ."
By the laws of Moses, adulterers were stoned to death. (Deut. 22:24.) God said to Israel: "There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel ." (Deut. 23:17.) When God, through Jeremiah, chastened Israel for apostasy, He pictured her loathsomeness by calling her a harlot. (Jer. 3.) Paul declared to the Ephesians:
"For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person . . . hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." (Eph. 5:5.)
The Revelator declared that whoremongers "shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death ." (Rev. 21:8.) And when he wished to condemn the great false church and its iniquities that had led the world into apostasy and wickedness, the Revelator called her "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth ." (Rev. 17:5.) Jacob, teaching the Nephites, declared:
"Wo unto them who commit whoredoms, for they shall be thrust down to hell." -- (2 Ne. 9:36.)
To us of this Church, the Lord has declared that adulterers should not be admitted to membership (D&C 42:76); that adulterers in the Church, if unrepentant, should be cast out (D&C 42:75), but if repentant should be permitted to remain (D&C 42:74, 42:25) and, He said, "By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins -- behold, he will confess them and forsake them" -- (D&C 58:43.)
In the great revelation on the three heavenly glories, the Lord said, speaking of those who will inherit the lowest of these, or the telestial glory:
"These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie." -- (D&C 76:103.)
The doctrine of this Church is that sexual sin -- the illicit sexual relations of men and women -- stands, in its enormity, next to murder.
The Lord has drawn no essential distinctions between fornication, adultery, and harlotry or prostitution. Each has fallen under His solemn and awful condemnation.
You youths of Zion, you cannot associate in non-marital, illicit sex relationships, which is fornication, and escape the punishments and the judgments which the Lord has declared against this sin. The day of reckoning will come just as certainly as night follows day. They who would palliate this crime and say that such indulgence is but a sinless gratification of a normal desire, like appeasing hunger and thirst, speak filthiness with their lips. Their counsel leads to destruction; their wisdom comes from the Father of Lies.
Your husbands and wives who have taken on solemn obligations of chastity in the holy temples of the Lord and who violate those sacred vows by illicit sexual relations with others, you not only commit the vile and loathsome sin of adultery, but you break the oath you yourselves made with the Lord Himself before you went to the altar for your sealing. You become subject to the penalties which the Lord has prescribed for those who breach their covenants with Him.
Of the harlots and those who visit them, God speaks in terms of divine contempt. They are they who have bargained away an eternity of bliss for the momentary pleasures of the flesh.
The Lord will have only a clean people. He has said, "I, the Lord, will contend with Zion, and plead with her strong ones, and chasten her until she overcomes and is clean before me." (D&C 90:36.)
But they who sin may repent, and, they repenting, God will forgive them, for the Lord has said, "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more." (D&C 58:42.)
By virtue of the authority in us vested as the First Presidency of the Church, we warn our people who are offending, of the degradation, the wickedness, the punishment that attend upon unchastity; we urge you to remember the blessings which flow from the living of the clean life; we call upon you to keep, day in and day out, the way of the strictest chastity, through which only can God's choice gifts come to you and His Spirit abide with you.
How glorious is he who lives the chaste life. He walks unfearful in the full glare of the noonday sun, for he is without moral infirmity. He can be reached by no shafts of base calumny, for his armor is without flaw. His virtue cannot he challenged by any just accuser, for he lives above reproach. His cheek is never blotched with shame, for he is without hidden sin. He is honored and respected by all mankind, for he is beyond their censure. He is loved by the Lord, for he stands without blemish. The exaltations of eternities await his coming.
Amongst His earliest commands to Adam and Eve, the Lord said: "Multiply and replenish the earth." He has repeated that commandment in our day. He has again revealed in this, the last dispensation, the principle of the eternity of the marriage covenant. He has restored to the earth the authority for entering into that covenant, and has declared that it is the only due and proper way of joining husband and wife, and the only means by which the sacred family relationship may be carried beyond the grave and through eternity. He has declared that this eternal relationship may be created only by the ordinances which are administered in the holy temples of the Lord, and therefore that his people should marry only in His temple in accordance with such ordinances.
The Lord has told us that it is the duty of every husband and wife to obey the command given to Adam to multiply and replenish the earth, so that the legions of choice spirits waiting for their tabernacles of flesh may come here and move forward under God's great design to become perfect souls, for without these fleshly tabernacles they cannot progress to their God-planned destiny. Thus, every husband and wife should become a father and a mother in Israel to children born under the holy, eternal covenant.
By bringing these choice spirits to earth, each father and each mother assume towards the tabernacled spirit and towards the Lord Himself by having taken advantage of the opportunity He offered, an obligation of the most sacred kind, because the fate of that spirit in the eternities to come, the blessings or punishments which shall await it in the hereafter, depend, in great part, upon the care, the teachings, the training which the parents shall give to that spirit.
No parent can escape that obligation and that responsibility, and for the proper meeting thereof, the Lord will hold us to a strict accountability. No loftier duty than this can be assumed by mortals.
Motherhood thus becomes a holy calling, a sacred dedication for carrying out the Lord's plans, a consecration of devotion to the uprearing and fostering, the nurturing in body, mind, and spirit, of those who kept their first estate and who come to this earth for their second estate "to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them." (Abraham 3:25.) To lead them to keep their second estate is the work of motherhood, and "they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever." (op. cit.)
This divine service of motherhood can be rendered only by mothers. It may not be passed to others. Nurses cannot do it; public nurseries cannot do it; hired help cannot do it -- only mother, aided as much as may be by the loving hands of father, brothers, and sisters, can give the full needed measure of watchful care.
The mother who entrusts her child to the care of others, that she may do non-motherly work, whether for gold, for fame, or for civic service, should remember that "a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." (Prov. 29:15.) In our day the Lord has said that unless parents teach their children the doctrines of the Church "the sin be upon the heads of the parents." (D&C 68:25.)
Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels. To you mothers in Israel we say God bless and protect you, and give you the strength and courage, the faith and knowledge, the holy love and consecration to duty, that shall enable you to fill to the fullest measure the sacred calling which is yours. To you mothers and mothers-to-be we say: Be chaste, keep pure, live righteously, that your posterity to the last generation may call you blessed.
The Lord has said to His Saints in these days:
"I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine." -- (D&C 38:27.)
These days through which we are now passing present many problems which are new to all of us but are particularly strange to the younger generation -- those who have little background of experience and whose knowledge is limited and immature. Infidelity, atheism, unchastity, intemperance, civil corruption, greed, avarice, ambition -- personal, political, national -- are more powerful today than at any other time in the lives of us now living. They are pulling and thrusting us almost at will into new fields of action, new lines of thought. They are shaking the faith, undermining the morals, polluting the lives of the people. They have thrown many so far off balance in all of their activities, economic, social, political, and religious, that they stand in real danger of falling. Satan is making war against all the wisdom that has come to men through their ages of experience. He is seeking to overturn and destroy the very foundations upon which society, government, and religion rest. He aims to have men adopt theories and practices which he induced their forefathers, over the ages, to adopt and try, only to be discarded by them when found unsound, impractical, and ruinous. He plans to destroy liberty and freedom -- economic, political, and religious, and to set up in place thereof the greatest, most widespread, and most complete tyranny that has ever oppressed men. He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods. There is no crime he would not commit, no debauchery he would not set up, no plague he would not send, no heart he would not break, no life he would not take, no soul he would not destroy. He comes as a thief in the night; he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Without their knowing it, the people are being urged down paths that lead only to destruction. Satan never before had so firm a grip on this generation as he has now.
In the midst of this welter of lying and deception, of woe and misery, of death and destruction, of violent disorder and threatening chaos, the only saving forces on earth are the eternal principles of the everlasting gospel of Christ and the rights and powers of the Priesthood of Almighty God. We of this Church stand as the sole possessors of these mighty forces which we have for our own blessing, salvation, and exaltation, not only, but also we hold them in trust for all mankind, those who now live, those who are dead and gone, and those to be born in the future, that they, too, all of them who will receive and obey the gospel, may likewise be saved and exalted.
Standing thus, we have the loftiest, the most vital, the most sacred responsibility and obligation which God can bestow upon man -- a responsibility and obligation which transcends every other that can come to us and for the meeting of which God will hold us strictly accountable. To this high calling we must dedicate all that we have, all that we are, and all that we may become. No lesser consecration than thin will meet the full measure of our divinely imposed duty.
In the awesome war we must wage to bring righteousness and salvation to men, we must stand shoulder to shoulder and go forward as one. To this glorious conflict to destroy sin and set up righteousness, we call every member of the Church. We must reinforce our determinations, renew our resolutions, retake our covenants, to serve God and to keep His commandments.
From the great war in heaven until now the armies of righteousness have marched under one banner. They have obeyed Him who stands at the head. They have not, as it were, been, and we may not be, of Paul, of Apollos, of Cephas, "some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch," for all these inherit not the celestial kingdom. To gain the celestial glory we must receive the gospel, and the testimony of Jesus and the prophets, and the everlasting covenant." (D&C 76:11-101.)
The Lord has Himself organized us for this great conflict against unrighteousness, foreseen from before the foundations of the earth were laid. He has prescribed the rules and regulations for our government while in this field of action. He has placed at our head His mouthpiece on earth and has given him full authority to direct us in this conflict. He who disobeys or dishonors that head is a traitor to the Lord's cause. Unrepentant, he must be cast out from the Lord's people.
We who serve under the Lord's anointed, must serve with full loyalty and devotion. We must heed his instructions and admonitions. The principles, the ordinances, the rites and ceremonies -- few as they are -- may not be changed by any of us. The Lord casts off those who "transgress His laws, change His ordinances, and break His everlasting covenant."
The principles of the gospel are all-embracing -- they are everlasting, unchangeable, ultimate truth. They will fit every situation, every problem, every contingency that may arise in the life of man. There are no local problems, no peculiar situations, in ward or stake, that may not be solved under these principles. It will not do for any Church officer or member to work out for himself a different course from that prescribed. This will lead to disorder, and the Lord's house is a house of order. When new light is needed, or further instructions, the Lord will make them known through His appointed representative What we should seek, is wisdom to apply the old and true principles to new situations. Let us not suppose that man has recently changed in his essential qualities or habits, for this is not true; all that has happened today is that some basic passions which, through the generations, mankind had brought under control, have now broken loose in something of their primeval strength. They are not new passions. We possess the principles which brought them under subjection once; these principles were given to man in the very beginning for this exact purpose; we must now apply them again to conquer these same old foes of righteousness This is not a new world; it is an old and sinful world again returned, and now once more to be reconquered and rejuvenated.
We must cling to the rigid simplicity of the principles Jesus taught, to the strict simplicity of the ordinances He has established -- neither elegance nor pomp, nor elaborate ritual and ceremony had any place therein; we must keep the everlasting covenant.
Men in the Armed Service
To our men in the armed service everywhere we send our greetings and love. We repeat our message, renew our admonitions, rebestow our blessings recited in our message at the conference of last April. We pray in a prayer which daily ascends to our Heavenly Father, that you will live righteously, that you will be preserved, that God will hasten the working out of His purposes among the nations, so that peace may come and you be restored to your loved ones, as clean as the day on which you left them.
Our constant prayer it that He will give us wisdom to help you in your sacrificing service to your country.
We are making every effort that opens to us to aid you. Your frequent shiftings from place to place, made necessary by the exigencies of your duties, increase our difficulties almost immeasurably. But we shall do the best we can. We are setting up a special committee whose particular duty and function it shall be to devise and carry out means of keeping in touch with you men in the service.
Realizing that one of the greatest blessings that can come to you is words of cheer from your loved ones at home, we renew and make urgent our request that these loved ones send you frequent letters. No parent should let a week go by without a letter sent to his loved ones in the service. Every wife should write as frequently, and so should sweethearts. Every bishop either himself directly or through one of his counselors, should write at least once a month to every member of his ward who is in the armed service, and so should every presidency of a Priesthood quorum with a member in the field. This is little enough for us to do for those prepared to sacrifice all at their country's behest.
Under our direction, you brethren in the service have been requested to organize Mutual Improvement groups in your camps, so that both your recreational and spiritual needs may be served. This you brethren may do wherever you go. Let your organizations be set up after counseling together and by mutual consent. In your gatherings you can, the proper Priesthood officers officiating, administer the sacrament. You, who hold the proper authority, can administer to the sick; you can teach and exhort one another to works of righteousness. You can build up and support, one in the other, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in His atonement, and in the gospel, and this faith will hold when all else seems gone.
We are prepared to send you Church books and pamphlets as you may need and desire.
We wish to bring to you every spiritual comfort and consolation, every encouragement, every upbuilding influence which we can command. We and the brethren and the whole Church pray for you constantly. And again we pray here: May the Lord bless and preserve you and keep you clean.
But we urge you to remember that your righteousness rests between you and your God. Others may exhort, encourage, and support, but you only can win the victory for your salvation, aided always by the love, the mercy, and grace of your Heavenly Father, who will be always near you in your righteous life, wherever your lot may be cast.
Again we say, God bless you.
We renew the statement made in our message of the last April conference, that obedient to the direct command of the Lord given to us more than a hundred years ago (directing us to "renounce war and proclaim peace" -- D&C 98:16) the Church is and must be against war, for war is of Satan and this Church is the Church of Christ, who taught peace and righteousness and brotherhood of man.
As those chosen and ordained to stand at the head of the Savior's Church, as followers of the lowly Jesus trying to live His gospel and to obey His commandments, we must call upon the leaders of nations to abandon the fiendishly inspired slaughter of the manhood of the world now carrying on and further planned.
We condemn the outcome which wicked and designing men are now planning, namely: the worldwide establishment and perpetuation of some form of Communism on the one side, or of some form of Nazism or Fascism on the other. Each of these systems destroys liberty, wipes out free institutions, blots out free agency, stifles free press and free speech, crushes out freedom of religion and conscience. Free peoples cannot and do not survive under these systems. Free peoples the world over will view with horror the establishment of either Communism or Nazism as a worldwide system. Each system is fostered by those who deny the right and the ability of the common people to govern themselves. We proclaim that the common people have both this right and this ability.
We renew our declaration that international disputes can and should be settled by peaceful means. This is the way of the Lord.
We call upon the statesmen of the world to assume their rightful control of the affairs of nations and to bring this war to an end, honorable and just to all. Animated and led by the spirit of Christ, they can do it. The weeping mothers, the distraught and impoverished wives, the fatherless children of the world, demand that this be done. In this way only will enduring peace come; it will never be imposed by armed force. Hate-driven militarists and leaders, with murder in their hearts, will, if they go through to the end, bring merely another peace that will be but the beginning of another war.
We call upon the Saints the world over to pray to God constantly in faith, nothing doubting, that He will bring His purposes speedily to pass and restore peace again to the earth to bless His children.
To the Officers and Members of the Church
We pour out our thanks to our Heavenly Father for the faithfulness and devotion of the great body of the Church, without which the work of the Lord would languish. To the faithful members we extend our deep and sincere gratitude for their loyal support to their ward and stake officers and to the General Authorities of the Church. Except for this also, the growth and stability of the Church would suffer.
For the faith of the Saints as shown in the payment of their tithes and offerings we thank the Lord. We renew to them the promise, so graphically pronounced by Malachi to ancient Israel, that for their faithfulness the Lord will open the windows of Heaven and pour out His blessings upon them.
We are grateful likewise for the willing and effective response of the people to the Welfare Plan. We call attention to the repeated official warnings which say that we face the urgent likelihood of a shortage in many of the necessities of life. We point out that the very purpose of the Welfare Plan is to help the people in such circumstances. We again urge that they wholeheartedly support and work out this plan in its full measure.
We thank the Priesthood of the Church for their increased activity and devotion. The carrying forward of the Lord's work rests upon their shoulders. We say to you brethren, bearers of God's Holy Priesthood, duly ordained to your high and holy calling by the servants of the Lord holding His authority thereto, be faithful to the divine agency that has been bestowed upon you, magnify your offices, seek for the blessings of the Lord.
To the auxiliaries we are grateful for the work of each in the sphere assigned to it. You represent the First Presidency in the labor assigned to you. Seek earnestly to carry out not only the letter but the spirit of the instructions from time to time issued to you; to do otherwise will bring trouble and a lessening of the good you are counted upon to do.
Again we thank the officers of stakes and wards for their devoted service. The Lord will give them manifold blessings for the great burdens they carry in His service.
Lastly we give to our brethren and associates of the General Authorities, our unstinted love and gratitude for their loyal devotion to the cause of the Lord, for the unfailing assistance they give to the First Presidency in carrying the great burdens of these troublous times, and for their faith and the righteousness of their living.
Upon all we ask the Lord to bestow His choicest blessings.
We close with a prayer:
Our Heavenly Father: In deep humility we Thy people, Israel of today, come to Thy throne pleading for Thy grace and Thy mercy. Forgive what Thou hast seen amiss in us, overlook our waywardness, keep not in mind our lightmindedness and our forgetfulness of our debt to Thee for all we have and are, but hold in memory our desire to serve Thee and to keep Thy commandments, and increase these to us from day to day. Let nothing be betwixt us and Thee at this hour. And standing thus, our Heavenly Father, we beseech Thee speedily to work out Thy purposes in the earth. Bring quickly to those against whom Thy righteous anger has gone forth because of their iniquity, a sense of their sins and great guilt, and plant in their hearts a will to repent and hereafter to walk in Thy paths, guided only by Thy commandments, that, Thy purposes accomplished, peace, Thy peace and the peace of man, may return to bless the earth.
Stay the hands, O Father, of the Destroyer. Let him not further curse the world with the slaughter of Thy children, nor pour out upon them a fuller measure of the sore afflictions of famine, plague, and pestilence. We know what Thou hast decreed against a sinning world, but we humbly bow at The throne and with our whole hearts we pray Thee that, as seemeth to Thee well, in Thy infinite knowledge and wisdom, Thou wilt abate Thy righteous indignation, take away from the full measure of The punishments, hasten the carrying out of Thy purposes, shorten these days of world tribulation.
We know how we, Thy children, have erred, we know how we have failed to live the lives Thou hast marked out for us, but at this time, O Father, we humbly pray that Thou wilt close Thine eyes to our misdoings and recall not our frailties, nor withhold forgiveness for our transgressions, but grant us this, our prayer for the speedy fulfillment of Thy purposes, that peace may come, that the cries of a wailing world may no longer afflict Thine ears, and that Thy people may again go forward in their work of spreading Thy gospel and bringing salvation to the honest in heart.
Bless the needy, the sick, the world over; make easy the pains of the innocent and righteous ones who have been torn by war; comfort the mothers, the widows, the fatherless. Be merciful to all who suffer in mind or body or spirit.
For Thy boundless mercies to us we are humbly grateful. Lead us day by day so to live as to become more worthy of Thy manifold blessings, without which we should perish.
Grant us these blessings, O Father, for we ask them humbly in the name of Thy Son, Jesus Christ. Amen. HEBER J. GRANT, J. REUBEN CLARK, JR., DAVID O. MCKAY, First Presidency.