Heber J. Grant's First
General Conference Talk as LDS Church President
President Heber J. Grant
7th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
90th Annual General Conference
Friday Morning Session
"I hope and pray for the blessings of the Lord, acknowledging freely and frankly, that without the Lord's blessings it will be an impossibility for me to make a success of the high calling whereunto I have been called."
We regret that all of the Saints cannot be present in one building to hear the remarks that may be made upon this occasion. We also regret that the men who stand at the head of this great body of Seventies could not remain here to partake of the spirit of this occasion. But we feel that those who have met in the Assembly Hall are entitled to hear some of the general authorities of the Church speak upon the life and labors, and bear witness of their love and reverence for, and their faith in, our beloved prophet, the late President Joseph F. Smith, who has departed this life since we last met in general conference.
The Spirit Giveth Life.
Inasmuch as all that is said here today will be reported, and as our brethren of the Seventy can read what is said, they will miss only the spirit of this occasion, which I feel in my heart-if the Lord will only bless us abundantly-will be considerable of a loss; because, after all is said and done, in all the labors of the Latter-day Saints, it is the spirit that counts, for the spirit giveth life, and the dead letter killeth; but we shall hope and pray that the spirit of this occasion will find echo in the hearts of our brethren who have just left us, when they read today's proceedings.
A Pledge of Faithful Service.
I feel humble, beyond any language with which God has endowed me to express it, in standing before you here this morning, occupying the position in which you have just voted to sustain me. I recall standing before an audience in Tooele, after having been sustained as president of that stake, when I was a young man twenty-three years of age, pledging to that audience the best that was in me. I stand here today in all humility, acknowledging my own weakness, my own lack of wisdom and information, and my lack of the ability to occupy the exalted position in which you have voted to sustain me. But as I said as a boy in Tooele, I say here today: that by and with the help of the Lord, I shall do the best that I can to fulfill every obligation that shall rest upon me as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to the full extent of my ability.
I will ask no man to be more liberal with his means, than I am with mine, in proportion to what he possesses, for the advancement of God's Kingdom. I will ask no man to observe the Word of Wisdom any more closely than I will observe it. I will ask no man to be more conscientious and prompt in the payment of his tithes and his offerings than I will be. I will ask no man to be more ready and willing to come early and to go late, and to labor with full power of mind and body, than I will labor, always in humility. I hope and pray for the blessings of the Lord, acknowledging freely and frankly, that without the Lord's blessings it will be an impossibility for me to make a success of the high calling whereunto I have been called. But, like Nephi of old, I know that the Lord makes no requirements of the children of men, save he will prepare a way for them, whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has required. With this knowledge in my heart, I accept the great responsibility, without fear of the consequences, knowing that God will sustain me as he has sustained all of my predecessors who have occupied this position, provided always, that I shall labor in humility and in diligence, ever seeking for the guidance of his Holy Spirit: and this I shall endeavor to do.
The Standard of Action.
I shall not occupy your time by reading Section 121 of the D&C. I will leave that for each and every one of those before me, and those to the right and the left, holding the priesthood', and as many of the audience' as may feel so disposed, to read it when they go home. With the help of the Lord, I shall endeavor, standing at the head of the Priesthood of God upon the earth, to exercise the authority that has come to me in keeping with that wonderful revelation: "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the Priesthood, only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness, and meekness, and by love unfeigned." God being my helper, the priesthood that I hold, the position that I occupy, shall be exercised in accordance with these words that I have quoted to you. We can do nothing, as recorded in that revelation, only as we exercise love and charity and kindness-love unfeigned. With the help of the Lord that is exactly how I shall administer, to the best of my ability, the priesthood of God that has come to me.
I could stand here and occupy all of the remaining time, with the hundred and one thoughts that have come into my mind, in connection with the duties that devolve upon me; but I am anxious that my counselors should speak to you here this morning, and I am anxious to pay my tribute of respect to those men who have preceded me. I take no credit to myself for occupying the position that has come to me. I realize that failure will be the result if I do not give the Lord the credit for calling me to this position, and seek for the light of his Spirit to guide me in all that I shall do.
President Snow's Testimony Concerning the Prophet Joseph.
I desire to read to you a testimony regarding the first man who occupied the position as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. This testimony was given a short time before the death of the late beloved President of the Church, Lorenzo Snow, and will be found in the current June number of the Improvement Era, in an article written by his son, Elder LeRoi C. Snow. He said, referring to his father
"His work on earth was nearly done, his mission was almost finished; he was about to return to his Maker, and with all the remaining strength of his soul he testified concerning the divinity of the work in which he and the Prophet Joseph Smith commenced their life's work when young men:
"'A word or two about Joseph Smith. Perhaps there are very few men now living who were so well acquainted with Joseph Smith, the Prophet as I was. I was with him often-times. I visited him in his family, ate at his table, associated with him under various circumstances, and had private interviews with him for counsel. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God; I know that he was an honorable man, a moral man, and that he had the respect of those who were acquainted with him. The Lord has shown me most clearly and completely that he was a Prophet of God, and that he held the holy priesthood and the authority to baptize people for the remission of their sins, and to lay hands upon them for the reception of the Holy Ghost, that they might receive a knowledge themselves in relation to these things. I am one, who has received from the Lord the strongest revelation concerning the truth of this work. That manifestation was with me powerfully, for hours and hours, and whatever circumstance may occur in my life, as long as memory lasts this perfect knowledge will remain with me....'"
As to the testimony that Lorenzo Snow, the Prophet of the Lord, in later years had, in this same article his testimony is recorded.
"About three weeks after his baptism, Lorenzo Snow received a wonderful vision which he tells in his own language, in his journal, as follows:
" 'I had no sooner opened my lips in an effort to pray than I heard a sound, just above my head, like the rustling of silken robes, and immediately the Spirit of God descended upon me, completely. enveloping my whole person, filling me, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and O, the joy and happiness I felt! No language can describe the almost instantaneous transition from a dense cloud of mental and spiritual darkness into a refulgence of light and knowledge, as it was at that time imparted to my understanding. I then received a perfect knowledge that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and of the restoration of the Holy Priesthood, and the fulness of the Gospel. It was a complete baptism-a tangible immersion in the heavenly principle or element (the gift of) the Holy Ghost; and even more real and physical in its effects upon every part of my system than the immersion by water; dispelling forever, so long as reason and memory lasts, all possibility of doubt or fear in relation to the fact handed down to us historically, that the 'Babe of Bethlehem' is truly the Son of God: also the fact that he is now being revealed to the children of men. and communicating knowledge, the same as in the apostolic times. I was perfectly satisfied. as well as I might be. for my expectations were more than realized. I think I may safely say in an infinite degree.... That night as I retired to rest the same wonderful manifestations were repeated, and continued to be for several successive nights. The sweet remembrance of those glorious experiences from that time to the present, bring them fresh before me. imparting an inspiring influence which pervades my whole being, and I trust will to the close of my earthly existence.' "
Confirming Testimony of Many Others.
I have listened to the testimony of all of the apostles who have lived in these valleys of the mountains from Brigham Young to Joseph F. Smith. and have heard them tell of their personal acquaintance with the Prophet Joseph Smith. The testimony of Joseph F. Smith was the testimony of one who as a child knew the Prophet and loved him. The testimony of Brigham Young, Jr., was in the same class; but all the other testimonies were those of men of experience. men of power, men of individual determination. men who had wills and minds of their own. men who could not be led by a man who did not teach the truth.
The testimony of Brigham Young, of John Taylor, of Lorenzo Snow, Wilford Woodruff, Erastus Snow, George A. Smith, Heber C. Kimball. and of others who have held the apostleship, who have held the priesthood of God and who knew the Prophet Joseph Smith intimately; of every true Latter-day Saint, man and woman. including the testimony of my own dear departed mother. than whom no sweeter, purer, nobler soul ever lived: the testimony of Eliza R. Snow, Zina D. H. Young, Bathsheba W. Smith, "Aunt Em." Wells, and others too numerous to mention,-was of their individual knowledge regarding the uprightness of the life of Joseph Smith. regarding the integrity of the man. regarding the inspiration of the living God that attended him in all of his labors.
The Transfiguration of Brigham Young.
I have the testimonies from George Romney, from my mother, from other relatives of mine and from scores of people, that, upon the day when Sidney Rigdon endeavored to steal the Church of Christ and to become the leader, God manifested to the people upon that occasion. by the transfiguration of Brigham Young-so that he appeared as Joseph Smith, so that he spoke as Joseph Smith-and thereby the testimony came to the Saints that Brigham Young was the man to succeed Joseph Smith the Prophet of God.
Personal Testimony Concerning President Brigham Young.
I became acquainted with Brigham Young when I was a little child six years of age; from that time until the day of his death I was intimate with him. I was as intimate with one of his boys-the late Feramorz L. Young-from the time that we were little children until he left to go to Mexico-as any two boys ever could be. Perhaps no three young men were ever more intimate than Heber J. Grant, Feramorz L. Young and General Richard W. Young. We grew up together. We slept together. We played together. We attended Sunday school together. We attended day school together.
I was almost as familiar in the homes of President Brigham Young as I was in the home of my own mother. In one home that of Aunt Emily Partridge Young, if I was hungry I felt as free to go in and ask for something to eat there as in my own home. I have spent hours and hours, as a child, in the rooms of Eliza R. Snow, listening to her counsel and advice, and hearing her relate incidents in the life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and bearing witness of the wonderful blessings of God to Brigham Young. As I say, I was familiar with the Prophet Brigham Young. I knelt down time and time again in his home in the Lion House at family prayers, as a child and as a young man; and I bear witness that as a little child, upon more than one occasion, because of the inspiration of the Lord to Brigham Young while he was supplicating God for guidance, I have lifted my head, turned and looked at the place where Brigham Young was praying, to see if the Lord was not there. It seemed to me that he talked to the Lord as one man would talk to another. I can bear witness of his kindness. of his love to me as an individual, of his love of God and of the inspiration of the Lord that came to him as he stood where I am standing, when I bad the privilege of being in the audience and listening to his inspiring words.
Revelation to President John Taylor.
I was called into the Council of the Twelve Apostles by a revelation of the Lord to President John Taylor, and from the time that I entered the Council of the Twelve, two years after John Taylor was made President of the Church, until the day of his death. I met with him, week after week, in the Endowment house, and I know that he was a servant of the living God; I know that the inspiration of the Lord came to him; and I know that upon all occasions, whenever he said: "This is what the Lord desires," and his associates in the council of the apostles sustained his position, that upon every occasion he was vindicated and the inspiration of the Lord to him showed that his wisdom by the power of God, had been superior to the wisdom of other men. Several times I have gone to meetings in the old Endowment house, knowing that a certain matter was to be discussed and my mind was as perfectly set upon a certain position on that question as it is possible for a man to have his mind set. I believe I am as decided in my opinions as the majority of people. I have heard it said that there is nobody as stubborn as a Scotchman except a Dutchman; and I am Scotch on my father's side and Dutch on my mother's (laughter). While I have gone to meetings in the old Endowment house determined in favor of a certain line of policy, I have willingly and freely voted for the exact opposite of that policy, because of the inspiration of the Lord that came to John Taylor. Upon every such occasion the servant of the Lord, President Taylor, was vindicated, and his superior judgment, by the inspiration of the Lord, asserted itself in favor of those things that were for the best good of the people.
I could relate circumstance after circumstance when the apostles have been sent out to accomplish certain labors under the inspiration of the Lord to John Taylor, when they thought they could not accomplish the labors, they have returned and been able to bear testimony that by and with the help of the Lord they had been able to accomplish the labor placed upon them by President Taylor, the Prophet of the Lord. If time would permit, I would like to relate some of these incidents, because they are faith-promoting, but I have not the time.
President Wilford Woodruff a True Prophet of God.
I can bear witness that Wilford Woodruff was in very deed a servant of the living God and a true Prophet of God. Wilford Woodruff, a humble man, converted and baptized hundreds of people in a few months in Herefordshire, England. In eight months, as I now remember it, he baptized between fifteen hundred and two thousand souls. I believe that no other man who ever walked the face of the earth was a greater converter of souls to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was a man of the most wonderful and marvelous humility; a man who had never been engaged in any great business affairs; a man who had devoted himself to farming, who had been engaged in raising fruits and cultivating the soil; a humble man, of whom I had heard many people say that he lacked the ability to preside over the Church of Christ. But I want to bear witness to you that, under the inspiration of the Lord, and because of the humility of the man, because of his godlike life and because God loved him, he was blessed upon more than one occasion with wisdom that was superior to all the wisdom of the bright financial minds in the Church.
Beginning of the Sugar Industry in Utah.
President Woodruff announced that the Lord would like the great business of manufacturing sugar established in our midst, and a committee was appointed from the directorate of two of the largest Church institutions, two of the most substantial in all Israel, to look into the matter. They investigated the advisability of establishing the beet sugar industry in this State and unanimously reported adversely. President Woodruff was not satisfied. Another committee was appointed. I was on the first committee and he appointed me on the second committee. I begged to be excused, because I had already formed my opinion, had already signed my name to a report, but he would not listen to my request to be excused. We went into the matter again, thoroughly and carefully, and the second committee reported adversely. President Woodruff said: "Never mind the report. The inspiration to me is to establish the sugar industry."
I was called upon a mission, and a letter was given to me in connection with other members of the Council of the Apostles, and we were sent out to ask men to subscribe for stock in the Utah Sugar Company. I took individual letters to different men asking them to subscribe. I delivered a letter to the late David Eccles, than whom I never met a clearer-headed business man in my life, and I have met men who draw their hundred thousand dollars and more every year in salary. He had a comprehensive grasp on business affairs which to me was superior to that of any man I ever met. David smiled when the letter was presented to him, signed by President Woodruff and his counselors, asking him to invest five thousand dollars, or seven thousand five hundred dollars. He said: "Well, I would like to get off at the lowest figure. You can put me down for five thousand dollars." Then he added: "I hope they will buy lumber from me, so I may make a profit on a part of the five thousand dollars; and after I get the stock, if you can find someone who would like to buy it for twenty-five hundred dollars, I will be much obliged to you if you will come and get the stock." Years later, when he put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the sugar business, I don't know whether or not he felt to give credit to that humble man, Wilford Woodruff, for the inspiration of the Lord, whereby this great industry was established.
But for the inspiration of the Lord to Wilford Woodruff I doubt if we would have any sugar business in this state or in Idaho, today, that would amount to very much. I am inclined to think that the Great Western or some other company would have established the business in Utah and Idaho, and that the people of these states would simply have been working for them instead of owning the majority of the stock in our great inter-mountain factories.
After we had let the contract for the building of the sugar factory at Lehi, the panic of 1891 came on. There was a provision in the contract that before the machinery was shipped by the Dyer Company, if we would pay a forfeit of fifty thousand dollars the contract could be cancelled. I had been sent to New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and other places, by the Presidency, to try to raise the money necessary to build this factory, but it looked like an impossibility to get the money. It was the opinion of business men and others that we should pay the fifty thousand dollars forfeit and abandon the enterprise; but when the recommendation was presented, Wilford Woodruff's answer was this: "From the day I received a knowledge of the divinity of the gospel of Jesus Christ revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith, from the day that I went out as a humble priest to proclaim that gospel, although it looked like death in front of me, if the path of duty that the gospel required me to tread called me to face death, I have never turned to the right nor turned to the left; and now the inspiration of the Lord to me is to build this factory. Every time I think of abandoning it, there is darkness; and every time I think of building it, there is light. We will build the factory if it bursts the Church."
We did built it and it did not burst the Church (laughter); and it and subsequent factories have made for our people and for the Church millions of dollars.
President Snow's Work of Three Years.
I know that Lorenzo Snow was a Prophet of God. By his testimony, which I have read to you, and by the testimony of my mother and hundreds of others who knew the Prophet Joseph, as well as by the revelations of the Spirit Of God to me, I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. I know of my own knowledge that Brigham Young, and John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff were Prophets of God. It is stated that men do not amount to much after they pass fifty, and that when they are sixty you ought to get some kind of a drug and put them to sleep, and that when they are seventy they are simply useless. But Lorenzo Snow came to the presidency of the Church when he was eighty-five years of age, and what he accomplished during the next three years of his life is simply marvelous to contemplate. He lifted the Church from the financial slough of despond, so to speak, from almost financial bankruptcy-when its credit was hardly good for a thousand dollars without security, when it was paying ten per cent for money-he lifted the Church out of that condition and made its credit A No. 1, so that people solicited and asked for the privilege of buying the bonds of this Church at six per cent. Ten per cent is sixty-six and two-thirds per cent more than six per cent, and in three short years this man, beyond the age of ability in the estimation of the world, this man who had not been engaged in financial affairs, who had been devoting his life for years to laboring in the Temple, took hold of the finances of the Church of Christ, under the inspiration of the living God, and in those three years changed everything, financially, from darkness to light.
I know that Lorenzo Snow was God's mouthpiece upon the earth, that he was the representative of the Lord and that he was in very deed a Prophet of God. Read the wonderful testimony that he received a few weeks after his baptism, as recorded in the Improvement Era, concerning the knowledge that he received that God lived, that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the world, and that the priesthood of the living God has been restored to the earth. I know that that knowledge guided his life from that day to the day that he became God's representative upon the earth.
The Courage of President Joseph F. Smith.
Lorenzo Snow was drowned in the harbor of Honolulu, in the Hawaiian Islands, and it took some hours to bring him to life again. At that particular time the Lord revealed to him the fact that the young man Joseph F. Smith, who had refused to get off the vessel that had carried them from San Francisco to Honolulu, and get into a small boat, would some day be the Prophet of God. Answering Lorenzo Snow who was in charge of the company, he said: "If you by the authority of the Priesthood of God, which you hold, tell me to get into that boat and attempt to land, I will do so, but unless you command me in the authority of the Priesthood, I will not do so, because it is not safe to attempt to land in a small boat while this typhoon is raging." They laughed at the young man Joseph F. Smith, but he said, "The boat will capsize." The others got into the boat, and it did capsize; and but for the blessings of the Lord in resuscitating Lorenzo Snow he would not have lived, because he was drowned upon that occasion. It was revealed to him, then and there, that the boy, with the courage of his convictions, with the iron will to be laughed at and scorned as lacking courage to go in that boat, and who stayed on that vessel, would yet be the Prophet of God. Lorenzo Snow told me this upon more than one occasion, long years before Joseph F. Smith came to the presidency of the Church.
Eulogy and Letter of Sympathy in Memory of President Joseph F. Smith.
I said I wanted my counselors to say something, but I am afraid they are not going to have the chance. I now come to Joseph F. Smith. I apologize to his family for reading a personal letter of sympathy. had no idea as I sat down and picked up my pen and poured out my heart in love and sympathy to the family, that I would ever read in public that letter; but I had failed to get my mind upon anything that I particularly desired to say upon this occasion, and last night I borrowed from one of his sons a copy of the letter; and although it may not be good ethics, I wish to read it, because therein are the sentiments of my heart, poured out in love to his family.
At Home, November 20, 1918.
To the family of President Joseph F. Smith.
My dearly beloved friends: Language fails me to express to you my love for your dear departed father and husband. In dear Aunt Eliza R Snow's words I can truthfully say, "He was beloved, beloved by all."
For thirty-six years I have labored under his Presidency, while he was counselor to or the President of the Church. During all this time no man could possibly have inspired one over whom he presided with more love or confidence for him than President Smith did me. I have said many times that no man who ever lived, with whom I have been associated, had been beloved by me as much as your dear departed husband and father.
I could not and did not in my heart bring myself to feel that he was going to leave us until the afternoon of the 18th, when I called and David said he wanted to see me. The President took my hand and pressed it with a power and strength that was far from what one could expect from a dying man, and he blessed me with power and the Spirit of the living God, and there was love in his eyes and a strong pressure of his hand, and with nearly every word he spoke his pressure of my hand thrilled my being, and tears of gratitude to God and love for His mouthpiece upon the earth filled my heart. His blessing was all that I could ask or expect had he been my own dear father.
Sister Bowman entered and kissed and wept over her father, and I walked into the little front office and wept, feeling that the last words I would ever hear from his beloved lips had been spoken when he said to me, "The Lord bless you, my boy, the Lord bless you, you have a great responsibility. Always remember this is the Lord's work and not man's. The Lord is greater than any man. He knows whom He wants to lead His Church and never makes any mistakes. The Lord bless you."
I returned to my office, but I did not even have the heart to mail some letters which I had written earlier in the day. I went home and after eating supper I again visited the President, whom I found in great pain, and he asked President Lund who was there to bless him and supplicate the Lord to release him, and call him home. We placed our hands upon his head and President Lund told the Lord how much we loved our President and of our gratitude for the joy and happiness we had had in laboring with him, but asked that he be called home if his life could not be spared to us.
The next morning I awoke at one o'clock and was not able to get to sleep until after six-thirty, as my mind was with the President. I got the November Era and reread the President's talk at the October conference, and after doing so I wrote in my Era at the close of his talk:
"Nov. 19/18. Re-read twice and wept as I think of how near death's door the President is.
"It is 3:45 and I have been awake since one a. m."-Heber J. Grant.
The President lived but one hour and five minutes after I had written that he was near death's door.
The Lord has been very good to me in times of sorrow, and I hope and pray with all my heart that He will bless and comfort your sorrowing hearts, as you read of his goodness to me. I am enclosing a copy of a letter telling of the blessings given to me in times of affliction. There are two poems among those published with my letter to Brother and Sister Winters which have comforted and blessed me. "The Changed Cross," and "Providence is Over All." Especially have I been blessed while reading Sister Woodmansee's inspiring words. I knew her from my earliest recollection until the day of her death, and my love of her poem was no doubt increased from the fact that she lived in perfect harmony with its teachings.
I was once talking of the favorite poems of our Church leaders and I turned to President Smith and asked him which of our hymns was his favorite and he said he hardly knew, but he thought that perhaps his favorite was the splendid hymn, "Uphold the Right, Though Fierce the Fight, by that heroic little soul, Sister Emily Hill Woodmansee." I enclose a copy of this hymn with this letter.
I have never known the joy and comfort of a father's love, but Presidents Joseph F. Smith, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, and others of my near and dear associates have given me a father's love and filled the place in my affections as completely as men not one's father could possibly do.
Never in my life have I listened to more inspiring words than those at the funeral of my dear departed mother and at the funeral of my dear brother, Joseph Hyrum, which were spoken by President Smith.
I am thankful beyond any power to tell for the inspiration to do my full duty in the battle of life which has come to me from the example and loving teachings of your beloved father and husband.
Flowers fade in a day, and so I shall send each of you for Gusta and myself in loving remembrance of your dear departed husband and father the book "Their Yesterdays." I send this book for the reason that when I read it, March 20th, 1914, I marked one of the passages which seemed to me at the time I read the book to be inspirational. It is on pages 228-9. I wrote in my book the sentiments of my heart at the time regarding President Smith in connection with the words on those pages. What I wrote was as follows:
"More than any man I have ever known, President Joseph F. Smith has done this. God bless him forever, and his posterity after him. The fact that he is the Prophet of God today is a great testimony to me of the divinity of 'Mormonism' so called."
Little did I think when I wrote these words that he would have departed this life by now.
One of the most sincere and earnest prayers of my heart has been that President Smith should live to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Church. I prayed for this some months ago at the close of a Temple fast meeting, and the Lord so abundantly blessed me that I felt my prayer would be answered, and I sat down weeping for joy.
I could go on writing for hours, but I will close by sending my assurance and that of Sister Grant of our profound sympathy, and our most earnest prayer for God to comfort and bless your sorrowing hearts. President Smith sealed us as husband and wife for time and all eternity, and Gusta shares in all the expressions of love for him and admiration of his character in this letter. Again, may God bless you and your loved ones now and forever.
Your affectionate brother, (Signed) HEBER J. GRANT.
At the grave of President Joseph F. Smith I read a poem entitled "A Real Man"and I expressed there the hope that I might live to be like Joseph F. Smith. I read at the grave the poem by Eliza R. Snow, written for the Prophet Joseph Smith. "He was beloved, beloved by all." The prayer that I had in my heart, the desire that I had to follow in the footsteps of this man of God, who presided over us with so much inspiration, with so much devotion, with so much integrity to God and to his fellow-men, the desire that I might be like him, is still in my heart. I pray God to bless his memory. I pray God to bless his wives and his children, that they may emulate his most wonderful and splendid example. I bear witness to you that from my early childhood days, when I could not thoroughly understand and comprehend the teachings of the gospel, that I have had my very being thrilled, and tears have rolled down my cheeks, under the inspiration of the living God, as I have listened to Joseph F. Smith when preaching the gospel. I believe that Joseph F. Smith and his son Hyrum M. Smith. more than any other men to whom I have listened, who were born in the Church of Christ in our day, were the greatest preachers of righteousness. I know that whenever I heard that Joseph F. Smith was going to speak in one Of the wards. that time and time again as a young man I have left my own ward and gone to listen to him, because he always filled my being and lifted me up as I listened to him proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. I bear witness that he was one of the greatest prophets of God that has ever lived; that God was with him from the day that he went forth as a little boy of fifteen years of age, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Hawaiian Islands, until the day when, after giving sixty-five years of his life to the work of God, he closed his earthly career.
May God bless each and all of us who have a knowledge of the divinity of the work in which we are engaged, and may we be faithful to the end as our prophet was, our beloved leader who has left us, Joseph F. Smith, is my prayer, and I ask it in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.