"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

Philippians 2:12
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President Lorenzo Snow

"Opening Remarks"
Lorenzo Snow's First
General Conference Remarks as LDS Church President

 

President Lorenzo Snow
5th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
October 1898
69th Semiannual Conference
Friday Morning Session

 

 

 

"Everything that pertains to perfect peace, happiness, glory and exaltation is before the Latter-day Saints. We should enjoy the spirit of this, and keep it actively before us."

Brethren and sisters, at the commencement of this Semi-Annual Conference I wish to say a few words. I suppose that many of the audience now before me have come from a long distance to meet with us in this general conference; and that all have been moved to gather here by pure motives by a desire to improve and perfect themselves in matters that pertain to their usefulness in the kingdom of God. In order that we may not be disappointed in this, it becomes necessary that we prepare our hearts to receive and profit by the suggestions that may be made by the speakers during the progress of the Conference, which may be prompted by the Spirit of the Lord. I have thought, and still think, that our being edified does not so much depend upon the speaker as upon ourselves. When we come together on occasions like this we are entitled to receive something that will be of great importance to us in our lives. We ought to understand and I presume that we do generally that the work which we have come into this life to perform cannot be done to the glory of God or to the satisfaction of ourselves merely by our own natural intelligence. We are dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord to aid us and to manifest to us from time to time what is necessary for us to accomplish under the peculiar circumstances that may surround us. It is the privilege of Latter-day Saints, when they get into difficulties, to have supernatural power of God, and in faith, day by day; to secure from the circumstances which may surround us that which will be beneficial and advance us in the principles of holiness and sanctification, that we may as far as possible be like our Father. It certainly is possible to advance ourselves toward the perfections of the Almighty to a very considerable extent, to say the least. In fact, we are commanded to be perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect. From everything that arises, whether it be of a disagreeable nature or of a pleasant character, we should derive information and secure power to serve ourselves in the path of exaltation and glory over which we are moving. I know that we should never have been able to endure the severe trials that we have experienced during the past few years, had we not been gradually educated in times past and prepared to struggle with difficulties as we passed along.

I desire to suggest to the Latter-day Saints this morning that they should not lose sight of the object which has prompted us to gather ourselves together, that we may not return to our homes without having received lessons of encouragement to assist us in the surrounding difficulties. It is impossible for Latter-day Saints to move along in the path of glory we are now treading unless they devote themselves fully and wholly to the work and make the preparation which is absolutely necessary to meet and overcome the temptations that might otherwise overpower us. Here, I suppose, are brethren and sisters who hold important positions in the Church and have most solemn and pleasing duties to perform, and it is their ardent desire that they may be properly qualified to discharge these sacred duties satisfactorily to themselves and in a way that shall promote the interests of those they preside over.

There is something grand in the consideration of the fact that the Lord loves us with a most ardent love. The love that a woman exercises toward her offspring cannot equal the love that God exercises towards us. He never leaves us. He is always before us, and upon our right hand and our left hand. Continually He watches over us. The antideluvians rejected the Lord in their day. The message which He sent to them was of the highest importance. Upon their acceptance of the message depended their temporal and spiritual salvation. But they rejected it. When the Lord communicates to man that which pertains to his most important interests, it is a solemn and serious thing for him to reject so direct a message. But like antideluvians rejected the message, even the fullness of the Gospel, as it is now preached to us. If they had then embraced the opportunity they might have received the fullness of the Gospel and been prepared, when Christ was crucified and arose from the dead, to receive through the resurrection of their glorious bodies, free from disease and corruption the most glorious object that ever man set his mind upon. Those people failed to embrace that opportunity; but the Lord did not fail to love them and to have regard for them, and He gave them another opportunity, although it was about two thousand five hundred years afterwards. After Jesus was crucified, He went and visited that people and gave them the opportunity of receiving that which they rejected when Noah proclaimed to them the principles of spiritual and temporal salvation.

Now, in some respects we differ from any other class of people. Opportunities are before us which are not before them, though at some future time they will have the same opportunities as we have received and acted upon. But our prospects are different from their prospects; things are required at our hands which are not required of them; and there could not be placed before men more glorious prospects than are placed before the Saints. No mortal man could wish anything greater or that will ultimately prove more satisfactory. Everything that pertains to perfect peace, happiness, glory and exaltation is before the Latter-day Saints. We should enjoy the spirit of this, and keep it actively before us. We should not let our prospects be darkened in the least by doing that which is not acceptable before the Lord.

Brethren and sisters, I pray that the Lord may be with us during this Conference; that He may be with those who address you, and especially with you, that you may receive and comprehend some principle or some suggestion that will be of the most sacred importance to you.

The brethren will now address you, and through the exercise of your faith you will be greatly and abundantly blessed; which may God grant, in the name of Jesus Amen.