President Harold B. Lee
First Counselor in the First Presidency and President of the Council of the Twelve
Before we announce President Smith as the next and concluding speaker of the conference, it seems appropriate to say one or two things.
The President of the Church
When the Church was first organized, in fact, the day on which it was organized, the Lord was speaking to the Church. He didn’t mean just the six members that were then the constituted number of the Church: he was speaking about the President of the Church, who was the Prophet Joseph Smith at that time. And this is what he said:
“Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words [the President’s words] and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
“For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
“For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.” (D&C 21:4-6.)
We have some tight places to go before the Lord is through with this church and the world in this dispensation, which is the last dispensation, which shall usher in the coming of the Lord. The gospel was restored to prepare a people ready to receive him. The power of Satan will increase; we see it in evidence on every hand. There will be inroads within the Church. There will be, as President Tanner has said, “Hypocrites, those professing, but secretly are full of dead men’s bones.” We will see those who profess membership but secretly are plotting and trying to lead people not to follow the leadership that the Lord has set up to preside in this church.
The Only Safety
Now the only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to the Church in that day when the Church was organized. We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through his prophet, “as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; … as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.” (D&C 21:4-5.) There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.” (D&C 21:6.)
Activities of President Smith
Now we have a President of the Church who has grown to great years.
Since he was installed as President six months ago, he has been down in Mexico with Sister Smith. He has been to the Arizona Temple, where he gave the sealing keys to a new temple presidency. He has been in the Hawaiian Islands, where he participated in an anniversary of the Church College of Hawaii, and some of the early events in the history of that place.
In connection with this conference, there has been an intense assignment to the President of the Church.
A week ago Thursday, all the General Authorities met in an upper room of the temple fasting and praying, trying to prepare themselves spiritually for this conference. I believe we witnessed the outpouring of the Spirit, which is an evidence of the Lord’s answer to the prayers that were offered at that time. President Smith addressed the General Authorities. He participated in the Relief Society conference and spoke to the sisters. He spoke at the Sunday School conference. He addressed this conference in the first session. He addressed the priesthood session, and he will address this session.
Role of Counselors
As I thought of the role of President Tanner and myself as his counselors, I thought of a circumstance in the life of Moses, when the enemies of the church in that day were just as they are in this day. They were threatening to overcome and tear down and to stop the work of the church. As Moses sat upon a hill and raised the rod of his authority, or the keys of his priesthood, Israel prevailed over their enemies; but as the day wore on, his hands became heavy and began to droop at his side.
And so they held up his hands so they would not be weakened and the rod would not be lowered. He would be sustained so that the enemies of the church would not prevail over the saints of the Most High God. (See Exod. 17:8-12.)
Sustaining the President
I think that is the role that President Tanner and I have to fulfill. The hands of President Smith may grow weary. They may tend to droop at times because of his heavy responsibilities; but as we uphold his hands, and as we lead under his direction, by his side, the gates of hell will not prevail against you and against Israel. Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow the ones whom the Lord has placed to preside over his church. He knows whom he wants to preside over this church, and he will make no mistake. The Lord doesn’t do things by accident. He has never done anything accidentally. And I think the scientists and all the philosophers in the world have never discovered or learned anything that God didn’t already know. His revelations are more powerful, more meaningful, and have more substance than all the secular learning in the world.
Let’s keep our eye on the President of the Church and uphold his hands as President Tanner and I will continue to do.
President Smith, we honor and sustain you in that high place because the Lord has put you there. It will now be our delight, our beloved President, to give you an opportunity to leave us your blessing as we conclude this great conference. Q