"I will refer to a certain meeting I attended in the town of Kirtland in my early days. At that meeting some remarks were made that have been made here today, with regard to the living prophets and with regard to the written word of God. The same principle was presented, although not as extensively as it has been here, when a leading man in the Church got up and talked upon the subject, and said: ‘You have got the word of God before you here in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants; you have the written word of God, and you who give revelations should give revelations according to those books, as what is written in those books is the word of God. We should confine ourselves to them.’
"When he concluded, Brother Joseph turned to Brother Brigham Young and said, ‘Brother Brigham I want you to go to the podium and tell us your views with regard to the living oracles and the written word of God.’ Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down; he took the Book of Mormon, and laid it down; and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and laid it down before him, and he said: ‘There is the written word of God to us, concerning the work of God from the beginning of the world, almost, to our day. And now,’ said he, ‘when compared with the living oracles those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet or a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books.’ That was the course he pursued. When he was through, Brother Joseph said to the congregation; ‘Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord, and he has told you the truth.’ (Conference Report, October 1897, pp. 18–19.)"
'For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?'"
During the most recent General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer of the Seventy declared:
"The Apostle Paul taught us about comparing communication to musical instruments when he wrote to the Corinthians:
'And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
'For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?'2"
Elder Schwitzer, like President Kimball, and like the Apostle Paul, helps us to discern the voice of the Lord amidst the cacophony of different voices in the world. (Elder Oaks has also spoken eloquently on a similar topic).
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace."
I cannot count on one hand, or two for that matter, the number of times that I have heard our current prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, recite these same lines (click here for just one example).
"We extend to every listener a cordial invitation to come to the watered garden, to the shade of pleasant trees, to the unchangeable truth.
Come with us to sureness, security, consistency. Here the cooling waters flow. The spring does not go dry.
Come listen to a prophet’s voice and hear the word of God.
The Lord does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His church stands firm and unchangeable. Sin will not be tolerated, but sincere repentance will be rewarded with forgiveness."
To read more about the general conference talks from 1971, see the following blog posts:
- Beginnings and Endings (by Nathaniel Givens at Difficult Run)
- The Voices of the Prophets (G at Junior Ganymede)
- LDS Conference April 1971- Hippies, Drugs, and Failure in the Home (J. Max Wilson at Sixteen Small Stones)
- Custodian and Dispenser of Saving Truth (Daniel Ortner at Symphony of Dissent)
- April 1971: Nothing New Here – Just Same Ol’ Mormonism (Ralph Hancock at Soul and City)
- Our individual battles to overcome our worlds (Michelle L at Mormon Women)
- The General Conference Project: The End of the World, the End of Death, and the End of Shame (Walker Wright here at Difficult Run)