Understanding Who We Are Brings Self-Respect - Harold B. Lee
The effect on the pre-earth life on our life and conditions.
Spiritual Communication - Spencer W. Kimball
Address delivered at the Friday morning session, October 5, 1973
My beloved brothers and sisters and friends who are listening by radio and television, may I now for a few moments make some comments about a condition which is of great concern to all of us today. I speak of the shocking lack of self-respect by so many individuals, as is evidenced by their dress, their manner, and engulfing waves of permissiveness which seem to be moving over the world like an avalanche.
We see among us so many who seem to be forsaking standards of decency or an understanding of the meaning of time-honored words which, since the beginning of time, have had real meaning to our forebears; words that have made for strength of character and righteousness and harmony and unity and peace in the world. There are eternal words which, if understood and taught and practiced, would bring salvation to every man, woman, boy and girl who does now live or has lived or will yet live in the world.
To some it may seem old-fashioned to speak of virtue and chastity, honesty, morality, faith, character, but these are the qualities which have built great men and women and point the way by which one may find happiness in the living of today and eternal joy in the world to come. These are the qualities which are the anchors to our lives, in spite of the trials, the tragedies, the pestilences, and the cruelties of war which bring in their wake appalling destruction, hunger, and bloodshed.
To those who fail to heed the warnings of those who are striving to teach these principles and choose to go in the opposite course, they will eventually find themselves in the pitiable state which you are witnessing so often among us. The prophet Isaiah described the tragic result most dramatically when he repeated the words of God which came to him as he sought to fortify his people against the wickedness of the world, and I quote his words:
“… Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” (Isa. 57:19–21.)
Other prophets have declared likewise, so forcibly as to not be misunderstood, that “wickedness never was happiness.” (Alma 41:10.)
As I have prayerfully thought of the reasons why one chooses this course which is dramatically described by the prophet Isaiah —when one who has departed from the path which would have given him peace is like the troubled sea, casting up mire and dirt —it seems to me that it all results from the failure of the individual to have self-respect. Listen to these words of wisdom from those whose lives have been worthy of emulation and who have experienced the realities of the periods of time from which they speak. I quote: “Self-respect —that corner-stone of all virtue.”
—Sir John Frederick William Herschel
Others have declared:
“Self-respect is the noblest garment with which a man can clothe himself, the most elevating feeling with which the mind can be inspired.”
“Every man stamps his value on himself. The price we challenge for ourselves is given us by others. —Man is made great or little by his own will.”
—Johann von Schiller
A lovely mother in a nearby community wrote this to me, “I love America, I love my husband, I love my children, I love my God, and why is this possible? Because I truly love myself.”
Such are the fruits of self-respect. Conversely, when one does not have that love for himself of which this sister speaks, other consequences can be expected to follow. He ceases to love life. Or if he marries, he has lost his love for his wife and children —no love of home or respect for the country in which he lives, and eventually he has lost his love of God. Rebellion in the land, disorder and the lack of love in the family, children disobedient to parents, loss of contact with God, all because that person has lost all respect for himself.
I recall an invitation I had to speak to men who, for the most part, had not been advanced in the Church because of their lack of desire or their lack of understanding of the importance of conforming to certain standards required for advancement. The subject on which I was to speak was “Who Am I?” As I pondered this subject and searched the word of God to prepare for this assignment, I immediately sensed that I was to talk about a subject that is of first importance to each of us as it was to those men among whom, no doubt, there were some who had not found themselves and lacked the basis of a solid foundation upon which to build their lives.
The rowdiness of children, the incorrigibility of adolescence are more often than not a bid for a kind of attention or popularity that physical and mental endowments do not invite. So the blasé girl and the unkempt boy are often but a reflection of an individual who is seeking, by superficial adornment or by abnormal conduct (in a strange way), to supply that indefinable quality they may think is charm —a clumsy attempt to draw attention by conduct which certainly reflects that inward frustration because of the lack of understanding of their true identity as a human being.
Well, then, “Who am I?” Those lacking in that important understanding, and, consequently, in some degree [those] failing to hold themselves in the high esteem which they would have if they did understand, are lacking self-respect.
May I begin to answer that question by posing two questions from scriptural texts which should be impressed upon every soul.
The psalmist wrote: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” (Ps. 8:4–5.)
And the next is the question the Lord posed to Job: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. … [of] when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4–7.)
Reduced to more simple language than the words of those questions from the scriptures, the prophets in these quotations are simply asking each of us, “Where did you come from? Why are you here?” A great psychologist, MacDougall, once said: “The first thing to be done to help a man to moral regeneration is to restore if possible his self-respect.” Also I recall the prayer of the old English weaver, “O God, help me to hold a high opinion of myself.” That should be the prayer of every soul; not an abnormally developed self-esteem that becomes haughtiness, conceit, or arrogance, but a righteous self-respect that might be defined as “belief in one’s own worth, worth to God, and worth to man.” Now, consider these answers to the searching questions which must be burned into the consciousness of all those who have strayed away or who have not arrived at a true evaluation of themselves in this world of chaos. In the limited time allotted me, I hope that in some measure my voice will be heard above the dismal dreariness of this troubled world.
The apostle Paul wrote: “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Heb. 12:9.)
This suggests that all who live upon the earth, who have fathers on earth, likewise have a father of their spirits. So did Moses and Aaron, as they fell upon their faces, cry out: “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?” (Num. 16:22.) Note how they addressed the Lord, “… the God [Father] of the spirits of all flesh [mankind]. …” From the revelations through Abraham, we get a glimpse of who and what the spirit is:
“Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
“And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.” (Abr. 3:22–23.) There we are told that the Lord promised that those who were faithful in that premortal world would be added upon, by having a physical body in this second estate of this earth’s existence and, furthermore, if they would keep the commandments as God taught by the revelations, they would have “glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.” (Abr. 3:26.)
Now, there are several precious truths in that scripture. First, we have a definition of what a spirit is, as it relates to our physical body. What did it look like in that premortal world (if we could see it apart from our mortal body)? A modern Latter-day prophet gives us an inspired answer:
“… that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created.” (D&C 77:2.)
The next truth we learn from this scripture is that you and I, having been spirits and now having bodies, were among those who passed that first test and were given the privilege of coming to earth as mortal individuals. If we hadn’t passed that test, we wouldn’t be here with mortal bodies, but would have been denied this privilege and would have followed Satan or Lucifer, as he came to be known, as did one-third of the spirits created in that premortal existence who were deprived of the privilege of having mortal bodies. These are now among us, but only in their spiritual form, to make a further attempt to thwart the plan of salvation by which all who would obey would have the great glory of returning to God our Father who gave us life.
So the Old Testament prophets declared with respect to death: “Then shall the dust [meaning our mortal bodies] return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Eccl. 12:7.) Obviously we could not return to a place where we had never been, so we are talking about death as a process as miraculous as birth, by which we return to “our Father who art in heaven,” as the Master taught his disciples to pray.
A further truth is clearly set forth in that scripture [Abr. 3:22–23], that many were chosen, as was Abraham, before they were born, as the Lord told Moses and also Jeremiah. This was made still more meaningful by the Latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith, who declared, “I believe that every person who is called to do an important work in the kingdom of God, was called to that work and foreordained to that work before the world was.” Then he added this, “I believe that I was foreordained to the work that I am called to do.” (See Documentary History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 364.)
But now there is a warning: Despite that calling which is spoken of in the scriptures as “foreordination,” we have another inspired declaration: “Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. …” (D&C 121:34.)
This suggests that even though we have our free agency here, there are many who were foreordained before the world was, to a greater state than they have prepared themselves for here. Even though they might have been among the noble and great, from among whom the Father declared he would make his chosen leaders, they may fail of that calling here in mortality. Then the Lord poses this question: “… and why are they not chosen?” (D&C 121:34.)
Two answers were given —First, “Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world. …” And second, they “… aspire to the honors of men.” (D&C 121:35.)
Now then, to make a summary of what I have just read, may I ask each of you again the question, “Who are you?” You are all the sons and daughters of God. Your spirits were created and lived as organized intelligences before the world was. You have been blessed to have a physical body because of your obedience to certain commandments in that premortal state. You are now born into a family to which you have come, into the nations through which you have come, as a reward for the kind of lives you lived before you came here and at a time in the world’s history, as the apostle Paul taught the men of Athens and as the Lord revealed to Moses, determined by the faithfulness of each of those who lived before this world was created.
Hear now the significant words of that powerful sermon to “The Unknown God” preached by the apostle Paul, to those who were ignorantly worshipping images of stone and brass and wood, and I quote:
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth [now mark you this], and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
“That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.” (Acts 17:24, 26–27.)
Here then again we have the Lord making a further enlightening declaration to Moses as recorded in the Book of Deuteronomy:
“When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.” (Deut. 32:8.)
Now, mind you, this was said to the children of Israel before they had arrived in the “Promised Land,” which was to be the land of their inheritance.
Then note this next verse: “For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” (Deut. 32:9.)
It would seem very clear, then, that those born to the lineage of Jacob, who was later to be called Israel, and his posterity, who were known as the children of Israel, were born into the most illustrious lineage of any of those who came upon the earth as mortal beings.
All these rewards were seemingly promised, or foreordained, before the world was. Surely these matters must have been determined by the kind of lives we had lived in that premortal spirit world. Some may question these assumptions, but at the same time they will accept without any question the belief that each one of us will be judged when we leave this earth according to his or her deeds during our lives here in mortality. Isn’t it just as reasonable to believe that what we have received here in this earth life was given to each of us according to the merits of our conduct before we came here?
Now there is another important understanding that we have from the scriptures. We are all free agents, which means to some people who manifest a spirit of rebellion that they are free to do anything they please, but that is not the correct meaning of free agency as the prophets have declared in the scriptures where free agency has been defined. I quote:
“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediation of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (2 Ne. 2:27.)
The apostle Paul impressed the sacredness of our individual bodies in this statement: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that 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.)
And, again, he said further to those who had been baptized members of the church that they had received the gift of a special endowment known as the Holy Ghost. This was his teaching: “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? … therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6:19–20.)
If we can get a person to think what those words mean, then we can begin to understand the significance of the words of the renowned psychologist, MacDougall, from whom I have previously quoted, “The first thing to be done to help a man to moral regeneration is to restore, if possible, his self-respect.” How better may that self-respect be restored than to help him to fully understand the answer to that question, “Who am I?”
When we see one devoid of respect for himself, as indicated by his conduct, his outward appearance, his speech, and his utter disregard of the basic measures of decency, then certainly we are witnessing the frightening aspect of one over whom Satan has achieved a victory, as the Lord declared he would try to do “to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will … to destroy the agency of man.” (See Moses 4:1–4.) This is the fate of “even as many as would not hearken unto my voice” (Moses 4:4), so declared the Lord to Moses.
Some years ago I read a report from a survey made by ministers who had studied a number of cases of students who had committed suicide. This was their firm conclusion after an exhaustive study: “The philosophy of the students who took their lives was so lacking that when a severe crisis came in their lives, they had nothing to hold fast to, and so they took the coward’s way out.”
Such could be the awful state of those described by the Master in a parable with which he concluded the Sermon on the Mount:
“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” (Matt. 7:26–27.)
The Lord’s eternal purpose with respect to his plan of salvation was declared to Moses: “For behold, this is my work and my glory —to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39.) The first goal in that eternal plan was for each of us to come to earth and gain a physical body, and then, after death and the resurrection which would follow, the spirit and the resurrected body would not thereafter be subject to death. All of this was a free gift to every living soul as Paul declared: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22.)
What this means to one dying with a malignant malady or to a mother bereft of a child may be illustrated by the expressions of a young mother whom I visited in the hospital some years ago. She said to me, “I have thought all this through. It doesn’t make any difference whether I go now or whether I live to 70, 80, or 90. The sooner I can get to a place where I can be active and doing things that will bring me eternal joy the better for all concerned.” She was comforted by the thought that she had lived such a life as to be worthy to enter into the presence of God, which is to enjoy eternal life.
The importance of taking advantage of every hour of precious time allotted to each of us here was impressed forcibly upon me by an incident in my own family. A young mother came with her beautiful flaxen-haired six-year-old daughter to her grandparents. The mother asked if we would like to hear a beautiful new children’s song which the daughter had just learned in her Primary class. While the little mother accompanied her, she sang:
“I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
“I am a child of God,
And so my needs are great;
Help me to understand His words
Before it grows too late.
“I am a child of God,
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do His will
I’ll live with him once more.
“Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him some day.”
—Sing with Me, no. B-76
Her grandparents were in tears. Little did they know then, that hardly before that little girl would have had the full opportunity for her mother to teach her all that she should know in order to return to her heavenly home, that the little mother would be suddenly taken away in death, leaving to others the responsibility of finding the answer to the pleadings of that childhood prayer, to teach and train and to lead her through the uncertainties of life.
What a difference it would make if we really sensed our divine relationship to God, our Heavenly Father, our relationship to Jesus Christ, our Savior and our elder brother, and our relationship to each other. Contrasted with the sublime peace to one such as that wonderful sister I visited in the hospital is that terrifying state of those who do not, as they approach death, have that great comfort, for as the Lord has told us plainly: “And they that die not in me, wo unto them, for their death is bitter.” (D&C 42:47.) It was George Bernard Shaw who said, “If we all realized that we were the children of one father, we would stop shouting at each other as much as we do.”
Now, as I come to the closing of this address, I trust that I might have given to you and others who have not yet listened to such counsel, something to stimulate some sober thinking as to who you are and from whence you came; and, in so doing, that I may have stirred up within your soul the determination to begin now to show an increased self-respect and reverence for the temple of God, your human body, wherein dwells a heavenly spirit. I would charge you to say again and again to yourselves, as the Primary organization has taught the children to sing “I am a [son or a daughter] of God” and by so doing, begin today to live closer to those ideals which will make your life happier and more fruitful because of an awakened realization of who you are.
God grant that each of us here today may so live that all among us, and with us, may see, not us, but that which is divine and comes from God. With that vision of what those who have lost their way may become, my prayer is that they may receive strength and resolution to climb higher and higher and upward and onward to that great goal of eternal life and also that I may do my part in seeking to show by example, as well as by precept, that which will be the best of which I am capable of doing.
I again bear my solemn witness to the great truth of the Master’s profound words to the sobbing Martha: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25.)
I thank God that I too can say, with the same spirit as did Martha, who bore her testimony as the Spirit witnessed to her from the depths of her soul:
“Yea, Lord: I [too know] that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which [came] into the world.” (See John 11:27.)
In the name of our Lord and Master, Jesus, the Christ, the Savior of the world, even so. Amen.
Of the Council of the Twelve Apostles
Conference Report, April 1962, pp. 59-64
My brothers and sisters, it is a grand privilege to meet with you in this great conference which is the most nearly international of all conferences ever held in the Church. We are making history today with the conference proceedings being received in this tabernacle in various languages and with the conference messages going out into foreign lands.We live in a marvelous age with developments far beyond the most fantastic prognostications of a quarter century ago. Our communication lines have been extended from Pony Express to fast air service; transportation has been speeded from horse and buggy to globe-encircling jets for the masses, and speeds running into the thousands of miles each hour for the explorers. From the Vikings and Columbus, we come to "Glenn" and the astronauts. Persistent scientists continue to explore land and sea, and now they are out in space. Much learning has been added, but astronauts and rocket riders and telegraphers can little realize how relatively elementary are their movements and discoveries and knowledge. Astronomers have sought knowledge through study, but prophets through faith. Astronomers have developed powerful telescopes through which they have seen much, but prophets and seers have had clearer vision at greater distances with precision instruments such as the Liahona and the Urim and Thummim, which have far exceeded the most advanced radar, radio, television, or telescopic equipment.
In a recent magazine was printed a brief digest of an article from a German astronomer who says that radio astronomers today discuss as a distinct possibility interplanetary conversation between earth-bound man and creatures on other planets; he "demonstrates with intricate mathematical logic that planets suitable for life may be fairly common among the stars, and that there are perhaps only ten civilized communities within 1,000 light years of the earth," and "there may well be creatures intelligent enough on some of those planets to transmit radio messages across the enormous distances of interstellar space."
He seems convinced that earth's astronomers could eventually detect and interpret incoming messages which highly cultured creatures from those intelligent communities might send, but since the galactic history of such planets "might take billions of years to evolve, their flowering might well last only a few thousand years, so their brief moments of glory would seldom coincide." He reasons that "some extraterrestrial civilizations may have destroyed themselves completely, while others may have killed off only the higher types of life, permitting new and later civilizations to evolve from the humble creatures that managed to survive."
Since no mention is made of a controlling power, we fear that there is the assumption that planets build themselves and that inhabitants create themselves. We honor and congratulate the scientists for their intensive research and some of their conclusions. When we add to their assumptions and findings the knowledge acquired through the scriptures, and then place an Omnipotent God in the center of all things, the picture becomes clearer and purpose gives it meaning and color.
The Gospel writer, John, gave us these precious words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. "The same was in the beginning with God.
"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:1-3).
And modern revelation confirms: "The worlds were made by him, men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, ". . . he was called the Son of God" (D&C 93:10,14). The Lord himself testifies: "Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, who created the heavens and the earth" (D&C 14:9) ". . . [they] are in mine hands" (D&C 67:2).
Students of the universe might be amazed to know how much Adam knew about astronomy; how much Enoch and Moses had of accumulated knowledge of this world in its beginnings, its history and of its projected end. Many would wonder at the great Abraham, living nearly forty centuries ago, who was such a world authority, not only on the earth, its movements, and its conditions, but on the universe itself, extending to the very center of it.
His supernatural knowledge was probably supplemented by research and observation in the clear, starry nights in the plains of Mesopotamia, but he must have received the major part through the Urim and Thummim which could have been far more revealing than the most powerful telescope in the most modern observatory. In his 175 brilliant years of life he accumulated knowledge in many fields, but especially in astronomy, in which field he seems to have excelled, and was perhaps equal or superior to even the highly trained Egyptian astronomers. At the altar near Bethel, close to Jerusalem, came his greatest scientific knowledge.
As he sat in Egypt and wrote his treatise on papyrus, in longhand, likely to present to Pharaoh and his eminent court, he wrote. "And I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees; "And I saw the stars that they were very great, and one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto "And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God; I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest" (Abr. 3:1-3).
The worlds were created, organized, and made to function by Jesus Christ our Lord, all this at the instance of and under the direction of his Father Elohim, our Heavenly Father. Abraham knew, as we know, that the works of God in all creations were infinite, purposeful, efficient, limitless.
The Lord continues in his revelation to the Prophet, "And there are many kingdoms, for there is no space in which there is no kingdom . . . "Unto every kingdom is given a law" (see (D&C 88:37-3). He knew the bounds set to heaven, earth, sun, stars, their times, revolutions, laws and glories-which orbs borrow their light from Kolob, the greatest of all the stars (Abr. 3:3,16). He actually tells us about the throne of God and that he resides "on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, [which]-is a great Urim and Thummim" (D&C 130:7-8).
He continues in his inspired treatise, "And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord" (Abr. 3:4), and that one revolution of it was equal to one thousand years on earth.
We quote again, "Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time" (Fac. 2:1).
Other grand-governing creations near to the place where God resides are pictured. This advanced knowledge was "revealed from God to Abraham as he offered sacrifice upon an altar which he had built unto the Lord" (Fac. 2:2). He says, "Thus I, Abraham, talked with the Lord, face to face . . . and he told me of the works which his hands had made . . . which were many; and they multiplied before mine eyes, and I could not see the end thereof" (Abr. 3:11-12).
As we stretch our imaginations to absorb the limitlessness of the creations of God, we turn to a favorite song:
"If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye,And then continue onward with that same speed to fly, D'ye think that you could ever, through all eternity,Find out the generation where Gods began to be?
"Or see the grand beginning, where space did not extend?Or view the last creation, where Gods and matter end? Methinks the Spirit whispers, No man has found 'pure space,' Nor seen the outside curtains, where nothing has a place. "The works of God continue, and worlds and lives abound; Improvement and progression have one eternal round. There is no end to matter; there is no end to spaceThere is no end to spirit; there is no end to race." William W. Phelps.
The noted scientist speaks of other planets and suggests civilized space communities. Time was when most people thought the earth was the world, and that the sun, the moon, and the stars were earth's counterparts, or inferior appendages, merely to give light like lanterns hanging in the sky. But now scientists know, as the people generally know, and as prophets knew long before them, that the earth is but one minor unit of numerous creations in space illuminated by the presence of God "who is in the midst of all things" (D&C 88:12-13). ". . . the glory of his presence that the sun shall hide his face in shame" (D&C 133:49).
Our friend the astronomer speaks of interstellar civilizations, probably experiencing turbulent history such as our own earth has had with the rise and fall of great civilizations, such as Babylon, Ninevah, Jerusalem, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and numerous others which have flared like an arc-light, then dimmed even to candlelight proportions, or to be extinguished. The prophets knew through the centuries that not only civilizations come and go, but worlds are born, mature, and die. The Lord said, "And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away . . . ". . . it is the workmanship of mine hands" (D&C 29:23,25). ". . . the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation . . .
". . . notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again . . . and the righteous shall inherit it" (D&C 88:25-26). The Prophet Joseph writes, "The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God. ". . . and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power" (D&C 88:45,47). "For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father;
"That bodies of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified" (D&C 88:19-20).
To Moses, to Joseph Smith, and to others of the great prophets, came visions and revelations unbelievable, so clear, so distinct, so complete that it will yet be long, if ever, when, through observation and exploration only, men will gain the knowledge, for the prophets saw unbelievable things in kaleidoscopic vision. "But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you," said the Lord to Moses. "For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power and there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them" (Moses 1:35).
We are near appalled by the discernment of the scientists whose accumulated knowledge awes us, but there is greater knowledge; there are more perfect instruments; there is much more to learn. We can but imagine how the great truths have been transmitted through the ages. Exactly how this precious instrument, the Urim and Thummim, operates, we can only surmise, but it seems to be infinitely superior to any mechanism ever dreamed of yet by researchers. It would seem to be a receiving set or instrument. For a set to receive pictures and programs, there must be a broadcasting set. The scriptures above quoted indicated that the abode of God is a master Urim and Thummim, and the synchronization of transmitting and receiving apparatus of this kind could have no limitation.
Even with our most elementary communication sets we hear voices around the world. We remember when, even with earphones, we could decode only part of the static over the newborn radio. Our first television pictures were very local and very amateurish. Today, we see in our homes a fight in Madison Square Garden, a football game in the Cotton Bowl, the Tabernacle Choir in Chicago, an astronaut circling the globe. Is it hard to project ourselves from the elemental world of puny man to the world of Omnipotent God, who with great purpose has developed precision instruments operated through his omnipotent knowledge? Is it difficult to believe that the Urim and Thummim, carried down through the ages by the prophets, even in the hands of our own modern-day prophet, could be that precision instrument which would transmit messages from God himself to his supreme creation-man? Can God have limitations? Can atmosphere or distance or space hold back his pictures? Would it be so difficult for Moses or Enoch or Abraham or Joseph to see a colorful, accurate, moving picture of all things past and present, and even future? Could one doubt that the holy man, Moses, could stand on the mountain peak and see? Moses' Creator said, ". . . look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end" (Moses 1:4). "Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth" (Moses 1:5). "For mine own purpose have I made these things . . . "And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son . . .
And "worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them which is mine Only Begotten" (Moses 1:31-33). ". . . The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine" (Moses 1:37). The perfected Enoch, as he saw the brilliant, awesome picture, exclaimed, "And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations" (Moses 7:30). And then the Creator said, ". . . there is no end to my works, neither to my words. "For behold, this is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:38-39). The quoted doctor speaks of the flowering of the civilizations upon the various planets. The Lord told Enoch, "Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren" (Moses 7:36).
We know little about interplanetary conversation between planets of the same order and development, but we know that such messages on a two-way circuit have been heard and understood by earth men and properly interpreted to dying civilizations throughout the ages, and this in line with the thought of the dying worlds and the living worlds and the aborning worlds. The scriptures postulate that worlds have gone out of existence through self-destruction, but other worlds have gone on unto perfection, and communication between the higher and the lower is not only possible, but is also an actuality. At the controlling center of the universe in such a perfected world is God. He knows all things which could possibly affect us, and because of his experience in his creation of us in his image, he is eager that we become like him-perfect. Accordingly, he has continued communication with us through the millennia. Without plane or rocket, messengers have come.
Our surprise is greatest in the last conclusion made by the German astronomer when he expresses the belief that "the earth's young civilization is now approaching its first great crisis because of its new found powers of self destruction," and "man's best hope of avoiding disaster is to listen hard for radioed advice. Far out in starry space," he says, "perhaps is an old wise civilization that has survived many crises and is trying to warn the callow earth against the mistakes of its own youth." What an astute observation! Yet for thousands of years our omniscient Heavenly Father from his old wise world has been trying to get his children to listen hard for such radioed advice and televised wisdom, but they were blind of eyes and dull of ears. They were not connected to the power line.
Handwritten messages of warning have come to wicked Belshazzars, who, with lords and ladies in ugly debauchery, drank wines from golden vessels stolen from holy temples, and empires collapsed, and while drunkenness and sensual indulgence were at their height, there ". . . came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. "Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another" (Dan. 5:5-6). This was a message from another world. Daniel interpreted the solemn warning. On another continent Aminadi ". . . interpreted the writing which was upon the wall of the temple, which was written by the finger of God" (Alma
Another message written by the Lord on two sets of stone tables came from Mt. Sinai, ". . . And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments" (Ex. 34:28).
How else except through interplanetary messages could landlubber Nephi, without experience, have built a seaworthy ship which would safely cross an ocean? How else could Noah have known the minute specifications for an ark to ride the flood successfully? How else could Moses know the dimensions, materials, and uses of the tabernacle, and how else could Solomon know the specifications for his temple?
Radioed programs came in great numbers through the ages, faithfully interpreted by the Jeremiahs, the Ezekiels, and the Daniels; by the Nephis, the Moronis, the Benjamins; by the Peters, the Pauls, and the Joseph Smiths. Better than radio or television communications, have come personal messengers without plane, or rocket ship, from God's abode to announce the birth of Isaac, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the coming of Saul to Damascus. Through some program, perhaps something like super-television, Joseph saw the coming famine in Egypt so he could warn Pharaoh and save his own people. And another Joseph saw a trans-space program causing him to flee to Egypt with the Christ-child, and then to return to Nazareth. Peter saw a picture of the four-cornered sheet filled with beasts and heard voices which were to send the proselyting program not only to Jews, but also to all the world. A messenger from the Father crossed space to announce, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." And from out in space came suddenly ". . . a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:11,13-14).
Comforting messengers stood by the Christ in Gethsemane after his momentous decision. One from far out space was outside Jerusalem's wall by the empty tomb, and ". . . rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it" (Matt. 28:2). He said, ". . . Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
"He is not here: for he is risen" (Matt. 28:5-6). And there were two men undetained by space or time, standing on the Mt. of Olives who said, "Ye men of Galilee . . . this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).
Just last century a space messenger came to Joseph Smith, announcing, ". . . that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God . . . that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for [him] to do" (JS-H 1:33), In a single night repeated visits and the crossing through space from earth to the abode of God, seemed to be negotiated without limitation of time or space or gravity's pull! From the center of the universe where the power, the light, the direction, and the intelligence originates, came another messenger announcing himself as the resurrected John the Baptist. Anciently beheaded, now resurrected, he came to restore the keys and powers which he himself had possessed on earth. He was followed by three other messengers, Peter, James, and John, who restored the Melchizedek Priesthood with all its powers and authority.
Divine guards had sped through space to save the life of Abraham on Potiphar's Hill in the land of Ur, to save Daniel and his companions in the lions' den, to save Nephi from the bitterness and bloodthirsty anger of his brothers, to save Isaac from the knife of sacrifice.
Then there were messages so precious, so vital, that the Lord himself came. He taught Adam in the Garden of Eden, showed Enoch the millions of units in his universe, and trained Moses to lead Israel. He stood on the highway near Damascus and started Paul in his marvelous transformation and ministry. And then there were the visits of the Father himself, who came to bear witness of his Beloved Son Jesus Christ at the waters of Jordan, on the Mt. of Transfiguration, to the Nephites on soil of the New World. He introduced his Son on these pivotal and vital visits. "Behold, my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name" (3 Ne. 11:7). And again, in the Sacred Grove in New York State came the Father and the Son in the restoration of great and holy things.
Is man earthbound? Largely so, and temporarily so, yet Enoch and his people were translated from the earth, and the living Christ and angels commuted. Is there interplanetary conversation? Certainly. Man may speak to God and receive answers from him. Is there association of interplanetary beings? There is no question.
Are planets out in space inhabited by intelligent creatures? Without doubt. Will radioed messages ever come between planets across limitless space. Certainly, for there have already been coming for 6,000 years, properly decoded, interpreted, and publicized messages of utmost importance to the inhabitants of this earth. Dreams and open vision, like perfected television programs, have come repeatedly. Personal representatives have brought warning messages too numerous times to mention, and it is our testimony to the world that God lives and abides in his heavenly home, and the earth is his footstool, and only one of his numerous creations; that Jesus Christ the Son of that Living God is the Creator, Savior, and Redeemer of the people on this earth who will listen and obey; and that these interstellar messages-call them what you will, visions, revelations, television, radio-from the abode of God to man on this earth continue now to come to the living prophet of God among us this day. This I know, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.