The LDS Daily WOOL© Archive - Stephen L. Richards

"Our religion is not a thing apart from our life. It is incorporated in it, and forms a part of the very tissue and sinews of our being. It provides a rule of conduct and of action for us, not only in our occasional worship but in our lives, in our work, in our play, in all that we do in the whole course of our conduct. It is this intense practicality of it that appeals to me as its greatest strength, constituting its greatest salvation for the human family." — "Conference Report", April 1917, p. 138

"'Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.' (John 15:13-16.) The essence of the friendship here set forth lies in belief and acceptance of the divinity of the Master. It is inconceivable that he should extend the friendship he so beautifully described to any others than those who were believers. We know of his compassion, his mercy, and concern for all our Father's children, but it should never be forgotten that he set forth in unequivocal language the eligibility of those admitted to the circle of his friendship. 'Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.' (Ibid., 15:14.)" — "Conference Report", April 1955, p. 38

"Therefore, if you would be truly Christian, if you would be classified as a disciple of our dear Savior, I hold out to you the one sure way of achieving that great distinction. Come into his kingdom through the door which is open to all who will abide his law and his gospel. Come to participate in blessings and high privileges which surpass even the vision of your highest hopes and ambitions." — "Conference Report," April 1959, p. 55

"Fellow members of the Church, I may overestimate our position in the world, our opportunities and responsibilities, but I declare it as my solemn conviction that no other organization is charged so definitely with the responsibility of sustaining the true and eternal standards of virtue in the world as is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We know that these standards are imperiled today but I confidently believe that if it can be demonstrated that three-quarter's of a million people scattered through the nations of the earth, giving allegiance to the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, can live honest, dependable lives, resisting all untoward temptations and influences, that demonstration will serve to convince the teeming millions of the earth that they can do likewise." — "Conference Report," April 1933, p. 40

"Let me say to you men and women that in my judgment that simple Word of Wisdom will do more for the advancement of the ultimate destiny of a country than any other law that I know of." — "Conference Report," October 1919, p. 195

"Therefore we say to all the world, if you want health, live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ; if you want wealth, if you want that which is necessary to sustain life and to secure the necessary comforts of life, obey the laws of the gospel, pay tithing to the Lord. If you would solve the great problems of society, apply the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you would understand government, if you would create and train citizens who will make a great government, live the gospel of Jesus Christ, for a good citizen in the Church of God is a good citizen in any good government on the face of the earth. If you want happiness, if you want that great joy that comes into the hearts of those who know the truth, if you want contentment, peace of mind, opportunity for service, live the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master." - Stephen L Richards, "Conference Report," April 1920, Third Overflow Meeting, p.100

"Was he what he said he was? I think all thoughtful persons must agree that the significance of his Lordship is infinitely greater than the ethics of his teachings. Of course, it is easier to believe in the Golden Rule than in the virgin birth or the transfiguration. We can understand the one far better than the other. It takes faith to accept the things we do not understand. Perhaps on that very account, they are of more importance and lasting benefit to us, because they require and develop faith which is the very genius and essence of the Savior's life, work and mission. No student of the scriptures, I believe, will deny that." - Stephen L Richards, "Conference Report," April 1935, First Day—Morning Meeting, p.3

"We consecrate our lives in this Church to the advancement of the cause of God. There is no higher evidence of that consecration than this giving which has been enjoined upon us by the Lord. 'He who gives himself with his gift feeds three-himself, his hungering neighbor and me.' So the law of tithing is the epitome of the Gospel. It is genuine worship and true recognition of the sovereignty of God. It is real consecration, the giving of the muscle and energy of life to the cause: and it begets the abundant life of love and service for which the Christ came. It is a measurement of true religion. By the extent of its observance every man may determine for himself the vitality of his own faith and love of God. A prophet has said, 'The tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.' It will be holy unto you, men and women of Israel, if you give it lovingly, joyfully, willingly, to the great cause." - Stephen L Richards, "Conference Report," April 1929, p.53

"And now, my dear brethren and sisters, I speak no idle words when I give you assurance that we are in a position to make an inestimable contribution to the betterment of human relations in this anxious, distracted world. We are a relatively small group among the populations of the earth, but we are not reliant only on ourselves and our own strength. God is at the helm of this ship, which is his kingdom, sailing through troubled waters. He has charted the course. He has chosen the pilot, his servant, tested and true, to keep us on course. This ship, like the ark of old, bears all the essentials for the re-establishment of the personal reign of the Lord Jesus Christ in the earth, and the essentials for the exaltation of man in the celestial presence of God the Father and the Son. This ship will eventually come to its point of refuge in the harbor of a peaceful world. With all my soul, I plead with you, my beloved brethren and sisters, to stay with the ship, lend a helping hand, and persuade as many of our Father's children as you can possibly reach to avail themselves of the safety, the security, and the glorious promise awaiting all who cleave unto the Lord, our Master and Deliverer." - Stephen L Richards, "Conference Report," October 1953, Morning Session, p.103

"I bear my testimony that I know that this is the work of God. I wish I could deliver it to every young man and every young woman, to every wayward man and wayward woman in the entire Church. I know it just as confidently, just as surely, as I know any other fact that has entered into my life. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the living God. All of my feelings, every sensation that I can interpret, bears witness of that truth to me. I know that it is the Holy Ghost that makes that knowledge certain. I know, too, that that knowledge will come to every honest man and woman and to every young man and woman who strives for it and who lives for it, but I want us all to help in every way that we can to bring that knowledge to the youth of our Church, and to all those who have fallen by the wayside. I am grateful for that knowledge. It brings into my life more comfort, more satisfaction, more hope, more that is worth striving for, then all else, and I am very desirous that I may live to be worthy of a continuation of that testimony, that it may grow and ripen and strengthen within me." - Stephen L Richards, "Conference Report," April 1927, p.156

"I never regard the message of Christ as being harsh. Sometimes it sounds a little harsh and rigorous, but I never regard it as being harsh. I always regard the message of Christ as being kindly, persuasive, forgiving and loving. I can't picture our Lord and Savior in any atmosphere other than that of love and kindness. I have always regarded the condemnations and penalties of which we sometimes speak as being largely in the nature of deprivations and retardations in our progress, for we are told, in what seems to me to be the very genius of the Gospel according to modern revelation—in the vision of the glories—that every one is to receive even more than he anticipates, but that the highest and the most perfect and the lovely blessings of the future are in store for those who live the Christly life upon which those blessings are predicated." - Stephen L. Richards, "Conference Report," October 1935, Third Day—Morning Meeting, p.97

"Reverence for God, as I said in the beginning, is the fundamental thing. Reverence for God comes of love for God, but love of God arises out of faith in him, and out of an understanding of his greatness, his majesty, his goodness, his kindness and his mercy. My God is my Father, my eternal parent, the giver of every good gift to me, the conservator of my life, my relationships, my family, my blessing. Do I revere him? I bow at his feet. I humble myself in sheer praise and thanksgiving and gratitude for the manifestations of all his kindness to me. There is no question about reverence because the seed and foundation of reverence are in my philosophy, in my testimony, in my soul and in my heart. So it is essential that the gospel of Christ be preached to the people of the world that they understand this fatherhood of God, that they understand that all the progress made in this life is by and with his consent and his guidance." - Stephen L Richards, Conference Report, October 1928, Third Day—Morning Meeting, p.98

“I shall mention only one more gift. It is personal to each one, and it is priceless. It is the gift of the testimony of Jesus, that inner conviction and assurance which will come to each person who truly and humbly seeks it. It is a manifestation of the spiritual in man and a demonstration of his dual nature. It does not come by rationalizing alone, but it is not inconsonant with reason when the nature of man is understood. No gift of the Master brings more satisfaction to the soul. I am sure I voice the sentiments of countless thousands who worship with us this day when I thank God for this priceless gift of testimony.” - Stephen L Richards, “Where Is Wisdom?” p. 322

“The foe is attacking our unity. We in Zion have enjoyed a most uncommon reputation for unity of purpose and achievement. This has come about because it has ever been our disposition to follow and yield obedience to our leaders. Our critics, who have not understood our concepts, who have observed our unanimous voting in sustaining officers, and other evidences of our concerted action, have called it blind obedience, induced by some sort of fear or other compulsion.

“I haven’t time to analyze and point out the false premise of this criticism, but I flatly deny its validity. The obedience we render is voluntary and not blind, but intelligent; and the unity we manifest arises out of a common understanding of our purposes and a common devotion to their achievement. We seek for and enjoy the influence of the Holy Spirit, which, in the larger aspects of life, motivates us all alike. Our unanimity is in response to that Spirit.” - Stephen L Richards, “Conference Report,” October 1951, Morning Meeting, p. 114

"Today we find ourselves engaged in a worldwide struggle to preserve liberty and tolerance, the foundations of peace in the earth. Let it be remembered that these were the very principles for which our progenitors have made the tragic sacrifices.... Every shrine of the Church is a monument to freedom and truth. There have been no more sincere and valiant defenders of true democracy than the Latter-day Saints. No higher concepts of the liberty of man, the Sonship of God, and the brotherhood of race have been given to the world than those which have emanated from the Prophet of the last dispensation." - Stephen L Richards, "Conference Report," October 1942, First Day—Morning Meeting, p. 23

At the Christmas time we pay homage to the birth of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world. Many, many thousands will, in one way or another, attempt to do him honor and pay tribute to him. All over the land carols and anthems of praise will be sung; sacred pageants will be performed; reverential sermons will be preached; cities will be decorated and festivities carried forward to honor the birth of Christ. What is even more important than these material expressions of adoration is the almost universal effort to bring something more of the traditional spirit of the Savior into the hearts and minds of men, women, and children. As he is acclaimed to be the Exemplar of giving, having given more than any other for the welfare of mankind, so largely in his honor we give to each other, not only presents as material manifestation of goodwill, and which incidentally, owing in part to the stimulation of commercial interests, has become something of a burden and a source of embarrassment to some people; but more importantly, and I think more in harmony with the true spirit of the occasion, there is a conscious effort to generate within ourselves a more generous thinking about others, and a deeper and more heartfelt concern for friends, neighbors, and family. This is the aspect of Christmas I like best, and I think he, whom we honor, likes it too. - Stephen L Richards, "Where Is Wisdom?," p.25

I want the world to know that the only security that there is for perfect life, for advancement, for progress, for peace, lies in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want the Lord to be recognized as the giver of all these great, good, and virtuous things. I believe that the only way in which we can sustain them as the principles of the gospel in unity, in their integrity, is by cultivating a close adherence to the Church, and maintaining the standards for which it stands. - Stephen L Richards, Conference Report, October 1920, Afternoon Session, p.71

Prophecy and religion supply the one most indispensable element in all our colossal endeavor, and that is faith--faith in the destiny of our democracy, faith in the triumph of righteousness over evil, and faith in the worth, the integrity, and the majesty of man. - Stephen L Richards, Conference Report, April 1942, Second Day-Morning Meeting, p.68

How essential is this bearing of testimony to the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ? Why, it is the first essential credential of a Christian. Jesus himself set the example, when, in justifying himself before the Jews, he said: "I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me." (John 8:18.) And from all we can learn from scripture, we must conclude that there is but one indispensable fact which lies at the basis of the whole Christian doctrine to which witness must be borne, and that is that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and sent by him to perform his mission in the world. - Stephen L. Richards, Conference Report, October 1956, Second Day—Morning Meeting, p. 42

It is not too late to yield to Lincoln's appeal "to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness." And with the noble Washington, tender "homage to the Great Author of every public and private good.” - Stephen L Richards, "The Church in War and Peace," p. 96

I think of all Christian service vicarious work for the dead is the most Christ-like. It often entails great sacrifice. The beneficiary is not here, even to give thanks. It is true benevolence. - Stephen L Richards, “Conference Report,” April 1938, Afternoon Meeting, p.24

We set forth the word of God as we have received it. We claim no monopoly on goodness, Christian virtue, and the love of Christ. We rejoice that millions of his adherents, of his children throughout the world revere his holy name and seek to follow in his ways as they understand them. We know the Spirit of the Lord strives with men for their uplift and betterment. We are not despondent about human nature. We have confidence in men and women the world over. When they shall be privileged to hear the full truth of the gospel of our Lord, countless numbers, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, will embrace the truth. - Stephen L Richards, “Conference Report,” October 1953, Morning Session, p.102

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