Reading general conference talks from 45 years ago is very much like reading talks from today. There may be a slight difference in tone—some of those old guys were a little more down home than we are—but that’s about it. Even some of the speakers are the same.
So I set myself a challenge. For each talk from the Saturday morning session of the April 1972 conference that I read, I would find a scripture parallel and a contemporary general conference parallel. Please post any parallels you think of in the comments.
“Judge Not, That Ye Be Not Judged”, by Eldon Tanner
Our news media today also seem to be interested mainly in controversial subjects or someone who is being attacked; and regardless of the ninety-nine good things one may do, it is the one weakness or error that alone is emphasized and heralded to the world.
We are too prone to listen to, accept, and repeat such adverse criticism, such maliciously spoken or printed words, without stopping to realize the harm we may be doing to some noble person; and, as is done so often, we excuse and justify ourselves by saying, “Well, where there is so much smoke, there must be some fire,” whereas in reality we are adding to the smoke, when the fire referred to may be only the fire of malice started by some envious person.
Sometimes even when our friends are accused of wrongdoing or gossip is started about them, we disloyally accept and repeat what we hear without knowing all the facts. It is sad indeed that sometimes friendships are destroyed and enmity created on the basis of misinformation.
Where charity exists, there is no place for gossip or unkind words.
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
What Is Your Destination? by Marvin J. Ashton
I needed to be in Leicester for two days for quarterly stake conference sessions but that it was not my destination. Stops in other English cities were not my destinations either. They were all assignments along the way. I had not arrived when I reached any of them.
As a result of this experience on the train, and having given this thought some consideration over the years, I am concerned that many of us are confused in our life’s travels with destinations, arrivals, stops, calls, stations, and assignments. It appears to me that some of us may be lost today because we think we have arrived.
In 1979 a large passenger jet with 257 people on board left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back. Unknown to the pilots, however, someone had modified the flight coordinates by a mere two degrees. This error placed the aircraft 28 miles (45 km) to the east of where the pilots assumed they were. As they approached Antarctica, the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape. Although both were experienced pilots, neither had made this particular flight before, and they had no way of knowing that the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus, an active volcano that rises from the frozen landscape to a height of more than 12,000 feet (3,700 m).
As the pilots flew onward, the white of the snow and ice covering the volcano blended with the white of the clouds above, making it appear as though they were flying over flat ground. By the time the instruments sounded the warning that the ground was rising fast toward them, it was too late. The airplane crashed into the side of the volcano, killing everyone on board.
It was a terrible tragedy brought on by a minor error—a matter of only a few degrees.1
Through years of serving the Lord and in countless interviews, I have learned that the difference between happiness and misery in individuals, in marriages, and families often comes down to an error of only a few degrees
And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
The Importance of Prayer, by Franklin D. Richards
Implanted in the heart of every person, regardless of his or her race or color, is the desire to worship, in some manner, a divine being. The Prophet Joseph Smith observed that “it is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another. …” (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 305.)
With the knowledge that we can converse with God as one man converses with another, we also understand that we not only have a divine spark within us, but that we are actually spirit children of our Father in heaven.
With your acceptance of the priesthood, you have received the right to speak and to act in the name of God.
That right will become a reality only as you receive inspiration from God.
. . . .
It is not a matter so much of which words to use, but it will take some patience. It is an approach to your Heavenly Father with the intent to be recognized by Him personally. He is the God above all, the Father of all, and yet willing to give undivided attention to one of His children.
And not many days hence the Son of God shall come in his glory; and his glory shall be the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, equity, and truth, full of patience, mercy, and long-suffering, quick to hear the cries of his people and to answer their prayers.
“Finishers Wanted” by Thomas S. Monson
In life, as in business, there has always been a need for those persons who could be called finishers. Their ranks are few, their opportunities many, their contributions great.
From the very beginning to the present time, a fundamental question remains to be answered by each who runs the race of life. Shall I falter or shall I finish? On the answer await the blessings of joy and happiness here in mortality and eternal life in the world to come.
President Young said that he also worried about people losing their way when they were being blessed—when life was good: “It is in calm weather, when the old ship of Zion is sailing with a gentle breeze, [and] when all is quiet on deck, that some of the brethren want to go out in the whaling boats to have … a swim, and some get drowned, others drifted away, and others again get back to the ship. Let us stick to the old ship and she will carry us [safely] into the harbor; you need not be concerned
It is finished.