President Kimball gave a very President Kimball talk at the Friday morning session of the October 1975 general conference. It was titled “the Time to Labor is Now,” and it was all about cleaning up your place, planting some fruit trees, and eating a little food that you had grown with your own hands. The talk is the boiled down essence of one of the distinctive facets of Mormonism. Reading it is like a free tour to a cultural monument.
Here is a sample:
When an administrator in Africa rode out to inspect land that had been devastated in a storm, he came to a place where giant cedars had been uprooted and destroyed. He said to his official in charge, “You will have to plant some cedars here.” The official replied, “It takes 2,000 years to grow cedars of the size these were. They don’t even bear cones until they’re 50 years old.”
“Then,” said the administrator, “we must plant them at once.” And this is the admonition to you.
Which reminds me of something President Uchtdorf said. “When is the best time to plant fruit trees? 20 years ago.”
Outsiders often see us Saints as a toilsome and labor-ridden people. We insiders in our weary moments often see ourselves the same. Believe me, I know. But we must not change. Because labor is a spiritual exercise. It changes the person who labors. This change can often happen despite the person, though it helps if they approach the labor with an open eagerness of soul for experience. The Great and Spacious building shouts messages at us. But the gospel teaches us through the hard feel of the iron rod in our hand and the pressure of the earth under our feet, step by step, as we approach the tree.
Saturday I spent the afternoon on a ladder, waving a hook around to knock down pecans from a tree that someone planted 30 years ago. My kids were scrambling around to pick them up. I did not approach the job with a particularly holy, creative mind. It was just a job. But at the end we had filled a bushel basket, were flushed in the cheeks, and laughing happily. I felt the same kind of happiness I feel when I’ve read a good passage in a book and let my mind soar from it–but quieter, solider, more enduring. More bodily.
The laborer is labored upon.
Other Posts from the Friday morning session of the October 1975 General Conference