Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

A Pentecost Story from Modern Church History

October 17th, 2017 by G.

From Brother Grant W. Bangerter.  You will want to read this.

I have in mind a special moment in Church history which has a great bearing on our testimonies and on the progress of the gospel. I hope that it has been duly recorded by those who keep the history. I refer to what happened on the 4th of April, 1974.

The story really begins on the 26th of December, 1973. President Harold B. Lee passed away suddenly on that day. His death was completely unexpected. It is necessary to remember that over a period of twenty-five years, members of the Church had awaited the time when Harold B. Lee would become the president. There had been every reason to think that this would eventually happen, due to his relative youthfulness and because he occupied a position in seniority following Joseph Fielding Smith and David O. McKay, both of whom were of advanced age. In addition, Harold B. Lee had gained more than average prominence. His leadership in the welfare and priesthood programs of the Church, his forceful nature, and his sound judgment had made him one of the apostles most listened to and one whose influence and advice were most respected. He had an evident spiritual stature which commended him to the members of the Church as one of the great men of our time. He possessed an unusual ability to relate as a personal friend to countless people. It was expected that when he became president he would preside for twenty years or more.

Suddenly he was gone!—called elsewhere after only 1 1/2 years. It was the first time since the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith when the president had died before it was time for him to die. In deep sorrow and concern the surging questions arose in the minds of the people, much as they did at the time when Joseph Smith was killed in Carthage, Illinois. “What will we do now? How can we carry on without the prophet? Our great leader has gone. Can the Church survive this emergency?”

Of course we knew that the Church would survive, but it could not possibly be the same. We had never expected Spencer W. Kimball to become the president, and we had not looked to him for the same leadership evident in the life of Harold B. Lee. We knew, of course, that he would manage somehow, until the next great leader arose, but it would not be easy for him, and things would not be the same. “O Lord,” we prayed, “please bless President Kimball. He needs all the help you can give him.” Such seemed to be the attitude in the hearts of the Latter-day Saints during those days of mourning.

We return to the 4th of April, 1974. There were gathered that morning in the Church Office Building, all of the General Authorities as well as the Regional Representatives and other leaders from around the world. We were to be instructed once again, as we had been periodically during the past seven years. On each preceding occasion Harold B. Lee had given us our direction and sounded the trump of leadership. Now he was no longer there, and we all felt his absence deeply. Again came the questions: “How can we proceed without our great leader?” “How can President Kimball fill the empty space?” And again the prayers went forth: “Please bless President Kimball.”

The moment came when President Kimball arose to address the assembled leadership. He noted that he also had never expected to occupy this position and that he missed President Lee equally with the rest of us. Then he reviewed much of the instruction which President Lee had given over the past years, and our prayers in behalf of President Kimball continued.

As he proceeded with his address, however, he had not spoken very long when a new awareness seemed suddenly to fall on the congregation. We became alert to an astonishing spiritual presence, and we realized that we were listening to something unusual, powerful, different from any of our previous meetings. It was as if, spiritually speaking, our hair began to stand on end. Our minds were suddenly vibrant and marveling at the transcendent message that was coming to our ears. With a new perceptiveness we realized that President Kimball was opening spiritual windows and beckoning to us to come and gaze with him on the plans of eternity. It was as if he were drawing back the curtains which covered the purpose of the Almighty and inviting us to view with him the destiny of the gospel and the vision of its ministry.

I doubt that any person present that day will ever forget the occasion. I, myself, have scarcely reread President Kimball’s address since, but the substance of what he said was so vividly impressed upon my mind that I could repeat most of it at this moment from memory.

The Spirit of the Lord was upon President Kimball and it proceeded from him to us as a tangible presence, which was at once both moving and shocking. He unrolled to our view a glorious vision. He told us of the ministry performed by the apostles in the day of the Savior, and how the same mission was conferred on the apostles under Joseph Smith. He demonstrated how these men had gone forth in faith and devotion and were clothed with great power, by which they had carried the gospel to the ends of the earth, reaching further, in some ways, than we with the strength of this modern church are doing at the present time. He showed us how the Church was not fully living in the faithfulness that the Lord expects of His people, and that, to a certain degree, we had settled into a spirit of complacency and satisfaction with things as they were. It was at that moment that he sounded the now famous slogan, “We must lengthen our stride.” (See Ensign, Oct. 1974, p. 5.) I doubt that everyone fully understands that directive even now. If it were put into the vernacular it would sound much more like: “Let’s get off our dime!” “Get going!” “Move!”

President Kimball bespoke other messages: “We must go to all the world.” “Every boy should go on a mission.” “Open the door to new nations.” “Send missionaries from It’s a Young Church in … Mexico, South America, Japan, Great Britain, and Europe.” (See “When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, pp. 2–14.) This was a new vision, disturbing and exciting, added to the old.

The thought came to me: “Imagine! At any moment the president might call any or all of us to go to distant lands or otherwise extend the preaching of the gospel.” I little realized that within six months I would be en route to Portugal for that very purpose.

President Kimball spoke under this special influence for an hour and ten minutes. It was a message totally unlike any other in my experience. I realized that it was similar to the occasion on the 8th of August, 1844, when Brigham Young spoke to the Saints in Nauvoo following the death of the Prophet Joseph. . . . [T]he occasion of April 4, 1974, is parallel.

When President Kimball concluded, President Ezra Taft Benson arose and with a voice filled with emotion, echoing the feeling of all present, said, in substance: “President Kimball, through all the years that these meetings have been held, we have never heard such an address as you have just given. Truly, there is a prophet in Israel.”

Now I affirm that since April 1974 things have indeed not been the same. This is no attempt to eulogize President Kimball into a figure greater than other presidents of the Church, but to point out the continuing spiritual power which attends the prophet of the Lord, whoever he may be.

He told this story in the Saturday afternoon session of the October 1977 General Conference.  The Church did enter a period of remarkably high growth that lasted two or three decades.

In the same session, Elder Richards quoted Paul saying that the things of God are understood by the Spirit of God, and the things of man are understood by the spirit of man.  Real scholarship must proceed through the Spirit to reach conclusions of ultimate worth.  Material expectations–ordinary mortal calculation–as in the story above, are like trying to understand a book by only reading the first half.

Other Posts from the Saturday afternoon session of the October 1977 General Conference

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October 17th, 2017 07:30:52

Chastity and Healthy Sexuality

October 13th, 2017 by G.

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October 13th, 2017 05:15:46

Charting Virtue

October 12th, 2017 by G.

Image result for diagramming grammar

Diagramming sentences teaches you a good deal about language.  It also makes you realize some odd things about it that you had taken for granted before.  Grammar is not the Platonic form of language.  What it is is a good tool.

The West doesn’t think much about virtue.  We do have a rich and neglected treasury of practical experience out there, and a decent amount of engineering knowledge, for those who look for it.  We also have thinkers who address first principles and meta-ethical questions.  What is the nature of the good? and so on.  What we don’t have is anything in between.  It is as if the study of biology knew evolution (along side stockbreeders who knew practical things) but had never invented anything like taxonomy.

Gallery For > Linnaeus Taxonomy

A while back I accidentally invented a sophisticated tool for investigating virtue.

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October 12th, 2017 12:05:46

What was the Bright Light?

October 11th, 2017 by G.

A Woodsrunner's Diary: More On Dried Corn. Reply to a ...

I was drifting off to sleep on my side and my mind wandered.  I was thinking maybe about fall, then dried ears of corn on the cob, then by a process I cannot recall, I ended up seeing an image of a young Joseph Smith gathering with his family in their home.  At that point, our light–which has just gone balky–suddenly turned on and the image in front of my eyes was washed away by bright white light flooding through eyelids.  Or so I thought.

But when I opened my eyes the room was dark.

There was no spiritual feeling that came with the image.  Nothing to make one believe it had a symbolic meaning about the Restoration.  So I was left to wonder what it means.

Maybe it means nothing at all.

Maybe there is sometimes leakage from the Spirit.

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October 11th, 2017 06:08:07

The Painfully Modern Parable of the Good Samaritan

October 06th, 2017 by G.

A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

And by chance there came down a certain woke priest that way; and when he saw the man he returned to Jerusalem and launched a campaign for travel control, so only licensed travelers with adequate provision to defend themselves against robbers would be allowed out on the road. Those he met were impressed with his compassion and wealthy caravanners donated to his campaign. #CareforTravelers

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October 06th, 2017 08:18:40

Selfishness is the Vice of what Virtue?

October 05th, 2017 by G.

It’s a commonplace that vices are sick virtues.

Some vices are crippled virtues.  Some vices are bloated virtues.

So what is the healthy virtue that, when ill, becomes the vice of selfishness.

 


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October 05th, 2017 10:04:05

The Sins of Authenticity

October 04th, 2017 by G.

Authenticity is integrity with the element of time irrationally and wickedly stripped off.  The honest seed sprouts and flowers.  The authentic seed falls on stony ground and stays a seed, then a withered caricature of a seed, then a husk.  Authenticity is death.

In Mormon terms, where damnation means the cessation of progress, authenticity is damnation.

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October 04th, 2017 05:38:59

Social Media in General Conference

October 03rd, 2017 by G.

 

This post summarizes each General Conference talk which touched on social media use.  It’s based on the notes of a father with lots of children, who was also ironing shirts and shelling pecans during a few sessions, so please suggest corrections and additions in the comments. (more…)

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October 03rd, 2017 07:30:03

Rendering Assistance in the Lord’s Way

September 26th, 2017 by G.

Missionary

I really enjoyed Bishop Brown’s discussion of how the Church welfare system worked in the 1977 welfare session of General Conference.  Those are still the basic elements, although relying more on general social services outside of Utah.

In the spirit of the last post on sharing basic Mormon practices that may be of interest to followers of the Way, I thought I’d share a couple of basic experiences with the Church welfare system from the inside.

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September 26th, 2017 05:30:06

Asking Questions

September 25th, 2017 by G.

Modesty Lds Quotes. QuotesGram

In the spirit of the Benedict Option, this post will highlight some practical things that Mormons do to keep their youth faithful and on the strait and narrow.  We do much better than most in those regards (though we only look successful comparatively, we have a long way to go ourselves).  The two efforts tend to be intertwined because the sexual revolution is probably the single biggest challenge to faith in our era.  And that is the first pointer.  There is no alternative to biting the bullet and taking a firm line in opposition to the sexual revolution.  Yes, some will leave because of it.  But if you waffle, the same folks plus others will simply drift away, because it won’t be clear that your faith offers anything concrete.

So here are a couple of practical things the Mormons do. (more…)

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September 25th, 2017 06:04:33

Can Christianity save the West? And which church?

September 19th, 2017 by Bookslinger

Bruce C has written of a need for return to basic/mere Christianity in his blog albionawakening.blogspot.com/ (more…)

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September 19th, 2017 17:56:53

Proud of Joseph

September 19th, 2017 by G.

Image result for joseph smith first vision statue

We are rightly proud of Joseph Smith.

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September 19th, 2017 07:26:06

The Truth of Desire

September 08th, 2017 by G.

We have the kids’ beds all in one room, barracks- or ward-style, while we do some remodeling.  I was teasing my toddler and tickling her one afternoon when I heard one of my school-age daughters say, “Dad?” I turned and she had a huge grinning pleading expression on her face.  “Dad, would you tickle me too?” she said.  So I did.  It was a blast.

Become as a little child, the Savior said.  (more…)

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September 08th, 2017 06:03:56

August 30th, 2017 by G.

Don’t throw good money after bad;

the sunk cost fallacy;

never reinforce failure;

cut your losses;

the definition insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results

 

We have lots of different adages to get us to stop committing our time and and goods and character to failure.  That we have so many suggests that have a hard time quitting. (more…)

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August 30th, 2017 07:06:23

A Day in the Life of President Howard W. Hunter

August 29th, 2017 by G.

Play video

On the sweetness of Mormon life. (more…)

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August 29th, 2017 07:30:04