This General Conference Odyssey post covers the Friday session of October 1975.
Once again, this General Conference centers on the truth that it is better to follow God and His prophet. That a prophet’s prophetic view is better than a man’s nearsightedness. That teaching truth to the next generation is of supreme importance.
President Spencer W. Kimball opens the conference declaring six prophetic warnings:
Take Care of Our Land
He first talks about gardens and feeding the land by planting and caring for it. Most of us don’t live in a Mad Max environment, but many of us do live in cities where neighborhoods are quickly disintegrating due to poverty and neglect. By maintaining a high living standard we will promote dignity and safety in our little spaces. This, in turn, will bless those lives who live nearby, and those who come after. Taking care to grow gardens and repair and maintain our land is a prophetic declaration that benefits us all.
2. Sabbath Day
We were warned to keep the Sabbath Day holy. Forty plus years later, we are still struggling with this commandment. Now, more and more stores are open on Sundays. He says, “Certainly the stores and business houses would not remain open if we, the people, failed to purchase from them.” How do we expect to show that we love the Lord, yet continue to disobey Him?
3. Marriage and Family
Divorce was high in 1975, but it is even higher today. Divorce devastates men, women, and children. He states very clearly that the main reason for divorce is selfishness; the desire to put our sins and desires first above our family’s. A temple marriage has strong eternal bonds but only if we keep our covenants. He states that civil marriages are breaking and temple marriages are stronger, but in our day, I’m not so sure.
“Abortion must be considered one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day.” We need to hold fast to the knowledge we have that abortion robs a child of our Heavenly Father’s right to live on this earth. Abortion is not the right of a woman, it is “evidence of permissiveness leading to sexual immorality.”
5. Helping Refugees
This talk was given six months after the end of the Vietnam War. At this time, many Vietnamese people were seeking refuge in America. Pres. Kimball recalled how people, coming in schooners and handcarts, came to the Salt Lake Valley and were welcomed with open arms. Today, we have been told by Sister Linda K. Burton, “Sisters, we know that reaching out to others with love matters to the Lord” (I Was a Stranger, April 2016). Both have offered much gratitude for what has been done “for these good people.”
6. Keeping High Moral Standards
Morality never changes. He said, “Sin is still sin and always will be. … We proclaim the wickedness of sexual life of any kind [outside of] marriage.” Our prophets have all proclaimed that those who encourage immoral behavior will someday come to a “sad reckoning” before their Maker.
These are powerful warnings that have not been heeded these forty years. We continue living in a world that is self-destructing.
I have to also mention Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone’s talk where he speaks of patriotism. This is another subject that presses upon our day. During the Vietnam War, there was a lot of flag burning and disrespect for our country. He mentioned a housewife who spoke before a Congressional committee, who said, “We let civilization go to hell without any curiosity about what would replace it.”
This is our nation today. No one wants to take responsibility for the Constitution of this nation that was built on the love of God. He urged parents, and may I add parents must continue, teaching their children to have pride in America. Stand to sing the national anthem, proudly salute the flag of our nation, honor and respect our soldiers who are fighting to retain our freedoms and safety.
If we are obedient to our prophet and take his warnings seriously, God can “make us a mighty people, a pure people, a Christlike people, a worthy people, a free people.”
Additional General Conference Odyssey posts:
“Women’s work” and simplicity Marilyn Nielson