31 May 2010

Great talk... Marion G. Romney - Learning to Live the Lord's Way

Normally, we don't get very religious on this blog, because it's basically a "tour guide" of sorts of our life in Vienna and Europe. But I came across a talk on speeches.byu.edu I was a bit sad there wasn't a transcript, so Karen and I transcribed it for our own use. Having done that, we might as well put it out here "in the cloud" so someone else can stumble across the talk in a google search some day. Whatever one's political persuasions in the realm of secular government, this is a great talk that really gets to the heart of what it means to care for the poor and the needy in the church.

ps - It's ironic that 50+ years after he gave this talk, in which Elder Romney said he didn't want to it to be recorded, and didn't want to prepare a written talk, here I am listening to the recording, and transcribing it for him.

Click "Finish Reading" to read and/or download an mp3 audio file of the talk given in 1953.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE AUDIO FILE - It's much better to listen to Elder Romney speak plainly...

Thank you very much Bishop. I can't say brothers and sisters that I am pleased to be here. I am happy to be in your presence, however. I'm grateful for your attendance. I'd be very much more at ease if I didn't know that they were recording what we say here today. I've never liked these recording machines at all, as far as they apply to me. I like to be free to move by the inspiration of the spirit and not tied to one of them. Particularly when it's an informal discussion. And I'd like to have this an informal discussion if it were possible. I don't suppose it would be, I guess there are 150 to 200 people here and so it can't be as informal as it could be if most of you stayed away and we had just the right size of a class. But I'll try to make opportunity to ask questions if you like to. I'll give you a few of my thoughts to start with.

I do not have a formal talk prepared. I don't like a formal talk when it comes to the discussion of the welfare program anyhow. And I don't know what the other Brethren have said or what those will say who come. I've read the subject. I've forgotten what it is, now what is it? Learning to live in the lord's way. At least, my wife read it to me on the way down here. I'll try to talk to what I consider the Lord's way. And I assume that of course it ties into the welfare program.

I'm quite sure that the Lord's way is not the way the world lives. I suppose we ought to limit this discussion to the economic, what we call economic or temporal living. I think the Lord set out his way for people to live in the morning of the world's temporal history. When he invited Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, you'll remember and he said to them, "In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread."(Gen 3:19) Do you remember how long? "Until thou return to the ground." I know that's been amended now, to until thou are 65 years of age at the longest. But that isn't the way it's written in my Bible. It isn't the way the Lord said it to Adam in Eve. "In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread until thou return to the ground." (Gen 3:19)

And that's the first rule of living the lord's way economically. By your own efforts. By our own efforts of mind and body. In other words. Work. And I'm inclined to think that no man or woman will get into the kingdom of heaven, into the Celestial kingdom of God who doesn't practice that principle. That's the first thing I'd like to mention with respect to living the Lords way.

The Lord gave a number of commandments in this dispensation on that question. Renewing it. "Thou shalt not be idle" (DC 42:42), he said to the church in 1831, that was the year that it was organized. That is within the first year. "For he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garment of the laborer." And in November of that same year he said, "The idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord." (DC 68:30) And that, I think had reference to church discipline. So if you want to live the Lord's way you better like to work.

Now the next principle of living the lord's way, is for families to support each other. It's the responsibility by revelation for the parents of children to take care of the children. Over and over again in the revelations, I won't take time to read them, because we'd only get part way through if we did. But the responsibility is upon a parent to take care of the children. And that attaches to them until they are grown up. That applies to the family the other way too. It's the responsibility of children to take care of the parent. And on that principle, the world has deserted the Lord's way. If anything more than it has on the first principle of trying to live from the sweat of another man's face. That's the thing that the world is trying to do today. And many of the policies of the world, many of the policies adopted in the world promote idleness and encourage it. And wherever it does, a Later-day Saint, can't be a true Later-day Saint and approve of that method. And the idea of the state taking over the parents to care for them is not in harmony with the Lord's way, within his Church. He wouldn't have it that way, He'd have the children taken care of the parents.

I think of the scene at the crucifixion. The Christ was on the cross. Dying. Most of his followers deserted him. As the fair weather followers always desert the cause in the day of trial, but at the face of the cross was Mary, his mother and John his beloved disciple. Jesus didn't say very much while he hung on the cross. But he did say, to John, son "Behold thy mother." And said to Mary, "Woman, behold thy son." (John 19:26) Setting up between Mary and John as it were the relationship of Mother and Son. And the record says that John took Mary, the mother of Jesus, to his home and cared for her the rest of his life. I've searched the New Testament in vain to find that he took her to the welfare agency to see if she could get on an old age pension. He took her to his home to care for her.

Now that's the two first steps in learning to live the Lord's way. Take care of ourselves, take care of our family. Now the third step, in the Lord's way of living in His Church. Of course, he would be very happy if all people belonged to his Church. Where the individual cannot care for himself. And where he cannot be cared for through the help of the family. The Lord desires that his church shall take care of the members of the church. That's always been the rule. Always. Wherever the gospel has been lived, in anything like its fullness, the people have lived that law. It was lived that way by Enoch and his people. If you will recall, they lived in a time of the world's history when the world was about as wicked as our world is today. But Enoch taught the Gospel and the people who believed Enoch, built a city. A city of Zion. And they seemed to have been set off from the rest of the people. Let me read you 2-3 verses from the rest of the 7th chapter of Moses,

" There also came up a land out of the depth of the sea, and so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off and went upon the land which came up out of the depth of the sea. And the giants of the land, also, stood afar off; and there went forth a curse upon all people that fought against God; And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them..." (Moses 7:14-16)

That's a good deal like our time.

"... but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness. The fear of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord, which was upon his people. And the Lord blessed the land, and they were blessed upon the mountains, and upon the high places, and did flourish. And the Lord called his people Zion." (Moses 7:16-18)

Why did he call them Zion?

" because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them." (Moses 7:18)

How do you think they got rid of the poor? By turning them over to the wicked who were in the other part of the land and let them take care of them? No they didn't get rid of the poor that way, they got rid of the poor because they had all things in common. Because the people of the church who had, cared for the people of the church who didn't have. And all of them worked.

And after awhile, Zion was taken out of the world, do you remember? Up into heaven, and it still persists. And let me say parenthetically now, that there never will be a people, there never will be a civilization on this earth, that will persist on any other principle, than that. Every nation we've ever had in the world has gone down. Up until the present nations. And they're going down, very very fast. Until they can learn to live the Lord's way. They'll never persist indefinitely. We're going to have a little experience here in the lives of most of you folks that will convince to you that. Absolutely, you'll know it because it will be demonstrated before your very eyes.

And were' going to have a repetition of this experience I've just read about. There will be a day when a modern Zion will be established, and every man, according to these revelations and every man who will not take up his sword against his neighbor, must flee to Zion for safety (DC 45:68). And in Zion, we're going to be living all 3 of these principles. We're going to be working ourselves. We're going to be willing to care for our families and the church is going to care for all of those who are not taken care of in that way. We're going to have a duplication, a repetition. And the new Zion, is going to be built and the old Zion of Enoch's day is going to come back to the earth and we're going to be united, as one people.

Now I said a moment ago that this principle of the church taking care of the people, who are not able to take care of themselves of be cared for by their family has always been practiced when the gospel has been lived in anything like completeness. Let me cite you two other instances. After the Christ was crucified and the Apostles carried on his doctrine. They started to live the law. In and about Palestine and around Jerusalem. And they sold what they had according to the record. And it was distributed to every man according to his need. You'll read that in the 3rd and 4th chapters of Acts (sic Acts 2 & 4). It didn't last long. The members of the church were in the great minority. or the small minority in the Apostolic church.

But about the same time, at the same time. Over on this continent, either south our north America wherever the people were at that time, perhaps on both continents. When the Savior came after he was crucified, he taught the same doctrine then as he taught in the days of Enoch and was taught among the Apostles around Jerusalem. The same economic system.

And you'll remember at that time, the people of the earth on these continents were destroyed, the wicked ones, so that all that were left, after that great destruction at the time of the death of the Savior were people who would believe the gospel. Remember he said that all of this generation would be saved, then he explained all of those who were still living after the destruction. And by the 36th [sic] year, the record says that all the people had joined the church of Christ. And let's read a word about the condition that they lived in.

" And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. " (4 Ne 1:2-3) "..and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God." (4 Ne 1:16)

And for over 200 years they lived in that condition. There were no poor, there were no rich. They lived the gospel. They were living the Lord's Economic Law. That's the law that we're trying to live. And not having much success at it. Now don't put that on the record. As a whole people. We're having marvelous success at it as a few people, in the church.

This being the dispensation in the fullness of times, it was certain that this Law would have to be revealed. The church wasn't 9 months old, when it was revealed. It wasn't a year old. It was only 9 months old when the principle was revealed. Some people think the welfare program was a new program. It really isn't a new program at all. It's as old as Enoch. From the record. It's older than that. It's as old as the Gospel. The Prophet hadn't yet been to Kirkland. Nauvoo of course was years away. They had never been over to Missouri. The Prophet was still at the home of Father Whitmer in New York where the church was organized in January of 1831. When the Lord revealed this principle. I want to read that to you. it's a beautiful statement.

You'll find it in the 38th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. I'm not going to read the whole section, I'll just read the parts that pertain to this doctrine. Listen to it,

"For your salvation I give unto you a commandment..."

That's a pretty good reason isn't it? For your salvation I give unto you a commandment.

"...for I have heard your prayers, and the poor have complained before me."

Already before the church was a year old, the poor were complaining to the Lord and he heard their complaints. Then he said,

" and the rich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter of persons." (DC 38:16)

Don't you see the doctrine in that? If that's as far as the revelation went, it seems to be it would be enough. Here are the poor complaining. The rich I've made. And all things are mine. And I'm no respecter of persons

And I have made the earth rich, and behold it is my footstool, wherefore, again I will stand upon it." (DC 38:17)

"Wherefore, hear my voice..."

this is the Redeemer speaking,

"hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come." (DC 38:22)

"And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me." (DC 38:24)

Now if every man esteemed his brother as himself in this kingdom, would he let a brother go hungry? Can you imagine that? I don't know if I love my wife as I love myself or not. Doubt it. But still, I wouldn't let her go hungry. I'm sure I wouldn't. Unless, I was lots hungrier than I've ever been, I wouldn't. Can you imagine a father or a mother letting their children go hungry?

If you pardon the personal experience, I'll tell you one of my own. Brother Rasband has already told you that I was born in Mexico. I left Mexico, because I had to, because they drove us out in the exodus of 1912. And my father had seven children at the time, and 3 others were born in the next few years. And we had nothing. Many times, we'd been where my father and mother had no mattress or springs to sleep on. We'd sleep on quilts. And they didn't have very much food. And when there was a little extra food, I remember that my mother used to say, if there was some delicacy, "well I don't care for it, you children have it." Of course I didn't know so much then as I know now. I knew she was giving up what she really needed and wanted for her children.

Now I think that was the kind of love that the Father, the Lord, was here asking his church to have. To esteem their brother as themselves. And that's what he gave the saints the commandment here on the second day of January 1831. And then he gives us a parable to try to impress this on our minds:

"For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them..."

Now you just consider your own family of 12,

"..., and is no respecter of them and they serve him obediently..."

You see the Lord never leaves a thing out. That puts the children in the position of faithful children. He's talking about the faith.

"...they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?" (DC 38:26)

What man would do that, he says.

"Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you..." members of the church,

"...be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine." (DC38:27)

Isn't that plain enough? For the Lord to put the responsibility on the church to take care of the poor of the church? Of course it is, but he didn't leave it there. He went on a little more. He said,

"And now, I give unto the church in these parts a commandment, that certain men among them shall be appointed, and they shall be appointed by the voice of the church; And they shall look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer; And this shall be their work, to govern the affairs of the property of this church." (DC 38:34-36)

Now that was way back as I say during the first year the church was organized. It's been interesting to me to watch what happened here. That was on the 2nd day of January. And they hadn't done it by the 9th of February. They had here 5 weeks and they hadn't done it. We've only had 15, 18 years and we haven't done it. So the Lord gave them another revelation.

"Behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support... And inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church and his counselors..." (DC 42:30-31)

And they hadn't done after that second commandment by the end of February, so the Lord gave another revelation to spur them along. And he said to them in this revelation,

"Behold, I say unto you, that ye must visit the poor and the needy and administer to their relief, that they may be kept until all things may be done according to my law which ye have received." (DC 44:6)

By that time he had given the Law of the United Order. But that's the principle Brothers and Sisters and that's the Lord's way. Take care of yourselves by your own effort. No honest, faithful Later-day Saint will transfer from himself or herself the responsibility for their own keep if they're able to do it within their power. And families who understand the gospel, and the Lord's way of learning how to live temporally in the world will sustain each other. They'll take care of their parents, they'll take care of their brothers and sisters, they'll take care of the children. And then the church, will take care of members of the church; if the church is to be the church of God in all respects.

The welfare program of the church, as we refer to it usually, has to do with this 3rd part of the Lord's way. That is the church's activities in taking care of the people of the church. That's what we're spending our time at in the Bishop's storehouses and in the welfare projects. In all the work we're doing to try to take care of the people of the church. Our objective is to meet this requirement, of the Lord, to take care of the poor, His poor, the poor of the Church.

It's a very spiritualizing experience. You know it's quite a different thing for us to preach, than it is to act. Remember how brother Grant used to tell a story frequently in conference about standing in a group of men and someone had said, someone had suffered a reverse [financial setback], and the people were talking about how sorry they were for this man. And finally one of the men got tired of hearing them talk and he walked up and laid down 50 dollars and said, "Well I feel 50 dollars worth of sorrow for the man." Well, they most of them walked away. The measure of your love for your fellow man and in large measure, the measure of your love for the Lord is what you'll do for His poor.

Did you ever think of it in that way? That's a fine way to measure how much you love the Lord, is how much you give to His poor. It's a very vital thing. And there is connected with this law, of caring for the Lord's poor, great blessings. Back in the days of Isaiah the Lord taught it very plainly. Let me refer you to the 58th chapter of Isaiah. The people were complaining, that they were obeying the Lord's commandment of fasting and still they said the Lord didn't give them the guidance and the blessings that they should get from fasting. They said,

"Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not?"

They said to Isaiah, speaking of the Lord,

"wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?" (Isaiah 58:3)

And then Isaiah explained to them that what they were doing was not the kind of a fast that the Lord wanted them to follow. And we went on in this way, he questioned them first,

"Is it such a fast that I have chosen? ((Isaiah 58:5)

contrasting what they were doing,

"Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free... Is not this the fast that I have chosen to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? (Isaiah 58:6-7)

"Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward." (Isaiah 58:8)

They had forgotten in their fasting, that object of the fast was to take care of the Lord's poor.

"Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. " (Isaiah 58:9-11)

You see there is a direct connection between what you'll do for the Lord's poor and the Lord hearing your prayers. I want to point that out too from a scripture in the Book of Mormon. In the days of Alma, he had a great companion by the name of Amulek, and he and Amulek were preaching the gospel to those who had fallen away from the faith among the Nephites. And after the Alma had given his lecture, then Amulek stood up, and gave a wonderful speech on prayer.

He told them it was time to call upon God,
"that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;" (Alma 34:17)
And then he told them when to pray, he said,
"Cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save. Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him. Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness. Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase. But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness. Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you. " (Alma 34:18-27)

Now you would think that people that pray to the Lord that often and sincerely would be real people wouldn't they? Well it would be a wonderful thing, but that wouldn't be all. Because listen to this statement,

"And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain..." (Alma 34:28)
That's quite a judgment isn't it? I wouldn't dare to say that. But he said, I say unto you
"...your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith." (Alma 34:28)

You see there is a great connection between the answer to your prayers and your contribution to the Lord's poor. There isn't a more spiritualizing thing, that you can do than to go without food and give to the Lord's poor. That food which you go without. You've heard about the principle of the fast, haven't you? That's part of this great problem of learning to live the Lord's way. Is to go without 2 meals on the first Sunday of each month in a fast and take the equivalent of the meals and give it to the Bishop.

And our failure to do that as well as we might have done it under these principles of this doctrine of Amulek's and that of Isaiah that I've just read, could mean the answer or the explanation as to why are prayers are not answered more than they are. Because he said, if you pray, but you haven't given to the Lord's poor you're a hypocrite who does deny the faith.

Now it's my certain conviction, that our approach to the Lord, in large measure, depends upon our willingness to take of our substance and give it to the Lord's poor. And I'm as sure as I live, and I can say to you with certainty, that if you'll do that; if you will take from your substance and give to the Lord's poor liberally the Lord will never leave you without the necessities of life. And it might make the difference between your having homes and your being without homes. Now perhaps that sounds rather radical. I say that however, upon the authority of the record of the past. The Lord made that explanation to the Saints back in the days when they were driven away from their homes in Missouri.

In 1834, the saints of the church were small, but it did have two states. One of them was located in Jackson county Missouri, the other was located in Kirtland, Ohio. The prophet Joseph Smith was in Kirtland with some of the saints. Bishop Partridge and others were in Jackson county Missouri. And the mob violence became so great in Jackson county, which we call Zion, that the Saints were expelled from their homes.

And the Prophet and those who were with him were greatly concerned about it and they raised an army. We call it in church history Zion's Camp. And they went from Kirtland Ohio in a very hazardous trek across Ohio and Indiana and Illinois and into Jackson County Missouri. And they went with the thought in mind that they were going to put the saints back into their homes by force, I guess. They talked about the objective of their expedition as being to redeem Zion, by which they meant restore the people to their homes. But when they got over there, they didn't put the saints back in their homes, and the men who were with the Prophet were very disappointed. They thought their cause had failed and they had been following a Prophet.

And so the Prophet prayed to the Lord and asked him why it was they couldn't put the saints back in their homes. And he got a revelation, which is recorded in the 105 section of the D&C. And this is what the Lord said to him,
"Verily I say unto you who have assembled yourselves together that you may learn my will concerning the redemption of mine afflicted people..."
and I suppose that this next verse was a great shock to them, because they were undoubtedly like we are, and tend to blame the other fellow or other conditions for our failures and I don't think they were quite ready for this next verse, but the Lord said to them
"Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people..."
speaking concerning the church and not individuals,
"...they might have been redeemed even now." (D&C 105:1-2)
And that was the equivalent in my thinking to saying, it's the fault of the church. The people of the church.
"But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil..."
now he specifies this particular thing that they were guilty of.
"and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them; and are not united..."
Remember that first scripture that I read, "be one"? Well they had failed to impart of their substance to the poor and afflicted among them and therefore they
"are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom; And Zion..." (D&C 105:3 -4)
That was the place from which they had been driven in this revelation, that's the city, the place where the city of Zion will be built,
" And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer." (D&C 105:5-6)

Now there's an instance where the failure on the part of the people to live this law of imparting of their substance to take care of the Lord's poor was the reason, as specified by the Lord, why they were driven from their homes. And the Prophet even with his men with Zion's camp were unable to put the people back in their homes.

And when will we build Zion, this second Zion that is going to meet the Zion of Enoch? When we learn obedience to that law. I may be radical on this thing, I know lots of people in the church think I am. But I believe with all the energy of my soul, that if the people could live the law of the welfare program, give of their time and their substance as becometh saints, that we'd hasten in the advent of the millennium. And I want it to come. I don't want the saints to have to suffer an longer under this statement of the Lord's that they must be chastened until they learn obedience if it must needs be by the things that they suffer. As far as I'm concerned we've had all the suffering that I need, that I want. I wish the saints could come to this.

I remember on night sitting here on one of these chairs when President Clark was standing here at this pulpit and we had this house filled with welfare workers from this region in this area. This was in Feb of 1944. Brother Lee was here and we were traveling about the church holding welfare regional meetings. And President Clark made this statement, almost verbatim as I shall now make it from this stand.

And he said, "It has always been interesting to me that the Lord revealed the welfare program just 100 years after he had given the law of the United Order." It was in the 1830s when he gave the United order and now it was in the 1930s that the welfare program came forth. And he said, "the Lord took the commandment from the people to live the United Order because of their selfishness and their greed and their love of idleness. Had they lived it they would have brought in the millennium."
I am sure he got support for that from the revelation I have just read from. And then he said this,
"If we don't live the welfare program, the Lord will take from us the requirement to live it. And if he does, it will be because of our selfishness and greed and love of idleness. If that shall happen 100 years from now, the people will look back upon us as we look back upon the people who were given the United Order law, and they'll say of us, 'they had the welfare program, if they'd have lived it, they'd have brought in the millennium'" I wonder if we are going to live it.

Well, the time is up. I want to say one more thing, however, before we close. I'll go this far. I think that when the Master comes, and the people are divided the sheep from the goats, that the measure, the test of the division will be made on this principle that we've been talking about. As to whether the people were willing to give of their substance to the poor. And I believe that from what the Savior said to the Apostles. As he spent one of the last interviews with them before the crucifixion. He said, when the son of man shall come in his glory, and God grant that day will come soon,
"When the Son of Man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations. And he shall separate them one from another. As a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left." (Matt 25:31-33)

I had an interesting experience with this scripture, by the way, that verse one day when I was in South Carolina. I went down there for a conference when the Stake was organized to talk to them about the welfare program. Before I went, the people told me that was that land of tobacco, and I better not say anything about the word of wisdom when I was down there. And so I spent most of my time talking about the word of wisdom, and particularly about tobacco, and I quoted a little poem to them if I can remember one verse which said, "That man is the only living creature who pervades this veil of tears who like the blooming threshing engine puffs smoke from nose and ears..." and so forth and told them that no animal would chew tobacco or smoke tobacco and at noon one of the brethren came up to me and told me "Brother Romney, you're wrong about that, you don't know the South Carolina goats, they chew tobacco.." In the afternoon I picked up this scripture and unexpectedly ran onto this statement that in that great division that the shepherd would divide the sheep from the goats and he would set the sheep on the right hand and the goats on the left hand, and I was glad that that's where the goats were going.

But to go on with the rest of this scripture as to the test with which Christ will divide the sheep from the goats here in addition to the chewing of tobacco, he said
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matt 25:34-40)
And you know the rest of the scripture, how he said unto the wicked, on his left hand,
"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire" (Matt 25:41)
They wanted to know what was the reason and he said, Well, I was hungry and thirsty and naked and ye didn't minister unto me. And they said When, when Lord? We never saw you in that condition.
"Inasmuch, as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." (Matt 25:45)
And then he ended this great sermon by saying And these on the left,
" shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." (Matt 25:46)

Do you ever think about that when the Deacons come around for fast offerings? Or when you are asked to work on a welfare project? When you pay the bishop an average of $.03 cents a meal for fast offerings and you realize that you are feeding the Savior on $.03 a meal?

I thought of this scripture with great force when we were conducting those drives for clothing to send to the saints in Europe. I went down to the square and opened some of the boxes. Do you know what kind of a box came from President Grant's house? A box with three suits in it. I'm sure they'd never been worn more than once or twice. They were pressed, and ready to put on. I opened some boxes that had shirts in them, that were all laundered and done up in cellophane wrappers so that they were clean.

And then I opened other boxes that were full of dirty filthy rags. with the buttons all gone if they were shirts, and holes in them. And then I thought of this scripture, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." And I wondered how I'd feel if my contributions should have been put on the Redeemer and I'd a had a chance to see it.

You see, we belong to the Kingdom of God. We're trying to live the celestial laws. It will bring us back to his presence. The celestial economic law I've tried to explain to you, as it applies to earth life. Sustaining yourselves. Sustaining your own folks. Supporting the church's plan to take care of the Lord's poor is the law of the celestial kingdom as it applies today to our earth life in this temporal matter. When we've lived it, when we can do it, when we can step out of the world, when we can let them keep their subsidies, when we can take care of our own mothers and fathers and not leave them on the public relief. When we've got the courage to stand on these principles the Lord has given us, we'll be ready to build the new Jerusalem, be taken out of the world's wars and destructions, and have the Lord come and dwell with us, as he came to dwell with Enoch and his people. God speed the day, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Learning to Live the Lord's Way - Marion G. Romney

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to transcribe this talk. Our family has a strong testimony of living the Law of the Fast thanks to Marion G. Romney's words. We first read them in the late 1970's and have been greatly blessed since then. We see the blessings continuing in the lives of our children and grandchildren. Thank you for making this talk available.


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