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Cover image via history.lds.org

Forty years ago, the April 1976 general conference charted the ongoing growth of the Church and establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. The conference emphasized both spiritual and temporal principles, including a powerful testimony of the inspired Constitution of the United States.[i]

picture-2-spencer-w-kimball

Figure 2 – President Spencer W. Kimball exemplified the quickened pace of the establishment of the Church and Kingdom of God.

President Spencer W. Kimball, 71 years old, was leading the “lengthening our stride” efforts that would increase Church membership from 3.3 million members in 1973 to six million members at the end of his presidency in 1985. The Church was definitely growing from a mostly western United States church in 1947 with one million members to become a world-wide church.[ii]

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of the History of the World

In his 41 minute opening address, President Kimball described in detail Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the “great image with head of fine gold, and breast and arms of silver, and belly and thighs of brass, and legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay.”[iii]

Quoting President Kimball:

“Nebuchadnezzar represented the king of kings, a world power, representing the head of gold.

“Another kingdom would arise and take over world dominion. The interpretation included the domination of other kingdoms. Cyrus the great, with his Medes and Persians, would be replaced by the Greek or Macedonian kingdom under Philip and Alexander; and that world power would be replaced by the Roman Empire; and Rome would be replaced by a group of nations of Europe represented by the toes of the image.

picture-3-image-of-nebuchadnezzar

Figure 3 – Symbolic History of the World contained in Nebuchadnezzar ‘s dream revealed to the prophet Daniel.

“With the history of the world delineated in brief, now came the real revelation. Daniel said:

“And in the days of these kings [that is, the group of European nations] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. [Comment above is from President Kimball’s text.]

“Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” (Daniel 2:44-45)[iv]

picture-4-stone-breaks-image

Figure 4 – The stone represents the Kingdom of God which will supersede all other kingdoms and nations.

“This is a revelation concerning the history of the world, when one world power would supersede another until there would be numerous smaller kingdoms to share the control of the earth.

“The Kingdom of God: Never to be Destroyed or Superceded”

President Kimball continued:

“And it was in the days of these kings that power would not be given to men, but the God of heaven would set up a kingdom—the kingdom of God upon the earth, which should never be destroyed nor left to other people.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was restored in 1830 after numerous revelations from the divine source; and this is the kingdom, set up by the God of heaven, that would never be destroyed nor superseded, and the stone cut out of the mountain without hands that would become a great mountain and would fill the whole earth.

“History unfolded and the world powers came and went after ruling the world for a little season, but in the early nineteenth century the day had come. The new world of America had been discovered and colonized and was being settled. Independence had been gained and a constitution approved and freedom given to men, and people were now enlightened to permit truth to be established and to reign.”

Principles of Spiritual and Temporal Salvation

Both President Spencer W. Kimball and Second Counselor Marion G. Romney quoted Brigham Young’s practical advice on temporal preparedness, including an admonition to have a seven year supply of grain.[v]

picture-5-brigham-young

Figure 5 – Brigham Young: the practical pioneer prophet

“ ‘My faith does not lead me,’ President Young continued, ‘to think the Lord will provide us with roast pigs, bread already buttered, etc.; he will give us the ability to raise the grain, to obtain the fruits of the earth, to make habitations, to procure a few boards to make a box, and when harvest comes, giving us the grain, it is for us to preserve it—to save the wheat until we have one, two, five, or seven years’ provisions on hand, until there is enough of the staff of life saved by the people to bread themselves and those who will come here seeking for safety.”[vi]

President Romney then commented: “The fulfillment of that prophecy is yet in the future.”

 

picture-6-grain-elevators

Figure 6 – A grain elevator in Ogden, Utah. A seven years supply of grain would require an amazing effort to grow, harvest and store.

Two Scriptural Accounts of using a Seven Years’ Supply

The two times recorded in scriptural history when a seven years supply was needed, saved and used were Joseph in Egypt and Lachoneus and Nephi in ancient America. Joseph’s storage of grain saved his family, Egypt and much of the middle east from a severe seven year famine.[vii]

 

Righteous Chief Judge and Prophet Lachoneus gathered his people into the lands of Zarahemla and Bountiful with seven years provisions, enough to defeat Giddianhi and his Gadiantons and save the people from destruction. Brigham Young’s prophesy would seem to be like the Nephites “seeking for safety” from the secret combinations. (3 Nephi chapters 3-4)

picture-7-lachoneus

FIgure 7 – Nephite righteous chief judge Lachoneus “a great prophet” (3 Nephi 3:19)

The Constitution: A Glorious Standard

 

President Ezra Taft Benson’s talk in the April 1976 conference was entitled: “The Constitution—A Glorious Standard.”[viii]

“Every Latter-day Saint should love the inspired Constitution of the United States—a nation with a spiritual foundation and a prophetic history—which nation the Lord has declared to be his base of operations in these latter days.

“The framers of the Constitution were men raised up by God to establish this foundation of our government, for so the Lord has declared by revelation in these words:

“ ’I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.’ ” (D&C 101:80)[ix]

picture-8-ezra-taft-benson

Figure 8 – Ezra Taft Benson, champion of the inspired Constitution of the United States.

“They shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction”

In his later conference talk in October 1987 during the bicentennial anniversary of the Constitutional Convention, President Ezra Taft Benson quoted Joseph Smith’s prophesy about the Constitution.

President Benson declared:

“We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said: ‘Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction’ ” (19 July 1840, as recorded by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray; ms. in Church Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City).[x]

picture-9-joseph-smith

Figure 9 – In 1840 in Nauvoo, Joseph Smith prophesied about the future of the Constitution of the United States.

 

“No Unhallowed Hand Can Stop the Work”

In the midst of exciting challenges within the United States and the world in our day, especially regarding supporting and defending our inspired Constitution, certainly the positive, confident messages in the April 1976 general conference are needed today more than ever. I highly recommend all of the inspired talks in this great conference as well as President Kimball’s opening address in April 1980 entitled “No Unhallowed Hand Can Stop the Work” and President Benson’s talk in October 1987 entitled “Our Divine Constitution.”[xi]

President Kimball: “Let us, then, press on confidently in the work of the Lord as we look forward to the glorious years of promise ahead. Through our faithfulness, all that God has promised will be fulfilled.”

 

[i] “Picture of stone cut out of the mountain without hands,” “Closing Stages,” Monthly Archive, February 2011. Search for “break in pieces”

[https://closingstages.net/2011/02/]

Kristen Smith Dayley, “Picture of Spencer W. Kimball,” “Seek First the Truth, and All Things Will Come,” “For All the Saints,” June 8, 2014.

[http://www.forallthesaintsbook.com/category/truth/]

April 1976 General Conference

[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1976/04?lang=eng]

[ii] “Statistical Report 1973,” May 1974.

[https://www.lds.org/ensign/1974/05/statistical-report-1973?lang=eng]

“Statistical Report 1985,” May 1986.

[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1986/04/statistical-report-1985?lang=eng]

“Chapter Forty One: Postwar Recovery,” “Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual,”

[https://www.lds.org/manual/church-history-in-the-fulness-of-times-student-manual/chapter-forty-one-postwar-recovery?lang=eng]

“Furthermore, the Church reached a significant milestone in 1947 when membership passed the one million mark.”

[iii] Spencer W. Kimball, “The Stone Cut without Hands,” April 1976 General Conference, Opening session.

[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1976/04/the-stone-cut-without-hands?lang=eng]

“Picture of Image seen by Daniel,” “Babylon: the head of gold and her abomination,” Ambassadors of Christ, Retrieved 12/2/2016.

[https://aochr.wordpress.com/2440-2/]

[iv] “Picture of stone cut out of the mountain without hands,” “Closing Stages,” Monthly Archive, February 2011. Search for “break in pieces”

[https://closingstages.net/2011/02/]

[v] “Brigham Young,” Famous People, Leaders. Retrieved 12/2/2016.

[http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/brigham-young-83.php]

[vi] Spencer W. Kimball, “The stone cut without hands,” April 1976 General Conference.

[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1976/04/the-stone-cut-without-hands?lang=eng]

Marion G. Romney, “Church welfare services basic principles,” April 1976 General Conference.

[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1976/04/church-welfare-services-basic-principles?lang=eng]

RPMNote: After finding the extensive quotes by Brigham Young in President Kimball’s talk, I searched to see if any other prophet or general authority had referenced the same quotes. I could find no other references except for President Marion G. Romney who had also referenced some of the same quotes from Brigham Young that President Kimball had done. And, surprisingly, the quote was also in the April 1976 conference. I was then surprised to find, in the middle of the Brigham Young quote inserted between square brackets, a comment by President Romney that referred to Brigham Young’s words as being a yet unfulfilled prophesy.

Brigham Young: “… save the wheat until we have one, two, five, or seven years’ provisions on hand, until there is enough of the staff of life saved by the people to bread themselves and those who will come here seeking for safety [President Romney: The fulfillment of that prophecy is yet in the future]

I checked the audio of President Romney’s talk on lds.org and the comment is in the talk. The Brigham Young quote beginning at “My faith does not lead me …” at audio offset 21:27 and President Romney’s comment at offset 22:15.

I could find lots of references to the talk in preparedness and other web sites but no comments or analysis at all from anyone as to what President Romney’s comment might mean.

If it is to be a fulfillment of prophesy that is parallel with the seven years of provisions saved by Joseph in Egypt or Lachoneus in ancient America, then the quote gives a clue as to which of the two this one will be most similar to. The quote “seeking for safety” would be most similar to the Nephite seven year supply example.

In both scriptural accounts of needing a seven years supply, a period of time is necessary to save the grain and other provisions away to be used later. Joseph being made absolute ruler over Egypt second only to Pharaoh provided the stability in Egypt to prepare for the famine and to distribute and use the grain during the famine.

Lachoneus’ story is one where the Nephites and Lamanites were in danger of being destroyed by the Gadianton robbers, and was not just a famine. The chief judge was a righteous man and a great prophet, as was the chief captain Gidgiddoni and Church President Nephi the son of Nephi. Lachoneus called his people to repentance saying “Yea, he said unto them: As the Lord liveth, except ye repent of all your iniquities, and cry unto the Lord, ye will in nowise be delivered out of the hands of those Gadianton robbers.” (3 Nephi 3:15) Fortifications were built and their armies were placed “as guards round about to watch them, and to guard them from the robbers day and night.” (3 Nephi 3:14)

In our modern day, as we see examples of leaders like Amalickiah and Giddianhi on every hand, we long for the Lord to send us leaders like Heleman, Moroni, Lachoneus, Gidgiddoni and Nephi. I firmly believe that the Lord will send us these kinds of leaders if we will repent and listen to the counsel of these righteous men, whether in the secular, military or religious spheres of society.

The Book of Mormon continues: “And so great and marvelous were the words and prophecies of Lachoneus that they did cause fear to come upon all the people; and they did exert themselves in their might to do according to the words of Lachoneus.”

Realizing our danger from modern secret combinations as did the people of Lachoneus, surely there will be a similar repentance from sins and the Lord sending down the power and strength to also be delivered from our modern Gadianton robbers and to preserve our religious freedom, and the freedom and prosperity of our land.

“Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.” (Ether 8:23)

The existence of this prophesy from Brigham Young and that it is yet to be fulfilled, as an inspired Apostle and Prophet President Marion G. Romney proclaimed in general conference gives me great hope for the future of the Church and the choice country of the United States of America governed by its inspired Constitution.

“Picture of Grain Elevator,” “Scoular Grain elevator – Ogden, Utah,” Retrieved 12/2/2016.

[http://www.pbase.com/image/138651582]

[vii] James H. Fullmer,” “Lachoneus.” Book of Mormon Battles. Retrieved 12/2/2016.

[http://www.bookofmormonbattles.com/Characters/LachoneusBio.html]

[viii] Mark E. Petersen, “Ezra Taft Benson: A habit of integrity,” Ensign, October 1974, picture in article.

[https://www.lds.org/ensign/1974/10/ezra-taft-benson-a-habit-of-integrity?lang=eng]

“This formal portrait of President Benson hangs in the Salt Lake Temple Council of the Twelve Room. (Photograph by Merrett Smith.)”

[ix] Ezra Taft Benson, “The constitution – A Glorious Standard,” April 1976 General Conference.

[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1976/04/the-constitution-a-glorious-standard?lang=eng]

[x] Ezra Taft Benson, “Our Divine Constitution,” October 1987 General Conference.

[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1987/10/our-divine-constitution?lang=eng]

Recently discovered source of Joseph Smith’s words in this address that President Benson quotes:

Reference in talk: 19 July 1840, as recorded by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray; ms. in Church Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City.

Dean C. Jessee, “Joseph Smith’s 19 July 1840 Discourse,” “The Constitution of the United States,” “The Historians Corner,” BYU Studies, Vol 19, No 3, p. 390.

[http://emp.byui.edu/openshawr/Class%20Articles/Constitution%20of%20US%20Prophecy.pdf]

Picture of Joseph Smith,”Joseph Smith,” Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom.

[http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/joseph-smith]

[xi] April 1976 General Conference.

[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1976/04?lang=eng]

Spencer W. Kimball, “No unhallowed hand can stop the work,” April 1980 General Conference.

[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1980/04/no-unhallowed-hand-can-stop-the-work?lang=eng]

“Brothers and sisters, pray for the critics of the Church; love your enemies. Keep the faith and stay on the straight and narrow path. Use wisdom and judgment in what you say and do, so that we do not give cause to others to hold the Church or its people in disrepute. Do not be surprised or dismayed if trials and challenges come upon us. This work, which Satan seeks in vain to tear down, is that which God has placed on earth to lift mankind up!

“I have lived for more than half the 150 years the restored Church has been upon the earth in this last dispensation. I have witnessed its marvelous growth until it now is established in the four corners of the earth. As the Prophet Joseph said:

“ ‘Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and in Germany, Palestine, New Holland, Australia, the East Indies, and other places, the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done’ ” (History of the Church, 4:540).

Let us, then, press on confidently in the work of the Lord as we look forward to the glorious years of promise ahead. Through our faithfulness, all that God has promised will be fulfilled. This is the work of the Lord. The gospel is true. Jesus is the Christ and our Redeemer. May the Lord bless us all as we begin this great sesquicentennial conference of his church, I humbly pray, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”[emphasis added]