Mormon Quotes

Thought control

David O. McKay
I have been happy over the years to know that the faculty itself some years ago resolved that the first qualification for appointment to the faculty of Brigham Young University is that of an "attitude toward and adherence to the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." I am happy, also, to know that a very large number of faculty members are now serving with general boards, or as stake presidents, bishops, and high council members, and in other Church positions. I would urge all members of the faculty, whether they have a Church position or not, to teach the principles of the Gospel and standards in every class whenever the opportunity arises, whether that class be a class in theology or otherwise.
David O. McKay, Letter from President David O. McKay to Ernest L. Wilkinson and the BYU Faculty
David O. McKay
In these days when there is a special trend among certain groups, including members of faculties of universities, to challenge the principles upon which our country has been founded and the philosophy of our Founding Fathers, I hope that Brigham Young University will stand as a bulwark in support of the principles of government as vouchsafed to us by our Constitutional Fathers.
David O. McKay, Letter from President David O. McKay to Ernest L. Wilkinson and the BYU Faculty
David O. McKay
In these days when not only religious standards but some of the Ten Commandments themselves are under attack, I hope that you and the faculty will go the extra mile in seeing that the religious doctrines of our Church are taught in their fullness so that students will have proper religious convictions for all decisions which they have to make. The trends of the time in the opposite direction are so strong that it will require extraordinary vigilance on the part of all of us to resist them.
David O. McKay, Letter from President David O. McKay to Ernest L. Wilkinson and the BYU Faculty
Gordon B. Hinckley
In 1933, there was a movement in the United States to overturn the law which prohibited commerce in alcoholic beverages. When it came to a vote, Utah was the deciding state. President Heber J. Grant, then President of this Church, had pleaded with our people against voting to nullify Prohibition. It broke his heart when so many members of the Church in this state disregarded his counsel. How grateful, my brethren, I feel, how profoundly grateful for the tremendous faith of so many Latter‑day Saints who, when facing a major decision on which the Church has taken a stand, align themselves with that position.
Gordon B. Hinckley, April 2003 General Conference, "Loyalty"
Boyd K. Packer
I must include a caution to you who are married. A couple may be tempted to introduce things into your relationship which are unworthy. ... If you do, the tempter will drive a wedge between you. If something unworthy has become part of your relationship, don't ever do it again! Now, what exactly do I mean by that? You know what I mean by that, and I will not respond to any questions about it.
Boyd K. Packer, 'The Fountain of Life,' BYU Address, 29 March 1992
Richard G. Scott
The victim must do all in his or her power to stop the abuse. Most often, the victim is innocent because of being disabled by fear or the power or authority of the offender. At some point in time, however, the Lord may prompt a victim to recognize a degree of responsibility for abuse. Your priesthood leader will help assess your responsibility so that, if needed, it can be addressed. Otherwise the seeds of guilt will remain and sprout into bitter fruit. Yet no matter what degree of responsibility, from absolutely none to increasing consent, the healing power of the atonement of Jesus Christ can provide a complete cure.
Richard G. Scott, General Conference, May, 2009
Dallin H. Oaks
It's wrong to criticize leaders of the church, even if the criticism is true.
Dallin H. Oaks, 'Criticism,' Latter‑day Saint Student Association fireside in the Salt Lake Tabernacle
Dallin H. Oaks
Another way to seek a testimony seems astonishing when compared with the methods of obtaining other knowledge. We gain or strengthen a testimony by bearing it. Someone even suggested that some testimonies are better gained on the feet bearing them than on the knees praying for them.
Dallin H. Oaks, 'Testimony,' in Ensign of May 2008
Dallin H. Oaks
Other illustrations of how our strengths can become our downfall concern the activity of learning. A desire to know is surely a great strength. A hunger to learn is laudable, but the fruits of learning make a person particularly susceptible to the sin of pride. So do the fruits of other talents and accomplishments, such as the athletic or the artistic. It is easy for the learned and the accomplished to forget their own limitations and their total dependence upon God. Accomplishments in higher education bring persons much recognition and real feelings of self‑sufficiency. But we should remember the Book of Mormon's frequent cautions not to boast in our own strength or wisdom lest we be left to our own strength or wisdom (e.g., Alma 38:11, 39:2; Helaman 4:13, 16:15). Similarly, the prophet Jacob referred to "that cunning plan of the evil one," remarking that when persons are "learned," which means that they have knowledge, "they think they are wise" (2 Nephi 9:28), which means that they think they have the capacity for the wise application of knowledge. Persons who think they are wise in this way "hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves." In that circumstance, the prophet said, "their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish" (2 Nephi 9:28). "But to be learned is good," the word of the Lord concludes, "if they hearken unto the counsels of God" (2 Nephi 9:29).
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Dallin H. Oaks
"Criticism is particularly objectionable when it is directed toward Church authorities, general or local. Jude condemns those who 'speak evil of dignities.'" (Jude 1:8.) Evil speaking of the Lord's anointed is in a class by itself. It is one thing to depreciate a person who exercises corporate power or even government power. It is quite another thing to criticize or depreciate a person for the performance of an office to which he or she has been called of God. It does not matter that the criticism is true.
Dallin H. Oaks, 'Criticism,' Latter‑day Saint Student Association fireside in the Salt Lake Tabernacle
Dallin H. Oaks
Another strength Satan can exploit to seek our downfall is a strong desire to understand everything about every principle of the gospel. How could that possibly work to our detriment? Experience teaches that if this desire is not disciplined, it can cause some to pursue their searchings past the fringes of orthodoxy, seeking answers to mysteries rather than a firmer understanding and a better practice of the basic principles of the gospel. Some seek answers to questions God has not chosen to answer. Others receive answers—or think they receive answers—in ways that are contrary to the order of the Church. For such searchers, Satan stands ready to mislead through sophistry or spurious revelation. Persons who hunger after a full understanding of all things must discipline their questions and their methods or they can get close to apostasy without even knowing it. It may be just as dangerous to exceed orthodoxy as it is to fall short of it. The safety and happiness we are promised lies in keeping the commandments, not in discounting them or multiplying them.
Dallin H. Oaks, BYU Fireside, "Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall", June 07, 1992
Robert Oaks
Some Church members may have reservations because of a physical appetite they are not quite willing to surrender. Some members are constantly evaluating the gospel by the standards of the world. They may think, 'That is not how I think the Lord would want it done,' or, 'Based on my understanding of the scriptures, the Church position should have been...' Other common reservations are flagged by words such as 'yes, but...' when scriptures or prophets are quoted. Or we may hear, 'I am not going to let the Church make my decisions for me.' ... Unquestioning obedience to the Lord indicates that a person has developed faith and trust in Him to the point where he or she considers all inspired instruction — whether it be recorded scripture or the words of modern prophets — to be worthy of obedience. Let us believe all things. Let us have unquestioning faith in all of the doctrines and truths of the restored gospel.
Robert Oaks, Elder Robert Oaks, "Believe All Things" Church Ensign, July 2005, page 30
David A. Bednar
A returned missionary ... had dated a special young woman for a period of time. This young man cared for the young woman very much, and he was desirous of making his relationship with her more serious. He was considering and hoping for engagement and marriage. Now this relationship was developing during the time that President Hinckley counselled the Relief Society sisters and young women of the Church to wear only one earring in each ear. The young man waited patiently over a period of time for the young woman to remove her extra earrings, but she did not take them out. This was a valuable piece of information for this young man... He ultimately stopped dating the young woman, because he was looking for an eternal companion who had the courage to promptly and quietly obey the counsel of the prophet in all things and at all times. The young man was quick to observe that the young woman was not quick to observe.
David A. Bednar, Quick to Observe, Brigham Young University
George Franklin Richards
When we say anything bad about the leaders of the Church, whether true or false, we tend to impair their influence and their usefulness and are thus working against the Lord and his cause.
George Franklin Richards, Conference Report, Apr. 1947, p. 24; Address to Church Educational System teachers, Aug. 16, 1985
Bruce C. Hafen
Show your profound respect for that love—and for the doctrines about eternal love and family life—by bridling your passions. Don't be deceived by the false idea that anything short of the sex act itself is okay. That is a lie, not only because one step overpoweringly leads to another, but because even touching another person's body with sexual intent is part of the intimacy that is kept holy by the sanctuary of chastity. Please also beware of unnatural sexual acts that are just as immoral, if not worse, than traditional fornication or adultery.
Bruce C. Hafen, Elder Bruce C. Hafen, "Your Longing for Family Joy," Ensign, Oct. 2003, page 28
Lynn G. Robbins
Among those who do not sacrifice there are two extremes: one is the rich, gluttonous man who won't and the other is the poor, destitute man who believes he can't. But how can you ask someone who is starving to eat less? Is there a level of poverty so low that sacrifice should not be expected or a family so destitute that paying tithing should cease to be required?
Lynn G. Robbins, April 2005 General Conference, "Tithing ‑ A Commandment, Even for the Destitute"; Liahona: May 2005, pp34‑36
Lynn G. Robbins
One of the first things a bishop must do to help the needy is ask them to pay their tithing. Like the widow, if a destitute family is faced with the decision of paying their tithing or eating, they should pay their tithing.
Lynn G. Robbins, April 2005 General Conference, "Tithing ‑ A Commandment, Even for the Destitute"; Liahona: May 2005, pp34‑36
Lynn G. Robbins
If a destitute family is faced with the decision of paying their tithing or eating, they should pay their tithing.
Lynn G. Robbins, April 2005 General Conference, "Tithing ‑ A Commandment, Even for the Destitute"; Liahona: May 2005, pp34‑36
Lynn G. Robbins
One reason the Lord illustrates doctrines with the most extreme circumstances is to eliminate excuses. If the Lord expects even the poorest widow to pay her mite, where does that leave all others who find that it is not convenient or easy to sacrifice?
Lynn G. Robbins, April 2005 General Conference, "Tithing ‑ A Commandment, Even for the Destitute"; Liahona: May 2005, pp34‑36
Lynn G. Robbins
No bishop, no missionary should ever hesitate or lack the faith to teach the law of tithing to the poor. The sentiment of "They can't afford to" needs to be replaced with "They can't afford not to."
Lynn G. Robbins, April 2005 General Conference, "Tithing ‑ A Commandment, Even for the Destitute"; Liahona: May 2005, pp34‑36
D. Michael Quinn
One of [J. Reuben Clark's] "fundamental rules" was "that I never read anything that I know is going to make me mad, unless I have to read it. To this rule I have added another, which is applicable here: I read only as time permits materials which merely support my own views." This stunned fellow lawyer Wilkinson to whom he wrote this explanation, "You do not have to get very far down in any article before you can tell whether or not the fellow is writing or saying something that is generally along the line of your own beliefs." More often he did not bother to read publications before dismissing their significance. Thus, he could draft a two‑page list of general criticisms about Fawn M. Brodie's biography of Joseph Smith and write a proposed review of the book even though he had not read it. In this letter to his brother Frank, Reuben explained that he circulated his proposed review among trusted friends "who have read the book." They told him that his sight‑unseen evaluation "more or less characterizes the whole treatment" in Brodie's No Man Knows My History. For example, his proposed review stated: "While the book seems popularly to be appraised as a chronicle of new and hitherto unpublished documents giving a true picture of the Prophet Joseph, the fact is it is almost wholly a rehash of charges against the Prophet that began to be made over a hundred years ago, which, being then discarded, were buried as base falsehoods. Since then they have from time to time been dug up and paraded again, only to be reburied because again found false. They are now dug up again and re‑paraded from motives that are quite apparent from the book itself. ... There is very little material used or cited that has not been already published. The book has a veneer of pseudo‑scholarship." That was a remarkable set of observations by someone who had not actually read the book he was formally reviewing.
D. Michael Quinn, Elder Statesman: A Biography of J. Reuben Clark
Sterling M. McMurrin
Yes, and church leaders still bring it up whenever they're inaugurating a president at BYU or Ricks. It quite clearly lays down the law on matters of academic freedom in church institutions: there is to be no freedom in matters pertaining to religion and morals. Clark laid it out very firmly.
Sterling M. McMurrin, Matters of Conscience
Bryan Waterman
The student protest came in response to morning headlines announcing the firings of two controversial but popular faculty members: Cecilia Konchar Farr, an English professor who had reportedly upset church leaders and much of the BYU community with her public pro‑choice activism, and David Knowlton, an anthropology professor specializing in Latin American studies, who had critiqued the LDS church's American image in South America, pointing out reasons the church's full‑time proselytizing missionaries—most of whom come from the United States—were common targets for terrorists.
Bryan Waterman, The Lord's University: Freedom and Authority at BYU, December 15, 1998
Bryan Waterman
Wilkinson instituted a practice of beginning each fall semester with a "crisp statement" to all students: rioters would be expelled, no questions asked. Students unfailingly answered with a standing ovation.
Bryan Waterman, The Lord's University: Freedom and Authority at BYU, December 15, 1998
J. Reuben Clark
I assume that I am an apostate, that I am no friend of higher learning, that I am just a low‑down ignoramus, but in that ignorance I want to say to you that I am not at all concerned with the relative fewness of our attendance at the Y who are graduate students. In this ignorance of mine, I have a feeling that the mission of the Brigham Young University is not to make Ph.D.s or M.A.s, but to distribute among as wide a number as possible the ordinary collegiate work leading to Bachelor Degrees and to instill into the students a knowledge of the Gospel and a testimony of its truthfulness.
J. Reuben Clark, Letter to Ernest Wilkinson, President of BYU
J. Reuben Clark
I have come to feel that there is none who can safely rationalize.
J. Reuben Clark, General Conference, Apr. 1952, 95; "Our Destiny was Planned," Improvement Era 55 (June 1952): 412
J. Reuben Clark
[One of my] fundamental rules [is] that I never read anything that I know is going to make me mad, unless I have to read it. To this rule I have added another, which is applicable here: I read only as time permits materials which merely support my own views.
J. Reuben Clark, J. Reuben Clark to Ernest L. Wilkinson, 28 February 1950
J. Reuben Clark
The function of this Committee is to pass upon and approve all materials, other than those that are purely secular, to be used by our Church Priesthood, Educational, Auxiliary, and Missionary organizations in their work of instructing members of the Church in the principles of the Gospel and in leading others to a knowledge of the Truth. To meet such required standards for use by Church organizations, such materials must: (1) Clearly set forth or be fully consistent with the principles of the restored Gospel. (2) Be wholly free from any taint of sectarianism and also of all theories and conclusions destructive of faith in the simple truths of the Restored Gospel, and especially be free from the teachings of the so‑called "higher criticism." Worldly knowledge and speculation have their place; but they must yield to revealed truth. (3) Be so framed and written as affirmatively to breed faith and not raise doubts. "Rationalizing" may be most destructive of faith. That the Finite cannot fully explain the Infinite casts no doubt upon the Infinite. Truth, not error, must be stressed. (4) Be so built in form and substance as to lead to definite conclusions that accord with the principles of the Restored Gospel which conclusions must be expressed and not left to possible deduction by the students. When truth is involved there is no place for student preference or choice. Youth must be taught that truth cannot be blinked or put aside, it must be accepted. (5) Be filled with a spirit of deepest reverence. They should give no place for the slightest levity. They should be so written that those who teach from and by them will so understand. (6) Be so organized and written that the matter may be effectively taught by men and women untrained in teaching without the background equipment given by such fields of learning as psychology, pedagogy, philosophy and ethics. The great bulk of our teachers are in the untrained group.
J. Reuben Clark, First Presidency's 1944 letter on the Literature Censorship Committee, later renamed the Committee on Publications
J. Reuben Clark
I said [to him that] I assumed that he would not print, that is, was not proposing to print the sermons of the other [deceased] brethren, that is, the early brethren, on such matters as the Adam‑God theory, so‑called, and the sermons on plural marriage. He said that was his idea. I said that I personally[,] and I thought the other brethren [of the current First Presidency] agreed with me, felt it would be unwise to issue a Journal of Discourses with those sermons omitted[‑‑]inasmuch as that would give the [Fundamentalist] cultists an opportunity for attack which might increase our present difficulties instead of mollifying them. ... I mentioned the fact that the title he had given to the collection "Sound Doctrine," implied that there was other doctrine [in the Journal of Discourses] that was unsound and that perhaps it would not be wise to give forth that implication. He seemed to agree with that idea. ... I said I felt that we were having a great many books published now by some of the leading Brethren; that these books did not always express all the sentiment of the other Brethren, at least some of them, and might be contrary to it; he admitted that. I also called attention to the fact that it would have been better if he had conferred with the Brethren before he began the printing of his book, instead of afterward, and he admitted that that was a mistake which he had made.
J. Reuben Clark, Exchange with Bruce R. McConkie, recorded in the office diary of J. Reuben Clark, 16 Mar. 1956
J. Reuben Clark
[We'll develop BYU's School of Theology] only for the purpose of developing and demonstrating the truth of the Restored Gospel and the falsity of the other religions of the world, and thereby up build the faith and knowledge of post‑graduate scholars.
J. Reuben Clark, Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, and David O. McKay to Committee on Publications (Joseph Fielding Smith, John A. Widtsoe, Harold B. Lee, and Marion G. Romney), 9 Aug. 1944
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