Saturday, June 2, 2018

President Spencer W. Kimball on caring for homes and yards

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"In an earlier conference we called attention to the fact that the Lord had created for us this beautiful world and gave command to our father Adam to till the ground and to dress the land and to make it habitable. That command continues to us.
"We recommend to all people that there be no undue pollution, that the land be taken care of and kept clean to be productive and to be beautiful. He gave to us the herbs and the good things which come of the earth for food and raiment and houses and barns and orchards and gardens and vineyards, each in the season thereof, and all of this is given for the benefit and use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleased God that he had given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment. (See D&C 59:16–20.)
"We are concerned when we see numerous front and side and back yards that have gone to weeds, where ditch banks are cluttered and trash and refuse accumulate. It grieves us when we see broken fences, falling barns, leaning and unpainted sheds, hanging gates, and unpainted property. And we ask our people again to take stock of their own dwellings and properties.
"There is a story that President Brigham Young, having urged the people of certain communities to properly dress and clean their premises, refused to go back to them to preach to them, saying something like this: 'You didn’t listen to me when I urged you to fix up your premises. The same doors are off their hinges; the same barns are still unpainted; the same fences are partly fallen.'"
- Spencer W. Kimball, "Why Call Me Lord, Lord, and Do Not the Things Which I Say?," General Conference April 1975
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Kimball would often give very practical and more "day to day" advice in his conference talks, as well as discussing the doctrinal aspects of the gospel. On a number of occasions he encouraged Church members to care for their homes and yards, to beautify the environment and to have gardens and plants.

I love the encouragement, from the Lord and reiterated through a prophet, that we take advantage of "herbs and the good things which come of the earth" in our lives since they are given to us by God, "both to please the eye and to gladden the heart."

The story from Brigham Young is somewhat pointed; are we really listening to the counsel and instructions of the prophets? Listening and acting will prepare our hearts and minds to receive more counsel!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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