Friday, May 24, 2019

President George Albert Smith on the sacred importance of scripture

President George Albert Smith (1870-1951) was the son of John Henry Smith (1848-1911) and grandson of George A. Smith (1817-1875), both of whom served as members of the Twelve. He was called as an apostle in 1903, and then served as the 8th president of the Church from 1945 until his death in 1951.
"I sometimes feel that we do not appreciate the Holy Bible, and what it contains, and these other scriptures, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price that have been referred to by our beloved President [Heber J. Grant] as letters from our Heavenly Father. They may be so received, at least they are His advice and His counsel to all the children of men given to them that they may know how to take advantage of their opportunities, that their lives may not be spent in vain. One of the sorrowful things in life is to see men and women laid away in Mother earth with a realization of the fact that they have refused the greater blessings that our Father offered to them and have continued grasping at the bubble that has itself disappeared. When I think of the millions of God's children in the world, and realize how little they are striving for the things that are really worth while, I feel sad; but when I see this body of people here today—representatives of the great Church that bears the name of the Redeemer—and realize that we who have accepted the Gospel have been chosen, as it were, from among the multitude of our Father's children to understand Him and to know why we are here, my heart is filled with gratitude and praise to Him for His blessings unto us."
- George Albert Smith, "Thanksgiving for Latter-day Saints' Blessings," General Conference, October 6, 1923; see Millennial Star 86:9:129
Click here to read the full talk

President Smith suggests we don't always appreciate the gift of the scriptures as we should. They can be considered "letters from our Heavenly Father" to us. If we were to receive a new "letter," wouldn't we be overwhelmed with eagerness to read it? But yet we take the existing ones for granted, even though they have so much to offer us.

How can we make the most of our life on this earth, to ensure that it is not "spent in vain"? By reading, studying, pondering, and following the counsel in the scriptures.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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