Eternal Truths are Timeless
Last night I was up late with a sick puppy dog. Since I was up late, and since he didn’t seem to want to get off of my feet, I thought I’d sit quietly and read. What I read was touching to me. What I read were General Conference addresses from men sustained as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. And I thought I would share just a couple of snippets with you.
The first snippet is short, but struck me deeply as I read it. The words spoken in General Conference were these,
A great many of those who are employed in this city at the present time are spending more than they are making. It may be partially on account of extravagant habits that we have acquired in the last few years. But it is
nevertheless a very unsatisfactory situation. Where people are busily engaged and have plenty to do, they are generally contented. If we will labor each day so that at the end of the day we can feel that we have accomplished
something, we are able to lie down at night and partake of the God-given rest that comes to a tired body. But, as I have stated, very often the desire is to avoid this kind of life, and to shun labor which would soil our hands. This
is not the spirit of the latter-day work.”
Is that not applicable to us? Do those words not ring very true to many a Latter-day Saint? Debt and slothfulness are abundant in our society, and just because we are members of the Church does not mean we are so very different than many of those in the world around us.
The second snippet I wish to share are these words shared just a little while later in the same General Conference,
Before coming to this meeting we have been on our knees, pleading with the Almighty that He would pour His spirit and blessing upon His servants who should speak, that they might faithfully deliver His word unto the
people. We have had the word of God given unto us, and I bear testimony that this word is true, that we should repent of our robbing the Lord in tithes and offerings and that we should turn unto Him with full purpose of heart,
consecrating unto Him one-tenth of everything that the Lord shall give unto us, by which we would be enabled to sanctify the land, so that His statutes might be kept thereon. This is the word of the Lord to us, and it will
naturally bring division. There will be those who will hear the word of God and do it, and there will be those who will reject the word of God and count it as a light thing, making any frivolous excuse for despising the ordinances
of the house of God. The Lord told His people through Malachi that when they robbed Him in tithes and offerings they were laboring under a curse, and the Lord has told us that if we do not honor this law it shall not be a land
of Zion unto us, and our enemies shall prevail against us, but if we love Him and keep His commandments we shall prevail against our enemies.”
This short paragraph reminded me of many conversations the week I had prior to our recent General Conference. “Aren’t you excited for this weekend?” many of my friends asked in preparation to hear from our church leaders. And I was. And they were too. We were all praying for guidance and revelation for our lives. The speaker in this last shared section makes reference to that preparation that many of us make for General Conference, and then he continued by teaching beautifully about the Law of Tithing.
To stay out of debt and to keep the law of tithing are both principles that we are taught about continually. But the examples which I just shared didn’t come from a recent General Conference. In fact, they didn’t even come from one in the past century. No, they came from the October 1899 Semiannual General Conference of the Church, and were given by Elder Abraham O. Woodruff and Elder George Teasdale respectively. (See pages 7 & 21 of the full Conference Report for reference to the full discourses.)
Eternal truths are timeless.
A young lady, the other day, was deploring the frequency of the changes in styles, when a young man to whom she spoke said,
“Well, why do you women permit it? You don’t have to adopt every suggestion of the fashion plate.”
“If it were not for you men,” she replied, “we wouldn’t.”
“For us men! How is that?”
“Yes, for you men; for after all, to make an honest confession, one of the reasons for all this style in dress and complexion is to bring forth the admiration of you selfish “lords of creation.”
Now remember, this is 1906. Yet this sounds like a conversation I had with a young lady I know just a couple of years ago in 2010! Elder McKay goes on:
Yes, men are attracted by beauty, and thousands are ensnared by it. There are thousands of men who look for nothing else, and who desire nothing else but to have their sense pleased or their passions gratified. These, outward adornments will satisfy; and only outward adornment will retain. When beauty fades, the passion seeks for gratification elsewhere. “Beauty is only skin deep,” and when outward adornment is all a girl possesses, the admiration she calls forth is even more shallow than her beauty.”
His next words are the pinnacle of ageless truth:
But there is a beauty every girl has,–a gift from God, as pure as the sunlight, and as sacred as life. It is a beauty that all men love, a virtue that wins all men’s souls. That beauty is chastity. Chastity without skin beauty may enkindle the soul; skin beauty without chastity can kindle only the eye.
Chastity enshrined in the mould of true womanhood will hold true love eternally.
In the last paragraph, I have said that chastity is a beauty that all men love. Well, I will not change it, for he who does not is not a man, ‘he should be sent back to nature’s mint and re-issued as a counterfeit on humanity’s baser metal.’ Such a one is not worth a pure maiden’s scorn, not to say smile.”
I absolutely love that. Chastity is soul deep. It is an eternal truth. Just because society around us has changed does not mean God’s standards for His sons and daughters have. And any man that doesn’t agree with God’s standards should be sent back to “nature’s mint”.
Elder McKay closes with this analogy:
Girls, the flower by the roadside, that catches the dust of every traveler is not the one to be admired, and is seldom if ever plucked; but the one blooming away up on the hillside, protected by a perpendicular cliff is the flower with the virgin perfume, the one the boy will almost risk his life to possess.
Mere outside adornment may please the sense of many superficial admirers; the adornment of the soul and the chastity of true womanhood will awaken in the soul of true manhood enduring love, that eternal principle which some day will redeem the world.” (For Elder McKay’s full discourse see “True Beauty” in the Young Woman’s Journal, Aug 1906, p. 360.)
President Monson said this just over six months ago in General Conference,
Although the world has changed, the laws of God remain constant. They have not changed; they will not change. The Ten Commandments are just that—commandments. They are not suggestions. They are every bit as requisite today as they were when God gave them to the children of Israel…
Our code of conduct is definitive; it is not negotiable…Our Father in Heaven is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The prophet Mormon tells us that God is “unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.” (See Moroni 8:18) In this world where nearly everything seems to be changing, His constancy is something on which we can rely, an anchor to which we can hold fast and be safe, lest we be swept away into uncharted waters.” (See Stand In Holy Places from the October 2011 General Conference for full address.)
Last night as I cared for our poor puppy dog and read those words from long ago my heart was touched by the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. He testified that they were true, and that God’s laws indeed never change. I am thankful that in a world that seems to slide to and fro with every new fad and trend the doctrines of the Church remain the same, that there is no lobbying for change, and there is a constant True North in our moral compass.
God’s eternal truths are timeless. We just need to make sure our compasses are aligned and we’re heading in the right direction.
– Stan Way