Seek Higher Flight LevelsAugust 5, 1984 • Devotional
There are laws irrevocably decreed in the heavens above before the foundation of the earth, upon which all blessings are predicated. When we receive a blessing, it is because we are obeying those laws (see D&C 130:20). There are some laws which are apparently higher in a certain sense than others.
Let me start with a physical law—the law of gravity. If I drop something heavier than air, it falls to the earth. I fly small aircraft. I have been flying for some forty years. Aircraft are heavier than air. Some are heavier than cars, some heavier than locomotives, some very, very large and heavy. They fly because of a higher law—the law of aerodynamics—the law involving a certain amount of speed coupled with the shape of the lifting surface so they overcome gravity. In a sense, it is a higher law.
I fly two kinds of airplanes: those that can cruise anyplace between sea level and about the height of Mount Timpanogos, and those with turbo chargers or more powerful engines that can fly above the weather. It is no pleasant experience to struggle along in bad weather in the kind of aircraft that does not have the power to go up on top. You are there in the dark clouds, the turbulence, the lightning, the thunder, the rain, the hail. It is a beautiful experience, however, to have a very powerful aircraft that will climb quickly through the weather and clouds. As you break through on top, you enjoy that glorious, beautiful sunshine and the blue sky. When you look down, that which was dark and threatening is now just lovely and delightful white cloud tops.
Seek Higher Levels of Life
Applying that principle to life is my subject tonight: Seek the higher flight levels of life. There are many circumstances in our lives. Some of you may think that you are as high as you need to go. I am aware of a returned missionary who thinks that he has already achieved a superbly high spiritual level. He probably thinks the rest of his life will be an anticlimax and will descend. Not so! You should strive continually for a higher flight level.
There are those recently married; so enjoying the beautiful new love of their lives. Yet they can look forward to even higher levels of living. There are those who are successful in any field—the businessman, the graduate. There are those who are not enjoying so much success. There is the returned missionary whose girl got married while he was gone. There is the scholar who didn’t get the scholarship. There is the beauty pageant contestant who didn’t make it to the finals. There are those who feel they are too tall or too short, too thin or too fat. There are those who are not quite satisfied with all of these circumstances in their lives. There are the lonely, the lost, the disappointed, the hurt, the wounded. All may find a way to the higher levels of life so they can be above the storms of discouragement and dismay. All can climb to higher levels.
God Gave Us Higher Commandments
Let me illustrate some of the higher commandments of life as I feel they were explained by the Savior. The Savior, in the Sermon on the Mount, used the illustration of higher principles. Bear with me in some liberal translations of the scriptures.
I feel that in the Sermon on the Mount the Savior might have said, “Thou hast heard from the prophets of old, Thou shalt not kill. But allow me to give unto thee a higher law—the law of fellowship, the law of brotherhood. Be not even angry with thy brother” (cf. Matthew 5:21–22). Now that is a higher concept which, if we try to live it, will lift us above the storms, the turbulences, the trials, and the tribulations of life.
We all know of the additional interpretations of anger—that of being offended, that of criticizing others, that of being bitter. Any of these feelings are like poison to our spirit. The classical illustration is the case of a rattlesnake. If a rattlesnake comes and bites us, what should we do? Should we look for a stick to punish the rattlesnake or should we try to get the poison out?
Any of these negative feelings will tend to keep us in lower levels of life. We must lift ourselves, free ourselves from those things, and truly live the spirit of brotherhood and love and never be angry with anyone. Those of you who have been roommates or missionary companions have experienced the silent treatment or you have been the one who has given the silent treatment to the other. That is one aspect of what I am trying to speak about. Lift yourself to a higher level of relationships with others.
The Savior might have said, “Thou hast heard from the prophets of old, Thou shalt not commit adultery. Allow me to give you a higher law. Thou shalt not even look at a person of the opposite sex to lust after them lest thou hast committed adultery in thy heart” (cf. Matthew 5:27–28). He was looking ahead perhaps to this day and age where there is lustful looking, where there are improper magazines, where there are X- and R-rated movies. Pornography is what I am speaking of. Lift yourself to a higher level. It is possible to become addicted. Learn to control thoughts. Learn also that virtue and chastity can be lost piecemeal, a little bit at a time, by lack of thought control, by lack of proper understanding of this higher law of the Savior.
The Savior said, “Thou hast heard from the prophets of old, Thou shalt not forswear thyself. But I say unto you, Swear not at all. Let your language be, Yea, yea, and Nay, nay” (cf. Matthew 5:33–37).
Let me illustrate. President Heber J. Grant was told by his doctor that he needed to take up a sport which would put him out of doors and give him fresh air and exercise. The doctor even suggested the game of golf. President Grant took some lessons, felt he was in a condition to play a round of golf, and invited some friends to be with him.
On the first tee his friends insisted that he go first. He put the little white ball up on the little wooden tee and practiced a couple of swings, then stood up. He was really going to show them what he could do. With a mighty swing he missed the ball. He stepped back again and took a couple more practice swings. This time he was really going to hit it. The problem is that the harder you try to hit it, the more you tend to bend your elbows instead of leaving them out straight. If you bend your elbows, the club head comes toward you instead of toward the ball.
For the second time the club head missed the ball. This time President Grant was embarrassed and turned a little bit red. He stepped back for more practice swings. This time he was going to knock it a countrymile, but the wind from the club head just caused the ball to roll off the tee a little bit. He was frustrated. He turned to his friends and said, “I never swear, but there are moments, and where I spit, the grass will never grow again.”
I think all of us can find an appropriate response to moments of frustration and live that higher kind of law. The Savior said, “Thou hast heard, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”—the law of retribution. The higher law is what we will live as Christians. He gave them the higher law of turning the other cheek. “If they ask for you coat, give them your cloak also. If they ask you to go one mile, go the second mile” (cf. Matthew 5:38–41). It is a beautiful indication of how we should react to any situation in which we are asked to do something.
And the Lord said, “Thou hast heard, Love thy friend but hate thine enemy. I say unto you, Love thine enemy, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you” (cf. Matthew 5:43–44).
Find a Higher Interpretation
I believe that in almost any of the commandments that we have, we can find a higher interpretation. Let me experiment with a couple. For example, the last of the Ten Commandments—Thou shalt not covet. I can imagine in my mind the Savior saying, “I’ll give you, in this, the last dispensation, a higher law, so that you won’t even think of coveting: the welfare plan. Be self-sufficient, live within your means, have a year’s supply of food on hand.” I see the welfare plan as being a higher law than the tenth commandment.
We can go back to “love thy father and thy mother.” A higher interpretation can be, “Also love thy forefathers and do thy genealogy work.” A higher interpretation of love thy father and thy mother can be, “And form an eternal family of thine own—eternal marriage in the temple.” For almost any of the commandments we want to look at, we can find a higher interpretation.
Go Beyond Obedience
Take the principle of obedience. We’ve all heard the parable of the father with the two sons. He said to the first, “Go to the vineyard and work.” The first son said, “No,” but afterward repented and went. The father said the same to the second son and he said, “Yes,” but forgot or chose not to go (cf. Matthew 21:28–30).
Now, let me use the parable of the father with the five sons. All of the sons were asked to go to the vineyard to work. The first son said, “No.” Rebellious, ornery, he didn’t go. The second son said, “No,” but then afterwards repented and went. The third son said, “Yes, I’ll go,” but then became distracted or forgot and didn’t go. The fourth son said, “Yes,” and he went. A great son, a wonderful son. He did a good job. The fifth son, however, illustrates my point of seeking a higher interpretation of all the commandments. This one in particular, the law of obedience. Before the father got to the fifth son, the fifth son came to him and said, “Dad, I’ve gone to the vineyard. I’ve pruned, weeded, fertilized, watered, fixed the fence and gate. I brought the tractor back and put it in the garage. Dad, what else can I do?” The fifth son had the higher interpretation—higher than the law of obedience—of not needing to be commanded in all things. He had initiative and resourcefulness.
Here is another illustration of the principle of obedience. I had an instructor in the navy, a fine man. He had been a test pilot in the early days of the war. One of his responsibilities was to test a fighter plane that was important to the factory. If they didn’t sell it, they would go bankrupt. It was important to the navy because they needed a quality aircraft to operate off aircraft carriers. In those days there were no electronic on-board instruments. He had to take off and fly the aircraft, the first prototype, and then come back and tell the owners of the factory and the admirals whether it passed the test. They watched him take off and watched him climb. He disappeared and after a long period of time he returned, landed, and climbed out of the aircraft.
All of the engineers, designers, owners, admirals, and navy brass were there, and he said, “As you saw, the aircraft jumped off the ground in less than the required distance.” They all nodded. They have been observing that. He said, “Time to thirty thousand feet was so many minutes and so many seconds.” Everybody ooed and awed at that. He said, “It climbs like a homesick angel.” Tremendous! Everybody was pleased by how fast it arrived at altitude. He said, “Speed at full throttle, straight and level, exceeded the calculations of the engineers by 14 percent.” Everyone was impressed and the engineers were calculating how much that must have been. He said, “Power dive, the wings didn’t come off, nothing bent.” Everybody was wringing their hands out of gratitude that it had passed the test when he said, “But it didn’t pass the test. When I put it through the maneuvers in which a fighter plane has to be able to perform, when I tried to do the snap rolls, the Immelmanns, the loops, the evasive maneuvers, this aircraft would not respond to the controls. It is like a mule that gets the bit in its mouth and wants to go straight. Nothing I could do would make it turn fast enough. You have to go back and make larger, more sensitive control surfaces so that the aircraft will be obedient to the pilot.”
I’ve seen missionaries in the mission field who are super intelligent, charismatic, have great talent and tremendous ability, but failed because they weren’t responsive to the controls. They weren’t quite obedient. They didn’t understand that the rules are first to protect them from Satan and second to bless them with success. There are many interpretations, higher interpretations, of the law of obedience.
Become Truly Unselfish
And then there is the law of unselfishness. Let me use here an interpretation of the parable of the prodigal son. This is a famous parable. You all know it as the story of the errant son who has wasted away the inheritance he asked of his father, who probably had to sell some land or something. The son went off and wasted the money. Now he has come back tragically humbled. The father sees him from far off. The father loves him, hugs him, sends the servants off to dress him with rings, robes, and shoes, and so on. He declares a festival in his honor and kills the fatted calf. The older brother comes and sees the party going on and asks what has happened. When he hears, he is upset and goes to his father and says, “Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a [party] that I might make merry with my friends” (Luke 15:29).
The father’s explanation is not a rebuke, just a simple explanation. “Son, thou are ever with me, and all that I have is thine. . . .[But] this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:31–32).
Imagine with me a higher interpretation of the story. I can now see the older son saying, “Father, forgive me. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to divide my inheritance with my brother who has returned?” Can’t you see the double joy coming back to that father, thinking, “This, my other son that was lost in selfishness, is found again.” I can see him calling the servants and saying, “Get my finest clothes, and my finest rings, and my finest shoes, and put them on this my elder son. Kill another fatted calf and call all of his friends, let us have a great party together. We who were lost to each other are found again.”
Seek True Peace
And there is a higher interpretation of the principle of peace. The Savior is the Prince of Peace. Great interpretations have been given to that title. One of the finest that I have ever heard in my life was by President Lee. President Joseph Fielding Smith had just died. President Lee was now the brand-new prophet. His first major meeting as the prophet was in Mexico at an area conference down there. His first press conference as prophet was there, and President Lee was asked a trap question.
Now there are all kinds of trap questions. A trap question is a question to which you can’t say yes and you can’t say no. The traditional trap question is, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” You can’t say “Yes, I’ve stopped” or “No, I haven’t stopped.” Whatever you say, you’re wrong.
President Joseph F. Smith, back at the turn of the century, in Washington, D.C., was asked a trap question by reporters. That question was, “Are you a prophet of God?” If he said yes, they were going to say, “Well, prophesy something for us, tell us something important that’s going to happen. Any earthquakes coming up?” Whatever he said, they were going to ridicule him. They had it all planned. If he said “No, I’m not a prophet,” they would say, “Well, the Mormon prophet says he’s not a prophet.” They would ridicule him yes or no. His inspired answer, when they pulled that trap question on him, was, “I am so sustained by the members of the Church.” They couldn’t do anything with that, and he gained their understanding.
Now back to President Lee in Mexico City. Hostile, foreign, international, sophisticated reporters pulled a political question on him. “What is your position with regard to the Vietnam involvement—the Vietnam War?” Some of you may not remember that particular time in history. It was a hot political issue, the Hawks against the Doves—there was an element of patriotism. Our government and our leaders of the nation were involved and said, “We should be there.” But there was a growing opposition to it. It has since been reconciled to the satisfaction of some, not to the satisfaction of others. But, at that point, if President Lee said, “I’m in favor of being there,” they would headline it, “How strange, a religious leader in favor of war.” If President Lee said, “I’m against it,” they would say, “How strange, a religious leader who pretends to support his government—it is one of their articles of faith—is against his own government.”
Either way it was a difficult question. President Lee’s answer was classic. It was inspiration from the Lord. It was a higher interpretation. He said, “We, together with the entire Christian world, abhor wars.” Then he said, “The Savior, however, said that in the world there would be tribulations. He said, ‘In me ye might have peace’” (John 16:33). Then President Lee went on to say, “The Savior said, ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you’’” (John 14:27). It’s even more beautiful in Spanish: “La paz os dejo, mi paz os doy; no como el mundo la da, yo os la doy. No se turbe vuestro corazón, ni tenga miedo.” It’s more poetic in Spanish. (I just had to do that for the returned missionaries from Latin America.)
President Lee went on to say, “The Savior was not talking about the kind of peace that you can win with armies and navies and bombs and rockets. He was talking about the kind of peace a person can have in his own heart, no matter what kind of tribulations there may be in the world.” He so won the understanding and sympathy of those worldly reporters that they gave good coverage to the conference, and excellent coverage to President Lee as a religious leader. They learned from him—they learned the higher interpretation.
The Way Up Can Be the Way Down
Here is another aspect of the higher law: the Lord’s way is not always our way. The parable of the Pharisee and the publican illustrates it. Perhaps in one sense, the way up is really down. The Savior observed two men who entered the temple to pray. The Pharisee said, “Thank God I’m not as other men are. I fast twice a week and I tithe all I possess.” Today he would have added, “and I observe the Word of Wisdom, and I do my home teaching. Look what a great man I am. I’m thankful I’m not as other men are.” The publican, the tax collector—very much looked down upon in those days—prayed, “God, be merciful unto me a sinner.” The Savior went on to say, “The publican, the second, is justified, rather than the Pharisee. For every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (cf. Luke 18:10–14).
Allow me a personal interpretation. I think I see too many self-righteous, holier-than-thou, better-than-thou in our ranks. I see too many who tend to look down upon other religions and other religious leaders. Some feel that we have a particular corner on spirituality. I’m off on a particular soap box of my own. I think we need to give more Christian love to those around us of other religions—more respect, more attention.
Although born and raised in the Church, I went to a Catholic university at the age of seventeen—straight from BYU to Gonzaga University at Spokane, Washington. Every professor of mine was a Jesuit priest, wearing the long black, full-length cassock—every one a Ph.D., and every one a great Christian gentleman. I want it understood, I went there scared to death, the only Latter-day Saint boy on the entire campus. They knew that I was a Latter-day Saint. But they didn’t ridicule my church, or me, and they gave me great strength and support. I came to see them as great spiritual leaders—making tremendous sacrifices in their own lives.
Out in South America I saw many Protestant missionaries living in the jungles, doing a magnificent work, sacrificing themselves, their families, their entire lives. They have no eighteen-month or even three-year missions—they are out there for a lifetime in the jungles. They are to be honored and respected for the work they do.
I also want to pay tribute to my Jewish friends. I do it by saying this: I had many Jewish clients in the years I was in international banking, and I never lost money on a loan to anyone of the Jewish faith. Perfect records—every single one of them paid and all of them were good friends. I enjoyed working with our brethren of the Jewish faith.
Let me add this particular story to show what I’m trying to illustrate. In World War II, in 1943, the SS Dorchester, a troop ship, was torpedoed with 900 souls on board in the North Atlantic in wintertime. Those who didn’t have time to get into the lifeboats would not survive. It went down so fast that only two hundred and fifty or so survived. It was evident that not everyone was going to be able to get into the lifeboats. There were four chaplains on board: a Jewish rabbi, a Catholic priest, and two Protestant ministers. The witnesses, the survivors, said the chaplains were seen helping others into the lifeboats and then they were seen linking their arms together, the four of them bowing their heads in prayer, as the ship went under, united in prayer. There’s a chapel today in Philadelphia, built in honor of those four chaplains. The motto of the chapel is “Unity without uniformity.” That’s a lofty spiritual goal, I think, for all of us.
The way up is down. King Benjamin said it beautifully. He said, “If ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants” (Mosiah 2:21). I’m making a plea for additional humility. Have a lively sense of your own guilt, Mosiah said (see Mosiah 2:38). Now we don’t need to have a lively guilt complex. If it’s doing that to you, it’s wrong. He goes on to say that a saint is meek and humble. Be aware of your own nothingness. “Remember . . . the greatness of God, and your own nothingness” (see Mosiah 4:5, 11). I think there is something uplifting here if we can get all of King Benjamin’s sermon in perspective.
Get Rid of Negative Feelings
In order to climb up through the storms and the turbulence of life, one of the things necessary to do is lighten the load. Many of us have excess baggage consisting of guilt. In the process of repentance, confession is necessary. Get rid of jealousy. It is a poison to our spirit. Get rid of contention of any kind, usually caused by selfish pride—“I want it done my way.” There is even a song about doing it my way. That doesn’t get rid of contention. Get rid of rivalries, get rid of criticizing each other, especially companions and roommates. Get rid of negative thoughts; get rid of petty arguments.
Whenever we speak of rising above ourselves, rising to higher spiritual levels, there is a usual list of things to do. Let me go through these. The scriptures certainly lift us to higher levels. Prayer is definitely a necessity for rising appropriately. Not only traditional prayer, but frequent, heartfelt prayer with your eyes open while you are driving, or while you are walking and enjoying beautiful things. Talk to the Lord. Learn to pray with your eyes open. Then there is service to others, attending church, being worthy of a temple recommend, beautiful spiritual music, classical music, religious music, and so on. Another part of this list is establish proper priorities. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
Another one is have the proper motivation. Allow me to spend a little bit of time on this. I see all too often out in the mission field an element of ambition. “I want to be the assistant to the president” or “I want to be the zone leader.” I see it sometimes in those who say, “Gee, I’d like to be the first bishop in my family or the first stake president in my family.” Misplaced ambition will never lift you to spiritual heights. The only ambition in the kingdom that does lift one up is to have “an eye single to the glory of God” (D&C 4:5). In other words, if you’re looking for the glory of the Lord, and you are working hard, then all things will be in place in appropriate ways.
Understand the Covenants
Also necessary for rising to a higher spiritual level are the covenants—the covenants and the ordinances in which we enter into a contract with our Heavenly Father. There is a series of contracts that we don’t speak very much about. We can’t give the details. There are those of the world who are trying to do so, but they miss the point completely. I speak of the temple covenants. Those lofty covenants constitute an ordinance two hours long. Compare that to normal ordinances. Baptism might be a thirty-second ordinance. Laying on of hands can be a two-minute ordinance. Ordinations, two minutes, three minutes, and so on. But in the scriptures there’s a beautiful statement about the temple; to me it is talking about the temple ordinance. It is section 52, verses 14, 15, and 16. Allow me to give this interpretation of the temple covenants.
It says in verse 14: “I’ll give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived, for Satan is abroad in Provo and he goeth forth deceiving the students.” This is a liberal interpretation. But I have no doubt that Satan is for real, here and now. The verses go on to tell us how not to be deceived by Satan. Verse 15: “He that prayeth whose spirit is contrite, the same is accepted of me” (and I say, “protected by the Lord against Satan”) “if he obey mine ordinances.” Verse 16: “He that speaketh whose spirit is contrite, whose language is meek and edifieth, the same is of God” (and, I’m adding, “protected by God against the maneuvers of Satan”) if (it is conditional), “if he obey mine ordinances.” To me those are the highest ordinances of this dispensation: the temple covenants.
I learned celestial navigation when I was in the navy, but true navigation, to me, is Dr. Hugh Nibley’s kind of navigation. He says, “When I go to the temple, I can take my bearings on the universe.” Understand the temple and what those ordinances can do to lift you up above the trials and tribulations and the storms of life.
“Seek Superior Friendships”
Then there is the higher law of self-control. We’re here in this life to learn self-control. Control of all of our appetites and passions. To move higher, we need to associate with higher-minded friends. Now all of us enjoy friends who put up with us regardless of our weaknesses, but on the other hand, do you have friends who are keeping you from achieving your own goals? It’s difficult to do, but we must ask ourselves the question and we must do what is necessary to seek loftier levels. What are they doing with their spare time? What is their language level? What kind of movies are they going to? What are their study habits? How do they spend their money? Ask yourself those questions about your friends. At this point I really ought to pay tribute to my great roommates. I had two fabulous roommates—Dr. Waldo Perkins and Dr. Hafen Perkins, both graduates from this great university. The challenge for me was to keep up with my roommates. We competed with each other for grades and church attendance and home teaching and everything else. I found that I couldn’t keep up with my roommates unless I “memorized the textbook,” unless I really stayed up-to-date in everything. It was stimulating, it was tremendous. President Kimball says, “Seek superior friendships.”
Then there is coping with tragedy. All of us have circumstances of life, the death of a loved one, illnesses, loss of jobs, failure in love, failure in ambitions and aspirations. All of these things happen to us. I have a list here of ways to prepare for those kinds of eventualities, because each of us should kind of look ahead, get ready for tragedy or unexpected reverses, by helping others who suffer. Learn from observing others, from observing their strengths and weaknesses. Learn to role-play and anticipate and imagine. Involvement in Christlike service to others builds a reserve—a sort of investment—so that we can face tragedy. Accept normal grief. It is evident that all of us at sometime are going to lose some of those who are near and dear to us. Consolation comes through the Holy Ghost. Any time we fight against what the Lord has seen fit to bring about, any time we struggle against it, we will not be able to receive the blessings of the Holy Ghost—the consolation, the comfort, the understanding. We need that understanding of drawing nearer to our Savior and to our Heavenly Father. The Savior is the Second Comforter.
The habit of happiness leads one to a higher spiritual level. Make a habit of happiness. Rise above an inferiority complex, learn to cope with failure. We’re living right now in a society that praises winning so much that sometimes we haven’t prepared those who aren’t going to be the gold-, silver-, and bronze-medal winners. It was interesting to me to watch the Olympics the other night. The gold-medal winner was, of course, enthusiastic. The silver-medal winner, second in the entire world—tremendous!—was in tears, because she hadn’t made first. But the bronze-medal winner was ecstatic, even more ecstatic than the first, because she hadn’t expected to be there. Our reactions are all relative to our expectations, so learn the habit of coping with temporary failure. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A man’s success is made up of progressive failures which he rises above, because he experiences and ventures every day. And the more falls he gets, the faster he moves on.” In Argentina the gauchos say, “You’re never a good rider until you’ve been thrown a few times.”
And then there is this statement: “Wisdom comes from good judgment, good judgment comes from experiences, experience comes from poor judgment.” Think about that.
Change to a Higher Level
Sometimes, to get higher than you are, you need to get out of the rut you might be in. Do something adventurous, change, learn a new sport or a new hobby. Change your hairstyle. Some young men can improve their appearance and change their attitude by changing to a more mature hairstyle. Dress to a higher level. If you really want to get out of a rut, dress to a higher level than has been your habit. Change from Levi’s into sports clothes, change from sports clothes into a suit. Change from whatever level you’ve been at, upgrade, and your girlfriends will really appreciate it. And young ladies, there is room for you to dress higher; and the young men will appreciate it.
Next are the higher laws of love. The telestial level is: “I have to do it,” and you do it out of fear. The terrestrial level is: “I ought to do it,” and you do it out of a sense of duty. The celestial level is: “I want to do it,” and you do it because of love. President McKay said, “Man is a spiritual being, a soul. There is something within man which urges him to rise above himself, to control his environment, to master the body and all things physical, to live in a higher and a more beautiful world.”
I believe that wherever we are, and I promise each one of you, that wherever we are, we can find the way to live at a higher level which will take us above the storms and the turbulence and the problems of life. We can soar with the eagles. We are of divine origin. We are children of our Heavenly Father. I testify to you of the truthfulness of the gospel. Our Heavenly Father lives and he loves us and he hears our prayers and he answers them. Jesus the Christ lives, and he loves us. He is not dead on the cross; he is not in the tomb. He is not dead; he lives. Resurrected, glorified, and exalted, he stands physically at the head of this church which bears his name. His spokesman here on the earth is President Kimball, a living prophet. All of our prophets, all of our great prophet leaders, have been prophets and servants of the Lord. Everything we’ve been teaching from Joseph Smith to President Kimball, everything from the premortal existence to the Second Coming and to the Millennium and to the life to come, everything that has to do with exaltation and eternal life, is true. I testify of it as a witness, praying for the Lord’s choicest blessings upon each and everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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Robert E. Wells was a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this fireside address was given at Brigham Young University on 5 August 1984.