Heber J. Grant (Church President: November 23, 1918 - May 14, 1945)

There stand out in my life many incidents in my youth, of wonderful inspiration and power through men preaching the gospel in the spirit of testimony and prayer. I call to mind one such incident when I was a young man, probably seventeen or eighteen years of age. I heard the late Bishop Millen Atwood preach a sermon in the Thirteenth Ward. I was studying grammar at the time, and he made some grammatical errors in his talk.

I wrote down his first sentence, smiled to myself, and said: ‘I am going to get here tonight, during the thirty minutes that Brother Atwood speaks, enough material to last me for the entire winter in my night school grammar class.’ We had to take to the class for each lesson two sentences, or four sentences a week, that were not grammatically correct, together with our corrections.

I contemplated making my corrections and listening to Bishop Atwood’s sermon at the same time. But I did not write anything more after that first sentence—not a word; and when Millen Atwood stopped preaching, tears were rolling down my cheeks, tears of gratitude and thanksgiving that welled up in my eyes because of the marvelous testimony which that man bore of the divine mission of Joseph Smith, the prophet of God, and of the wonderful inspiration that attended the prophet in all his labors.

Although it is now more than sixty-five years since I listened to that sermon, it is just as vivid today, and the sensations and feelings that I had are just as fixed with me as they were the day I heard it. Do you know, I would no more have thought of using those sentences in which he had made grammatical mistakes than I would think of standing up in a class and profaning the name of God. That testimony made the first profound impression that was ever made upon my heart and soul of the divine mission of the prophet. I had heard many testimonies that had pleased me and made their impression, but this was the first testimony that had melted me to tears under the inspiration of the Spirit of God to that man.

During all the years that have passed since then, I have never been shocked or annoyed by grammatical errors or mispronounced words on the part of those preaching the gospel. I have realized that it was like judging a man by the clothes he wore, to judge the spirit of a man by the clothing of his language. From that day to this the one thing above all others that has impressed me has been the Spirit, the inspiration of the living God that an individual [has] when proclaiming the gospel, and not the language. … I have learned absolutely, that it is the Spirit that giveth life and understanding, and not the letter.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - pages 1-3)

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... Francis M. Lyman [of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles] had to come from Tooele the night before our [weekly] meeting and spend one night [in Salt Lake City] and all day in order to be at the meetings of the Presidency and Apostles which lasted two or three hours, but he never missed one of them.

I said to him one day: “It is remarkable to me that you are so prompt and always present at our meetings.”

He said: “I do not want to miss any inspiration from the Lord; I do not want the Spirit of the Lord to come to me second hand. I want to partake of it, and to feel it, and to realize it, and to know it for myself.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 7)

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If we did in every deed love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, there would be no need of urging from time to time upon the people the necessity of keeping the commandments of the Lord. It would be a pleasure to them to serve God and keep His commandments. We are told that where a man’s treasure is, there will his heart be also [see Matthew 6:21], and if we loved the Lord with all our heart and mind and soul, serving Him would be the great object of our lives, and the treasure we would work to gain would be His love.

If we followed that second commandment, to love our neighbor as ourself, … our difficulties would all be settled amicably. … It would be almost [unnecessary] to appeal to the people for donations, to urge them to be liberal, to be generous, to strive for the benefit and welfare of their fellows.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 25)

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The devil is ready to blind our eyes with the things of this world, and he would gladly rob us of eternal life, the greatest of all gifts. But it is not given to the devil, and no power will ever be given to him to overthrow any Latter-Day Saint that is keeping the commandments of God. There is no power given to the adversary of men's souls to destroy us if we are doing our duty. If we are not absolutely honest with God, then we let the bars down, then we have destroyed part of the fortifications by which we are protected, and the devil may come in.

But no man has ever lost the testimony of the Gospel, no man has ever turned to the right or to the left, who had the knowledge of the truth, who was attending to his duties, who was keeping the Word of Wisdom, who was paying his tithing, who was responding to the calls and duties of his office and callings in the Church.

There are some who are forever asking to know what the Lord wants of them, and who seem to be hesitating on that account. I am thoroughly convinced that all the Lord wants of you and me or of any other man or woman in the Church is for us to perform our full duty and keep the commandments of God.

You find me a man that attends his quorum meetings, that performs his duties in the ward in which he lives, that honestly pays his tithing, and I will find you a man full of the spirit of God and growing and increasing in the testimony of the Gospel. On the other hand, you find me a man that has seen angels, that has had wonderful manifestations, that has seen devils cast out, that has gone to the ends of the earth and preached the Gospel, and yet who is failing to keep the commandments of God, and I will find you a man that is criticizing the Lord’s anointed, and finding fault with what the President does, with where he goes, what he engages in and how he administers the affairs of the Church. …

You will find that those who do not do their duty, are always complaining about somebody that does, and making excuses for themselves. I have never found a man who was keeping the commandments of God that had any criticism to offer concerning any administration of the affairs of the Church. Neglect of duty, failure to keep the commandments of God, darkens the mind of man and the Spirit of the Lord is withdrawn. We find it recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants “For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength and sets at nought the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall.” [D&C 3:4]
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - pages 27-28)

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The object of our being placed upon this earth is that we may work out an exaltation, that we may prepare ourselves to go back and dwell with our Heavenly Father; and our Father, knowing the faults and failings of men, has given us certain commandments to obey, and if we will examine those requirements and the things that devolve upon us we will find that they are all for our individual benefit and advancement. The school of life in which we are placed and the lessons that are given to us by our Father will make of us exactly what He desires, so that we may be prepared to dwell with Him.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 30)

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Here is the keynote, Latter-day Saints. Let us realize that God is mightier than all the earth. Let us realize that if we are faithful in keeping the commandments of God His promises will be fulfilled to the very letter. For He has said that not one jot or tittle shall fall to the ground unfulfilled [see Matthew 5:18]. The trouble is, the adversary of men’s souls blinds their minds. He throws dust, so to speak, in their eyes, and they are blinded with the things of this world. Men do not lay up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust corrupt not, where thieves do not break through and steal [see Matthew 6:19–20], but they set their hearts upon the things of this world, and the adversary obtains power over them.

I say to you, Latter-day Saints, that the pearl of great price is life eternal. God has told us that the greatest of all the gifts He can bestow upon man is life eternal [see D&C 14:7]. We are laboring for that great gift, and it will be ours if we keep the commandments of God. But it will not profit us merely to make professions and to proclaim to the ends of the earth that this is the gospel, but it will profit us if we do the will of God.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - pages 30-31)

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There is but one path of safety for the Latter-Day Saints, and that is the path of duty. It is not a testimony only; it is not marvelous manifestations; it is not knowing that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, that it is the plan of salvation -- it is not actually knowing that the Savior is the Redeemer, and that Joseph Smith was his prophet, that will save you and me, but it is the keeping of the commandments of God, living the life of a Latter-Day Saint.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 31)

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I have met many people who have questioned my testimony. They have said, “Mr. Grant, you cannot know these things.” But I am ready and willing to bear testimony that I do know them, and I know them as well as I know light from darkness, warmth from cold. I know after supplicating the Lord I have received answers to my prayers. Therefore, I have a knowledge of these things, and I know them as well as I know that I love my family and my friends. This knowledge has come to me in such a way that I am ready and willing to bear testimony to all the world, and I know that I will have to face the testimony that I bear. I would not be true to myself if I did not, when occasion offered, bear testimony of the things that I do know.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 65)

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We, as Latter-day Saints, have very great cause to be thankful for the many manifestations of the goodness and mercy of our God. Let us strive, with all the ability that we possess, to obtain sufficient intelligence, light and knowledge from our heavenly Father to enable us to keep in the path of duty. Many of us feel that we are firm in the knowledge of the Gospel, and that there is very little fear of the trials of life turning us from the truth. At the same time, we should thoroughly understand that in no single day or hour of our lives would we be able to stand alone and maintain the testimony of the Gospel without the light and inspiration of the Spirit of God.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 65)

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You can not transfer to others that which you get yourself. I can no more give a man a testimony of this gospel than I can eat for him. I can tell him how to get it. I can tell him of the blessings of God to me. But each and every man must live the gospel if he expects to obtain an individual testimony of the divinity of this work.

It has been tested all over the world by men and women who have been hated and abused and persecuted by their own flesh and blood, because they have joined this Church; but in answer to humble prayer, and by doing the things that God has told them to do, they have received the light and the knowledge and the testimony regarding the divinity of this work.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 66)

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I promise you, as a servant of the living God, that every man and woman who obeys the commandments of God shall prosper, that every promise made of God shall be fulfilled upon their heads, and that they will grow and increase in wisdom, light, knowledge, intelligence, and, above all, in the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 66)

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Let us be ready and willing to follow our file leaders, and to sustain them. ... You will always be blessed and benefitted in following the advice and counsel of those whom God has chosen to preside over the Church. By honoring the man God has chosen, God will honor and bless you; and as you individually do your duty, you will grow and increase in the light and inspiration of the Spirit of God. As we grow and increase individually, so will the Church grow and increase. ...

This is the work of God. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God; we must remember that. We must “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and then shall all other things be added [see Matthew 6:33]. Life eternal is what we are working for. Do not allow the wisdom, the riches or the education of the world, or anything else, to blind our eyes to the fact that this is God’s work, and that the mouthpiece of God is on the earth; when he speaks, let us be ready and willing, with our time, our talents and all that has been given us, to labor to fulfill what God desires. I tell you, God will vindicate His mouthpiece.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - pages 79-80)

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There are many people who, if the servants of the Lord preach to them year after year, what is said has no particular effect upon them. But these same people, if they receive advice of some man of worldly wisdom, immediately follow it. I remember ... preaching a sermon upon the Word of Wisdom. Subsequently I learned that a good sister who heard my sermon was taken sick and wired for a doctor to come from Salt Lake City, by special engine, and it cost her several hundred dollars to learn from this doctor that she was drinking too much tea, and unless she quit, would be sure to die.

She accepted his advice and got well. Had she listened to my advice which would have cost her nothing, she would have saved several hundred dollars, to say nothing about being in perfect harmony with the teachings of the Lord, as revealed in the Word of Wisdom.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 80)

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The great criterion of success in the world is that men can make money. But I want to say to you Latter-day Saints that to do this is not true success. As a man grows and increases in the things of this world, if he is not careful, he will lose the Spirit of the Lord, and he will set his heart upon the things of this world. And if he loses the Spirit of the Lord, and fails to be honest with God in the payment of his tithes as strictly and honestly as he would account to a partner if he were engaged in business, that man will lessen his strength, will lessen his power, will lessen the testimony of the Spirit of God within his soul. There is no question of it in my mind.

We must be honest with the Lord. The great trouble is that there are many people who, as they grow and increase in the things of this world, set their hearts upon them and lose the Spirit of the Lord. Therefore, that which is counted by the world as success is failure; because if a man starts out for a prize and he fails to secure it after laboring nearly a lifetime for that prize, certainly his life has been a failure.

I know many individuals who, when they made small sums of money, were absolutely honest with the Lord, and paid one-tenth of it. But when they made large sums of money they paid all the way from one percent, instead of ten, up to two or three percent. What is the matter? Why, the appetite for money grows upon a man, increases and strengthens unless he is careful, just as much as the appetite for whiskey. It gets possession of him, and he loves the money instead of loving it only for the good that he can do with it. He does not estimate properly the value of things.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 125)

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I remember upon one occasion, and I have often spoken of it, … that my father-in-law, the late Oscar Winters, said: “Heber, I believe that the young people of Zion do not thoroughly appreciate what Brother Clayton’s hymn [Come, Come Ye Saints] meant to us, as we sang it, night after night, crossing the plains. … I want to tell you an incident that happened as I was coming to the valley. One of our company was delayed in coming to camp. We got some volunteers, and were about to go back and see if anything had happened, ... when we saw him coming in the distance. When he arrived, we unyoked his cattle and helped him to get his supper. He had been quite sick and had to lie down by the road, a time or two.

After supper he sat down on a large rock, by the camp fire, and sang the hymn, ‘Come, come, ye Saints.’ It was the rule in the camp that whenever anybody started to sing that hymn, we would all join with him; but for some reason, no one joined with this brother. His voice was quite weak and feeble; and when he had finished, I glanced around, and I don’t believe there were any of the people sitting there whose eyes were tearless. He sang the hymn very beautifully, but with a weak and plaintive voice, and yet with the spirit and inspiration of the hymn. The next morning we discovered that he was not hitching up his oxen; we went to his wagon, and we found that he had died during the night! We dug a shallow grave and laid his body in it. We then thought of the stone on which he had been sitting the night before when he sang:

  • And should we die before our journey’s through,
    Happy day! All is well!
    We then are free from toil and sorrow too,
    With the just we shall dwell.

“We then rolled that stone over in place as a headstone for his grave.”

I noticed tears in Brother Winters’ eyes. He started, as if he was about to tell me something more, but he hesitated and did not. I subsequently learned that after he had been in the valley for some time he came from his home in the country to Salt Lake to meet his mother, only to learn that she, too, had died before her journey was through.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - pages 135-136)

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It is a God-given law that in proportion to the service we give, in proportion to what we do in this Church and out of it—what we are willing to sacrifice for the Church and for those to whom we owe our loyalty outside of Church activity—we shall grow in the grace of God and in the love of God, and we shall grow in accomplishing the purposes of our being placed here on the earth.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 144)

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The Prophet of the Lord [President Taylor] said:

“My boy, never forget that when you are in the line of your duty your heart will be full of love and forgiveness, even for the repentant sinner, and that when you get out of that straight line of duty and have the determination that what you think is justice and what you think is equity and right should prevail, you ofttimes are anything but happy.

You can know the difference between the Spirit of the Lord and the spirit of the adversary, when you find that you are happy and contented, that you love your fellows, that you are anxious for their welfare; and you can tell that you do not have that Spirit when you are full of animosity and feel that you would like to knock somebody down.”
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 152)

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Many people imagine that charity is giving a dollar to somebody; but real, genuine charity is giving love and sympathy, and that is the kind of charity that the apostle [Paul] had reference to in this 13th chapter of First Corinthians.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 153)

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I am convinced that one of the greatest and one of the best things in all the world to keep a man true and faithful in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, is to supplicate God secretly in the name of Jesus Christ, for the guidance of His Holy Spirit. I am convinced that one of the greatest things that can come into any home to cause the boys and girls in that home to grow up in a love of God, and in a love of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is to have family prayer. It is not for the father of the family alone to pray, but for the mother and for the children to do so also, that they may partake of the spirit of prayer, and be in harmony, be in tune, to have the radio, so to speak, in communication with the Spirit of the Lord. I believe that there are very few who go astray, that very few lose their faith, who have once had a knowledge of the gospel, and who never neglect their prayers in their families, and their secret supplications to God.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - pages 177-178)

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It is not position, it is not education that gives the Spirit of God; but it is keeping the commandments of Almighty God and being lowly in heart and desiring to fulfill the commandments of God in our daily walk and conversation.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - pages 182)

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I believe I am safe in saying that the most earnest desire of every true Latter-day Saint is that his children may grow up in the nurture and the admonition of the Gospel, keeping the commandments of God, so that they may be saved in His kingdom. It is simply absurd to imagine that if a child has the seed of falsehood and evil sown in its mind through life, you will all at once be able to sow in that mind one crop of truth and have it bring forth a harvest of truth. ... We would look upon a farmer as a natural born idiot who would call upon everybody who passed his farm to throw in a few seeds of weeds, to do this for a period of twenty-one years, and then expect he could sow a crop of grain and expect to get a good harvest.

I may know the multiplication table, and my wife may also, but I cannot on that account expect my children to be born with a knowledge of the multiplication table in their heads. I may know that the Gospel is true, and my wife may know it; but I do not imagine for one moment that my children will be born with this knowledge. We receive a testimony of the Gospel by obeying the laws and ordinances thereof; and our children will receive that knowledge exactly the same way; and if we do not teach them, and they do not walk in the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life, they will never receive this knowledge.

I have heard people say that their children were born heirs to all the promises of the new and everlasting covenant, and that they would grow up in spite of themselves, with a knowledge of the Gospel. I want to say to you that this is not a true doctrine, and it is in direct opposition to the commandment of our Heavenly Father. We find that it is laid down to the Latter-day Saints, not as an entreaty, but as a law, that they should teach their children [the gospel]. See D&C 68:25-28
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 201)

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What are we working for? Wealth? Riches? If we have embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ, then we are working for eternal life. Then we are laboring to save our souls. And after saving our own souls we are laboring for the salvation of our children. … I want to say that the best inheritance that you can leave to your sons and daughters is an investment in the kingdom of God.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 204)

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I would rather die in poverty knowing that my family could testify that, to the best of my ability with which God had endowed me, I had observed His laws and kept His commandments, and by my example, had proclaimed the gospel, than to have all the wealth of the world.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 207)

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There [has been] some indication by some ... that unless this Church grew and “progressed” with the present age, so to speak, like other churches, it would be doomed to failure. Any Latter-day Saint that thinks for one minute that this Church is going to fail is not a really converted Latter-day Saint. There will be no failure in this Church. It has been established for the last time, never to be given to another people and never to be thrown down.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 215)

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Our enemies have never done anything that has injured this work of God, and they never will. I look around, I read, I reflect, and I ask the question, Where are the men of influence, of power and prestige, who have worked against the Latter-day Saints? … Where are there people to do them honor? They cannot be found. ... Where are the men who have assailed this work? Where is their influence? They have faded away like dew before the sun. We need have no fears, we Latter-day Saints. God will continue to sustain this work; He will sustain the right.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 216)

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I rejoice that the Church of Jesus Christ is founded upon the first great vision that was enjoyed by the boy Joseph Smith over one hundred years ago. He declared that he saw two Heavenly Beings, whose glory and grandeur were beyond the power of man to describe and that one of them addressed him and pointed to the other and said: “This is my beloved Son, hear Him.” [See Joseph Smith—History 1:17.] There cannot be any doubt in the heart of a Latter-day Saint regarding Jesus Christ’s being the Son of the living God, because God Himself introduced Him to Joseph Smith.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - pages 221-222)

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The life of Jesus Christ, born in a stable, cradled in a manger and put to death between two thieves, was one of the greatest of all failures from man’s point of view, but our Lord and Master came to the earth not to do His own will but that of His Father, and He successfully fulfilled His mission. He has triumphed over death, hell and the grave and has earned the reward of a throne at the right hand of His Father.
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 224)

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I have had joy beyond my ability to express, in lifting up my voice, in bearing witness to those with whom I have come in contact that I know that God lives, that I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world, the Redeemer of mankind; that I know that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of the true and living God, that I have the abiding testimony in my heart that Brigham Young was a chosen instrument of the living God, that John Taylor, that Wilford Woodruff, that Lorenzo Snow were, and that today Joseph F. Smith is the representative of the living God, and the mouthpiece of God here upon the earth. [President Grant shared this testimony on 4 October 1918, about seven weeks before he succeeded Joseph F. Smith as President of the Church.]
Heber J. Grant (2004 Priesthood/R.S. Manual - page 227)