Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The War We Are Winning: Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

These are exerpts from a talk given by Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley.

Gordon B. Hinckley, "The War We Are Winning," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 42

"I noted in the public press the other day that the war between Iran and Iraq has gone on for seven years. No one can ever estimate the terrible suffering incident to that conflict. Lives numbered in the tens of thousands have been lost. The terrible wounds of war have left bodies maimed and minds destroyed. Families have been left without fathers. Young boys who have been recruited as soldiers have, in many instances, died while those yet alive have had woven into the very fabric of their natures elements of hatred which will never leave them. The treasure of the involved nations has been wasted and will never be recovered.
To us who look upon it from afar it seems so unnecessary and such a terrible waste of human life and national resources. Seven years is a long time. "Will it ever end?" we ask.
But there is another war that has gone on since before the world was created and which is likely to continue for a long time yet to come. John the Revelator speaks of that struggle:
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
"And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Rev. 12:79).
That war, so bitter, so intense, has gone on, and it has never ceased. It is the war between truth and error, between agency and compulsion, between the followers of Christ and those who have denied Him. His enemies have used every stratagem in that conflict. They've indulged in lying and deceit. They've employed money and wealth. They've tricked the minds of men. They've murdered and destroyed and engaged in every other unholy and impure practice to thwart the work of Christ."

..."But the adversary has never stopped trying. Ninety years ago, in the October conference of 1896, President Wilford Woodruff, then an aged man, standing where I stand in this Tabernacle, said:

“There are two powers on the earth and in the midst of the inhabitants of the earth—the power of God and the power of the devil. In our history we have had some very peculiar experiences. When God has had a people on the earth, it matters not in what age, Lucifer, the son of the morning, and the millions of fallen spirits that were cast out of heaven, have warred against God, against Christ, against the work of God, and against the people of God. And they are not backward in doing it in our day and generation. Whenever the Lord set His hand to perform any work, those powers labored to overthrow it” (Deseret Evening News, 17 Oct. 1896)."

..."Brethren, the war goes on. It is as it was in the beginning. There may not be the intensity, and I am grateful for that. But the principles at issue are the same. The victims who fall are as precious as those who have fallen in the past. It is an ongoing battle. We of the priesthood are all part of the army of the Lord. We must be united. An army that is disorganized will not be victorious. It is imperative that we close ranks, that we march together as one. We cannot have division among us and expect victory. We cannot have disloyalty and expect unity. We cannot be unclean and expect the help of the Almighty."
Shall we not also in faith move forward? He who is our eternal leader, the Lord Jesus Christ, has challenged us in words of revelation. Said He:

“Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day. …

“Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you;

“Taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked;

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, … and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up, that where I am ye shall be also” (D&C 27:15–18).

The war goes on. It is waged across the world over the issues of agency and compulsion. It is waged by an army of missionaries over the issues of truth and error. It is waged in our own lives, day in and day out, in our homes, in our work, in our school associations; it is waged over questions of love and respect, of loyalty and fidelity, of obedience and integrity. We are all involved in it—men and boys, each of us. We are winning, and the future never looked brighter.

God bless us, my beloved brethren of the priesthood, in the work that is so clearly laid out before us. May we be faithful. May we be valiant. May we have the courage to be true to the trust God has placed in each of us. May we be unafraid. “For [to quote the words of Paul to Timothy] God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (2 Tim. 1:7–8).


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