George Patrick Lee
(March 23, 1943 - July 28, 2010)
Ashkii Hoyani -- (Boy Who Is Well Behaved and Good)
Tódích'íi'nii -- Bitter Water Clan
Official photo of George Patrick Lee as an LDS First Quorum of Seventy who was sustained and confirmed at the October 4, 1975 LDS General Conference.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
George Patrick Lee was the first American Indian, a Navajo (Diné), to become a General Authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church or Mormon Church). He was a member of the LDS Church's First Quorum of Seventy between 1975 and 1989, when he was excommunicated from the LDS Church.
George Patrick Lee was born on March 23, 1943 on the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation just below "Sleeping" Ute Mountain in Towaoc, Colorado to Mae K. Lee (Asdzaa Lichii - Red Woman) of the Tódích'íi'nii (Bitter Water Clan), and to an alcoholic and Medicine Man, Peter Lee (Hastiin Jaaneez Yee Biye - Mr. Son of Donkey Man), of the Under the Flat-Roofed House People Clan. He was one of 17 children from his parent's previous relationships. His father had 4 children from a previous woman, and his mother had 2 surviving children of 4 from 2 previous men. Lee was the second of their 9 children. Lee was called a common Navajo name for a child, Ashkii Yazhi (Little Boy), until he was given his sacred Navajo name, Ashkii Hoyani (Boy Who is Well Behaved and Good). He attended Shiprock Boarding School at Shiprock, New Mexico for 2 years after a Mormon trader assisting the Bureau of Indian Affairs helped him enroll. His middle name of "Patrick" was assigned to him at the Shiprock Boarding School. Because a religious preference other than the Native American traditional faith had to be indicated on the application, Lee's mother told the trader to write in the name of his religion. After completing the second grade at Shiprock, New Mexico, George attended school in Aztec, New Mexico, where he was promoted to the fifth grade. When George was 12 years old, George was part of the first American Indian children's group to participate in an official Indian foster placement program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), the LDS Indian Placement Program. The program was the idea of LDS Apostle, Spencer W. Kimball, who believed that LDS American Indians could get a much better public education in a Mormon environment among Anglo LDS families than getting their schooling on the Indian Reservation which had been inferior at that time. George travelled to Orem, Utah where he lived with his foster family, the Glen and Joan Harker family during the academic school year returning home during the summer to be with his natural parents. The Harkers cloth, fed, and educated, at their time and expense George Patrick Lee during the time he was with them.
George lived with the Harker family for 7 years until he graduated from Orem High School in 1962. He excelled at Orem High School achieving many honors and was a devout Mormon. As with most Mormons of that time, George knew and could recite the King James Version of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Doctrine of Covenants by heart. After graduation from Orem High School, George served as a Mormon missionary for the then "Southwest Indian Mission" that included the Navajo reservation. After his LDS mission, George attended Brigham Young University (BYU), where he earned a Bachelor's Degree and a Doctorate in Educational Administration, and Utah State University where he completed a Master's Program. George was the first Native to earn a doctorate from BYU. George would then return to the Southwest Indian Mission where he had served as a missionary to serve as the Mission President. At BYU, George met Katherine (Kitty) Hettick, a member by descent (not by blood) of the Comanche tribe from Oklahoma, and they latter married at the Salt Lake Temple in 1967. Spencer W. Kimball, then one of the 12 Apostles, officiated at his temple marriage. They were parents to 7 children (5 sons and 2 daughters), Dwayne, Chad, Tricia, Robyn, Todd, Scott, and Jacob. George taught at the experimental Rough Rock Demonstration School in Rough Rock, Arizona, served as President of the Ganado satellite campus of Diné College known at the time as the College of Ganado, and later, Principal of Tuba City High School in the 1980s. George received many honors: a BYU's Indian Education Award, the Spencer W. Kimball Indian Leadership Award, Outstanding Young Man of America Award, a U.S. Office of Education Fellowship for the 1970-1971 academic year, a Ford Foundation Fellowship Award for Ph.D. Program, Phi Delta Kappa membership, and several others. George declined appointment as a White House Fellow to accept a position at the College of Ganado. His autobiography, Silent Courage: An Indian Story: The Autobiography of George P. Lee, a Navajo, was published by Deseret Book, in Salt Lake City, in 1987.
Prior to his call as one of the General Authorities of the Mormon Church, George held a number of Melchizedek Priesthood callings including Missionary to the "Southwest Indian Mission", Elders Quorum President, Branch President, District President, and returned as President of the 1970s "Arizona Holbrook Mission" (previously the "Southwest Indian Mission"). Lee's achievements culminated in his October 3, 1975 calling at the age of 32, as a full-time member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, a General Authority, by President and Prophet Spencer W. Kimball of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was President of Ganado College at the time. The position in the LDS High Council meant that George would work with the President and Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other high leaders in administering the affairs of the Mormon Church. George P. Lee was the first, and so far only, American Indian, a Navajo (Diné), to hold such a highly respected and honored position in the Mormon Church. His calling was widely attributed to the long-time association that Spencer W. Kimball had with American Indians. Elder Lee had shared with some LDS missionaries that President Kimball had received negative mail over Lee's appointment to the Quorum of the Seventy. Spencer W. Kimball had become president of the Church twenty-two months earlier. Elder Lee also had received racist hate mail from some LDS church members which had been become an inward strain on him. George P. Lee was sustained and confirmed as a Seventy at the October 1975 General Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 4, 1975. George P. Lee was the literal fulfillment of the LDS prophesy of the rise of the "Lamanites" in the last days that
"Before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose." (and that )
The Lamanites will blossom as the rose on the mountains. I am willing to say here that, though I believe this, when I see the power of the nation destroying them from the face of the earth, the fulfillment of that prophecy is perhaps harder for me to believe than any revelation of God that I ever read. It looks as though there would not be enough left to receive the Gospel; but notwithstanding this dark picture, every word that God has ever said of them will have its fulfillment, and they, by and by, will receive the Gospel. It will be a day of God's power among them, and a nation will be born in a day. Their chiefs will be filled with the power of God and receive the Gospel, and they will go forth and build the new Jerusalem, and we shall help them. (The Signs of the Coming of the Son of Man - The Saints' Duties, Discourse by Elder (4th President of the Mormon Church) Wilford Woodruff, Delivered in the 13th Ward Assembly Rooms, Salt Lake City, January 12, 1873 (Reported by David W. Evans),George served as a general authority for nearly 14 years. )
2. Spencer W. Kimball and Ezra Taft Benson
After the passing of the Prophet Spencer W. Kimball in 1985, Ezra Taft Benson was chosen as President, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the LDS Church. Spencer W. Kimball and Ezra Taft Benson were different in their views of how the American Indian, would be treated in the Mormon, now known as LDS, Church. To give you a perspective of the thoughts at the time, below is a little bit of the history of Spencer W. Kimball and Ezra Taft Benson on how they treated American Indians.
It use to be taught and told that Spencer W. Kimball was born and raised in his early childhood in Mexico in an LDS community that was started there. Spencer W. Kimbal also had lived with a Navajo family on the Navajo Reservation (now Nation), and considered many Navajos in Salt Lake City and on the Navajo reservation, close respected friends. During his Mormon Presidency, Brigham Young University (BYU) had grown in the number of American Indians attending to be ranked number 1 or 2 in the nation having between 900 to 1800 American Indians attending BYU each academic year. His respect was shown when he unexpectantly attended and congratulated the marriage of Marilyn Paul, daughter of former Bishop Frank Paul (Navajo), who had been Bishop of a 1960s Lamanite Ward in Salt Lake City. This was special since the Paul family had become inactive LDS members and hadn't attended an LDS church for a couple of years.
Ezra Taft Benson had been U.S. Secretary to Agriculture under the U.S. President Dwight D. Einsenhower and made negative contributions to American Indians in the LDS Church. Under his Mormon Presidency, Ezra phased out and help bring an end to the Mormon Church's Indian Placement Program which helped Mormon American Indians known as "Lamanites", mostly Navajos, attend excellent public schools in Utah and assimilate them into the Mormon culture. Under Ezra's approval, BYU ended its BYU Indian Education Department and American Indians Services (AIS) program housed in the Brimhall building (known as "Fort Brimhall" by some American Indians) at Brigham Young University. The Indian Education Department and AIS were a unique program for U.S. universities. It purpose was to only help American Indians succeed at BYU. BYU did not have a program for any other ethnic American group only for American Indians. At the time, U.S. universities had programs designed to help Black Americans, and Hispanic Americans, but not for American Indians or Asians. American Indians were mostly forgotten by almost all other U.S. universities. At Fort Brimhall, American Indian tutors were hired in Chemistry and Math under Professors specially housed in Brimhall. American Indians had their own Study Hall, a large room about 20 feet by 40 feet long specifically arrange to study. Pictures of "Miss Indian BYU" were placed around the walls in the Study Hall room. There were Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English, Sociology, and Math Professors specially housed in Brimhall to teach introductory courses to make the success rate of the American Indian at BYU greater. American Indian students also were hired to work 5, 10, or 20 hours per week, as Research Assistants for Biology and as Administrative Assistants in the Brimhall American Indian offices. Almost every American Indian received a stipend of a hundred to a few hundred dollars a week as part of their financial aid or scholarship at Fort Brimhall. This all ended under Ezra Taft Benson's presidency. Now BYU doesn't even rank for the number of American Indians it has, and now most American Indians don't even consider BYU when searching for a college or university as Arizona State University, University of Arizona, New Mexico State University, or the University of New Mexico.
Under Ezra Taft Benson's presidency there was the elimination of the LDS Church's Indian Committee, termination of Indian Seminary teachers, faltering of missionary work on Indian reservations by pulling missionaries off Indian reservations and moving the "Holbrook Mission" headquarters from Holbrook to Phoenix, Arizona. Active Lamanites realized that the Mormon church had changed, that Spencer W. Kimballs spirit was not that of Ezra Taft Benson, and this rejection caused great Lamanite inactivity such that today active Lamanite member participation in just Sunday service is very small.
Also realize, Mormons at this time considered American Indians as "Lamanite" and that the "Book of Mormons" was the true culture and character of what the American Indians was and that this is how he should be or look forward to as a Mormon American Indian. Mormons of this time actually considered the American Indians as a descendent from Laman and Lemuel, who had been cursed with a dark skin, who defeated the descendants of Nephite, the righteous brother, whose descendants had white skin. According to the "Book of Mormon", Laman, Lemuel, and Nephite came from Jerusalem by ship, landed in America, conquered and destroyed all the descendants of Nephite, and populated America. Mormon culture of the time considered the American Indian as the "Lost Tribe of Israel", and that if he was righteous that, according to the "Book of Mormon" of that time (some original words of the "Book of Mormon" have now been modified), that the Mormon American Indian (Lamanite) shall "blossom as a rose" and that their skin and race shall become "a white and delightsome people" (now written as "a pure and delightsome people").
3. The Excommunication of George P. Lee
Under this condition, George P. Lee and Ezra Taft Benson were in opposition of how the American Indian was to be considered in the Mormon church. George P. Lee wrote and said many things about the Mormon Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, Ezra Taft Benson on how American Indians should be as Mormons. Months earlier George had given the LDS authorities a hand written 15 page letter for neglecting or cutting back long standing programs designed to help the American Indian. His letter consisted of an introductory statement and 2 lists of questions and accusations, the first number "a" through "w", and the second "1" through "51", followed by a plea for understanding and acceptance. George spoke of the anti-Indian feeling among the Anglo leaders of the church and individual hostility toward him. He citied specifically that he had been on "probation" in an informal way, without the kind of procedures that would have been used for the Twelve Apostles, and "stripped of all assignments." Even after the probation supposedly ended, he said he had still not been allowed again to organize stakes, which showed a continuing lack of trust rather than a return to full status. He felt that the way he had been treated showed a lack of mercy and an inappropriate exercise of power. He also felt that his "spiritual gifts" he had were rejected and their results labeled as false doctrine. The letter closed with a plea for reconciliation, for an end to the restraints on him. It pledged his loyalty and willingness to go forward in spite of continued feelings that he had been ill treated. George P. Lee had not got the response he had hoped for and suffered increased feelings of isolation. In a newspaper interview at the time of his excommunication, he said he had landed in trouble for questioning Church leadership "two years ago," or about the fall of 1987.
In a second letter read to the President and Quorum of Twelve Apostles, a complicated theological reasoning was given that the true Israel included Jews, Lamanites, and the lost Ten Tribes. According to George, most Church members were Gentiles who through their baptism became "adopted" children of Israel. George quoted the Book of Mormon as predicting that after Israel rejected the gospel the Gentiles would receive it and bring it back to Israel, but that the ultimate responsibility in the Kingdom would be upon Israel, with the believing Gentiles (adopted into the House of Israel) assisting them to build the New Jerusalem in preparation for Christ's return.
It was basic to George that "adopted Israel" never displace those who are literal descendants of Israel in fulfilling their tribal responsibility. Lee, however, stated that individual salvation was the same for all members regardless of descent, but that they differed in their assignments. In a passage frequently quoted by the press, George said: "While physical extermination may have been one of Federal governments policies long ago, your current scriptural and spiritual extermination of Indians and other Lamanites is the greater sin and great shall be your condemnation for this. . . . I cannot be a party to this kind of teaching which runs counter to the Lord's instructions in the scriptures."
Lee said the Church leaders' sins led to feelings of white supremacy and a neglect of Lamanites and other people of color. He accused the Brethren of "pride, arrogance, and unrighteous dominion and control which encourages priesthood abuse, induces fear and produces forced obedience." He chided them for their love of power, status, money, and for covering up their sins and for having "no sense of responsibility to the poor." "The well-to-do seemed to get all the important assignments and callings," he elaborated. "Every weekend all we do is rub shoulders with the active or well-to-do while neglecting the poor who need our help the most."
On September 1, 1989, Mormon leaders announced that George P. Lee had been excommunicated for "apostasy and other conduct unbecoming a member of the church." His excommunication was the first of a General Authority to occur in 46 years, when in 1943, Apostle Richard R. Lyman was excommunicated for adultery and unlawful cohabitation, but was rebaptized 11 years later.
According to George, the action stemmed from his disagreement with the other church leaders over the role of the American Indians in the Mormon faith and from other charges he had presented a second hand written 23 page hand written letter to Ezra Taft Benson, the 90 year old Church President, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, addressed as "To the First Presidency and the Twelve". Specifically, when Ezra became a Church President, Ezra ended the Church's Indian Placement Program, which George cited as a key to his personal development. George argued that Benson was not treating LDS American Indian in a way that previous Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball would have approved. According to the Salt Lake Tribune (September 10, 1989, page 14B)
"After reading in person a 23-page letter detailing his concerns, Lee said he was astounded at the speed with which he was ousted. Within in minutes, two officials came to his office and told him to turn over all church property, including a credit card and a signed pass with which faithful Mormons gain entry to their temples. 'I was stripped of everything,' said Lee ... 'It was just absolutely cold.'"
For weeks after the excommuncation, with scant information coming from the Brethern, members wondered why the Brethern just didn't release Brother Lee from his position. The LDS Church did not publicly respond to George P. Lee's letter or his public comments. It has been said that the LDS Church's policy was not to publicize the details of an excommunicant's behavior which brought about the disciplinary action.
4. The Media
In his interviews with the press immediately after his excommunication, Lee predicted that another American Indian would shortly be named as a General Authority "so they can continue to look good." He said he would advise his two sons to complete their LDS missions. He said he had no intention of recruiting his own following and discouraged disillusioned Church members from leaving the faith.
In response, Associated Press reporter Vern Anderson produced a wire story which was carried in newspapers across the nation, announcing the excommunication and quoting from Lee's letters. For its Friday afternoon edition, the Church-owned Deseret News rushed a brief front-page boxed announcement.
KUTV reporter Rod Decker was able to interview Lee for his news spots, as was KTVX. However, at the Church-owned KSL-TV, coverage of the story caused a major war between its journalists and the management. Originally, KSL was instructed by a representative of the First Presidency to simply report (read) the First Presidency's short announcement without any embellishment, including any contextual information such as general biographical facts such as Lee's position, length of service, Indian heritage, etc. Throughout the afternoon KSL reporters protested with no effect and forty minutes before air time both news anchors and other staff decided to walk off the set unless they were allowed to report the story according to their journalistic standards. After the AP wire story with Lee's interview appeared, a high-level meeting was called and it was decided to allow the station to go with the story. When approval was finally given, KSL contacted Lee several times to do a live interview (and had a remote broadcasting truck in his neighborhood if he consented), but Lee refused saying he didn't think KSL could be objective. KSL reporters regret they can never again say that they have "never had direct interference from Church officials."
Throughout the afternoon and the night Deseret News flip-flopped on how the story would be reported in its Saturday morning edition. Initially, Elder James Faust, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, instructed the paper to simply run the Church's announcement without a headline. Later President Gordon Hinckley, counselor in the First Presidency, told them to do what you have to do with the story. Although the Church was not commenting on the excommunication, senior officials at the paper had obtained from General Authorities quotes which they wanted attributed to Church spokesperson Bruce Olsen. In a humorous situation, when the News reporter called Olsen on the story and he said he had nothing to say, she replied, "Oh, but let me tell you what you've already said" and then she read him her quotes. Reportedly, he chuckled and replied, "I'm speechless."
In spite of the involvement of Church leaders, the Deseret News covered the story very similar to the Salt Lake Tribune, with the exception of its headline. Reportedly, the News's headline was originally "Lee Accuses the leaders of being racially biased," but sometime during the night an editor switched the headline with the subhead which was based on an Olsen "quote" so the final headline read "LDS Church affirms love for Indians," quite a contrast to the Tribune's "Mormon Officials Excommunicate General Authority."
Surprisingly, with less excuse than the News, the Tribune chose not to run the story on A-1, but put it on the cover of its Saturday morning State/Local B section (as did the News). Of the Wastach Front newspapers, Ogden's Standard-Examiner provided the most extensive coverage with a front-page banner headline, and side-bar stories on LDS excommunication, the Navajo/LDS culture clash, the reaction of Ogden citizens and Lee's friends and family members (shock and surprise), and Lee's Deseret Book published biography, Silent Courage (the 9th printing came off the press the week of the excommunication and Deseret Book Stores plan to continue to carry it).
Although reporters did not like being only able to report Lee's side of the story, which he aggressively promoted, during the first week both Salt Lake papers seemed overly-timid about doing follow-up articles on the story's issues and those raised by Lee in the long list of questions (over 75) he presented to the Church leaders. Obvious issues include the apparent ineffectiveness and termination of numerous BYU and Church Indian programs and services, the response of LDS Indians to Lee's criticisms and his excommunication, and critiques by LDS theologians of Lee's Lamanite theology, the crux of his dissent.
A week later in the next issue of the Church News (the paper is included in Saturday's Deseret News but is printed earlier), the excommunication was announced prominently on page 3 with a photograph of Lee and the headline "Disciplinary action taken Sept. 1 against General Authority." The seven-paragraph story reported the Church's official statement, Bruce Olsen's no-comment comment and affirmation of the Church's care for Indians, a biographical paragraph of Lee, and, surprising to some, a candid paragraph summarizing Lee's now public criticisms. The next day, Sunday, A.P. reporter Vern Anderson had a follow-up story which reported that Lee had gone to the mountains for a month-long spiritual retreat. "It's the way of my people," he said. "My father would take me to a mountaintop and we'd communicate with the Great Spirit. I was more spiritual then than I am now."
Anderson also reported on the Navajo reaction. In response to a letter by Romero Brown, an LDS Bishop in a Navajo ward in Window Rock, Arizona, Elders Russell Ballard and H. Burke Peterson, an Apostle and a Seventy, traveled to speak to the Indians there and also in Shiprock, New Mexico. Reportedly, they reiterated the promise that God would not allow prophet to lead the Church astray. "Generally they said it was not the Church's fault and that it was due to George losing his testimony" said one Navajo. "They are trying to nip it in the bud, but at the end we are all somewhat confused."
Elder Peterson apparently tried unsuccessfully to address Lee's doctrinal question on lineage by quoting Joseph Smith that at baptism a Gentile's blood is literally changed to that of the House of Israel. "I think a lot of people left disoriented on that question," one Navajo reported.
Church leaders continue to decline press invitations to comment, citing Church policy against divulging details of disciplinary actions. However, in a Melchizedek Priesthood Leadership Session at a Regional Conference in Washington, D.C., President Thomas Monson reportedly said that it was only after long-suffering with Lee, who would not stop speaking in public about his ideas, that they had to turn to excommunication.
Perhaps the Church would have preferred that Lee didn't make his private letters public -- to have had their announcement the only available statement -- but in the weeks following the event as the scanty knowledge of it grew, it appeared that the more an LDS person became familiar and even sympathetic with some of Lee's criticisms, the more saddened they were by the outcome. Most recognizing that they only had Lee's side of the story, trusted that the Brethren reluctantly made the decision only after all other options were exhausted. Still, given the known facts many asked, "Why couldn't he have just been released?"
In any event, with or without the help of the press and Church leaders, Navajo Latter-day Saints have been processing the ramifications of George P. Lee's excommunication and their holding on to their Mormon faith.
A comment made by a former Indian Placement Program student might be able to sum it up thus:
"I heard Elder Lee speak eloquently about the gospel once at a fireside attended largely by the Native American students at the university. I went with my boyfriend at the time, a Hopi. Elder Lee spoke about his life on the res, and told the students that their tribal religions were not the true religion, that the church was true. Many of the students were offended, but I said a silent 'Amen.' I heard later that he'd been excommunicated, the story here in southern Utah was that he'd gotten into a fight with (not a fist fight) Elder Packer, he'd been offended and apostasized. There were also allegations of adultery and I think he was charged with molesting someone. He came to the university a few years after that and spoke about depression in a convocation lecture. He was a different man, he was wandering rambling, he didn't have a clear message and really it wasn't a good speech. Very sad."
5. The George P. Lee Letters
Copies of the following two letters from George P. Lee to the LDS church leadership were also given to the press on the morning following his disciplinary hearing where he was excommunicated. The first letter was written several months earlier, the second George had read to the council at his disciplinary (excommunication) hearing on September 1, 1989. Both letters were hand-written and contain spelling and other grammatical errors made in presumably the overnight rush or in the heat of emotion to produce them. The 2 letters shown below were transcribed exactly as written with no editing or corrections.
The First letter (Undated but occurred about Fall 1987)
To the First Presidency and the Twelve
After consulting with the Lord and with him guiding my thoughts and hand, may I please speak with you in the spirit of love via this letter. I hope and pray that you will take the time to listen with your heart and read the whole letter.
The feelings expressed are genuine and sincere and were not spawned out of bitterness nor rebellion although I may be justified in doing so.
I speak unto you not just for myself but for all of my people the Lamanites as well as the Jews and the Lost Ten tribes. I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust for those that have died and moved on into the spirit world.
Like my father Nephi of old, I pray continually for my people and mine eyes have watered my pillow by night because of them and I cry unto my Heavenly Father in faith and I know that he will hear my cry.
I glory in the plainess and simplicity of the restored gospel. I glory in truth and will defend it at any cost. I glory in my Heavenly Father. I glory in my Jesus for he hath redeemed my soul. I have charity for my people. I have charity for the Gentiles. I have charity for all the children of God.
The question "Do you think President Kimball approves of your action?" has been asked of me by one of you and I would like to respond to your inquiry with the following questions.
My beloved Brethren, I feel that I am in good standing with President Kimball, especially with the Lord and Lehi. I am crying out to you. I need your full trust, confidence, and unconditional love. I feel like the only person who completely trusted me was President Kimball. I feel that some of you do not have the best of feelings towards me. To me you are not a true disciple or an apostle of the Lord if you refuse to let go of your hostility or unkind feelings towards me or some other person. The spirit of the Lord will not always strive with you if you harbor any such ill feelings.
I do not appreciate being treated like a criminal and being punished as one. I felt more like your enemy than a fellow general authority. There was a time when defending the truth was applauded but today it seems that those who are honest in their feelings, those who are strong in their convictions, those who truly stand up for what's right are either severely ridiculed or excommunicated. What has gone wrong with us?
I do not mind being chastised or disciplined if its done the Lord's way. True obedience can only be taught and learned in an atmosphere of full trust, confidence and love. Any discipline less than this is not of God and forced obedience will be taught.
I did not appreciate the labels or names that have been thrown my way such as "apostate" "rebellious" "sick" "crazy" "listening to the wrong voice" "speaking against leadership" "dark clouds over your head" and etc. I guess these labels were a little easier to endure when I know that even the Son of God, our Savior was ridiculed with similar names including Him being called "possessed by the devil." When the going got tough even his closest friends abandon him.
I thought some of you were my friends but I guess not because when the going got tough for me you ran from me and would have nothing to do with me, to protect your own position and selfish interests.
Brethren I need your warm handshakes and warm smiles. I need your compliments. I need your support, respect and prayers. I need "nursing" fathers and mothers, I need a good Samaritan for I have been woulded mentally and psychologically and emotionally as well as spiritually. I do not need your arrows, spears and stones in the form of disdain, snobbery, ridicule, rejection and conditional selective love.
Why do you continue to ridicule me for my spiritual gifts? I sincerely feel that one of my special spiritual gifts is that of knowing the mysteries of God. Please read Alma 12:9-11. You have spiritual gifts too but you don't see me ridiculing you for your special talents and gifts.
Please don't harden your hearts against me because of this spiritual gift and charge me with teaching false doctrine. Whatever you charge me with you will also charge the Lamanites, Jews, and the Lost Ten tribes. If you reject me you also reject them as well as the God of Israel even Jesus Christ--great shall be your condemnation. Again let me express my total and complete support, trust, respect and love for each of you. I have never in the past publicly criticize or ridicule any of you. If I have any complaint against any of you, I will come directly to you as I had tried to do with this letter which is directed to you as a group.
No matter what you may think or what you might have been toldor heard, the fact remains that I have always sustained you, defended you and stood up for you while out in the field on assignments.
As I have repeatedly told you, I sustain you as apostles and prophets. I desire only to be one with you as the Father and Son are one. I desire only to be of one mind and of one heart with you. We need to be one. If we are not we are not worthy to be his disciples.
We need to get our act together before the spirit of the Lord is grieved and before the Lord says amen to our priesthood and authority as he did the Nephites. I believe our fate is very similar to the Nephites unless we can turn it around only upon the principles of righteousness (Read 3 Nephi 16:10-11).
I have always cherished and held in high esteem all of my assignments and responsibilities and will hope and pray that the probation will be lifted soon and that I shall receive all of my assignments back, this time with no strings attached. I want to be treated fairly and as an equal with full fellowship among the Brethren and as an equal with full trust, respect, confidence and unconditional love.
Brethren, please, no more playing games. The probation serves no purpose at all. If only teachs forced obedience and causes resentments and hostility. Again obedience without full trust and charity is not of God.
I am asking for your complete unconditional Christlike love and I will execute all of my assignments without any more problems for the rest of my life. My problem has been you. I have been hurt deeply by your lack of confidence, trust, love and faith in me. I will accept any assignment and will go anywhere, anytime faithfully if I only knew you had complete trust and confidence in me. I'll even go back to Australia, to Phillipines, to China, to Russia, just anywhere if I knew you had complete Christlike love for me.
I am not even concerned or worried about the fact that our Lamanite report card is not very good. I will let the Lord be the judge of that aspect of the work. If we are guilty then we will receive his anger and wrath.
I am not even concerned or extra worried about your apparent hostility and hatred towards me. It is your problem and I will let the Lord be the judge of that and he will hold you accountable. No apostle or any servant of God should ever entertain "Big I and little you" feeling towards anyone. Servants of God who are unapproachable, insensitive, and unforgiving are only putting shame upon the holy priesthood of God.
We do not have the priesthood for self-aggrandizement or to be used to oppress anyone. There is no priesthood of God that authorizes any one man to oppress another or to intrude upon his rights in any way. We ought to be a big brother and friend to one another.
Brethren this work is a never-ending work which we have taken upon ourselves. It will never terminate until this earth shall be redeemed, until the power of Satan shall be subdued, until wickedness shall be banished from the earth, until Christ shall reign, whose right it is to reign, and until every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, I so testify in his name. Amen! Elder Lee -------------------------------------------
The Second Letter (Read September 1, 1989 at Lee's Disciplinary (Excommunication) Hearing)
To the First Presidency and the Twelve.
After consulting with the Lord and with him guiding my thoughts and hand, may I please speak with you in the spirit of love via this letter, I hope and pray that you will listen with your heart and with the spirit.
The feelings expressed are genuine and sincere and were not spawned out of bitterness nor rebellion although I may be justified in doing so.
I speak unto you not just for myself but for all the Lamanites, the Jews and the Lost Ten Tribes, Like my Father Nephi of old, I pray continually for my people and mine eyes have watered my pillow by night because of them and I cry unto my Heavenly Father in faith and I know that he will hear my cry.
Like my people in the Book of Mormon I glory in plainess and simplicity of the restored gospel. I glory in truth and will defend it at any cost. I glory in my Heavenly Father. I glory in my Jesus for he hath redeemed my soul. I have charity for my people. I have charity for the Gentiles. I have charity for all the children of God.
Brethren the Lord makes it very clear in the scriptures as to who the Gentiles are and who Israel is. There are only two groups of people throughout the world. Each person on earth belongs to one or the other. A Gentile is a stranger or Foreigner to the House of Israel. The true definition of a Gentile is anyone who is not a literal or true seed of Israel. But a Gentile can be numbered among House of Israel through baptism and thereby become "adopted Israel" and receive his blessings through Ephraim but he does not become Literal or true seed of Ephraim.
Therefore any Gentile who is numbered or adopted into Israel can still be referred to as a Gentile so that a distinction can be made as to what group has been charged with the gospel after true Israel rejects the gospel and crucifies Christ.
If this were not so, then how could True Israel reject Christ and the gospel and at the same time receive it again? Israel cannot reject and receive at the same time. How can Ephraim reject the gospel and receive it again at the same time? This is against God's plan and design.
His wonderful plan as outlined in the scriptures is to have the Gentiles or "adopted Israel" to receive the restored gospel after Israel's rejection. If everybody is Israel then who are the Gentiles who suppose to receive the restored gospel and take it to Israel?
One's salvation or exaltation does not depend on whether one is an "adopted Israel" or a literal seed of Israel. Eternal life with God will depend on one's own faithfulness and righteousness.
The designation "adopted Israel or Gentile and literal seed of Israel" only becomes important when distinguishing which group has the Abrahamic covenant or to put it simply "who has the priesthood assignment to bless the whole world with the gospel?". Only one of the two groups has the priesthood assignment to bless all human families throughout the world.
Do the Gentiles or "adopted Israel" have the mission to bless the whole world with the gospel. I think not, at least not totally. They will assist true Israel in accomplishing this mission but I do not believe they will have "front seat" leadership role in it.
As the Lord Jesus clearly states throughout 3rd Nephi the Gentiles or "adopted Israel" will also "assist" true Israel in the building of New Jerusalem and the building of the temple in the New Jerusalem in preparation for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel's assignment to bless all the human families throughout the world includes the building of the New Jerusalem and temples in New and Old Jerusalem.
In a sense, the New Jerusalem will become missionary training center out of which 144,000 Israelite missionaries will emerge, 12,000 from each tribe with the Gentiles or adopted Israel in the assisting role.
Both Israel and Gentiles or "adopted Israel" have divine roles to play in this the last dispensation of the fullness of times. Each must understand it's role or else there will be great confusion, chaos and misunderstandings. It's an honor to be a Gentile or adopted Israel. It is nothing to be ashamed of. God does not love or favor Israel more nor does he love Gentiles more than Israel. The important and vital question or issue at hand is: who has the ultimate priesthood assignment to bless the whole world with the gospel?
This priesthood assignment was given in the pre-mortal life and one group was charged with this sacred and divine responsibility. On earth this particular group became known as the House of Israel. This group gave leadership to advancing the gospel on earth from the time of Adam up to and including crucifixion of Christ, the killing off of the original Israelite twelve apostles and the Nephites. Then Israel crucified Christ and rejected His gospel. Apostasy and the dark ages came and went.
Since the Gentiles did not crucify Christ and since they did not reject His gospel, God in His mercy and compassion, gave great blessings to the Gentiles. Their blessings included:
ALL OF THESE BLESSINGS EXTENDED TO THE GENTILES OR "ADOPTED ISRAEL" WERE ONLY ON THE PRINCIPLES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
My Beloved Brethren, I am afraid that you as Gentiles or "adopted Israel" have forgotten your blessings and the divine sacred role you were to play. I am afraid that the same thing that has happened to the Nephites is happening to you. I feel sad for you and have nothing but compassion for you.
Didn't the Nephites had all the blessings of the gospel, priesthood and authority? But look what happened to them?
Wasn't pride the Killer of the Nephites?
Didn't their pride exceeded the pride of the world? Wasn't arrogance a close second and a close companion of pride?
Do you think it is possible to have a similar pattern developing among you?
Weren't the Nephites past hearing, past feeling, past listening and past teachableness.
Doesn't pride and arrogance do all the talking and none of the listening?
Do they usually reject advice and refuse to be taught?
Doesn't pride stubbornly refuses to change its mind when it knows its wrong?
Didn't the Nephites control and exercise unrighteous dominion on each other and gave out punishment without mercy, fair play and fair hearing?
Didn't they develop man-made and man-inspired practices, procedures and traditions which created an environment where love of control, love of power, love of status, love of money flourishes so that faith, compassion, empathy and spirituality are diminished?
Do you think it possible that these types of man-inspired rules and practices encourages the blending of world prominence with spiritual prominence and thus produce the seeking of the praises of man instead of praises of God?
Didn't the Lord finally said amen to their priesthood and authority and closed the heavens on them?
In third Nephi Chapter Sixteen verses ten and eleven, the Lord outlines your destiny if you do not repent. May I read please:
"And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel and shall reject the fullness of my gospel and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations and above all the people of the whole earth and shall be filled with all manner of lyings and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy and murders, and priestcrafts and whoredoms, and of secret combinations and if they shall do all those things and shall reject the fullness of my gospel behold saith the Father, I will bring the fullness of my gospel from among them.
And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them." (3 Nephi 16:10-11)
Brethren, I feel a deep compassion for you and a grave concern for you.
I feel that you are sinning against God. I feel that your sinning against and rejection of the fullness of the gospel have already taken place and is in process. For the following reasons:
You have shoved true Israel out of his own home or house and have given great importance and status to your own role as Ephraim while at the same time diminishing the role of true Israel. This has resulted in great confusion, misinterpretations and misunderstandings of the scriptures as they relate to Gentiles and Israel.
Because of this Gentiles or "adopted Israel" have set themselves up as true Ephraimites with little or no obligation or sense of responsibility to the Lamanites and other true seed of Israel. This kind of teaching runs counter to the instructions of the Lord Jesus and collides with the will of God. I cannot be a party to this type of policy or doctrine. It is not God's but man-inspired It is getting to the point where every Gentile that is baptized is told and taught that he is literal seed of Ephraim unless he is a Jew, Indian or Black. This type of teaching encourages an attitude of superior race, white supremacy, racist attitude, pride, arrogance, love of power, and no sense obligation to the poor, needy and afflicted.
"And it came to pass that the angel of the Lord spake unto me saying Behold, saith the Lamb of God, after I have visited the remnant of the House of Israel--and this remnant of whom I speak is the seed of thy Father (Lehi)." (I Nephi 13:34)
According to the Lord Jesus' definition the "remnant of the House of Israel" means Lamanites or children of Lehi not all members of the church. I cannot be a party to anything less than this. I cannot be a party to false teaching, teachings which are man-inspired.
You are teaching members to teach from the Book of Mormon and at the same time downplay their role in the Book of Mormon. You are teaching that today's Lamanites are descendants of wicked evil Lamanites in the Book of Mormon. The truth is the Lamanites Today are descendants of both Nephites and Lamanites--therefore they carry the Blood of Mormon, Moroni, Nephi, Lehi and other great Book of Mormon prophets in their veins today.
You are Loving the Indians and other Lamanites at a distance and have no sense of responsibility to them because you displaced them and set yourself up as Epraim more superior to the Lamanites and thus you are telling the Lamanites that you are No. 1 and they are second class. You are trying to take their place in their divine roles and assignments.
You are turning your backs on them and would rather not be "nursing fathers and mothers"
You are slowly causing a silent subtle scriptural and spiritual slaughter of the Indians and other Lamanites.
While physical extermination may have been one of Federal government's policies long ago but your current scriptural and spiritual extermination of Indians and other Lamanites is the greater sin and great shall be your condemnation for this.
You are still harboring hostility and ill feelings towards Indians and other Lamanites even after the Lord's commandments to gather them and be nursing fathers and mothers to them. In short, you betraying and turning your backs on the very people on whom your own salvation hangs. I cannot be a party to this kind of teaching which runs counter to the Lord's instructions in the scriptures.
I am not sure how many of us would really do the Lord's work if we were not being paid.
It is our nature and disposition that as soon as we get a little authority as we suppose we begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
6. Sexual Molestation of a Child
It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. -
It is a truth, a melancholy truth, that the good things which men do are often buried in the ground and forgot, while their evil deeds are stripped naked and proclaimed to the world. - Meskwaki Chief Black Thunder
In 1993, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that 50 year old George P. Lee had sexually molested a minor girl who had been a friend of the Lee family in 1989, and this may be one of the reasons for Elder Lee's excommunication. Responding to a reporter after his excommunication, Lee specifically denied that the excommunication was for "moral misconduct." George said "Mormon officials had accused him of polygamy and 'immorality,'" both of which he denied. When those charges didn't stick, George said that they then accused him of "apostasy". In 1993 when criminal charges were filed against Lee, a Church spokesman said "they were unaware at the time (of the excommunication) of the sexual-abuse allegations." Despite the Church's silence and Lee's denial, it was not impossible that allegations of sexual misconduct were known among the other General Authorities, for simultaneously with the period of probation and the pattern of intensifying ostracism of Elder Lee, George might have turned to children for sexual gratification and might have been doing so since at least 1986, about 3 years before his excommunication.
According to newspaper accounts spanning the time period between the filing of charges and Lee's plea bargain, there may have been additional victims. A story published two days after he was charged states: "Other possible victims are alluded to in the report, but officials say that for now, only incidents involving the l2-year-old will be prosecuted." A second newspaper story quoted sheriffs officials as saying "others allegedly have made similar allegations against Lee." A third news story, published in May 1994, reported that Lee's attorney had filed a motion "asking the judge to exclude "any evidence of other misconduct or bad acts concerning defendant's sisters-in-law ... for the reason that said incidents, even if true, are irrelevant." The motion did not elaborate on the "misconduct or bad acts."
The Utah prosecutor filed first degree felony charges on George P. Lee. The sexually abused girl told police that Elder Lee had fondled her while she visited Lee's daughter at Lee's West Jordan, Utah home and during official LDS conference trips to Arizona, Canada, and Lake Powell when he was Quorum of the Seventy General Authority, from the time she was 9 years old until she was 12 years old. Excommunicated Elder George P. Lee was Principal of the Tuba City High School in Arizona when he was charged with the sexual molestation. According to David Sanders, Lee's attorney, George Lee "was a good friend to the family for years and assisted them financially." The girl testified that she knew he was a "a religious leader" and considered "Brother Lee" a family friend and important man in the Mormon Church, of which she is a member. Prosecutors had filed the charge as a first-degree felony because George had occupied a position of special trust to the victim as a religious leader and because the incidents were said to have occurred more than five times."
Beginning in 1986 when she was nine, she says, she accompanied Lee's family to Lake Powell. In the motel, Lee lay down on the bed between his daughter and the abused girl and began "'telling us stories and scratching our backs."' Then he "'put his hand inside my panties, on my buttocks," the abused girl testified. After that incident, Lee "called her into the bathroom. 'He told me that I shouldn't tell anyone because the Lord had told him to do it and it should just remain between the Lord and him and me. I thought it was what I was supposed to do."' She sometimes gave excuses to avoid visiting the Lee home and tried to stay with Lee's daughter when she was there because she "felt safer." The girl also accompanied Lee and his daughter on church assignments outside Utah where he also fondled her.
At some unspecified point, the girl's family moved to Phoenix. Then during the summer of 1989, Lee came to her home while he was on a church assignment and offered to take her and a brother back to Utah for a month-long vacation with his family. The month in question is not reported in the newspaper accounts; but since the girl accompanied Lee and his daughter to a conference assignment, at least part of it must have been in either June or August, since General Authorities are on vacation during the month of July. In either case, Lee was within weeks, and possibly within days, of excommunication.
During that trip, she went camping with the Lee family. Lee disappeared for a day and a night, then returned and brought her, her brother, and two of his children back to their West Jordan home. That night, he called the girl into his bedroom and had her sit on his bed. He told her that he had hiked to the top of a nearby mountain where he spoke "to the Lord and he told the Lord he'd fallen in love with me ... I was confused and taken aback about him speaking to the Lord and the Lord saying it was OK." Lee then began talking to her "about polygamy. "He said that it was going to be brought back to the Earth and we'd be asked to live it." She left the bedroom and went downstairs to the bedroom she was sharing with Lee's daughter. Unable to sleep, she returned later to Lee's bedroom, woke him up, and said, "I don't want my father to have to take another wife." He said, "You don't have to worry about it. He won't have to." Lee then told her to lie beside him and caressed her breasts. Frightened, she left the room and returned to her bed, where she fell asleep. Still later that night, Lee woke her up and said "he was sorry he'd ever started touching me and that he'd never do it again."
However, "almost every day" for the month, he continued the fondling: in her friend's bedroom, in the family room, in the pool at the Deseret Gym, on a Heber Creeper train ride, and in hotels when they traveled to Canada. She testified later that there were "more than 20 touching incidents" that month.
Once as Lee wrestled with his daughter and Karen, he playfully held a pillow over his daughter's face with one hand, kissed Karen's neck, and put his hand down her pants.
However, after that month-long visit, the abuse ended. On 1 September 1989, Lee was excommunicated and did not see sexually abused girl again. He disappeared for 4 months in the Southwest. "I isolated myself like Moses did. ... I had a real nice time going one-on-one with God," he explained in an interview when he returned in early 1990. He found a job as principal of Tuba City High School in Arizona, while his wife and children remained in West Jordan.
In 1990, he became the running mate of former Navajo tribal chair Peter MacDonald. After a scandal forced MacDonald to drop out, Lee launched a write-in campaign that drew 11,000 votes and placed him third in the election. His success encouraged him to plan a 1993 campaign for tribal presidency.
Then in November 1992, the abused girl dreamed Lee was chasing her through a forest. "I was getting scareder and scareder. He was getting closer and closer," she described it. The next morning, she told her parents. They reported the abuse to the Utah Department of Family Services. According to Sheriffs Deputy Rod Norton, "The FBI and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assisted with the investigation" and the sheriffs report was filed in January 1993. Actual charges against Lee were not filed until Thursday, 29 July 1993. He was charged in Third Circuit Court with aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony that carries a sentence of five years to life in prison.
When charges were filed on excommunicated Elder George P. Lee, George denied the charge. Lee, who was Principal of Tuba City High School in Arizona when the charges were filed, promptly "negotiated a deal with school officials to resign in exchange for six or seven months of pay," and returned to Utah to surrender himself. Bail was set at $1,500, and he was released under orders to have contact with no one under eighteen and only supervised contact with his five children under eighteen. Because three other boys were staying with the family, he was required to find temporary living arrangements. Lee described himself as "confused by the charges" and claimed that he "was never alone with the girl." According to Sanders "the girl fabricated the incidents" and "my client says he is absolutely innocent."
Lee's wife Katherine stood beside him as he made his statement to the press and accompanied him to court with nine children. She expressed the family's support: "We love him very much. He's been my husband for almost 26 years now. He'd tell me if he'd done something wrong, and he says he's innocent." She expressed concern about the expense of defending against the charges and worried that they might have to sell their home.
On Friday, 30 July, the Tuba City Unified School Board, which had renewed his contract for a year in June, "reneged" on their deal with Lee, according to Sanders, voting to dismiss him "for cause." One unidentified board member commented, "He's been disappointing to a number of us," but a prepared statement by the board stated: "The district has no knowledge considering the truth of the allegations against Dr. Lee or the facts of those allegations ... In addition, the district has no information which would lead it to believe that conduct similar to that alleged against Dr. Lee in Utah ever took place in Arizona." In addition to being fired, Lee also lost his chance for the tribal presidency. Poised to announce his candidacy in August 1993, he lost in the primary election after criminal charges were filed.
After his first court appearance and processing for bail in early August 1993, Lee issued a statement that he was "innocent before God. ... This is my Garden of Gethsemane, and my people have gone through a lot of Gardens of Gethsemane. ... What I'm going through is really nothing new for my people. ... This is a trial in the valley for all of us, but the Great Spirit will help us." He predicted that "what's happening to me may be a turning point for Indian people" and claimed, "This will trigger some great and powerful things. Get ready, get prepared spiritually and any other way. ... The Great Spirit is about to bless you with some great things. ... This also, I feel will set in motion a chain of events which will bring the anger and wrath of God against the Gentile nations. The perpetrators or those who are doing this to me and my Indian people will be dealt with and punished by God. ... They cannot get away with this. ... I will overcome this one for myself, for my family and for (the Indian people)."
On August 13, 1993, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that, "Former Mormon general authority George P. Lee said God will bring 'calamities and judgments' upon those who have accused him of child sex abuse ... Mr. Lee compared his plight with the persecution of Jesus Christ. 'We all have peaks and valleys,' he said. 'This is my valley, my Garden of Gethsemane.'"
His attorney, who had recommended against speaking to the press, said "he did not know who his client was specifically referring to, but suggested: "He identifies himself often with a lot of problems Indian people have. Indian people oftentimes have been treated unfairly or accused falsely and have been persecuted like he is now, but not necessarily for this particular crime."
Lee refused to explain the "wonderful events," the "wrath of God against the Gentile nations" or whom he meant by "the perpetrators." He also "declined to answer a question about whether sexual improprieties played a role in his excommunication."
Katherine Lee, who was present with the children at the press conference, told reporters that Lee "loves children and has always taken them on trips. It's always a huge group. He's never one-on-one with any child." She also balked at the allegation that her husband spoke with the girl about polygamy. She said that while he occasionally discussed polygamy as an aspect of Church history, he never espoused the practice. "I'm a one-man woman and that's the way it will be whether he likes it or not," she quipped. ... "Any wife would be disturbed" at the allegations ... but said she is standing by him and knows he is innocent.
The immediate reaction of Lee's supporters was anger at the Church. According to Romero Brown, a political supporter from Window Rock, Arizona, the charge was "obviously a political plot by the LDS Church to discredit Mr. Lee." He further claimed, "We were expecting something like this" because the Church was trying to "win back fallen members" who were part of Lee's "huge following." According to Romero, the Church wanted "their tithing money." He also alleged that "state and federal officials also are scheming against Mr. Lee because he supports Indian sovereignty."
The preliminary hearing was held on 16 December 1993. The Salt Lake County attorney's office tried to have the hearing closed to press and public, but Third Circuit Court Judge Robin Reese denied the motion. Karen, the state's only witness, "wept several times" during her testimony. She told police that Lee had touched her breasts, buttocks, and genitals that night in his bed but, on cross-examination, told the defense attorney, Ron Yengich, that she was "sure" only that he had touched her breasts. Lee was bound over for trial.
In May 1994, he asked that Kenneth Rigtrup, the LDS judge of Third District Court scheduled to hear the case, disqualify himself and that no other LDS judge be appointed. "Lee said he has reason to believe he could not receive a fair and impartial trial because of potential bias and prejudice. "I am a former member of the Council of the Seventy, was excommunicated, and since that time I have made statements derogatory to the Church," Lee wrote. Rigtrup had offered to have the case assigned to another judge in January "to avoid any potential claims of prejudice," but Lee did not accept the offer. Prosecutor James Cope said "the motion appears only to be an attempt to delay his scheduled trial."
When the case came to trial on 11 October 1994, Lee, now 51 years old, in a surprise move, pleaded guilty to attempted sexual abuse of a child, a third-degree felony. The 17 year old sexually abused now teenage girl, who was in court with her parents, prepared to testify, wept with relief as he looked directly at her, admitted "to touching the girl's breasts for sexual gratification," and told the judge, "I want to say, your honor, that I'm very sorry. I'm sorry for whatever difficult times that I've put them through. None of this will ever happen again." Judge Kenneth Rigtrup placed Lee on 18 months probation, and ordered him to pay a $1,850 fine, complete sex-offender counseling, write a letter of apology to the sexually abused teenager, and pay the costs of her counseling. George P. Lee was scheduled to remain on The Official State of Utah Sex Offender Registry as a sex offender until November 2011.
On October 12, 1994, the Salt Lake Tribune reported the following:
"A year ago, former Mormon general authority George P. Lee proclaimed he was 'innocent before God' of sexually molesting a 12-year-old neighbor girl. But Tuesday before a 3rd District judge, Lee humbly hung his head and admitted to touching the girl's breast for sexual gratification ... Lee, 51, pleaded guilty to attempted sexual abuse of a child, a third-degree felony ... Lee admitted only to fondling the girl's breasts. But the victim, now 17 years old, said Lee fondled her breats, buttocks and genitals for three years, beginning in 1986 when she was 9 years old ... The last time Lee abused her was after a camping trip in June 1989 at Lee's home."
Assistant Salt Lake County Attorney Greg Skordas told the press: "The victim never wanted him to go to jail. She wanted him to get help, and she wanted someone to believe her." Prosecutors felt positive about accepting the plea bargain because they were not sure of a conviction. It was abused girl's word against Lee's, " not a slam-dunk case," as Skordas put it. His boss, Salt Lake County Attorney David Yocom added that Lee was still considered "a pillar of the community. ... There is a tendency to believe someone like Lee, and that makes the state's burden more difficult."
Lee wanted to serve his probation in Arizona but would have to get permission to do so from his Utah probation officer. Lee and his attorney refused to comment, but Yengich in a news release said "Lee continued to enjoy the support of family and friends."
On July 27, 2007, George was arrested in Washington County, Utah for failing to register as a sex offender in the state of Utah. The police reported that George had not registered since 2001 and that he had been "living in an area with several young children in close proximity". George P. Lee was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, Utah on $5,000 bail. The case had dragged on for many months due to George's health issues. On March 19, 2008, the case was formally dropped due to these issues and that George had registered with the sex offender registry.
7. Removal from the Sex Offender Registry
George was scheduled to be on the Official State of Utah Sex Offender Registry until November 2011, but on or before March 29, 2009, George P. Lee was removed from the registry as a sex offender. George wrote the following emails to inform others that he was removed from the registry:
Date: Sun 3/29/2009 9:41 PMand the second following email:
From: George P. Lee
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
SUBJECT: ONLY THE TRUTH!
George P. Lee
ONLY THE TRUTH!
This person selected is not listed on The Official State of Utah Sex Offender Registry or an error has occurred. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com
Date: Fri 4/10/2009 7:05 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
SUBJECT: Please to correct its Web sites with the truth
In all this time I have not defended myself.
Please I ask to them that they retire of the Internet pages deception to near my person.
I only want the truth, please to have the correct information
its information is not true, I am not a registered for sex offender.
Thanks for everything
George P. Lee
8. Death of George Patrick Lee
George Patrick Lee was 67 years old when he passed away on Wednesday, July 28, 2010, at Provo, Utah, at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center after "a long battle with physical problems". A viewing of his body was held from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on Monday, August 2nd at the Spilsbury Mortuary located at 110 S. Bluff Street, St. George, Utah. There was also a visitation time from 9:30 to 10:30 am prior to the funeral on Tuesday, August 3, 2010 at at the LDS Buena Vista Stake Center, 860 N. Fairway Drive in Washington City, Utah,. His funeral was on Tuesday, August 3, 2010, 11 am, at the LDS Buena Vista Stake Center, and his internment was at the Washington City Cemetery, Washington, Utah, under the direction of the Spilsbury Mortuary.
The Mormon Church did not forget George P. Lee. An LDS spokesman, Scott Trotter said the following: "We offer our condolences to his family. We have tried to stay close to him and his family over the years, and we pray for the Lord’s blessings to be upon them at this tender time."
After George P. Lee's death, Harrison Lapahie Jr. and Nilda Lapahie received the following email on October 23, 2010:
Date: Sat 10/23/2010 2:25 PM
From: "Erin Allen" <email@example.com>
Between 1995 and 2001 he was a so called prophet of his own small cult. George P. Lee (insisted on being called Patrick) killed my Grandma and Aunt by refusing to let them obtain health care in his cult. They were his followers and he said he was a prophet and would heal them. My Granny died of septic poisoning when her bowels ruptured after many weeks of terrible suffering.and my young Aunt of breast cancer. He molested my cousin in this group and did unspeakable things. He IS in hell if there is one. Just tough you might like to know. This is notable info I think.
Regards- Erin Allen
As a General Authority, Lee spoke only six times in general conference in almost fourteen years, at intervals of six months, two years, two years, two years, and three years. He had not spoken for almost four years when he was excommunicated. This pattern of public visibility should not be automatically susceptible to a negative interpretation. At the October 1976 general conference, a policy was announced of "reconstituting" the First Quorum of the Seventy by transferring all Assistants and beginning to call new seventies to that quorum (and later to a second quorum as well). Six months later in April 1977, the general conferences were cut from three days, the usual length for most of the twentieth century, to two days. Thus, the number of available speaking slots decreased by a third. From that point on, typically all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve who were physically able addressed the conferences with other General Authorities speaking as time permitted. Speaking assignments could be three or four years apart before a Seventy's turn came up.
Brothers and sisters, I finally realized how General Custer must have felt. ...
I want you to know that it is a great honor and privilege to be in your presence today, and in the presence of our Prophet, and all those that assist him in the kingdom of God.
I am proud to declare to you today, brothers and sisters, that I am a descendant of Lehi, Nephi, and all the great Book of Mormon prophets. I am proud to be a child of the Book of Mormon people. I have found my true heritage; I have found my true identity. I am a son of God, a child of God, a child of the Book of Mormon, a child of Lehi, a rich heritage that extends all the way back to my Heavenly Father, through Moses, and Abraham, and other great prophets.
I am also proud to be a descendant of great Indian chiefs of our country. I am proud to be a descendant of Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Chee Dodge, Chief Crazy Horse and all these great Indian chiefs that did so well as leaders of their people. I want you to know that these men were great. I wouldn't be surprised if they are all in paradise; and I wouldn't be surprised if some of them are converted, and maybe some of them are on the fourth missionary discussion. I am proud of my rich heritage.
To you my people, the Lamanite people, on Indian reservations and in the cities of our country and through the islands of the sea, I want you to know that Jesus Christ is our Elder Brother. He is our Savior. He is our Redeemer.
We have a choice heritage. I want you to know, you Lamanite people, that Heavenly Father loves you. Jesus Christ, your Elder Brother, loves you. He has died for you. He has sacrificed his life to overcome our sins. He conquered death for each of you and every man on earth. He lives and is God of this earth.
To you in the Church throughout the world I declare that the time has come to lay aside our differences, to join hands as children of God. We have a great job to do, to bring many more choice spirits of our Heavenly Father into his kingdom, all over the world. The time has come for all of us to be 365-days-a-year Latter-day Saints, and seven-day-a-week Latter-day Saints, and not just Saints on Sunday only. The Lord has need of every Latter-day Saint to be a missionary, to bring others into his Church.
The time has come, brothers and sisters, to realize that we have no guarantee to the celestial kingdom. Just because we are members of his Church does not give us a guarantee to the celestial kingdom, only if we endure to the end and are faithful until he comes again.
To you, my brothers and sisters in the world, who are still searching for truth, who deny the existence of God, I give you two challenges. I challenge you to find another church, another organization, another way of life that has twelve apostles, that has a prophet, that is run by revelation, that baptizes by immersion and one that has priesthood. You will find there is no other church, there is no other way that is like the church we have. We have the same church that Jesus Christ organized anciently on this very soil and also in the Bible lands.
That is my first challenge to you. My second challenge to you is to look around you. What do you see? You see a beautiful creation, the handiwork of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
He has done so many wonderful things for us. How can we deny, as intelligent as we are, the existence of a God, and Jesus Christ? The greatest witness of Jesus Christ is right before your very eyes - the trees, the grass, the universe, the moon, the sun.
Can any mortal man create human beings?
Can any mortal man create the grass, the universe, the sun, the moon, the rain, the snow, the trees, the very food we eat?
Can any mortal man create such a beautiful world as we see and live in today?
How can we as scientists and learned men deny the existence of God and Jesus Christ when right before our very eyes we see existing a beautiful creation with order, precision, and exactness? No mortal man can duplicate what we see. This is enough to tell all of us that there is a divine God, a divine Christ, even Jesus Christ. He lives! He is the Creator of this world. The gospel is his plan. This is his way of life.
All of us must realize that when we die and go to paradise, if we make it there, that as Americans you will not find United States in paradise.
You might as well realize that we are all going to the same place. As an Indian I will not find an Indian reservation in paradise. As a Hopi, you will not find a Hopi reservation. As a Japanese you will not find Japan in paradise. As Chinese, you will not find China in paradise. Let's live together as children of God. We are all brothers and sisters. We will all go to the same place if we are righteous, and if we endure to the end. There is no United States, there is no Navajo reservation, nor any way of life, except God's, in paradise.
God lives. Jesus Christ lives, brothers and sisters. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
My dear brothers and sisters, I am happy, thrilled, and delighted to be with you once again. I am greatly strengthened again, my brothers and sisters, by the energetic, vibrant, and humble spirit of President Kimball and all those who have spoken. President Kimball is not only a great leader but a great man. His faith and works are incomparable. In my estimation he is as great as any prophet that preceded him since the time of Adam. I know that he is one of the great and noble ones the Lord referred to while conversing with Abraham. (See).
In Fourth Nephi, verses 15 and 17, my brothers and sisters, we read:
There was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. ()
As I look at you today, I can't help but feel warm and thrilled inside to see a similar atmosphere of love and compassion, unity and warmth among you as was among my forefathers. I see brown faces and white faces together, sitting shoulder to shoulder. I see big nations side by side with small nations. I see American faces with Lamanite faces. I see German faces next to French faces. I see Mexicans next to Chinese. I see Japanese faces next to Polynesians. My brothers and sisters, what I am seeing today demonstrates to me the true gospel in action. As I look over the audience today, I do not see Mexicans, or whites, or Japanese, or Chinese. What I see are children of God. To me you are all children of God. In fact, today I see a glimpse of heaven.
As I look at you I know there is no hate or animosity among you because of the love of God which is swelling in your hearts. There is great evidence of loving your neighbor among you today. But let me ask you, brothers and sisters, you in this tabernacle and all those listening, what about when you leave this conference? And you in this building, when you leave this building, will you have the same feeling? Will you have the same love and regard for everyone and for anyone? The Lord said:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. ().
Of all the great commandments given to us by our Heavenly Father, he rates these number one and two. My brothers and sisters, you cannot live one without the other; both must be lived and practiced if we are to be found with Him in the celestial glory. In this church there is no place for hate, animosity, or prejudice. Nor are they found in the celestial kingdom.
Again we read in Fourth Nephi:
And they had all things in common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. ().
In like manner, my brothers and sisters, among you today there are really no rich, no poor. To me you're all equal in the sense that you are all Latter-day Saints and that you are all rich spiritually. What I see in the audience today are people from all walks of life. I see doctors and lawyers sitting next to common men. I see a farmer next to a professional person. I see professional people, educators, and teachers side by side. I see composers, musicians, and artists, all kinds of people from all walks of life, sitting together side by side. And this is as it should be, because if you want to know what the celestial kingdom looks like, you are witnessing today a glimpse of the celestial kingdom and heaven.
My brothers and sisters, the Lord has commanded us to love each other, and to be one in Jesus Christ, and to become perfect as he is. But let me ask you again, brothers and sisters, what will happen after you leave this building and return home? Will you be common with all and listen to the cries of the poor, the deprived, and the oppressed? The Lord said, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. ().
The mission of this church is to focus on others. The Lord has instructed us to give meat to the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison. Again Nephi said:
The people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. ().
In like manner today, as I look at you, you are all converted to the Lord and there is no disputation among you. You are all willing and capable of dealing justly with your neighbor. But again I must ask you, what will happen when you leave this building? What will happen when this conference is closed? Will you go out of this building and out into the world and deal justly with your fellowmen? Will you still be converted? Or will you compromise gospel principles and standards? Will you still be willing to deal justly with your fellowmen?
Again we read from Nephi's account the following:
And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God. ().
This passage of scripture, my brothers and sisters, describes the happy and beautiful estate of my Book of Mormon ancestors. They lived in peace and happiness for 200 years without hate or wars or contentions. What a glorious and superb record of righteousness!
Can those of us in this room today, and those of us listening in, duplicate this record of righteousness? I challenge you, my brothers and sisters, as we celebrate the birth of our country, as we celebrate 200 years of our country's history, I challenge you that between now and when you come back next fall to general conference that you love each other as children of God and not as different races and cultures.
When we are baptized and confirmed as members of this church, we become one in Jesus Christ. In other words, my brothers and sisters, we commit ourselves to follow him. Our attitudes, thoughts, deeds, and actions should conform to his. If we will truly be faithful and righteous, we will truly be called children of Christ, children of God, and we will be entitled to his kingdom.
I want all of you to know that I love my Heavenly Father. I love the Lord Jesus Christ. I love people. This has been one of my greatest assets - loving people. I'm grateful for this attribute that my Heavenly Father has blessed me with.
I know that Jesus Christ lives and that we fought beside him in the preexistence, those of us in this room and those of us listening in. We were side by side with him in the war in heaven as we stood with him and fought Lucifer. And today he has chosen us to come in these last days to stand beside him again, and again to fight Lucifer, Satan, who controls the world.
I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, the history of my forefathers. America was founded so that the gospel could be restored and so that this sacred record could be brought back to my people and to anyone who will listen.
I know that Joseph Smith really was a true prophet of God, that God the Father and Jesus the Christ actually and really came down and visited with him. It's no myth, no legend, no fairy tale, no make-believe. It really happened. And with us today is a living prophet, President Kimball. I love him; I sustain him; I respect him. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
My beloved brothers and sisters, I should like to address my remarks to the young people of the Church, the youth of the Church. I love the young people of the Church. I sincerely believe that the young people of today are some of the choicest young people who ever lived on earth. One of the reasons why I know this is because of the choice, dedicated missionaries that I preside over in the Arizona Holbrook Mission. Missionaries of today are coming out more prepared, more mature, and more spiritual than ever before.
You young people are among the most valiant, among the cream of all the spirits in the premortal life; and God has reserved you to come forth in these perilous times, the last days, for a divine purpose. The choice spirits coming to earth today were choice in the premortal existence before they came here. The reason they were choice in heaven is that they were obedient, valiant, and lived with exactness. In heaven, you young people, you lived by sight; in other words, you saw with your spirit eyes, you saw God, you saw Jesus Christ, your elder brother, and you saw Satan.
When Satan rebelled in the war in heaven and tried to persuade you to follow him, you stood up for the Lord. You were true and faithful. You lived with exactness and did exactly what the Lord wanted you to do.
And now, in these last days, in these crucial, perilous times, young people, your Heavenly Father needs you again to carry on his work. He needs you who have passed the test in heaven, you who have been tried, you who were true and faithful, you young people that he hopes will resist every appearance of evil on this earth so that you will be just as true and faithful here as you were before, and carry on his work in preparation for the coming of his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, your elder brother, your Redeemer and Savior.
To help you prepare for the Lord to use you, may I offer the following suggestions to assist you to be unspotted from the world:
1. Beloved youth, it is the will of God that you be virtuous. You are very elect, you are choice, you are sons and daughters of God. You can be virtuous. The Lord said: Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly. ().
Of all the possessions that you have, young people, virtue is the most important. It is a pearl of great price. People can strive, toil, and sweat all their lives for fame and wealth, but your greatest wealth and fame will come from virtuous living. The wealth and fame that come from virtuous living are peace with yourself, your fellowmen, and with God, the joys and happiness of righteous living. The fame of having your name recorded in Heavenly Father's book of life as one who is true and faithful and loves the Lord is far more important than being honored with the praises and glories of the world.
Let virtue and purity be your shield and armor, and you will be invincible. As priceless as virtue is, wear it openly and do not keep it in a vault like crown jewels.
Paul declared, If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. ().
Do not mock God, young people. Virtue is the law of God.
2. Young friends, it is the will of God that you pray unceasingly. As a young boy on the Navajo reservation, many times I found myself on my knees in our small humble hogan. Many times I've been tried and tested. In those moments I asked my Heavenly Father for faith, strength, and courage to withstand temptations. Many times, as I was on my knees, my own brothers made a game of me, laughing and sneering and shouting through the cracks of the hogan, but I was not bothered by them.
The young people who kneel down and ask God for faith and courage to resist temptation very early in life will find that temptation loses much of its luster, and temptation is very unattractive. You cannot receive a full-grown testimony that God lives and that the Church is true any more than you can come into the world fully grown. You start small, but grow with consistency.
Your faith needs nourishment through prayers. Exercise the muscle of the faith until it is one of such strength that it will sustain you. Beloved youth, get on your knees. The Lord has a testimony just for you, one that fits your size and needs, but you have to ask for it.
Every young man and young woman should pray before going out on a date. A Navajo boy, coming from very simple, humble, poor circumstances, because he was on his knees, became a polished instrument of God. A praying young man becomes a praying man; and a praying man becomes a god.
3. My young friends, it is the will of God that you stand up for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Church, and his righteousness. Joshua made a stand and then stood on it when he said, Choose you this day whom ye will serve, ... but as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord. ().
Beloved youth, you must do the same. You must make the same stand. With each new temptation, you should already know what your decision or reaction should be, that is, you should serve the Lord. You should seek the praises of God and not the praises of man.
Again, as a young Navajo boy growing up on a reservation and as the only Mormon in my family, I was tempted many times by friends whose values were not as lofty as my own. Even my own flesh and blood, my own brothers and sisters, tried me.
Two, three, four of my brothers were so determined for me to live their way that one day they attacked me and attempted to bind my arms and legs. When I became helpless, they would pour wine and beer into me. But the plan didn't work. I resisted. I fought back with all the strength and courage I had. I managed to escape and run away from them. But I still loved them and asked Heavenly Father to forgive them.
Beloved youth, you must do the same; you must stand up for the Lord, even against your own flesh and blood, even against your own brothers and sisters, even against your own loved ones and friends.
4. Beloved youth, it is the will of God that you serve him only and not go after the image of your own God. The Lord said, They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own God, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol. ().
Beloved youth, you cannot hold hands with Satan and God at the same time. You have to let go of one or the other. When you worship hard rock music or any other worldly idol more than spiritual things, you are holding hands with Satan and are walking in darkness. You will become insensitive to the things that are spiritual; you will lose interest and motivation to attend church or to go on a mission. Doubts and fears will cloud your minds. You will begin to walk in your own way, after the image of your own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol. The image of some sports stars, movie stars, rock stars, money, and sports cars is in the likeness of the world, and their substance is that of an idol. Do not worship them.
5. Beloved youth, it is the will of God that you be obedient. Discipline yourselves to become obedient to your parents, to your priesthood leaders, and to the Lord. Obedience leads to success and happiness; disobedience leads to rebellion and spiritual decay. If your parents counsel you not to go dating until you are sixteen, listen and follow. If your priesthood leaders counsel you to be chaste, listen and follow. If the Lord counsels every young man to go on a mission, listen and obey. Again, the Lord said, I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. ().
6. Young friends, it is the will of God that you search the scriptures diligently. Learn to love the scriptures early in life. Have your own standard works. Scriptures enlighten the mind and bring strength, courage, peace, and calmness. Unwholesome worldly literature brings darkness to the mind.
The scriptures will prepare young men for missions and help them to fulfill successful missions. Scriptures will prepare young women for motherhood and help them to become sweet, tender, loving mothers in Zion. Scriptures, more than anything else, will assist you to overcome the world and enable you to become gods and goddesses, kings and queens in the celestial world. The Lord said,
What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but all shall be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. ().
Young people, whatever the temptation may be, take a stand and stand up for the Lord. You're too choice, you're too innocent, you're too sweet and too pure to lose. Avoid bringing temptations upon yourselves. The worst kind of temptations are the ones you plan and make arrangements for. If the world hates you and calls you a square, remember what the Lord said. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. ().
Do not do what the world does, young people. Be a square to the world. It's fun to be square, to be weird, to be peculiar to the world. Your mission is to overcome the world, to overcome sin, overcome hate, overcome prejudice, overcome discouragement, overcome the carnal man and be true and faithful again, the same as you were in the premortal existence. In the premortal existence you passed a test. You were valiant, you were obedient. The Lord expects you to be the same here on earth in mortality - to be obedient, to be valiant.
Someone said, No man goes to hell in a single jump. My young friends, I pray that you will be equal to any temptation that might come to you and that you will avoid and be careful with the first appearance of evil. Today you are beautiful, choice, sweet, and pure, but tomorrow is up to you. Your future is bright and full of blessings. Youth is power. The greatest single resource that the Church has is youth, and the greatest single important resource that the country has is youth.
God loves you. I love you. I thank God every day for young people like you. And I pray that he will always watch over you forever in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Charles Dickens once wrote: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, ... it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, ... we had everything before us, we had nothing before us (A Tale of Two Cities, New York: Washington Square Press, n.d., p. 3).
This description of a period of time in his day reminds us of some of the conditions of our day. We live in a great age of miracles and wonders. We have a higher standard of living and more education than any generation of the past. We enjoy the greatest comforts and the finest luxuries. We have more goods and better services than any other people have ever had. Our nation is the most prosperous and powerful ever known. Indeed, this is the best of times.
But this is also the very worst of times. We are confronted by bigger problems and greater dangers than man has ever faced before. Delinquencies, crime, destructive wars, immorality, and other sins are scoring new highs. Serious disturbances are taking place in nature. We constitute the most wicked age.
The most important responsibility that the Lord has ever laid upon us is that of making the best and the most of our lives. If we make the worst of times the best of times, we will be going directly toward heaven, but if we make the best of times the worst of times, we will be going backwards. We all know and are quite aware of the Lord's miracles, teachings, and doctrines. We know of his example; yet sometimes we live far away from that example. We live in the very best of times, yet we may be far from living his teachings and doctrines.
The scriptures clearly compare our day with the days of Noah, when the people of his time brought destruction upon themselves. It must be clear to each of us that the problem then and now is our poor relationship with the Lord. From the very beginning the Lord has tried to get man to follow divine counsel aimed at peace, prosperity, and happiness for all of us. Unfortunately, man's responses to his efforts have almost always been negative, and we continue to follow our own devices and wisdom in leading each other astray.
Jeremiah wrote, Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord ().
Both our past and our present prove that of ourselves we lack the ability to solve our own problems. More than anything else and more than ever before, we need direction from the Lord. Jesus diagnosed our problems when he said: Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. ().
Again he said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me ().
His divine instructions gave us all the answers to any problems that might confront us. But his doctrines and teachings did not go over very well with the people in his time, nor are they going over very well in our time. They fell on deaf ears. Many people in his time, like many of us who live in this the dispensation of the fulness of times, chose to follow the false doctrines of man. This program of substituting the doctrines of man for those taught by the Lord has been very harmful and extensive.
Today in America, it is against the law to talk about God in the schools of some states. In these schools, one must not read the Bible, one must not sing Christmas carols, and prayer is prohibited because someone's sensibility might be offended. Atheism may be taught in the schools, but not the word of God.
The sin and evil that the Lord came to free us from are, in many places, now running unchecked in many places throughout our nation and the rest of the world. Crime is at an all-time high. Sin is at an all-time high. Immorality, among the youth and the adults, is at an all-time high. Jesus came as our example. He lived a sinless life and furnished us with a working model of righteousness. His simple message was Follow me (). He asked us to follow him in his teachings, to follow him in his righteousness, and to follow him in his love for others. Unfortunately and sadly, many have not followed him; rather, they have followed those who could find no room for his teachings, his miracles, or his doctrines. Many have made no room for him because their lives are loaded down with sin and pleasures. Others have made room for their physical comforts; they have made room to expand their educational opportunities; but they have crowded him out. Some have made room to work more hours to accumulate material possessions; still others have made room to multiply their luxury and increase their leisure time and have made room for more sports and entertainment, but they have made no room for him. They have made room for many violations of the Sabbath day, but they have made no room for the Savior of the world - our Redeemer and Master.
Today the Lord is pleading with us through the spoken word, through the scriptures, through the Spirit, through his prophets, through the witness of faithful parents, friends, and teachers; but we still have no room for him. We have no room for his teachings and doctrines because most of us are looking for a religion of convenience, one that takes no time, costs no money, requires no effort, and fits our lives without any required changes. It is no wonder the Lord said, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head ().
As we watch our government hopelessly grapple with the mighty problems of the day, perhaps we should take a look at the way the Lord would handle the problems of our day. The world in general works on the effects and results of the problems, while the Lord zeroes in on the roots and the causes. The Lord advocates preventive measures, while man attacks the problems after they have arisen. Man's answer to crime is better law enforcement, bigger and better locks on doors, bigger and better prisons, bigger and better rehabilitation, and bigger and better arms and weapons. But the Lord's answer is to love your neighbor as yourself and do good to others as you would have them do to you.
Man's answer to poverty is public welfare through food stamps, loans, guaranteed income, publicly financed housing, and other things. The Lord's answer is to teach self-reliance, to help people help themselves. Man's answer to the problem of immorality is birth control pills, homes for unwed mothers, venereal disease clinics, sex education, and divorce counselors. The Lord's answer is to teach the virtues of chastity, love, and purity. The Lord's approach to problems and his approach to resolving them probably would not make headlines or the six o'clock news; but nevertheless, his approach would solve our nation's problems as well as the world's problems, and it would revolutionize our world.
Paul tried to teach the Ephesians how to be good Christians and good people. The lesson is also a good one for us. He said: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God. ...
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; ...
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. ().
This is not only great counsel for all of us, but it is also a great success formula. It is a great philosophy of life which all of us need if we are to become bigger than the problems to be solved in our day. Man's attempts to solve his problems by legislation, bribery, force, or education have always failed. All of his problems could easily be solved by a return to the true religion of Christ. As members of his true Church, we should lead the way in fighting for God and country, for law and order, for health and strength, for industry and courage, for truth and righteousness, and for each other.
We need to take the time to worship, to meditate, and to develop a more personal relationship with the Lord. We need to get acquainted with his teachings. We need to fill our hearts with the things of the Spirit. We need to be more practical and to begin to think today what Jesus thought. We can fill our minds with our Heavenly Father's purpose and our hearts with an understanding of his ways. We can open the door of our soul and make room for the Savior to come in. The door of our heart can still be opened from within. Our invitation to the Lord to enter our hearts must come from the inside. The inspired counsel from the prophet Job should be ringing in our ears. He said, Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace ().
The Lord is still saying to us as he did in his time when he declared: Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. ()
My prayer, my brothers and sisters, is that we will make the worst of times the very best of times by making room for the Redeemer of the world in our personal lives. I testify that he is the living bread which came down from heaven. He is the promised Messiah and Savior of the human race. He is the eternal judge of the souls of men and conqueror of death and sin. He is our deliverer. He is our all because he gave his all for us. He is our salvation from sorrow and sin. He is Jesus the Christ! He lives! In his name, amen.
In our world of skepticism, confusion and wickedness, to know the truth, to have a deep, humble, and solemn conviction that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, is a very precious thing. I have received the witness of the divinity of my Savior through the sweet influence and power of the Holy Ghost. I have received this witness in my own heart, which exceeds all other evidences. It bears record to me, to my very soul, of the existence of my Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
This silent, sweet conviction came early in my youth, while I was on my knees in deep supplication in our humble hogan, and at other times, after reading the Book of Mormon while tending the sheep out in the hot desert on the reservation. Just as I know that my life did not begin when I was born, just as I know that it will not end when I die, likewise I know for certain that the life of Christ did not begin at Bethlehem; neither did it end on Calvary. Of himself, the Lord Jesus Christ said:
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work ... thou gavest me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory ... I had with thee before the world was. (.)
I bear testimony that Jesus Christ was the first begotten Son of God in the Spirit. Like the Father himself, he was a personage of great power and intelligence in the universe. For ages before this world was created, he lived and ruled with his Father in Heaven in the premortal existence on a spiritual basis. The Lord Jesus had much to do with our growth and training prior to our birth on earth. Under the direction of the Father, he created this earth and accepted the appointment to come here and to be its redeemer. It was he who came forth in the Grand Council in Heaven and said: Here am I, send me. (.)
Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever. (.)
Of his beloved Son, our Heavenly Father has declared, And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten. (.)
There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin. He was the only one that could unlock heaven's gate and let us in (see Hymns, no. 201), because he was and is the only one suited, eligible, worthy, able, willing, perfect, and qualified for this great supreme sacrifice.
I bear testimony that our Redeemer's birth in Bethlehem was announced by a great concourse of angels and by an angel of great authority and power who had come from the presence of God, saying, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. (.)
Ancient prophets from the time of Adam down knew of his coming. He was known by name, character, and his good works long before his birth. Before his birth, he was a personage of spirit. After his birth, a body of flesh and bones was added. After he conquered death and after resurrection, he became a person with an indestructible glorified body, inseparably joined together with his immortal spirit. His whole mortal life was devoted to bringing peace and blessings to others. He lived a perfect life in the midst of evil and wickedness.
His excruciating agony in the Garden of Gethsemane was not only physical and mental anguish, but also a spiritual agony that only a god was capable of experiencing. In that hour of tremendous anguish the Savior took upon himself the burden of the sins of the world from Adam down to the end of the world. Then they hanged him on the cross and crucified him in the most inhumane and cruel method of execution. A spike was driven through his hands and feet as was the method at that time. Of his suffering he said:
For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit. (.)
In his infinite love and mercy he prayed for the very people that crucified him. He prayed and asked Heavenly Father to bless and forgive those that ridiculed, mocked, and insulted him. In pain and anguish he cried, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (.)
I bear testimony that this same crucified Christ arose on the third day from the tomb, after having met and mingled with others in the spirit world, his spirit was reunited with his body. After being among men on earth, he ascended to his Heavenly Father as a resurrected and glorified being. An angel, speaking of Jesus, said:
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him. (.)
For thousands of years from the time of Adam up to Christ's crucifixion, millions of people had entered the dark grave and suffered death and the end of life. For thousands of years, no one had ever returned. When our Redeemer arose from the tomb with his resurrected and immortal body, he robbed death of its sting and the grave of its victory. (See; ; .) Man was freed from sin's dark prison. Death was conquered; Christ won the victory. (See ; ; .) He had opened heaven's gate.
Immediately following his resurrection many others were resurrected. In Matthew we read:
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. (.)
Thus, our risen Lord removed the last barrier in our march toward perfection and eternal life. Just as it is said of him He is not here: ... he is risen (), so it will be for each of us, because the empty tomb of the Lord Jesus is not only a symbol but also a guarantee of our own resurrection and immortality. It would be a serious mistake and a tragedy for anyone to assume that Jesus was just a great teacher and just a great humanitarian. Because of him, life continues throughout eternity. There is no other name under heaven whereby man will be saved and exalted. (See ; .)
I bear testimony that our resurrected Lord, clothed in glory, personally manifested himself to the Nephites and the Lamanites in ancient America as they were gathered around their temple in the land Bountiful. God our Eternal Father said unto them:
Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name, hear ye him. (.)
They saw the Lord Jesus Christ, clothed in a white robe, coming down out of heaven; and he descended until he stood in their midst. He said unto them:
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and ... glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world. (.)
The multitude fell at his feet and worshiped him. They then arose and came to him at his invitation to see and feel the prints of the nails in his hands and feet. They also saw and felt the spear wound in his side, and they did fall at his feet, overwhelmed and overjoyed. Their own eyes and hands were witnesses. Words cannot describe their heartfelt joy and gratitude. It was a glorious manifestation and spiritual feast for all.
I bear testimony that this, the last great dispensation of the fulness of times, was ushered in by the voice of God our Eternal Father, saying: This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (.)
In the spring of 1820, God our Eternal Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, revealed themselves to the boy-prophet Joseph Smith. The darkness of the long night of the apostasy was lifted. This glorious manifestation illuminated the world. Other divine visitations by heavenly messengers and personages were made to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Many revelations were given to him. The giver of these revelations was none other than our risen Lord, Jesus Christ. The gospel was restored with all of its former blessings, keys, rights, privileges, and holy priesthood with authority to minister in the name of God. The Church, bearing his name and founded upon the rock of revelation, was restored.
The gospel principles and laws that the Lord restored in our day are not that much different from those that he revealed in the times past. Latter-day Saints are expected, as were the Saints in the past, to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. The Savior's divine formula for success and perfection has always been the same: Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (.)
The Lord Jesus wants us to build the necessary character, righteousness, industry, and godliness into our lives first. Then we are to do the same for others. That is, to assist him in teaching, baptizing, and perfecting individuals and families throughout the world.
Even in our own day and age we can perfect ourselves in many areas. For example, we can become perfect in abstaining from the use of coffee, tea, tobacco, and liquor. We can become perfect in the paying of our tithing. We can become perfect in our sacrament meeting attendance. We can become perfect in honesty, in morality, in charity, in punctuality, in dependability, and in many other virtues. If we can live one gospel principle perfectly today, we can live two principles perfectly tomorrow. Perfection in one thing can act as a stepping-stone to perfection in something else.
I bear testimony that our risen Lord and Redeemer will return to earth a second time in his resurrected, immortal body of flesh and bones, and in celestial glory and power. When he came the first time he was misunderstood, condemned, and ridiculed and was a man acquainted with much grief. (See.) When he came the first time, he atoned for the sins of the world. But when he comes the second time he will come as a triumphant King of kings and a glorious Lord of lords. (See .) He will stand in judgment of sinners who have not repented. He will come as the Almighty God to cleanse the earth and to inaugurate his glorious millennial reign. ( ). The Lord Jesus and the resurrected Saints will reign upon the earth during the thousand years of millennium. (See .) Satan will be tied and will have no power to tempt any man. (See .) Then after the end of the thousand years, Satan will be loosed again for a little season, and then will come the end of the earth. Satan and his forces will be banished forever and ever. Every person will be resurrected and stand before God to be judged. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, will be crowned with the crown of his glory to reign forever and ever. (See .) Those that have endured until the end and have achieved eternal life will abide with him and Heavenly Father forever and ever in the celestial kingdom.
I testify that he is the creator of all things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small (Cecil Frances Alexander, in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, ed. James Dalton Morrison, New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1948, p. 17). He is the master over ocean, earth, and skies. He is the promised Messiah. He is the victor over death and the grave. He is the Prince of Peace. (See.) He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (See .) Everlasting is his name. Eternal is his name. He is Jesus the Christ. I so testify, in his holy name, amen.
The true gospel of the Son of God has always been opposed by those who are caught within the throes of sin. For many, there is simply too much light, too much truth, and too much intelligence. Others who resist the gospel have found its principles too pure, too noble, and much too elevating to accord with their chosen life-style. In all ages of the world since Adam's time, the gospel of Jesus Christ has always met opposition whenever and wherever it has been proclaimed. This negative spirit challenges the truths of God and concerns His servants, even today.
The heavens have been opened to holy men of various ages. In each case, the receiver of the vision has been rejected by his fellowmen. Sometimes his life has been sought and he has had no peace upon the earth. Prophets and Apostles, even the Lord Jesus Christ, have met such adversity and challenges. The true gospel of Christ is very unpopular with the world.
If there is anyone listening who is deeply troubled by the apparent criticism thrown against us periodically, let me say that we have a glorious array of predecessors who have been persecuted and who have met opposition time and time again.
It is a source of consolation and encouragement that we do not stand alone in this respect. In former times, Saints of God have been challenged and scorned for no other cause than for preaching the truth in its fulness and purity, and for standing up in defense of holy and pure principles revealed from God. In fact, the trials they have been called upon to pass through, instead of being an evidence against, are evidence in favor of the truth of the work they were engaged in.
The Lord Jesus said, Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! (.) He warned His disciples of the danger when their names were honored and when all men spoke well of them. In a real sense, we as Latter-day Saints are also being warned. When our names are being honored in connection with all men speaking well of us, we need to renew our humility, dedication, and commitment.
My beloved Saints of God, let us remember the warning from our prophets: Others will he pacify and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion (.) If anyone finds himself in that position, it is time for renewed humility, commitment, and dedication.
When the Lord came to Jerusalem, He was rejected and despised by many from the day of His birth until His Golgothic death. He spoke and taught as none had ever done before. He worked as none had ever done. He performed miracles and wonderful works among men. But what kind of treatment did He receive? He was rejected by those who were supposed to have loved Him. He was buffeted, scourged, mobbed, and led like a lamb to the slaughter. Jesus, a being in whom there was no guile, bore a rough-hewn cross - that cruel instrument of death which tore at His back as He hung in agony. The scribes, Sadducees, and Pharisees did not welcome Him with open arms. Nor did the learned, the wise, and the noble hail Him. Then need we expect the world to embrace and welcome us with open arms?
Joseph Smith knew and understood by the teachings given unto him of God and angels what he had to do. He was called of the Lord and raised up for this very purpose. He, too, was not popular among men, nor did the world clamor for his wisdom. Until the day of his death, he was persecuted and reviled for living and teaching the gospel. His blood sealed his testimony.
In the Lord's own day, the proclamation was, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? (See.) Likewise, the life and teachings of Joseph Smith did not appeal to those with worldly thoughts. Joseph's teaching came into conflict with man-made traditions and prejudices. The cry in Joseph Smith's day was much the same as in the day of the Savior: Can anything good come out of Palmyra? Can anything good come from Joseph Smith?
Today we hear a similar cry: Can anything good come from the Mormon people? Can good be wrought by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Falsehoods are spoken about the true Saints of God. These will continue to abound until the coming of the Son of God.
Saints of God in all ages have passed through these tests of opposition. Those of today find themselves in no different position. Until evil is bound, this shall ever be the case. This is one of the legacies left to the elect Saints while here in mortality. Opposition may be our companion, and adversity our fate until the Lord comes in a cloud of glory. Latter-day Saints, this is our legacy. We may depend on it.
Said Jesus, I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (.)
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own.
If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. (.)
What if some of us have to sacrifice all that we have for the gospel and testimony of Christ? The Saints have done this in the past, and I am sure the Saints of today have the faith and courage to do whatever the Lord asks them to do. Should we complain or murmur if we are asked to sacrifice in defending the true gospel of the Son of God?
The Lord, Jesus, was poor from the manger to the cross. He descended below all things that He might rise above all. Should we complain if we face challenges ourselves? As an individual, as one who has walked the path of poverty and trials, I am beginning to learn the value of such experiences. The Lord has always been my faith, strength, and courage. I want nothing but the best for my family and others. I desire salvation and eternal life for my family and for my fellowmen. I will pray for our critics and enemies. I will be patient and long-suffering toward them and will return kindness, prayer, and righteousness.
There is no stopping the true work of God. Some men may resent it. The world may reject it. They may use every means and all their power against this work, but the work of God will roll forth and will gather every honest soul throughout the earth sooner or later. We have the promise of God that this is His work and it shall never be overthrown in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.
Are we ready, as the Saints of God, to endure all things for the sake of the souls of our fellowmen? We have gone from continent to continent, from land to land, from island to island, wherever there was a door open to preach the gospel. We have left our homes, families, wives, and children. Some have sacrificed their lives for the salvation of their fellowmen. Some have gone without purse or scrip. Some have faced shame and ridicule, even persecution. We shall continue to do this until we have taken this beloved gospel to the ends of the earth.
This message of salvation and eternal life has been entrusted to us. All mankind shall hear the glad tidings of salvation. They shall receive the blessings of God, or His condemnation, according to their willingness to receive or their determination to reject the gospel.
This work is a never-ending work which we have taken upon ourselves. It will never terminate until this earth shall be redeemed, until the power of Satan shall be subdued, until wickedness shall be banished from the earth, until Christ shall reign, whose right it is to reign, and until every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
In due course of time, all will be redeemed who may be redeemed. God, our Heavenly Father, desires that we should be long-suffering and patient toward those who seek to afflict and oppress us, just as He is long-suffering toward all of His children, in spite of their wickedness and waywardness.
Men of God who hold the holy priesthood are the head and heart of the Lord's true church. We do not have the priesthood for self-aggrandizement or to be used to oppress anyone. There is no priesthood of the Son of God that authorizes any one man to oppress another or to intrude upon his rights in any way.
We ought to be a brother and a friend to all men everywhere. We ought not to entertain a Big I and a Little You feeling toward our neighbors and fellowmen. Men of God who are approachable and compassionate are putting honor upon the holy priesthood of God.
If there are any in our own flock who err, let us try to reclaim them by kindness and long-suffering. If there are any among us who have a bad spirit, let us show them a better spirit. If there are any among us who do not do right, let us do right ourselves and say to them, Come, follow me.
Amen to the priesthood or the authority of any man of God who exercises control, dominion, or compulsion upon a fellow being outside of the Church or upon a fellow member in the Church in any degree of unrighteousness. (See.)
I pray that our conduct day by day will be such that it will bear examination and scrutiny by our fellowmen, and also by our Heavenly Father. I pray that we will be willing to stand by this gospel, this testimony, and this work in life and death, in time and eternity.
I pray that every Latter-day Saint will let his prayers ascend into the ears of our Father in Heaven day and night, whether praying in family circles or in private places, for the Lord to sustain His leaders and people as we work to build up a Zion and to fulfill His promises. I pray that every Latter-day Saint will pray for the First Presidency of this Church and pray for His Apostles and leaders. Let us uphold them by our faith, works, and hopes. History will record one day that President Gordon B. Hinckley was one of the strongest counselors the Church ever had. Let us uphold him by our faith and by our prayers. President Hinckley carries a tremendous burden today.
I bear testimony in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that this work is true. I know that no earthly power can destroy it. Even the combined forces and powers of all the nations in the world cannot stop or retard this work because the Great Elohim and Jehovah have spoken it. I bear testimony that the principles of the gospel will live on, even if the earth wastes away. There is no power beneath the heavens that can hinder, stop, or destroy the progress of truth and the decrees of God, our Eternal Father in Heaven.
I bear testimony that the destiny of every individual, every prince, every emperor, of every king, president, statesman, or ruler under heaven is in the hands of God. He made the world and all that is in it. They may not go further than the Master permits. Adversity will purify Zion. Opposition will make us stronger in our courage and firmer in our faith.
I bear testimony that this work will continue to roll forth in strength and power throughout all the earth until all things which have been predicted by the prophets are fulfilled.
May the Lord bless all the Saints of God throughout the world. May He bless all the house of Israel, all of the dispersed of every tribe, all the righteous, the pure, the holy and good in every nation, is my humble prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
President Oaks, faculty, students, and friends of BYU, I come before you with heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for this precious opportunity and privilege of speaking to you today. I come in humility, subdued in spirit and desiring only your prayers and the guidance of the Holy Ghost so that what I will say will be the mind and will of the Lord.
It is great to be back on the campus of the greatest university in all the world. I think of BYU as a center of refined culture, spiritual growth, leadership development, learning, and progress. Unlike some universities, it is not a center for atheism, immorality, confusion, hate, crime, or political and moral rebellions. BYU is also a "happy hunting ground" for many of its students; it is here that I met my eternal companion. My wife and I have some choice and fond memories of this place. We are grateful for the beautiful influences of this great and marvelous University.
There is a poetic phrase in Navajo folklore that goes something like this: "May I walk in beauty--beauty behind me, beauty in front of me, beauty above and beneath me, and beauty all around me." To a Navajo, to "walk in beauty" simply means to be happy and to have peace of mind and peace with oneself; to be happy and at peace with others; to be happy and at peace with the environment and the world; and to be happy and at peace with the Great Spirit.
It is in this kind of spirit, my brothers and sisters, that I stand before you today. I sincerely feel that I am happy and at peace with myself; happy and at peace with my family; my neighbors, and you; at peace and happy with the world; and at peace and happy with the Lord Jesus Christ. I am especially at peace and happy with my Comanche wife; there is no tribal dispute between her and me. We are probably the only two tribes in the whole USA that are at peace with each other. I simply feel great, my brothers and sisters. To "walk in beauty" means just that--to feel great and at peace in one's mind about everyone and everything.
The word "great" is a very interesting word. It has the same connotation and meaning as the Navajo phrase, "to walk in beauty." Sometimes we use this word to apply to persons or things. We can speak about BYU as a great institution, you students as a great student body, the faculty as great scholars and teachers, the athletic teams as great athletes or persons, and our nation as a great country. However, this word has one of its finest applications in describing you and me. It designates a human dimension of the highest quality, excellence, or ability.
Greatness is also one of our goals in achieving eternal life. My feeling or philosophy has always been this: If we want to be a great soul in heaven, then we ought to live and practice being a great soul here on earth. In other words, if we desire to become Christlike, we ought to practice and live a Christlike life here and now. To put it in yet another perspective, if we desire exaltation, we ought to "walk in beauty" in all of our days on earth and into the eternities.
Whether our concern is for here or for hereafter, we should be aware of those beautiful godlike virtues or personality traits in each of us that are great in power and in magnitude. These godlike attributes provide divine influences that urge each of us to seek praiseworthy goals. They urge us to reach upward and onward toward perfection in every field of activity. When these character qualities are not disciplined or when they are distorted, ideals are forsaken and the resulting confusion dampens our faith and progress.
Our Heavenly Father represents the greatest good in all the universe. He is all-wise and all-knowing; He possesses all knowledge and is all-powerful and perfect. If you and I will follow Him, His influence, His instructions, and His commandments, we can actually become like Him. He is the giver of all things that are good, positive, and beautiful. We will only "walk in beauty" when we keep His greatness, His virtues, and His qualities in our minds. If we can keep in our minds the thought that we possess His personality traits, mental abilities, and character qualities, our lives will be full of beauty before us, beauty behind us, beauty beneath and above us. Our lives will be full of successful, spiritual, and beautiful experiences.
If properly trained and disciplined, our godlike human mind can perform some of the most powerful and beautiful things. It can make some of you great teachers, great salesmen, great scientists, great musicians, or simply great persons. Jesus Christ said, "All things are possible to him that believeth" (). There is beauty in our minds if they are full of positive, pleasant, and beautiful thoughts. Faith, courage, strength, industry, and happiness of the greatest possible value can be built only in a mental environment of positive and praiseworthy thoughts. Success or failure starts in the mind. In other words, if you and I did not have heads, we would be perfect.
Whatever kinds of thoughts we entertain in our minds will dictate whether we will succeed or fail in life. Whatever success or accomplishments we obtain in life will be predicated on a disciplined mind thriving on positive and virtuous thoughts. A disciplined mind in a bed of pure thoughts will gradually banish doubts and fears from the mind. Doubts and fear are the enemies of faith, for faith lives and grows in the mind. Faith is nurtured, cultivated, and developed in the mind in the presence of clean and pure thoughts. We live by faith--our faith in ourselves, our faith in others, our faith in our country, our faith in our work, and our faith in God. We will achieve more and we will receive greater personal power and strength only when we have faith in God and in our own worthwhileness. Our Heavenly Father did not place us here one earth to fail, but to succeed. You and I possess enough of His character qualities and enough intelligence to overcome and conquer all of the problems, doubts, fears, sins, and discouragements of life. Every success has a cause, and that cause is a disciplined, positive mind wherein faith is in full bloom. The apostle Paul said:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 
When we do these things mentioned by Paul, there is peace and serenity in our minds; our faith grows; and we begin to develop those godlike qualities of honor, integrity, love, patience, understanding, fairness, and truthfulness to their utmost. We begin to "walk in beauty" with an inner glow of peace and happiness, having rid our minds of hate, envy, jealousy, prejudice, doubts, fears, inferiority complexes, and negative attitudes.
We should furnish our minds with ideas of faith, positive thinking, industry, courage, and righteousness. With these helpful, stimulating, and motivating ideas, our faith and strength are greatly increased, we begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness, we develop a high self-esteem, and we increase our love for God and for our fellowmen. Our minds become more receptive to spiritual things and to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We form a philosophy of life and a depth of character that can guarantee almost any success by keeping us on the straight and narrow path toward the celestial kingdom.
One of the biggest problems, my brothers and sisters, that can come into our life is to develop a low self-esteem, or a low opinion of ourselves. We fall into this predicament when we either allow our minds to go undisciplined or develop negative, rebellious minds. Unless our minds are well managed, they will run wild like morning-glory vines. King Solomon once said, "For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he" (). He could very well have said, "As a man thinketh in his mind, so is he." If our minds are not properly trained or are filled with critical, rebellious, unclean, or other negative thoughts, then we build up our hate and our sins, nurture our discouragements, and enlarge our self-doubts. An undisciplined, negative mind will become mixed up and confused. It will begin to fight against others and against the Church, tear down the government, and rebel against God.
It is when we are in this state of mind that we are usually the hardest on ourselves. We know more about our faults and weaknesses than anyone else; and when we are in this condition we are not strong enough to handle properly our doubts, our fears, our sins and bad habits. We will then begin to develop inferiority complexes and destructive feelings of guilt. Damaging self-criticism and self-condemnation are born in this kind of environment. Sometimes we limit ourselves by comparing ourselves to others and therefore never trying because we feel inferior to others.
A ragged, ten-year-old Navajo boy--fresh off the reservation, unexposed to the world, living in a Mormon foster home in the Church's Indian Placement Program--would never have succeeded had he compared himself to his Anglo friends, who were far more educated, advanced, and prepared than he was. He did not start school until he was eight years of age, and then was quickly advanced three or four grades because he was behind in his grade and was over age. He had a poor command of the English language. His parents were illiterate. He was from a large family. He was raised on desert animals and mutton stew. He seldom had a decent bath for lack of water. He was raised on a dirt floor in a small one-room Hogan without modern conveniences and luxuries. He succeeded educationally, socially, and spiritually because he was his own competitor and because he set out to develop a high opinion of himself and to develop a more positive mind.
Unrighteous self-criticism and criticism of others are born in the mind, and they can be very destructive. Unjust self-criticism and fault-finding with others are just two of the things that are perpetuated by Satan. Self-appraisal, when handled properly and in the right spirit, can be helpful.
A person with a low self-esteem will usually blame others for all his troubles and problems and failures. He will begin to say that "they" are to blame. He will gradually lose self-confidence and initiative. He usually does not think well of himself and reacts negatively toward others. Generally, he is mad at the world, the schools, the government, the Church, his teachers, and his priesthood leaders. His rebellious mind will lead to rebellious actions.
If we should ever find ourselves in such circumstances, the cure is not to remodel or change the world but to change our self-world first. It is futile and useless to curse and blame the establishment, the schools, the governments, the Church, or the administration. The cure is to look at ourselves and to change our attitudes and rebellious minds. The change has to come from within first; and then, as we change inside, the world and people will begin to be a little more beautiful. This is especially true for minority groups when they are exposed to the majority, and sometimes for members of the majority when they are in the minority.
It is impossible for you and me to "walk in beauty" while our minds are filled with old grudges and bitterness that are pouring poison into our systems. A little hate, a touch of prejudice, a touch of jealousy lodged in our minds can be compared to cancer. They can spread rapidly and run wild, seriously injuring our self-confidence and critically damaging the self-esteem of others.
While it is important to put the right kinds of thoughts into our minds, it is equally important to know how to get negative thoughts out of our minds. Positive, virtuous thoughts should be put into the minds while impure thoughts are gradually eliminated.
Doubts and fears thrive and mushroom from a seed of negative and impure thoughts. Faith is retarded in an atmosphere of weak and evil thoughts. When our minds are full of bitterness, we live in a world of sin. When our minds are full of evil, we live in a world of hate. When our minds are full of doubt, we live in a world of fears. Sin is born in the mind. Immorality is born in the mind. Crime is nurtured in the mind. Cheating and dishonesty are cultivated and developed in the mind. Fault-finding is born and nurtured in the mind. Hate and prejudice are born in the mind.
Some of us sometimes carry a burden of accumulated guilt or sin, causing us to feel unworthy and to withdraw from families, friends, and Church activity. Evil and weak thoughts that have not banished from our minds can cause us to give up on ourselves, and we gradually lose our self-respect and self-confidence.
One of the main purposes of the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ was to help you and me establish a more successful, positive, and happy way of life with a well-trained mind and a disciplined character so that we will succeed in reaching the celestial kingdom. He said at one time,
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. [ ]
What the Lord meant was, "adopt my way of life--live, think, and act as I do." He invited us to think as He did and to live as He did. He wants us to manage our minds properly and train and discipline our character properly--in other words, to empty our mind of all bitter thoughts, jealous thoughts, evil thoughts, and other negative and weak thoughts. Jesus Christ never entertained any doubts, fears, hate, evil, or other negative thoughts in His mind. He invites you and me to do the same thing.
Only when we get the weak and evil thoughts out of our minds can we begin to "walk in beauty" and achieve our goal of eternal life with our Heavenly Father. We need to empty the impure thoughts out of our minds, and to get down on our knees and repent of them if we need to do so. Scriptures make it very clear that no unclean thing can enter God's presence. The celestial kingdom could not be the celestial kingdom it were filled with hate, doubt, fears, negative thinking, immorality, and selfishness.
To develop a well-trained mind full of positive, virtuous thoughts is light. The scriptures say, "that which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day" (). The more you entertain good, righteous thoughts, the more light you receive. The more light you receive, the closer you get to perfection; and the closer you get to perfection, the closer you are to becoming a possessor of all things that the Lord has. He said, "Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son" ( ).
But the Lord also said that "no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin" (). "Cleansed from all sin" included emptying our minds of all weak, negative, and evil thoughts. These impure thoughts represent darkness, and the Lord told us to "chase darkness from among you" ( ). Selfish and evil thoughts debase the soul. Jesus Christ condemned the fostering of such thoughts, motives, and feelings.
We can control our future by being able to control what we put into our minds. William James, a famous author and psychologist, had this quote to offer:
Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.
[John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, 14th Ed. (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1968), p. 1100.]
Important it is, my brothers and sisters, that we think wholesome, kindly thoughts. Thoughts are the seeds of acts. Righteous thoughts, if consistently kept in the forefront of the mind, will inevitably lead to righteous acts. Even the thoughts in our minds at this very moment are contributing significantly in shaping our character and soul.
May I admonish and counsel each of us, my brothers and sisters, to consider seriously Mormon's last affectionate wish for his son Moroni: "My son, be faithful in Christ; . . . and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever" ().
My brothers and sisters, may our Heavenly Father's divine care and inspiration always attend you. May you think in beauty, may you talk in beauty, may you live in beauty--beauty before you, beauty behind you, beauty above and beneath you, beauty all around you in all of your days here on earth and into the eternities--I humbly pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ. Amen.
President Holland, faculty members and students, my dear brothers and sisters:
First of all, I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude for the privilege and invitation to come down here and talk to the greatest student body in the whole world. Secondly, I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude for the blessing of a great companion. I am grateful that Sister Lee was able to be with us today. I am also proud to have our two oldest boys, Duane and Chad, with us. They're looking forward to attending this fine university someday.
I sincerely invoke the strength of your faith and your prayers that what I say may be helpful to you and to me. I hope that whatever spiritual enlightenment we receive today will give us strength, courage, and the determination to carry on the work of the Lord, which is the greatest work in all the world.
This world is getting so competitive and technical that a high school degree is not sufficient anymore. Never in the history of mankind was it as necessary to be highly trained to achieve in a chosen field as it is at the present time. This period of time demands that you not only be technically trained, but spiritually trained as well. In fact, spiritual training should take priority at all times.
The scriptures make it very clear that you are to seek spiritual knowledge first, and then all else will be added unto you, including secular knowledge. As great and as important as secular knowledge is, as great and important as are the training of the mind and becoming specialists in our chosen occupations and vocations on this earth, this worldly knowledge and these achievements are not and should not be our greatest aims in life. You should know and realize that spiritual education is true education.
Secular Knowledge and Spiritual Knowledge
Up to this point in your lives, you have had to deal mainly with secular education or education about our physical selves as well as our physical world. Our fine public school systems have dealt mainly with secular education, while spiritual education is usually left for the home and the church. Because we live in this kind of a world, it is only natural that proper emphasis be placed on secular education. At the same time, you should not allow this secular education to mislead you as to the tremendous importance and value of spiritual education. Secular education is only a small part of spiritual education.
Both are important, but we ought to know and understand that spiritual education is to be supplemented with secular education. In other words, we must know and understand that the scriptures are to be supplemented with secular knowledge. Secular knowledge is not to be supplemented with the scriptures, but eternal truths must be supplemented with knowledge of languages, tongues, and peoples. You and I, in the search for secular knowledge, have built huge monuments and temples in the forms of great colleges and universities. We have built huge, expensive, elaborate facilities, laboratories, libraries, endowments, and equipment in our search for secular knowledge.
The search for spiritual knowledge, on the other hand, is quite a different matter. This search for eternal truths is for anyone and for everyone. In this search for spiritual truth, there is no need for extensive, elaborate universities, laboratories, libraries, or expensive equipment. The only things that are needed and necessary for this search are a pure heart and a contrite spirit. Even the lowliest of men can find this kind of truth. In this search for spiritual truth, there is no need for a chosen, trained profession, but only righteous living. Even the poorest and humblest may be a searcher for this spiritual knowledge.
The Lord Jesus Christ has told us that he has never at any time given us a law which was temporal, for to him all things are spiritual (). I sincerely believe that spiritual education is true education. True education is to learn more and more about the Father of our spirits, or our Heavenly Father. He is the Father of the spirits of all men everywhere, and he is also the literal, earthly Father of Jesus Christ. True education is to know that each person is a child of God, created in his image, endowed with his attributes, and entitled to his inspiration. One of our greatest privileges in this earth life is to seek him and to become more like him.
A modern revelation says:
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. ()
Our Heavenly Father who begot Jesus Christ is a person, and he has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as that possessed by Jesus Christ. It is in the same shape and form as our own bodies. God our Heavenly Father is not a shapeless mass filling the whole universe, yet so small that he dwells within a human heart. He is not without a body, parts, or passions. He is not permanently invisible; he is not joined into one with the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ.
Can you imagine praying to a god who is an incomprehensible, shapeless, and invisible influence without body, parts, or passions? Can you imagine Jesus Christ praying to a god who is a shapeless mass? Can you imagine Jesus Christ praying to himself who is at the same time God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost all rolled into one? The fact that God our Heavenly Father is all-knowing and all-powerful, that his influence and knowledge can reach throughout space, does not mean that he himself has been diffused throughout space. God is not a thing; he is not an invisible influence; he is not a shapeless mass; he is not incomprehensible; and he is not an "it."
God the Father is a glorified, all-knowing, all-powerful, personal Being, as he has revealed himself to be. He is our Heavenly Father in whose image we were all created.
True education then is to seek and understand who you are and not only to know that God lives, but also to know the kind of Being he is and what your relationship to him ought to be. True education is to know that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. It is to know that this same Jesus who walked upon the waters, who healed the sick, who suffered in Gethsemane, who died upon the cross, came forth from the tomb and conquered death. True education is to literally and actually know through the Spirit that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that he is the Savior of the world.
On one occasion a very important question was asked of a group of Pharisees when Jesus said to them, "What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?" (). The Pharisees didn't have very many good answers.
I wonder how much better our own answer would be if the same question was asked of us today. After all that is a question that all of us must answer, either with our own voices or with our own lives. Sometimes our own voices indicate that we know the right answer, but the way we live indicates that we do not know the Christ.
Sometimes it is difficult for some of us to understand and believe something that we have not actually experienced. We are like Thomas. Some of us must put our fingers into the print of the nails and thrust our hand into his side before we can believe. How sad and unfortunate.
Peter had the right answer when he said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (). What a tremendous spiritual education we would have if we would likewise know what Peter knew and say what Peter said.
In our own day Joseph Smith verified the existence of Christ by his own personal testimony that he saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ with his own eyes and testified that Jesus lives. He said, "I have actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me" ().
My own personal testimony is that Jesus Christ was not only a great teacher; he was not only a great educator, a great philosopher, and a great leader, but he was foreordained to be the Savior of the world. He voluntarily came down to earth to lay down his life for the salvation of men. He came to earth and taught all men, took their sins upon himself, and finally allowed his life to be taken to redeem mankind from the effects of the fall in the Garden of Eden. He is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh; he is the Redeemer of the world; he is the Christ.
True education is to know the true God and Jesus Christ. Only when we know these things can we ever hope to enter his presence once again. True education recognizes the priesthood of God as the only great, legal, supreme authority and power that governs all things at all times upon the earth, in the universe, and in the eternities. It is the only great, supreme authority and power that governs all the children of God upon all the worlds that have been, upon all the worlds that are in existence now, and upon all the worlds that are yet to come.
True education recognizes the ancient as well as the modern-day prophets and apostles in all dispensations as universal educators. True education recognizes that Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Savior, stands above all as a great teacher and a great educator for all mankind, for all dispensations. True education recognizes that we are the children of God and that this world is a great school of education. The whole world is a school, and all God's children upon the earth are but students in it. This great world school has on its enrollment every human being that is alive today, every human being that has ever lived in the past, and every human being that is yet to come. In this great world school, God our Heavenly Father is our Teacher, for there is no other teacher that can compare with him.
True education is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a panacea for all sin and evil. The gospel of Jesus Christ will do away with all evil, all selfishness, all greed, and all lawlessness. It will do away with immorality, crime, and all other wickedness. Our Heavenly Father, our great Teacher, is endeavoring to teach us in this school of life, for his Spirit is striving with all men, and through his inspiration a great flood of knowledge and understanding is coming into the world.
If you are one who is ambitious and desires a well-balanced education, be sure and be firm and anchored in the spiritual things first, in the deep things of God. Spiritual knowledge can be secured only by obedience to his gospel through which we may secure and retain the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Just as there are academic and athletic scholarships, there is also a life scholarship to which you are all entitled. That life scholarship is the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. He is our tutor, our educator, and our teacher.
True education starts in the home. Our Father in Heaven has given parents the responsibility of teaching the gospel to their children. He has clearly admonished us that if we do not spiritually educate our children, the sin will be upon the parents. The search for spiritual truth or knowledge should begin in the home. The home either makes or scars the character of children. The influences of the home, whether good or evil, carve and shape the souls of the precious spirit children of God. Since home and family development are powerful forces in the development of a child, a child's destiny is largely determined by what parents do with him in the home. The early imprint of family life in the home is usually not easily erased. Parents may not be able to teach their children everything there is to know about the gospel, but it is up to them to lay the foundation and prepare them to be receptive to spiritual education throughout their lives. Parents should not look to Church auxiliary programs for the spiritual knowledge of their children.
Our Primary Concern
It appears in the scriptures that the Lord wants us to be primarily concerned with feeding our spiritual selves while here in mortality. It seems that he desires us to emphasize or concentrate on seeking spiritual knowledge.
Let us briefly analyze some of these scriptures. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read:
Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul. ()
It seems from this scripture that the Lord wants us to be most interested in the life of the soul, or the life of our spirit body, which part is eternal. If we are really going to know and appreciate eternal life, or his way of life, in this life we ought to emphasize gaining spiritual knowledge, or feeding our eternal spirit selves. As we take care of the needs of our spirits, then naturally, almost automatically, the needs of our natural bodies will be met.
Again from modern revelations we read,
Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. ()
We learn from this verse that intelligences, or our spiritual bodies, were not created or made and never can be. Our spirit bodies, or intelligences, have no beginning and no end.
Again reading from the Doctrine and Covenants, we find that the Lord said,
All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ. ()
Thus, it appears that we are entitled to celestial glory if we develop a valiant testimony of Jesus Christ in this life and endure to the end. All dominions, principalities, powers, and thrones will be ours if we can in this life place spiritual things first, if we can subjugate the body to the spirit, if we can cast away all evil, and if we can gain spiritual knowledge first. Then we will be entitled to all of these great powers. Spiritual power is prerequisite to creative powers. When a man receives all dominions, principalities, and powers, he is given all that God has, and thereby he is all-knowing, including all-knowing about secular things. He then becomes a god.
Again, the Lord said, "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth" (). It appears from this particular scripture that our Heavenly Father glories in his spirit sons and daughters or intelligences. He does not glory in intelligence or knowledge per se. He does not glory in our gaining secular knowledge alone, but he glories in our developing and expanding our spirit selves, or our intelligences.
To Become a God
The way to become a god is to expand our intelligences, to add glory to our spirit selves, to have our spiritual knowledge control our secular knowledge, to subjugate secular knowledge to our spiritual knowledge.
Again we read, "It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance" (). It appears that the ignorance that the Lord talks about in this particular scripture means ignorance of him, his programs, and his teachings. It means ignorance of spiritual knowledge. It does not necessarily mean ignorance of secular knowledge. It is impossible for any one of us to be saved with only secular knowledge. A man can become a great physicist or a great scientist, but he will not be entitled to celestial glory if he lacks spiritual knowledge. On the other hand, a man can become a great physicist or a great scientist and at the save time be well anchored in spiritual things. In this situation, he is entitled to celestial glory because he has placed spiritual knowledge over secular knowledge. He has placed God and the gospel of Jesus Christ first. Like the Lord, he has put all earthly glory behind him and lived a spiritual life.
The Lord Jesus Christ set a good example for us in this area. Certainly he was the master Teacher, the master Creator, the Master of all sciences, the Master of all secular things, but yet he always placed spiritual things first. As great as he is, he always subjugated the secular to the spiritual. He put all worldly power, fame, and glory behind him and chose spiritual life for which he came here. We must do the same.
From the Doctrine and Covenants, we read,
And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. ()
It appears from this scripture that we will be graded in the life hereafter by how much glory we have added to our spirit selves, or intelligences. We will be graded by how much we have expanded our spiritual minds in regard to spiritual things, or the things of God, how much we have fed our spirit bodies, or intelligences. Since our spirits are eternal, any eternal, spiritual truths we train them with will be to our advantage in the life hereafter. We can only add to our spirits, or intelligences, through our diligence and obedience to his commandments and laws. From these scriptures we learn that mere book learning and merely seeking secular knowledge are not what the Lord has in mind.
Why take a chance to fill your mind with secular knowledge which sometimes is of only temporal use? Secular knowledge has limitations unless it has a relationship to the spiritual truth. Why learn and know all about geology, zoology, psychology, mathematics, history, government when you have very little chance to use it, not having qualified in this life to be a god with creative powers to create worlds? We must qualify ourselves to become gods first before we have the ability to create worlds, or to be all-knowing about worlds. What good is it to know about math, forestry, civil law, or philosophies of men if you don't know the Creator himself? What will it take and how long will it take for us to know and understand and realize that the Creator himself is a master of secular knowledge? He is the Master of forestry, math, civil laws, and all the sciences. What good is it to accumulate secular knowledge if you don't live his laws that will perfect you? What good is it to know about all of these secular things when we do not obey the commandments which will help us become gods so that we in turn can become masters of all sciences and all secular knowledge?
Secular knowledge can have a permanent or important value only if we become a god first. Then we will have the creative powers to create worlds and place upon them fishes in the sea, birds in the trees, and beasts in the forests. Secular knowledge alone, as important as it may be, can never save a soul, cannot open the gates of the celestial kingdom, cannot create a beautiful world or make a man a god. Secular knowledge can only be most useful and helpful to a man who places spiritual things first, a man who has found a way to eternal life, a man who is anchored in spiritual things. When he does this, and only then, will he be in a position to bring into place all knowledge to be his tool and servant.
A mission should come first over any worldly aspiration, including college work. Temple marriage should take top priority over degrees or secular training. A Church assignment or calling should be more important than sports or any pleasure or entertainment. Church assignments or responsibilities should come first over a hobby or TV show, a movie or work. Church or spiritual activity should take priority over a secular activity. Home teaching should take precedence over a ballgame. Church attendance should have priority over a television show or a visiting of friends, relatives, or loved ones. The scriptures should take priority over secular books.
Anchored in the Spiritual
My brothers and sisters, can you begin to see why the Lord emphasized, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). Can you begin to see why he has emphasized spiritual education over secular education? Can you begin to see why he wants us to be anchored in the spiritual before the secular?
There will come a day somewhere in your life, somewhere along the way on the straight and narrow path, when you will come face to face with so-called learned men, intellectuals or philosophers. They will cast doubt on your faith and testimony. They will cast doubt on your spiritual education. If such a time comes in your life where you begin to have some doubts, when you are faced with a challenge or problem, try to approach your problem from the point of view of seeing how much you can build up your spiritual belief and not from the point of view of trying to see how much you can build up your spiritual belief and not from the point of view of trying to see how much you can tear down your gospel belief. In all your approaches to the problems of life, try to reach after them from the point of view of the gospel, from the point of view of spiritual knowledge.
The Savior said in the Sermon on the Mount,
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. ()
Paul, as he made his farewell address to the people at Ephesus, said,
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. ()
Remember, rarely do men die to vindicate secular knowledge, but it is different with the spiritual knowledge that you have and will have and should have. Men have gone to martyrs' deaths from the beginning until now to vindicate their spiritual knowledge. Do not slip away from spiritual knowledge. Do not allow secular knowledge to occupy most of your time throughout your life.
My brothers and sisters, if there ever was a time in our history when we must be on guard against these so-called learned men or philosophers, that time is today, that time is now. We must not be asleep; we have the truth. We have the spiritual knowledge; we must preserve it.
These ravening wolves are among us, sometimes from our own Church membership, and they, more than any others, are clothed in sheep's clothing. These ravening wolves will begin to make friends with you. They will cultivate your friendship. They will invite you to their homes. They will take you to their socials; they will take you to their classes of instruction. They will get you to lie and cheat a little. They will get you to break the Word of Wisdom and the law of chastity. They will tell you that your religion is too hard to live. Before you know it, you will find yourself slipping away from spiritual truths, spiritual knowledge, and activity in the Church. Before you know it, you have lost your faith and testimony.
Someone said we never lose eternal life by a blowout. It is always by a series of slow leaks, a little disobedience here, a little disobedience there, a little disbelief here and there, a little sin here, a few harmless mistakes. Before we know it, we have lost eternal life. These ravening wolves and other so-called intellectuals, learned men and philosophers, have destroyed the morality and spirituality of millions of people. They have led multitudes into disbelief. Their ideas and attitudes that are unwholesome and unholy spread quickly. These supposedly learned men will cast doubts on your faith and testimony. They will cast doubts on spiritual things. They will cast doubts on your spiritual knowledge. These men will have you be anchored in secular knowledge first. They will lead you to the paths of doubt and unto destruction. They know not the truth, but they think they know it. They will try to persuade you that you should follow them.
My friends, beware of these faith killers and testimony killers. Some of them will be found on university and college campuses throughout the nation. Because of their supposedly superior knowledge and ability and because of the students' hunger and thirst to learn, it will seem natural for students to wholeheartedly believe these faith killers.
Jesus Christ said, "A man's foes shall be they of his own household" (). Teachers, whether on the elementary, secondary, or college level, are supposed to be among our greatest benefactors, yet sometimes these same instructors may destroy the morality and spirituality of many of our young people. Beware of these testimony killers; they will teach you philosophies that are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. With their fine intellects and sometimes because of their charm and their strong personalities, they will make broad the straight and narrow path.
The Jaredite nation was destroyed because people listened too much to the so-called learned men, philosophers, and ravening wolves, which were among them. The Nephite civilization was also destroyed because of the same reason. They listened more to these ravening wolves, and they were destroyed by their secret combinations. This Jaredite and Nephite disease is also among us today, and it will destroy our nation if we do not repent and return to the God of this land, even Jesus Christ. This Jaredite-Nephite disease will destroy us if we do not place spiritual knowledge above secular knowledge.
We have seen civilization after civilization destroyed because their members have been wrong in their thinking. There are many in our own day who follow this pattern. I think in education there are some who talk about academic freedom, and they feel that they have a right to teach as they choose. Then they teach anything and everything that they choose in the name of academic freedom. More often than not, they teach their own philosophies, philosophies of men, in the name of academic freedom. I feel that freedom in education or in life is good, provided that we are in harmony with the mind, the will, and the word of the Lord; otherwise, I think we will be wrong.
Do Not Be Deceived
The Lord said that our joy would be great if we bring but one soul unto him, but I say how great will be our regret if, through our bad influence, example, and teaching, we should lead one soul away from God.
Do not be deceived. Can you see why we should let spiritual knowledge take first place in our lives, why it should take precedence? Can you begin to see why we must pray unceasingly, why we must study the scriptures diligently, why we must perfect our lives as the Savior did? Can you begin to see why religion classes should have preferential attention over the regular secular college courses? Can you begin to see why the study of the scriptures, or seeking spiritual knowledge, should take precedence over secular knowledge and learning? Can you begin to see why the scriptures should take priority over the man-written books? Can you begin to see why association with the Church should take priority over campus clubs? Can you begin to see why the paying of tithing should take priority over the paying of tuition and fees? Can you begin to see why the ordinances of the temple should take priority over any worldly activity?
My brothers and sisters, why become obsessed with the acquisition of secular knowledge at the expense of spiritual knowledge and performance? Why become obsessed with the philosophies of men at the cost of spiritual knowledge or performance? Why become intoxicated with your own intelligence and success and become too self-sufficient and proud to feel the need for spiritual knowledge? Can you begin to understand why the Savior said what he did when he said, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (). What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole earth, whether it be in a dominion of political position or power, or whether it be in a dominion of scientific worlds, whether it be in a dominion of some abstract knowledge, or any other walk of life, if by gaining that secular knowledge and dominion, he lose his own soul?
From these instructions and others, the Lord makes it clear to us that the secular things taught in the colleges and universities are important, but the Lord places first things first. He puts everything in its proper sequence. He desires all of us to learn of his teachings and the laws of the gospel pertaining to eternal life. Then he wants us to add the knowledge of the world--chemistry, geology, geography, history, government, economics, and so on.
Jesus Christ himself gave us the proper sequence when he said,
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you ()
To the Prophet Joseph Smith the Lord said,
This is eternal lives--to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law. ()
There will come a day in the future, my brothers and sisters, when the kingdoms of man will come crashing down, but the kingdom of God will stand firm and unshaking. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
10. Letters to George P. Lee
Letter from Dan Bradshaw (website was removed!)
Letter from Larry Dean (website was removed!)
Letter from Mark Robinson (website was removed!)
Letter from Robert Rollins (website was removed!)
Letter from Mike Sweat (website was removed!)
Letter from Ollie Whaley (website was removed!)
11. Other Photos of George P. Lee
12. Comments by George P. Lee
"You (the LDS Church) are slowly causing a silent and subtle scriptural and spiritual slaughter of the Indians and other Lamanites. While physical extermination may have been one of the Federal government's policies long ago, your current scriptural and spiritual extermination of Indians and other Lamanites is the greater sin and great shall be your condemnation for this. (Deseret News, September 2, 1989)
"It got to the point where I had to follow them or Jesus Christ", he said "and I chose to follow Jesus Christ. I told them they are the ones that are apostatizing - teaching false doctrine." (New York Times, September 3, 1989, page 29)
"Mr. Lee said Mr. (Ezra Taft) Benson was so feeble by his great age that his counselors in the First Presidency, Gordon B. Hickley and Thomas B. Monson, made all important decisions in his name." (New York Times, September 3, 1989, page 29)
"I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." ()
George P. Lee was a great educational and religious leader among the Lamanites and also to the Diné until he was found guilty of sexual molestation of a child. Knowing only what has been released to the public, I felt that Mr. Lee had made the right choice in speaking up for the Lamanites and the Diné by trying to keep the American Indian programs functioning in the Mormon Church. This was a time when LDS President Ezra Taft Benson ended most of the American Indian programs at Brigham Young University and was phasing out the Mormon Church's Indian Placement Program, and George P. Lee spoke up and tried to stop that. I am very proud of George P. Lee for making that choice! At that time of his excommunication, it was not known of Elder Lee's molestation of a child. Therefore, because he spoke back to the Prophet Ezra Taft Benson and twelve Apostles of the Mormon Church by defending the American Indian programs within the Mormon Church, and George believing that the Lamanites, not the white LDS leaders, would play a major role in the second coming of Jesus Christ back to the earth, Elder Lee was excommunicated.
The LDS leaders found Elder Lee to be disrespectful and putting up a philosophy that the LDS Lamanites would play a major role in bringing back the second coming of Jesus Christ with white church leaders playing a secondary role. At that time, and even currently but to much a lesser extent, Mormons believe American Indians are Lamanites who descended from Book of Mormon peoples (Israelites that colonized ancient America). American Indians were therefore considered direct descents from the tribes of Israel, whereas those Mormons of European decent were typically thought to be "adopted" into the house of Israel when baptized into the LDS church. George felt the Book of Mormon taught the Lamanites would play the dominant role in the last days with assistance from those adopted into the house of Israel. Elder Lee had followed what he mostly had been taught by the LDS Prophets and other LDS leaders in the Mormon Church for years! President Kimball believed that the Native Americans would lead the forefront in building Zion and the LDS Church. In 1954, he told a General Conference audience,
"I beg of you, do not disparage the Lamanite-Nephites ... Do not scoff and ignore these Nephite-Lamanites ... Do not prate your power of speech or your fearlessness unless you too could stand with the Prophet Samuel on the city wall, dodging stones and spears and arrows while trying to preach the gospel of salvation. The very descendants of this great prophet are with us. They may be Navajos or Cherokees, ... Mayas or Pimas, ... Piutes or Mohicans, ... And in these living descendants ... will be redeemed, will rise and will become a blessed people. God has said it." (Conference Report, April 1954, pp.106-108).It was George's interpretation of the Mormon gospel and its relation to the current American Indian that was one of the reasons for his excommunication. Remember, the Book of Mormon, is the so-called history of the indigenous peoples of North, Central, and South America, and how Jesus Christ came to the new continent. It was how the Lamanite (the American Indian, Indio, or the Native) would "blossom as the rose". Mr. Lee was the first (and only) Native American to hold a high position in the Mormon Church, and yet he was excommunicated for standing up for the Lamanites and his Native people!
I wonder if it would have been better for the Mormon Church just to have thanked George for his service as a General Authority and had removed him as they had with General Authority Paul H. Dunn who was found to have exaggerated about his experiences as a professional baseball player and U.S. soldier during the World War II? I had read some of Paul H. Dunn's books and I own one, "The Ten Most Wanted Men". I also heard Paul H. Dunn speak at BYU. He was an excellent and inspirational speaker. I wanted to be like him. His stories and what he went through in life and how he overcame problems were awesome! Yet I later found out, his stories weren't always true! Paul H. Dunn was made a General Authority Emeritus, yet he lied about his professional baseball experiences and World War II experiences. It was an exaggeration but an exaggeration is still a lie. Is that right to be made an Emeritus General Authority after lying about many of his stories? I remember Senator Orrin Hatch had asked the Salt Lake City reporter who had first released the story of his exaggerated inspirational experiences to stop continuing his investigation about Paul H. Dunn's past. George on the other hand openly questioned his authority, which in my some minds could be a healthy thing, if he believed he is truly right. Is that a sin?
The biggest mistake that George made in his life was to sexually molest his own daughter's girlfriend. That was a huge morale mistake! That one mistake in his life ruined his religious and educational career and some would say, his life after that. Mr. Lee told the girl he molested that he loved her, and this was of God, and that some day, God would restore polygamy back to the Church. Is this unusual? Mormons such as Joseph Smith (the Founder), Brigham Young (the LDS leader who brought the LDS saints to Utah), and many other historical LDS leaders of the Mormon church practiced polygamy, meaning they had more than one wife, and married young Mormon girls who were not at the age of marriage! Should these LDS leaders have been charged with a crime and gone to jail? They were not! By what I have noticed, Mr. Lee still associated with Mormons until his death, but had not been re-baptized back in to the Mormon Church. Since running for President of the Navajo Nation in 1990 and 1994, Mr. Lee had also not used his educational degrees and work experience in education and being a General Authority in the LDS Church, in helping his Diné people. What I had heard was that he was getting back to his roots, hanging with his Medicine Man father, and going to the hills and mountains and praying, maybe learning the ways of the Medicine Man. After standing up for his husband for a while after his excommuniction, Mr. Lee and his wife, Katherine (Kitty) Lee, divorced in 1996, and Kitty Hettick later re-married to another LDS member.
Because of this, even if Mr. Lee wanted to return to the LDS faith, in some sense, I understand why, he wouldn't. There are many inactive members, and just not attending or being inactive for sometime, it is difficult to return and become re-active, and for his sexual molestation charge being made public internationally, it would be difficult for Mr. Lee to return, even if persuaded by his LDS friends. Navajo LDS members are not, but a sizeable number of Anglo LDS active members are some what arrogant, and it is difficult to come back in that environment. In the Mormon environment that George P. Lee was in, these LDS lawyers, ... LDS leaders, are aggressive, sharp, and in church, sometimes that is how they act! That is just part of the culture of going to an LDS Church. The LDS leaders tend to be smart, very well educated, and rich! In the Mormon faith, there is a belief that they belong to the true faith and the true Church, and some feel, it sometimes come out arrogantly to other Christians. Under that environment, it is difficult to rejoin, even though it just takes one step!
Since Lee's excommunication, the LDS Church has changed. These are the subtle changes that I have noticed for the non-Native LDS, but major changes for the LDS American Indian.
"I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today. ... The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos, five were darker but equally delightsome. The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation. At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter were present, the little member girl–sixteen–sitting between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parents–on the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather ... .These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness."Just to tell you of my experiences concerning this. I am Navajo. I was raised in Los Angeles. We had access to water in our apartment in Los Angeles, and I had clean clothes to go to school in Los Angeles daily. My parents would visit their relatives on the Navajo reservation between Shiprock, NM and Huerfano, NM every summer. I remember being 5 years old in the year 1960, and my parents were driving to the Shiprock Boarding School and to the area where they kept the Kindergarden Navajo kids to pick up my 5 year old relatives. The school building that we stopped in front of was an old rotting wooden building, un-painted, and about 10 very dark brown or brown black Navajo kids came out of the building. The 5 year old Navajo boys and girls had no shoes or socks and wore old dirty torn clothes! The Navajo kids looked dark, poor, and dirty! These were my relatives! My reasoning is this. Navajos did not have running water at that time in their homes which were mostly shacks, not hogans. In the Shiprock area, by the highway, Navajos lived in wooden or card board shacks or a combination of, living close together to each other. When it rained, the water use to run through the card board roofs, and during the summer, I felt it miserable to live there by the highway! At the farm, near the river, our house was made of wooden branches for the wall, and a dirt floor. When it rained, the river seemed to flow onto the farm, and we had about 4 inches of water as our floor! Navajo didn't take baths, they had a small porcelin or aluminum basin that would be filled with water, and a Navajo person or two would use the same water in that basin to take a "sponge bath" of themselves, which means rubbing themselves with soap with a wash cloth then rinsing themselves again with the same wash cloth using the same water. That is why Navajos, at that time, were darker than Navajos of today. They tended to be out in the sun and didn't have access to water to clean themselves. Maybe this is how Spencer W. Kimball had saw it also when he made his comment! Also today, many American Indian tribes have members that are less than 50% Native blood, yet still accepted as a member of that tribe! To be a Navajo, you just need to have 1/4 Navajo blood! Also, only my face and arms are brown. My leg are lightly brown. Under my shirt and clothes I am more or less white, or beige, or yellowish in color! Yet I am 100% Navajo in blood.
If you're Mormon and don't think this is not a subtle change, you're in denial. Mormons were taught this, I was taught it, every LDS Prophet since Joseph Smith was taught it. It was taught in LDS seminaries, LDS Sunday Schools for as long as I can remember.
Some Mormons clarify the new stants on the "Lamanites" as furthering the Principle of revealed light and knowledge. If present revelation eradicates the teachings of former LDS prophets, then what is the purpose of having LDS prophets revealing continuing revelation when a future LDS prophet might dismiss it?
Did George P. Lee's excommunication, in part caused by him sticking up for the Indian programs in the church, have any connection with how the Mormon church of today has de-emphasized the American Indians' connection with the Book of Mormon? LDS American Indians today don’t hold that special unique position as they once did in the Mormon Church.
So this is the history of George Patrick Lee. Did his excommunication serve a purpose for the LDS Natives or the LDS American Indians? I felt Spencer W. Kimball was trying to help the American Indian and Ezra Taft Benson stopped helping the American Indian. Ezra Taft Benson scuttled the American Indian programs that Spencer W. Kimball had set in place. I had no feeling for Ezra Taft Benson, and never thought of him that much when he headed the Mormon Church. He was the leader, but I felt some what or a little "lost" when he headed the church, even though I tried my best to be part of it. In Mormonism, members do not critize the Church. Its a no-no. If you do, and if it hits the public media, they will question you on your loyalty! If you answer incorrectly, you will be excommunicated! Thank you George P. Lee for your life. You were long forgiven for your mistake! I love you, and many LDS American Indians who knew you, love you, and will miss you! God Bless You Always!
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|Creator(s):||Harrison Lapahie Jr.|
|Curator(s):||Harrison Lapahie Jr.|
|Resource(s):||LDS pamphlet, Salt Lake Tribune newspaper, Deseret News newspaper, LDS relatives, Case Report, Ensign|
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