This message is as relevant to 2014 as it was when issued for the New Year of 1951 — and I love the explicitness of President Smith’s testimony —
A Message for the New Year
By President George Albert Smith
This season finds us with many blessings and many problems.
Whatever our blessings are, they have all come from one source – our Father in Heaven. And whatever our problems are, they could all be solved if our Father’s children would keep his commandments.
Everywhere men are asking what is the matter with the world. Why is it that the majority of the people of the world today are arming themselves? The Lord has made available to us everything to make us happy. He sent his Son into the world to bring to us the blessings that can come only from him. And yet with all the churches and denominations and all the organizations there are, I think the world has never been in a more critical condition than it is today. Why? It is because the majority of our Father’s sons and daughters who live upon the earth are not keeping his commandments.
The world is still staggering from the effects of war and rumors of war: rumblings of political and social upheavals cause men’s hearts to tremble with fear; the dove of peace is often denied admittance in the councils of the nations.
Again, some of our sons are away in military service. And we urge all to pray for them; to pray for peace – and to live for peace. (We earnestly urge bishops, quorums, families, friends, to keep close to those who are away — not only at this season, but also at all seasons. Send them encouragement; urge them into Church activity. Win them with love into the living of righteous lives – and pray always for their peace and protection.)
Despite all adverse elements, the promises of the Lord can be relied upon for ultimate fulfilment. Each passing year brings us nearer the date of his coming in power and glory. True, the hour and the day, no man knoweth; but the duty of Latter-day Saints is to watch and pray, being valiant for the truth and abounding in good works. Despite the discontent in the world and the apparent growth of the power of evil, those who continue to stand in holy places can discern through it all the handiwork of the Lord in the consummation of his purposes. The Almighty reigns and will continue to reign!
Our Heavenly Father, in his mercy, sent his Only Begotten Son into the world. And that Son, who is Jesus the Christ, our Lord and Savior, ministered among the children of men. He healed the sick, unstopped the ears of the deaf, restored the blind to sight, and raised up the dead. He convinced his followers that the purpose of our living upon the earth is that we may prepare ourselves for that greater future life. He eventually gave his life and was able to overcome death and the grave and show the way unto life eternal.
And again at this season, I want to testify to you that I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord. I know that he received the gospel. I know that the disciples of the Savior conferred upon him divine authority and passed it on to the Church when it was organized. And I know that Jesus Christ our Lord gave his name to this Church, and he expects us to recognize it and honor it as we go to and fro in this world.
I say, “I know these things.” I know them to be true. We find people who are critical and say, “That is saying a good deal.” It is saying a good deal. But I know these things are true: the divinity of the Savior, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s divine calling, the organization of the Church, the bestowal of the priesthood upon men in our day – all these things are true.
Now if these things were not true, it would be a serious thing for me to tell you they are because it may not be long until I shall suddenly receive my summons to the “other side.” With that realization, and knowing how important it is, I say to you that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and the church that was restored through him is the Church of the Lamb of God.
If there were any doubt in my mind, what a mistake I would be making to testify this way, but I am not making a mistake. I know whereof I speak, and I testify to you that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation, as revealed in this latter day, and as enjoyed by the membership of the Church which bears his name, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I know this to be true, and again I say, knowing the seriousness of such a statement if it were not true. I leave this witness with you in love and fellowship, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.