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EA Smith Kirtland

Elbert A. Smith was a member of the First Presidency for many years and then became the Presiding Evangelist of the church. He brought the following inspired message at a High Priest's Conference at the Kirtland Temple in Kirtland, Ohio.

Message through Elbert A. Smith
October 1950, Kirtland Temple

It is your Lord and Master who speaks through his servant, who feels unworthy, but upon whom nevertheless is laid this responsibility as the Spiritual Father of the Church.

I am He who was born of the Virgin Mary. I am He who was crucified on Calvary's Cross, but who ascended up an high. Behold, I am alive forevermore. Like you, in my early youth I said, "I must be about my Father's business." I knew what it was to leave home and friends and loved ones, to be weary and lonely, and sometimes to be an outcast. I knew my Gethsemane, but I knew also the Mount of Transfiguration. Many of you shall know Gethsemane, but you shall also know Transfiguration.

I am no stranger in this building. I am He who appeared unto the prophet in his youth, the prophet Joseph. The heavenly Father attested my ministry saying. "This is my beloved Son, hear him." I am He who gave the missionary commission, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel. Teach all nations, baptizing them, teaching them all things whatsoever I have commanded you. Those things are to be the burden of your ministry, which should not be given to inconsequential things.

Behold I have stood in your midst, not perceived of you, as I did in years gone by when the prophet Joseph came up these aisles and spoke to the people from this pulpit. I have looked upon you and have perceived the sincerity of your hearts, your humility and your endeavor to approach close to God. You have been lovely in my sight. I as pleased again to call you my friends.

To many of you I have already spoken by the still small voice that has spoken to you alone. It has brought you comfort and counsel and, to some of you, admonition known only to you. But lift up your heads and be of good cheer. I am merciful. I had compassion on the people of old and out of that compassion I said to my followers, "Pray the Lord to send more laborers into the harvest." Under that spirit of compassion I called my twelve apostles, and sent them forth. Under that spirit of compassion you are to minister also in tenderness and consideration, but with firmness. Be not too greatly cast down because of your human limitations. Do not be discouraged. Be not too much troubled over conditions that limit your ministry, against your will. I require only a reasonable service. Do your best, and you shall be blessed.

Again I say unto you, I am He who, before I ascended up, gave the missionary commission, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel." That commission has been renewed to you in these days. Prosecute my missionary work so far and so widely as you may. I am He who stood on the banks of a little lake and to my disciples gave the pastoral commission, "Lovest thou me? Then feed my sheep, feed my lambs." Whether you shall speak as missionaries or as pastors, you shall be blessed. Fear not. But especially to you who are pastors, and feed the sheep and the lambs -- do so tenderly, and with wisdom. See to it that they are fed, and you shall have joy in the love that comes back to you in your service. Fear not the disappointments and criticisms that sometimes trouble you. Was I not criticized? Did I not suffer disappointments and lose friends? Yet I never turned from my ministry, and I never lessened my ministry of love.

This morning for some of you who bear special burdens I would speak a word of comfort. To the am of the Presidency, to President Israel Smith and his counselors: I have been pleased with the way they have moved forward in their office and calling. And unto you, Brother Israel, do not be too troubled by any feeling of inadequacy. You have been called of God and you have gone at your work in the same spirit of kindness that was with your father, Joseph.

When President Israel Smith speaks to you he need not often necessarily say, "This is the word of God." He speaks to you as the President and Prophet of the Church, and, as such, listen to him when he shall give you counsel.

And to the Presiding Bishopric: I have been pleased at their unity and the quality of their service. In particular I have observed Bishop DeLapp when he stood almost alone and under the hammer, but now he is not alone; he has human as well as divine help. I have seen his spirit chastened and humbled and made tender and considerate--and wise. Uphold those men with your confidence.

And to those men of the Twelve who carry a great burden in the missionary field and ofttimes also in administrative work: I am pleased with those who are of many years of service in that Quorum; and also those young men, younger men, who, more recently called, have moved out with wisdom, and grace, and humility to do a most excellent work.

To all of you evangelists and pastors and ministers directly to the people--some of you working men who have but scant leisure--I have observed you when you left the homes that you cherished and in the few hours that you might have spent there you have gone out to visit the sick or the poor or to engage yourself upon the Sabbath day in my work.

So be comforted, my people. This assembly has been blessed of me. It was not badly conceived. It came not by accident. It came by divinely inspired direction. It is a blessed privilege you have had to meet together in this holy temple. You will always remember it. In your minds search yourselves and decide what the church has done for you, and what you can do for the church, which I purchased with my own blood.

Through my servant, the father of the church, I have spoken to you and the message is limited only by his inability. Through him I put my blessing upon you all. Amen.

Taken from: Brother Elbert , Herald House, 1959, pp. 424-426.

March 22, 2002

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