Postwar Planning

President J. Reuben Clarke, Jnr.
President J. Reuben Clarke

A part of the obligation of the presiding officer at these conferences is that he shall take his turn in speaking to the people. For that reason I wish to fulfill my duty and try to say something to you that may be helpful and encouraging and to the furtherance of the cause of the Lord. I sincerely trust that while I speak I shall have with me the benefit of that spirit which has been poured out in such rich abundance upon us today. So many themes have been touched, that we might further discuss that it is a bit difficult to know what one might most profitably do.

The Golden Rule A Safe Guide For Mankind

To the man who says, what has the Church to offer, in times like these, we might perhaps, without being too cruel, say: what is to be offered to the man who jumps off the house and breaks his leg. Well, we can mend his leg, but it will always be a mended leg; but we have also to offer to the man the advice, do not jump off the house again.

And so to this war-torn world, war-torn from the beginning, we have to say to such a questioner: What has the Church to offer? The Church has to offer to you, and to the world, and has offered to you and to the world the principles that had they been accepted would have made this war impossible, and that if now accepted will make a recurrence of war impossible. We bring you that message, the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, restored in this day and age of the world. Do unto others as thou wouldst be done by contains the rule  Matt. 7:12 which ought to guide us as members of a community and as one of the family of nations.

God Will Pass Sentence Upon The Guilty

In these days of terrible trial and stress the question is frequently repeated by those who lose their dear ones under circumstances that ten years ago were not believed possible. These dear ones sometimes write and say: I hope that God will forgive me for the things I am having to do. The parents want to know what is the answer to that fear. I would like to read to you what the First Presidency said on April 6, 1942, four months after the attack at Pearl Harbor.

In this terrible war now waging thousands of our righteous young men in all parts of the world and in many countries are subject to a call into the military service of their own countries. Some of these, so serving, have already been called back to their heavenly home; others will almost surely be called to follow. But “behold,” as Moroni said, the righteous of them who serve and are slain “do enter into the rest of the Lord their God”  Alma 60:13 and of them the Lord has said “those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them”  D&C 42:46 Their salvation and exaltation in the world to come will be secure. That in their work of destruction they will be striking at their brethren will not be held against them. That sin, as Moroni of old said, is to the condemnation of those who “sit in their places of power in a state of thoughtless stupor”  Alma 60:7 those rulers in the world who in a frenzy of hate and lust for unrighteous power and dominion over their fellow men, have put into motion eternal forces they do not comprehend and cannot control. God, in his own due time, will pass sentence upon them. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord”  Rom. 12:19

I have no doubt of the truthfulness of the theme developed by Brother Callis, that those who die as described by Moroni, will not be held guilty of the death of their brethren, and they will have the opportunity to go on to salvation and exaltation in the celestial kingdom.

Planning For The Return Of The Soldiers

I would like to say a word about the returning soldier, that being a question about which we all talk and hear so much. I said something about postwar planning at the last conference and pointed out that we could and should plan to bring our soldiers back to homes of purity, chastity, and of righteousness, and that it took no worldly position, no wealth to carry on that postwar planning. I want to add just a word along that line today.

These boys out in the field have placed before them constantly, achievements and the value of achievement in the destruction of human life. The thing for which they now receive praise, the things for which they work to get commendation, are unknown to us in our lives of peace. When they return they will bring back with them, of necessity, something of those urges that led them to their achievements, and we are going to be cold, however warm we try to be, to those achievements, which do not fit in with the gospel, nor with our methods of life.

To bridge over the time when they return as heroes for achievements in war, until they may resume their peacetime occupations and become heroes in peace and in peaceful occupations, to bridge that over is one of the tasks we shall have to undertake and to which we must give our best effort and best thought. I am not thinking of the temporal side of the bridge-over, I am thinking of the spiritual side, and what that means; and in that connection it seems to me that they who are to play the greatest part are the mothers, the wives, and the sweethearts of those who return.

The Responsibility Of The Women

When all is said and done it will be our sisters who must take on that great load and that tremendous responsibility. Radio programs, magazines, and newspaper columns are more and more filling with instructions about how to treat our returning soldiers. All the deductions of modern psychology, and its kindred mental sciences are paraded for the guidance of the wives, the mothers, the sweethearts, in meeting, winning, and holding the boy back from the war. But I would not exchange the unerring, inspired instinct of a good woman, fired with mother love, or wife love, or the love of a loyal, chaste sweetheart, for all that men have ever written. The boys say they do not wish to be regarded as problem children. They want to get home and enter again the family circle, and in its sacred precincts again to take up life and forget hate, carnage, and death. I believe their cry will be, “Let us live again in love”; and you mothers, wives, and sweethearts can bring to them this blessing. None other can. So in this crisis we turn to the women of the earth to save them and to save us men from ourselves. So it has been, in reality, in every great world crisis, however much it may have seemed otherwise. Yours, you sisters, has been the loyalty that has never wanted; your courage has not failed, has not been daunted, whatever the odds. You have often recognized a lost cause long before your men folks; you frequently have seen victory long before it came within the vision of those who battled. Your joy and tenderness and fortitude have succored the wounded and eased the passing of those who are called beyond. You never fail in kindness and mercy; your love endures forever. May God bless you, for you are angels of mercy. So, you mothers, wives, sweethearts, take into the sacred precincts of your heart around the altars of your homes these souls wounded in body, in mind, in spirit, and heal them as you alone can.

The Leaders Of The Church Inspired Of God

I had intended to say something, but my time is past, along the line that Elder Petersen spoke. He used even the scriptures that I had intended using; but I would like to endorse all that he said, and I would like to say to the priesthood of the Church, among whom there are many who are steadiers of the ark—please do not be too much concerned. The Lord will take care of the Church, if we shall but take care of ourselves. He has laid down the appointed way; he is the head of the Church. President Grant is his representative on earth. The Lord declares his will through his representative here.

There is much talk nowadays about democracy. I do not know of any democracy in the world. There are liberal monarchies, and there are republics. We are democratic in our concepts of the Church, but we are not a democracy; we are a kingdom, the Church and kingdom of God on earth; and our guidance and our direction comes aria must come through the head of the Church, who always has been possessed of the Spirit of the Lord and of his inspiration, and his revelation. So it will always be.

President Joseph F. Smith said to President Grant, shortly before President Smith died, “the Lord knows whom he wants to be president of the Church, and he never makes a mistake.” The Lord has laid down the rule and the regulation by which that president of the Church is chosen.

It is for us of the priesthood and for us the members of the Church to hearken and to obey in matters which the president of the Church directs, and to see to it that we do not modify in any way the holy laws which the Lord has laid down. God grant that we may all be faithful to the end, I humbly pray, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Original Source

President J. Reuben Clarke
First Counsellor in the First Presidency
J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, April 1945, pp. 53-56
Accessed 1/1/2017