(Talk given by Chauncey C. Riddle at Education Week, 1968.)
Once a person understands the basics of the gospel and decides to embark on a life of service to the Lord, Jesus Christ, that is to say that person has entered in at the straight gate, he/she must go along that narrow way and endure to the end. I believe the next big challenge is to learn to live in the order of the priesthood. This is an almost overwhelming challenge when we begin to contemplate its greatness. As we understand the importance and magnitude of the task, we might comprehend briefly the notion of learning to live in the priesthood order in the doctrine of stewardship, which is our topic for today.
Stewardship is being given a responsibility by someone where we do not have ownership or right to absolute dominion in our own right, but where we receive it as a charge from someone else who does. It is the nature of our existence that we are stewards. For instance, we do not own the bodies that we inhabit. They are given to us as a stewardship — as a charge. We have been loaned them for the purpose of executing the will of the owner; nevertheless, it is given to us to have agency to defy the owner if we will. But then, if that is the case, he will not give us a body in exactly the same form in the resurrection as the one which we have now. We are given our minds as stewardships. The mind we have is a mind somewhat like the mind of God except it is very small; nevertheless, we have intelligence given to us that enables us to think, act, create, rule, and accomplish; also destroy and hurt (the evil things), according to our own will. We are given specific instruction by our Maker as to how to use this mind: what to take into it, what to believe, and on what basis we should make our decisions. The talents we have (whatever they might be), the money we have, the property we have — everything which the world counts as being in our discretionary power — is really not ours. It is only a stewardship from the Lord.
Most of the people of this world, of course, do not believe in this stewardship nor accept it. When people are baptized members of this Church, they accept the Lord as the owner and governor of all things and acknowledge themselves as stewards, they take upon themselves the name of Christ not only to be known by themselves, but as the name of their Master, Jesus Christ. They promise that henceforth they will not do their own will but do His will and keep all the commandments He gives unto them. They promise that from henceforth they will not neglect this stewardship but will remember the Master always, that they might receive His instructions constantly and be faithful and wise stewards in executing their charge.
Let us read a little bit in Section 104 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which further explains this idea. Beginning with verse 11, the Lord says,
“It is wisdom in me; therefore a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardship; that every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him.”
This, or course, is a very necessary and important part of being given a stewardship; namely, that we may be called at any moment to account for that stewardship. If we have served faithfully and well, according to the instructions given by the Master, there will be no regret. If we have been slothful or procrastinated keeping his commandments, if we have been doing our own will instead, then there is considerable reason to fear the presence of the Master. The scripture commends to us that if we keep the commandments of the gospel our countenance shall wax strong in the presence of the Lord, which is simply another way of saying we will be delighted to see His coming anytime and give an account of our stewardship. But if we are not ready to give an account of our stewardship, if we cannot say, Lord, I have faithfully fulfilled thy will in all things, it simply means we have not yet fully applied the gospel in our lives. One of the tests as to whether the gospel is our way of life is if we are ready to go to our Master at any time. Every day is sufficient to its own problems, and if we live each day as the Lord would have us do, there would never be a moment of any day that we would not be ready to make that accounting.
Continuing with verse 13,
“For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures, I the Lord stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.”
All things in heaven and earth.
“But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I the Lord have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low”
–not by force, but by the doctrine of stewardship.
“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I have prepared all things, and given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.”
We keep hearing that there is a terrible famine imminent, that the world is overpopulated. But these statements are all made by people who know not God. If we understand the nature and the work of God, He has plenty and to spare for each of his children. The only reason there ever has been famine on the earth, or difficulties or troubles among the children of God, is because (1) they have rejected their Maker, (2) they have not been willing to account to Him who is the owner and Master of all things, and (3) they have not been willing to be stewards. Had they been willing there would have been abundance for all.
“Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell being in torment.”
Now this particular section relates specifically to the law of consecration practiced in the Church in the early days, but the general principle is also there.
“Let’s read on a little bit in the last part of this section, beginning with verse 54. ”
“And again a commandment I give to you concerning your stewardship which I have appointed unto you. Behold all these properties are mine or else your faith is vain.”
If there is anything we think ye own which does not belong to the Lord, Jesus Christ, it simply means that we do not have faith in Him. He is not our Master, we have not really made a covenant with Him, or, in other words, our faith is vain.
“And ye are found hypocrites, and the covenants which ye have made unto me are broken; and if the properties are mine, then ye are stewards; otherwise ye are no stewards. But verily I say unto you, I have appointed unto you to be stewards over mine house even stewards indeed.”
This is the challenge, to see all things that you have and are as a stewardship from the Lord, Jesus Christ. One of the great blessings of being a steward before Christ is that we are responsible only for the stewardship; we are not responsible for things that lie outside the boundaries. For instance, supposing we think of our stewardship as a plot of ground. We are not responsible for what goes on anywhere in the world except within the limits of that plot which the Lord as designated as our stewardship. If we are faithful in that stewardship, the Lord might give us a supervisory stewardship not only over our plot but over some of our neighbors and over their plots too. It would then be our great opportunity to be in the chain that blesses these stewards; that is to Say, to help them be good stewards in their own areas. So we never have to worry about anything except exactly that which the Lord has designated as the boundary of our responsibility. It is not necessary for us to go out dashing throughout the world solving all the world’s problems. We can1t do it anyway. But we can solve the problems of our own stewardship.
Satan of course, is actively trying to get people to neglect the matters of their own stewardships and go about solving the problems of other people1s steward- ships, because by that means he can thoroughly mess up the works. If we have weaknesses, sometimes we can have difficulty in getting revelation for our own stewardships, but almost always we think we see clearly what our neighbor should do about his. But it is important to realize that if we don1t see clearly what we ought to do about our own problems, it will be because we lack the Spirit of the Lord. Right? And if we lack the Spirit of the Lord for our own stewardship, will the Lord ever give us revelation for our neighbor’s stewardship? Obviously not. If we think we see clearly how to solve our neighbors’ problems, yet we can’t solve our own, who is telling us how to solve our neighbors1 problems? That obviously is Satan, and he delights in doing this. Thus he goes around fouling up the lines of stewardship- – changing the markers so that people won1t know where they belong and will stray out of bounds.
One of the most misinterpreted circumstances in scripture is a classic example of this. This is the story of Cain. Cain killed Abel, and then the Lord came to him and said,
“Where is Abel thy brother?”
and Cain retorted,
“I know not, am I my brother’s keeper?”
Ordinarily the correct answer to Cain’s question would be,
The truth is Cain was never given to be Abel’s keeper (brother is never a keeper). Nevertheless, by taking Abel’s life, Cain had stepped out of his stewardship and had usurped the stewardship of God Himself. By doing this Cain arrogated to himself the responsibility for Abel’s life. So it was quite appropriate that the Lord should come to ask Cain where Abel was. When Cain tried to get out of it by feigning ignorance of the situation by going back to the standard law that he was not Abel’s keeper, the Lord reminded him that He knew all things:
“Thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”
Then Cain tried vainly to excuse his usurpation of the Lord’s stewardship.
It is interesting that Satan has used this little story ever since to convince most Christians that they ought to be their brother’s keeper. It was never intended that way. By this technique more damage has been done in the world than by any other device. People take this story as their example and say,
“Well, I need to be my brother’s keeper.”
So they leave their stewardships to start fixing up their brother’s problems not by the revelation of God, but by the revelation of Satan.
Every tyrant since the world began has been his brother’s keeper. He’s been solving problems for his brother that his brother wasn’t allowed to solve for himself. If you look in the history books, almost every ruler who has taken great power for himself has done it under the guise of blessing his brothers who didn’t know how to take care of themselves. He had some special insight and was going to bless and take care of them because they were not wise enough. And 1938 is no different from the time of Napoleon, the time of Caesar, or the time of Cain, who was the first tyrant of them all. It has been the same story ever since the beginning: stepping out of our stewardship and trying to solve another’s problems and fix things. If every man would learn to worry about his own problems and not try to mess up someone else’s life and stewardship, this would greatly free humanity. But we haven’t learned yet. Throughout the world we have continuing attempts by people who think they know better how to enlighten the minds of others.
“QUESTION: What is a keeper?”
I’m glad you brought that question up; that shows I haven’t made my point. What is a keeper? If you lived in the zoo and had a keeper, what would you have? Somebody who fed you, closed the gates on you, and opened the gates when he wanted. He would be your master. A keeper is a master. He is the one who calls the shots, who gives the orders, who says what goes on. It was never given in this world for a one man to be another man’s master. It is given to some to be masters. Now the proper relationship of brother to brother is to live together and to bear one another’s burdens. This is what Alma says: when my brother suffers, I have to go suffer with him; when he rejoices, I should rejoice with him. But I’m not to tell him what to do. I am not to instruct him or to chastise him or tell him where to get off. Now there will be people who will be sent to do that and they will be masters or keepers, but each will have a specifically appointed stewardship to do so given by the Lord Himself. It was never appointed that any brother go around pointing out his brother’s faults. Does this help explain the matter?
“QUESTION: If your brother has an obvious problem, shouldn’t you go talk to him about it and try to help him?”
That’s exactly the temptation I’m talking about. If the Lord won’t give you revelations for your own stewardship, will He for someone else’s stewardship?
“QUESTION: But sometimes we are able to see someone else’s problems more objectively and thus be in a position to help.”
All right, supposing you go to a friend of yours and say, “I’ve got a problem. Will you help me with this?” What are you doing in that circumstance? You are letting them be your keeper temporarily. You are yielding to them-a stewardship to counsel you. And in that circumstance, if they are wise, they might be able to help you a great deal. If someone asks you for help, then indeed it might be perfectly appropriate to give it. But supposing they don’t ask, would you then have the right to give counsel? If you did, you see, you would be overstepping the bounds of your stewardship.
I don’t expect that this is going to sit well in one sixty-minute period- – simply because all of my life I have heard that we are supposed to be our brother’s keeper, until I began thinking about this scripture and found it just didn’t fit. And, as far as I am concerned, there is no justification for it. Who are keepers? Well, fathers and mothers are keepers; bishops, stake presidents, General Authorities, they are keepers. They have specifically appointed responsibilities and authority over the people over whom they preside. But they can’t go outside that stewardship and do any good. If a stake president goes from one stake into another and tries to preside, he does nothing but create havoc. This is how the Lord orders His kingdom.
One of the reasons I’m talking about this is because we need to learn the order of the priesthood. And until we learn the order of the priesthood above us, to respect the stewardship we have below us, and to faithfully execute our duties, we cannot be Zion. It is not enough for us to be a good person individually. We also have to learn to live together in a harmonious arrangement, and the only way this arrangement can be harmonious is if it is a God-ordered arrangement. That’s the purpose of Priesthood and stewardship: that every person will know what his lines of authority are, what his area of responsibility is, and then don’t get all mixed up
by doing things that are not appropriate. The Lord’s kingdom is a kingdom of order and this is the order that we are talking about. Now let’s get down to a lesson that is a little more ticklish.
I suppose that more unhappiness has come out of the problems of stewardship between husbands and wives, even with people who are trying to live the gospel, than from any other thing. I would like to make some suggestions which I hope will be helpful.
Basically, there are three stewardship relationships; we will have one of these with any human being in the world.
- “We are either their father or their mother, “
- “we are their brother or their sister, “
- “or we are their son or their daughter. “
These are the basic interpersonal relationships that exist between people. Can you think of any relationship that does not fit one of these three? Which of these is the husband-wife relationship? Is it a brother-sister relationship? The answer is no. It never was and was never intended to be a brother-sister relationship. What relationship is it? It is a father-daughter relationship. (Long Pause) Now what I am saying is that the husband presides over the wife and the wife does not preside over the husband. The husband’s stewardship includes the wife, but the wife’s does not include the husband; therefore it is a father-daughter relationship in the priesthood. Because this is not understood, a great deal of difficulty arises when people try to relate to each other. If people would listen when they take their temple covenants, they would already know this. But many do not, and, therefore, they do not understand how this relationship works.
Let us talk about the responsibilities and duties of husband and wife in this respect. Anytime we have a father or mother relationship to someone, we preside over them in the authority of the priesthood. Our priesthood responsibility is to bless them. Blessing them means to help them develop and grow as strong, righteous individuals — that is the responsibility of one who presides in the priesthood. It is not to dominate. It is not to govern in the usual sense, but to be a source of information, of strength, of power, of courage. Whatever is needed that the person cannot bring to himself, he should be able to receive from the person over him. And, if he can’t get it from that person, he will have to go higher. God is not slack. God will deliver. We all know that we will get what we need if we go high enough. But, you see, the people in between will lose their blessings if they do not give us what we need. Each of us works out his own salvation in part by learning to be a good steward and in part by administering good things.
Do you remember the scripture that says when the Lord comes in His second coming He finds His stewards giving meet in due season and that his a wise and faithful steward? What does that mean? It simply means this steward is measuring out the blessings and gives to his stewardship what they need, when they need it, as they need it. That is the due season. This is so that they can grow, so they can be nourished spiritually, physically, socially — whatever it takes. The power of God is sufficient for all the needs of human beings, and if we would live under the order of God we would need nothing but the government of God for the perfection of our souls. It would suffice for every need that we have.
So, the role of a husband is to bless his wife, to be a reservoir to her, to be a source of everything she would need that she cannot herself supply to fulfill her stewardship. What is her stewardship? Her stewardship is to be a reservoir, a source, to help her children. It is the role of the wife to bring children into this world, to bear the souls of man, and to teach them and to nurture them. And whatever she needs that she cannot provide herself, she should go to her husband and get it. If her children are sick and she cannot heal them, she should go to her husband and request that his priesthood be invoked to heal these children. If she needs knowledge as to how to handle them in difficult, psychological circumstances, she has the right to go to him and seek counsel as to what she should do. He can fulfill his role only if he is a man of God, only if he is on good enough terms with the Lord that he in turn can go to the Lord and say, “Lord, I need power to give this blessing.” If he is a righteous man, the Lord is not slack. He will give power, and the blessing will be delivered and the mother will be satisfied that her stewardship is in good order. Likewise, children have a right to go to their mother or to their father.
I am not sure I understand exactly how all the relationships fit. I just observe from my own family that the children, when they are very little, are almost completely in the stewardship of the mother, but as they get older they begin to come back into the covenant, shall we say, into the stewardship of the father and the father must take over some direct relationships, especially with the boys. I don’t think that, except in the case of a widow who would then receive special dispensation from the Lord, when the father is living a mother raises up righteous men. It seems to take a man to do that.
“QUESTION: Sister Emma Mcffay, talking to the BYU women, suggested that a man cannot function in the office of his stewardship unless he is encouraged by a good woman. Do you agree?”
I agree. I see no conflict whatsoever. What I am saying is very drastic, so I hope you will try to be sympathetic. I can see that, before we can be perfect ourselves in these relationships, we must become so strong in the power of the Lord in righteousness that we will never need anything from anybody beneath us in our stewardship. If we have needs we always go up the line to be fulfilled. Let me be specific. This is the ideal; there aren’t many people who are this way. We are all working in that direction. I don’t think that a man, when he becomes what he ought to be as a man of God, will ever be in a position of needing the support of his wife. This does not mean he would not enjoy it if he had it, but if she chooses not to support him, not to comfort him, not to sustain him, he can get along without it. He has to be that strong. It can be a great blessing to him to have that comfort, but he must not need it. You see, the Lord is in that relationship to us. The Lord cannot afford to need you and me. If he did, then we would be boss. We would be Lord if He needed us. He is grateful when we are obedient to Him, and when we do the work we are supposed to do we build His kingdom — but he does not need us. If we choose to go our way and defy Him, He can get along quite nicely without us. He may not have as much glory, He may not be as happy, but He will never have to come begging to us for anything. He is not in that position.
Similarly we need to be in that position in the priesthood authority: to delight in receiving from beneath, but never to need it. For instance, have you seen mothers who so desperately needed their children to approve that they would give their children whatever they wanted and thereby destroy their children? But if the mother does not need those children, then she is in a position to do the very best possible job raising them. If the children choose to defy her, she does not have to get on her knees and beg them to be obedient. She then deals from a position of strength and can deal with them in love, disciplining them in a way she never could if she had to have their support.
We are this way in relation to food, as well. If I need food, I am not a servant of Christ. If I can get along without food, if I am willing to starve to death if necessary, then I can be a servant of Christ — and not until. This is the same thing exactly. Because, if I need food and I have to have it, then whoever controls my food controls me and I am not a servant of Christ; I am a servant of whoever controls my food. But I see that food is a small thing, and if I am a servant of Christ I could care less if I should die tomorrow. What a great blessing and relief that would be. Therefore, there is nothing in this world that I can afford to need as a servant of Christ except to obey my Lord, and He will see to it that I always have power to do that. There is no one in this universe who can stop me from doing that except Him. And He won’t. Therefore, I need not fear. I would be able to fulfill my mission and do what I need to do. If it is my lot to die tomorrow because nobody will give me food anymore, that’s fine–I don’t mind; and the same with any other need. He can’t afford to need anything that comes from beneath us in our stewardship.
Does that help make the concept clear? It is pretty strong medicine, I know, but I hope you will be sympathetic in your thinking and try to understand what I am saying because I honestly believe I am saying what is right. On the other hand, you cannot afford to merely believe; you have to find out for yourself whether it is right or not.
QUESTION: Weren’t there times in the Prophet Joseph Smith’s life when Emma did not support him?
Certainly there were times in the Prophet’s life when he did not get the support of his wife, yet that did not stop him from fulfilling his mission. If it had stopped him from fulfilling his mission he would not have been a servant of Christ. It is that simple.
QUESTION: (Not able to transcribe from the tape.)
I am glad you mentioned that. First of all, you have to have the foundation. The foundation is what we talked about yesterday. We have to be servants of Christ; we have to be responsible to Him in the spirit. Then one of the gifts of the spirit we will receive is the gift of love. And, if these relationships are worked out and perfected in a pure, self-sacrificing, long-suffering love, we have the pure charity that Paul talks about. It will work! If you try to work this out with some kind of hardnosed, puritanistic, businesslike arrangement, it will never work. It has to be done in love. I appreciate the question because this is certainly what I intended to convey.
QUESTION: When you say the gift of love, can you develop it or do you have to receive it as a gift?
The pure love that I am talking about is strictly a gift of the spirit. Nobody has it naturally. There are some people who are very kind and loving, but their love is not pure until they become servants of Christ and receive that pure gift.
What would you do when someone over you in authority is not a very good steward? They are abusing their stewardship. This becomes a real test because it is trying. And I have a very simple formula of what to do about it. This again is a little drastic so I hope you will bear with me.
Let me use an analogy. Supposing you had some books that were very valuable to you and you had them in a ten-cent cardboard box and the box was falling apart? What would you do? You would replace the box, so you could take care of the books, wouldn’t you? Supposing the box was filled with just excelsior and you didn’t care whether you had the excelsior or not, what would you do? Would you replace the box? I suppose you would let it stay as it is.
Let’s try a different example. Supposing there was a ward where the bishop was doing a very poor job. He was not a servant of the Lord; he was just riding high and mighty with his authority and powers, exercising unrighteous dominion. But supposing the people of the ward were very faithful members and tried to follow his leadership. What do you suppose the Lord would do with that bishop? Replace him! All right supposing the people of the ward under that same bishop were slothful and did not care what the bishop said; they would not do what he said anyway. What would the Lord do about that bishop? Probably nothing. Do you see why? If you have a bishop you think is wrong, what should you do? The best thing you can do is support him. Do everything he says to do as faithfully as you can. Now when you do that, if you and other members of that ward become faithful to that bishop and honor him in his priesthood, something powerful would happen to that bishop. Do you know what that would be? The Lord would begin to work upon that bishop and He would harrow up the soul of that man until he got into line, or he would be dismissed. That is the way it works.
I can bear you solemn testimony from my own experience as a bishop that when the people support you, if you aren’t doing what is right the Lord will allow you to go through hell. You will either shape up or He will get rid of you. It is that simple. But if the people aren’t doing what you say, you just go bungling along, you and the people, and it doesn’t matter, does it?
“QUESTION: What if you are told to do something you feel strongly against?”
I was once told by my bishop to stand by the door of the Church and physically throw out somebody if they came. That was hard for me to take. But I prayed about it and got confirmation that that was what I had to do. Fortunately they didn’t show up.
I guess I have been in that circumstance at least a dozen times where I was told by the presiding authority over me to do something important that I did not think was right. And in every case, when I have gone to the Lord, the Lord has said to do it. I admit there might be a circumstance where the Lord would say not to do it. But if that time every came I would immediately check with the authority over the person speaking to me and find if I were out of line or if they were out of line. I have surely wondered sometimes, but as I have sought the will of the Lord it has always been to support that man. So I believe that if a wife has a husband and she does not think he is a very good servant of the Lord, the best thing she can do is obey him implicitly as if he were perfect. Now that is pretty strong medicine, isn’t it? You see, that is her stewardship, and if she does that the Lord will get busy on him. When the Lord begins to work on him, He has marvelous ways to bring husbands around. But if the wife isn’t paying any attention to the husband anyway, and the husband isn’t very faithful and the wife wants the husband to get faithful so that she will have some point in being faithful, it will never come to pass. Well, I shouldn’t say that. She might implore the Lord to do something about it, but until she is faithful, her prayers will not be answered. That is the point.
“QUESTION: What about marriage outside the temple?”
They have no stewardship in marriage. Their marriage is not appointed of God and is not, strictly speaking in the Lord, a marriage. I am talking about temple marriage. When a woman accepts a man as her husband, she must be willing to accept him as the Lord. Now if she does not think enough of him, if he is not good ù enough, she had not better marry him. If he is not that grown up yet, if he is not a servant of God and able to speak for the Lord to her, and to be the blessing that she needs to fill her role as a wife and mother, she is jumping off a cliff to marry him. So, if young people would marry righteously most of this problem would be eliminated. If a woman doesn’t know this when she gets married, then what should she do? The solution generally is not to kick over the traces. The solution generally is to honor the covenants that have been made and to serve righteously and faithfully, as sweetly and as humbly as is possible. If the point comes where the Lord tells her that she ought to depart from him, she ought to go to her bishop, and if it is right he will get the same counsel. There again, she is going to the person who has stewardship in the matter. When she gets married in the first place, she ought to counsel vith him who has stewardship over her, namely her father. And, if a girl has a righteous father and can counsel with him and be assured both through the Spirit of the Lord and through her father that she is marrying a man of God who will lead her to exaltation, blessed is she. But I’m afraid some marriages are not made that way.
QUESTION: (Not heard)
As long as the Lord directs her to stay with him she ought to stay with him and be as faithful to him as she can be. Her own salvation rests not on what he does but on how faithful she is in fulfilling her stewardship. As I have looked in the Church, I have found one of the biggest problems active LDS couples are having is that the wife does not think the husband is very righteous and therefore won’t do what he says. This is a source of endless misery and grief. I simply believe that as long as the wife is bound by that covenant she will do the very best thing by herself, by the Lord, and by righteousness to faithfully obey her husband. This may be difficult, but nevertheless this is the kind of trial and faithfulness in stewardship by which we show we are worthy of exaltation. If a woman can serve faithfully under an evil man, some day she will be given a righteous man to be her head and her guide, if her husband rejects the opportunity. But I have seen marvelous transformations in brethren when their wives have been faithful, because then they have seen that there is really some point in being a servant of the Lord, then they have responsibility. When this man’s wife does everything he says, he gets a little bit scared lest he tell her the wrong thing to do. When he gets a little scared he gets on his knees and asks the Lord for help and becomes mighty and powerful. When his wife comes to him for blessings in the priesthood, he gets shaken up a bit and so repents of his sins and tries to be righteous. It is marvelous what can happen.
Remember, Lehi got a little out of line in the Book of Mormon. He began to rail against the Lord for the terrible afflictions they were having. What did his son Nephi do? He went to him and demanded that he act as a father. He said, “Father tell me where to go that we might have food.” Lehi was in no shape at all to get revelation from the Lord because he had been railing against Him. But he had to humble himself and pray to the Lord, and he got the revelation and fold Nephi where to go; and Nephi went and got the meat and they were saved.
This is a marvelous principle the principle of obedience in stewardship. If we can learn to live it, it is one of the great keys in establishing Zion. It is one thing we have not as a Church come to yet, but, if we will, it will move us a great stride forward to that goal.
QUESTION: (Not heard)
I would think that very clearly when the boys reach twelve years of age, they ought to come directly under their father’s stewardship and as priesthood bearers they ought to serve under him. This does not mean they won’t receive instruction from their mother, especially if the father is absent. And the father ought to teach the boys to have complete respect and reverence for their mother. Nevertheless, she needs to be careful and begin to treat them not as children anymore. She does not preside over them in exactly the same sense she did when they were little children.
QUESTION: (Not heard)
When a young man marries, his stewardship relationship to his father does not change one bit. When a young lady marries her stewardship relationship changes drastically. That is to say, she passes from the stewardship of her father to the stewardship of her husband. And that is why there should be agreement by all parties concerned with the stewardship — the Church, the father, and the groom — that this transfer is right.
Only through perfecting ourselves in these stewardship relationships in marriage can we ever have a faint hope for exaltation, because that is what exaltation is. It is the perfection of the marriage relationship. We are to become one in Christ — not two, but one. Christ is the head; we are the hands and the feet. We take our direction from Him. We are members of His body. In exactly the same sense as that relationship, the husband and wife must be one; the husband is the head and the wife the body, I suppose. And then they should function in perfect harmony of unity and love to accomplish the purposes of the family. The purpose of the family is the begetting and the rearing of children unto the Lord. And, if they by the Lord. Then they can act as one.
President McKay in this last conference instructed us as Latter-day Saints to see what we could do to get Section 121 operative in every stewardship in the world, not just Church stewardship, but civil stewardship as well, so that they operate on the basis not of force, but of persuasion and love.
Many people when they get a stewardship, as the scripture says, exert unrighteous dominion. They forget that the powers of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven. The powers of heaven through which the power of the priesthood becomes operative is the Holy Ghost, and, when any man or woman becomes unrighteous and exercises unrighteous dominion to gratify their pride and vain ambitions, the Spirit of the Lord is grieved and is withdrawn from them. Amen to their priesthood. They have lost their priesthood and authority. They may be able to get it back, but anything they do without it, they do so exercising unrighteous dominion. They are outside their stewardship. This is another very important principle we want to remember. We can act as stewards only under the direction of the Lord. If we try to do this of our own selves, of our own wisdom, we are only serving the adversary.
In conclusion, let me simply request you to please not take anything I have said as the final word. I am here to throw out some suggestions worthy of thought, worthy of prayer, and hope you will find them valuable in sensing a correct understanding of the relationship the Lord would have us come to. I bear you my testimony of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I feel with all my soul the importance and necessity of our making these relationships right in the Spirit of the Lord and in the power of the pure love of Christ; and I bear you this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.