This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey.
This week we’re covering the priesthood session of the October 1975 General conference. Next week, we’ll take a break from hour General Conference Odyssey to cover the entire April 2017 General Conference. The week after that we’ll return to the Odyssey with the Sunday morning session of the October 1975 General Conference.
As for this priesthood session, there was at least one very clear them: sacrifice more. In the first talk Elder Brown said “a law of life” was that “Only if you sacrifice for a cause will you love it,” and stated:
In the world, many organizations, churches, governments, even families have lost much of their vitality because they are afraid to ask people to sacrifice. It is imperative that we not make the same mistake in the Aaronic Priesthood. We must be fearless in expecting Aaronic Priesthood holders to do the work which the Lord has commanded.
In the second, Elder Bangerter said “the devil taught us” to ask the question “[have you] got your home teaching done?” He explained:
That is a very poor way to refer to the comprehensive mission embodied in home teaching. By getting us to ask “Did you get your home teaching done?” the devil destroys 90 percent of our effectiveness. All that question implies is a quick visit the last day of the month so that we can send in the report.
In other words: give more.
Experience since 1975 have born this wisdom out. The churches that have gone the farthest in lowering expectations for their adherents have seen those adherents walk away. Living according to the strict discipline of a traditional faith is hard, but—it turns out—living according to the lax guidelines of a modern faith is pointlessly easy.
With great power, the saying goes, comes great responsibility. One thing Mormons understand is that the converse is also true.