"The temporal requirements placed upon the Church and our members are never simply temporal. They only seem temporal because our vision is lacking. The Lord's requirements are always spiritual."
I wish to speak to you about temporal matters.
As a backdrop for what I wish to say, I read to you a few verses from the 41st chapter of Genesis.
Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, dreamed dreams which greatly troubled him. The wise men of his court could not give an interpretation. Joseph was then brought before him: “Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river:
“And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow:
“And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed. …“And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine:
…“And I saw in my dream … seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good:
“And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them:
“And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: …
“And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, … God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.
“The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. …
“… What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.
“Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:
"And there shall arise after them seven years of famine;
“… And God will shortly bring it to pass” (Gen. 41:17–20, 22–26, 28–30, 32).
Now, brethren, I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order.
Brigham Young encouraged the people to dance, even while proclaiming, "Dancing [is] no part of our worship."43
He says, "I labor for my own dear self," and in the same breath adds that men have no right to work for themselves.44
We practice shrewd economics even while being told to take no thought of what we shall eat or wear.
We should constantly be storing our minds with knowledge, yet take no thought of what we are to say when we teach the gospel.
We are told to be provident and thrifty—but to ask and trust our heavenly Father for our daily bread.
We are told to be industrious and independent, yet "if the laborer in Zion labor for money, he shall perish" (cf. 2 Nephi 26:31).
We are told to go to with our might—and consider the lilies of the field who toil not neither do they spin.
We are told to hold the Sabbath most sacred as a day of rest, yet it is the day on which many of us work hardest.
We are told to acquire worldly learning and told that worldly learning is nothing.
Joseph Smith said he would have nothing to do with politics and ran for president!
The Savior, speaking with the woman at the well, was thirsty and asked for a drink, and even as he was drinking she asked him for a drink, because he told her that he could give her water of which whoever drank would never thirst again.
We could go on and on, but what is wrong here? Nothing. If we were to examine each of the above apparent paradoxes we would find them all falling into the pattern of Moses' declarations, both uttered on the same occasion and as it were in the same breath. First he said, "Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed" (Moses 1:10). And then he adds: "But now mine own eyes have beheld God; . . . his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him. . . . I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten" (Moses 1:11, 13). Which is it? Is man nothing or everything? It all depends on which existence we behold him in, temporal or eternal.
In a public meeting of the Saints, I said, "Ye Elders of Israel.... will some of you draw the line of demarcation, between the spiritual and temporal in the Kingdom of God, so that I may understand it?" Not one of them could do it....
I defy any man on earth to point out the path a Prophet of God should walk in, or point out his duty, and just how far he must go, in dictating temporal or spiritual things. Temporal and spiritual things are inseparably connected, and ever will be.
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