In 1993 I per­son­al­ly asked Neal Maxwell a ques­tion: “As an apos­tle of the lord Jesus Christ, have you seen the sav­ior?” He was embar­rassed and could not answer that ques­tion, he final­ly told me to read an arti­cle about some­one else’s dream. Many in high posi­tions feign author­i­ty from a self pro­claimed impor­tance. Neal is a fraud, I do not endorse these men in any way. I was excom­mu­ni­cat­ed short­ly after this encounter with Neal, they said if I could not fol­low them with blind obe­di­ence I was an apos­tate. Excom­mu­ni­ca­tion is the great­est gift I could have received. I am now a free agent able to com­mu­ni­cate with God with­out inter­fer­ence from any self pro­claimed man.

Meet­ing the Chal­lenges of Today
Neal A. Maxwell
Oct 10, 1978

neal maxwell

Thank you very much, Pres­i­dent Oaks; and thank you, sis­ters, for that love­ly music. This is always a great expe­ri­ence for any of us to have.

Often, when speak­ing to stu­dent lead­ers in high­er edu­ca­tion, I have used the anal­o­gy that—in a university—the fac­ul­ty, staff, and admin­is­tra­tion are like the natives, and the stu­dents are like the tourists. In many ways, a recur­ring devo­tion­al speak­er is more like one of the natives. Even so, I thank Pres­i­dent Oaks for once again extend­ing this pre­cious priv­i­lege to me. You may con­clude today, how­ev­er, that I am becom­ing more like a tourist, since I shall try to cov­er two top­ics in order to make the most of these fleet­ing moments.

Dis­ci­ple­ship includes good cit­i­zen­ship; and in this con­nec­tion, if you are care­ful stu­dents of the state­ments of the mod­ern prophets, you will have noticed that with rare exceptions—especially when the First Pres­i­den­cy has spo­ken out—the con­cerns expressed have been over moral issues, not issues between polit­i­cal par­ties. The dec­la­ra­tions are about prin­ci­ples, not peo­ple, and caus­es, not can­di­dates. On occa­sions, at oth­er lev­els in the Church, a few have not been so dis­creet, so wise, or so inspired.

But make no mis­take about it, broth­ers and sis­ters; in the months and years ahead, events will require of each mem­ber that he or she decide whether or not he or she will fol­low the First Pres­i­den­cy. Mem­bers will find it more dif­fi­cult to halt longer between two opin­ions (see 1 Kings 18:21).

Pres­i­dent Mar­i­on G. Rom­ney said, many years ago, that he had “nev­er hes­i­tat­ed to fol­low the coun­sel of the Author­i­ties of the Church even though it crossed my social, pro­fes­sion­al, or polit­i­cal life” (CR, April 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doc­trine, but it is a par­tic­u­lar­ly vital doc­trine in a soci­ety which is becom­ing more wicked. In short, broth­ers and sis­ters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ.

We are now enter­ing a peri­od of incred­i­ble ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its sub­tle stages: we shall see in our time a max­i­mum if indi­rect effort made to estab­lish irre­li­gion as the state reli­gion. It is actu­al­ly a new form of pagan­ism that uses the care­ful­ly pre­served and cul­ti­vat­ed free­doms of West­ern civ­i­liza­tion to shrink free­dom even as it rejects the val­ue essence of our rich Judeo-Chris­t­ian heritage.


(Full speech avail­able at https://​speech​es​.byu​.edu/​t​a​l​k​s​/​n​e​a​l​-​a​-​m​a​x​w​e​l​l​_​m​e​e​t​i​n​g​-​c​h​a​l​l​e​n​g​e​s​-​today/)

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