Things I want to remember

Family History

Joseph Fielding Smith

We are doing a great deal in the attempt to convert and save a perverse and wicked generation; we are sending hundreds of missionaries into all parts of the earth, and are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in this very necessary labor, with results that are not so very startling. We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in the building of meetinghouses, church schools and other buildings, and in the education of the youth of Israel, in developing and improving our lands, building cities and increasing our communities, publishing periodicals and magazines, and in every way diligently striving to improve our own people and disseminate knowledge that will convert the world to the gospel.

But what are we doing for the salvation of our dead? Many there are, it is true, who comprehend this greater work, and are faithfully discharging their duties in the temples of the Lord, but of others this cannot be said. The temple in Salt Lake City is frequently so crowded with anxious, earnest workers, that it is necessary many times to turn large numbers away because there is not sufficient room. This is a good sign, showing the willingness and activity of the saints.

But this condition does not relieve from responsibility the inactive, dilatory members, who are doing nothing for their dead. These persons cannot expect to receive credit for what others may be doing. The responsibility rests with equal force on all, according to our individual ability and opportunities.

It matters not what else we have been called to do, or what position we may occupy, or how faithfully in other ways we have labored in the Church, none is exempt from this great obligation. It is required of the apostle as well as the humblest elder. Place, or distinction, or long service in the Church, in the mission field, the stakes of Zion, or where or how else it may have been, will not entitle one to disregard the salvation of one’s dead.

Some may feel that if they pay their tithing, attend their regular meetings and other duties, give of their substance to the poor, perchance spend one, two, or more years preaching in the
world, that they are absolved from further duty. But the greatest and grandest duty of all is to labor for the dead (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:148–49).

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