God Uses More than One People,
By Warren Aston,
Meridian Magazine, Monday, July 01, 2013
is using more than one people...the Latter-day Saints cannot do it
Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Twelve.
April 1928 General Conference
Sometimes it is good to pause a moment, step back from the immediate
present and look at the Big Picture. Most of us lead busy lives. It
is easy to become preoccupied with our life and our work and
distracted by the trappings of our culture. In this probationary
Telestial world many things are happening around us, good, bad and
indifferent, often trivial but sometimes significant, both seen and
Often too, there is much value in returning to what has been said by
inspired, perceptive minds. Long before most of us were born, Orson
F Whitney of the Council of the Twelve left us some reflections that
often seem to me years ahead of his time. They are good to re-visit.
its devotees, he saidc
Mormonismh is the most glorious thing in existence – the sublimest
poem that was ever written, the profoundest system of philosophy
that the world has ever known. But the gwiseh and the gprudenth pass
it by as a thing of naught, or stand at a distance, sneering at
it...why is it?
couldnft Abraham Lincoln, that good and great man, see in
gMormonismh what we see in it, and what it really is – the
Everlasting Gospel? He and Joseph Smith lived almost within a
stonefs throw of each other in Illinois. Why did not the future
president recognize in the prophet of God what the Latter-day Saints
recognize in him?
Elder Whitney then commented on Horace Greeley, a great commentator
in his day who had visited Brigham Young and wrote favorably about
much of what he saw in early Utah. But in a religious sense,
gMormonismh remained a sealed book to him. Elder Whitney suggested
one possible reason why this might be:
Perhaps the Lord needs such men on the outside of his Church, to
help it along. They are among its auxiliaries, and can do more good
for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere
else...some are drawn into the fold and receive a testimony of the
Truth; while others remain unconverted...the beauties and glories of
the gospel being veiled temporarily from their viewc
God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of his
great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It
is too vast, too arduous, for any one people.
Elder Whitney concluded:
Again I say, the Lordfs Work has need of auxiliaries outside as well
as inside, to help it along...many are kept where they are, where
the Lord has placed them, and can best use them for the good of
yes, as Latter-day Saints our part in the Lordfs work is that we
have the priesthood, the ordinances and the commission to bless
others with these things, but many others outside the membership of
the Church also have great responsibilities in that work. The first
time that I read Elder Whitneyfs words two images immediately came
to mind: the Salvation Army, feeding and clothing the poor
worldwide, and Mother Teresa, the Albanian nun famously known for
selflessly dedicating her life to serving the poorest of the poor in
India. I thought too of the United Nations which, for all its
faults, remains the only world body that represents all nations and
has made an immeasurable contribution to world peace. Then come a
host of others, individuals and organizations, often doing what we
implications for members of the Church are profound and
Firstly, we need to move beyond the gus/themh mentality
where non-members are concerned and the unrighteous pride often
accompanying such distinctions. The perspectives of the Gospel
should make us more mindful that we are all truly - literally -
brothers and sisters, all having the same Heavenly origin and often
separated by only a few hours of instructions and ordinances. Of all
people on earth we should be the most broad-minded and generous of
people in our attitudes toward gothers.h There is no room in
Mormonism for parochial, insular attitudes.
must recognize that others love God, and others may know Christ,
sometimes profoundly so.
All peoples and cultures have been given truth and light by God
to the degree that they can accept (Alma 29:8). Furthermore, as
Section 123:12 reminds us, many people now living are only kept from
joining us because they know not where the truth can be found.
Indeed, millions on earth today still have no access to the Gospel.
There are no grounds for anything that smacks of superiority or
arrogance simply because we have been given much, or given more
sooner than others.
Opportunities to recognize the contributions being made by others -
and to join them - will come frequently if we seek them.
Indeed, Meridian Magazine has promoted some of these from time to
time. Many opportunities close to home will emerge if we look. As in
so many areas, however, we must beware the pitfall of ulterior
motives when doing good. Our example in this is Jesus. He moved
easily among the full spectrum of society in his day - rulers,
clergy, lepers, beggars and adulterers - respecting all, working
without drawing attention to himself and with no requirement for
conversion. We must do likewise.
these are among the reasons for the Church becoming increasingly
involved with a multitude of organizations in many parts of the
world. Often they are faith-based - such as Catholic and Moslem
charities - and the Red Cross and its Islamic equivalent, the Red
Crescent. To date, this involvement has extended to 179 countries
and covers a wide spectrum; eye clinics in India, medical equipment
delivered to Yemen, assisting a rehabilitation association in the
Dominican Republic and so on. 185 collaborative projects have been
carried out in Mongolia alone. Scanning through the list of
countries the Church has worked in brings some surprises; for
example, Iran appears twice. As marvelous as the growth of the
Church is, however, the worldfs population is growing even faster,
so partnering with others of similar values and intent allows us to
reach many more than we could alone.
Lastly, at another level altogether, we should also be grateful for
those other churches who teach high moral standards and who practice
the essence of true religion, caring for others. While they do not
have the Fullness in a doctrinal sense, many are still anchors of
stability in society and provide a home for those who seek a better
life. Increasingly, the Church is becoming involved in such efforts
as the great international congresses of world faiths seeking to
facilitate peace among nations.
Therefore, while we are rightly grateful for being able to help in
times of need around the world, others do also. Many of them offer
stability and the moral high-ground. They deserve our appreciation,
not our condescension.
As Elder Whitney reminds us, they are part of Godfs work also. Many
of them have been gplacedh where they are by God.
None of this means that we are diluting our core teachings and
doctrine in any sense; on the contrary, it demonstrates that we are
learning to live them in the real world, more than ever.