Elder Franklin D. Richards
Assistant to the Council of the Twelve
Franklin D. Richards, Conference Report, April 1969, pp. 18-21
My dear brothers and sisters, I rejoice to be with you today. I have been inspired and strengthened by the beautiful music and the messages of President McKay and our other leaders.
We are living in a remarkable age, the dispensation of the fullness of times, and I am grateful for the knowledge that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.
I also bear my witness to you that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fullness through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that there is a Prophet of God on the earth today, our beloved President David O. McKay. May the Lord bless and sustain him.
Despite the fact that we are living in a wonderful age, as has been stated, we are living in a troubled world with an abundance of problems. In reality, this is one of the great purposes of life, to meet challenges and obstacles and learn to overcome them. Meeting obstacles and learning to overcome them give us experience, and each experience should be for our good.
Today we hear much about the need to “tell things as they are,” the need for honesty and consistency in living, and the need for greater freedoms.
True and false freedoms
Someone has said, “There are two freedoms; the false freedom where one is free to do what he likes, and the true freedom where one is free to do what he ought to do.”
I think it is appropriate and timely to discuss some things as they are and can be, as well as to consider the difference between loyalty and disloyalty as pertains to the true and false freedoms.
First, loyalty to true freedom principles or causes embraces love, dedication, faith, allegiance, willingness to sacrifice, and many other qualities that contribute to achievement and happiness.
Disloyalty to true freedom principles or causes embraces betrayal, unfaithfulness, disaffection, sedition, infidelity, and other qualities that contribute to failure, destruction, and unhappiness.
Loyalty to false freedom principles can only bring delusion, a counterfeit happiness, and eventual destruction. False freedom principles include such things as the abuse of one’s body by the use of drugs, liquor, and tobacco, as well as sexual immoralities. False freedom principles likewise include the spread of communistic doctrine and protest by force.
In reality, true freedom can only exist in doing what is right, in being loyal—yes, in doing what we ought to do.
Principle of loyalty
Let me be more specific and identify some things we ought to do to enjoy true freedom.
We should be loyal to ourselves, our family, friends, employers, our God, church, and country.
Insofar as loyalty to oneself is concerned, the great poet Shakespeare gave some sage advice when he said, “This above all: to thine own self be true, And if must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man” (Hamlet, Act 1, Sc. 3).
One is true and loyal to himself:
When he develops himself mentally, physically, and spiritually;
When he develops a proper standard by which all decisions are made and unswervingly follows the standard;
When he keeps his self-respect and the respect of others by being noble and consistent in his ideals, acts, words, and thoughts;
When he combines faith with works in serving his God and his fellowmen.
Loyalty to one’s family and friends is likewise basic and paramount. It indicates love and affection.
President McKay has said that no other success can compensate for failure in the family.
The Church provides a family home evening program, which gives the family an opportunity to understand the principle of loyalty and how to make it a part of their lives.
President McKay has promised that as family home evenings are held, great blessings will result, in that there will be love at home, and obedience to parents will increase, and faith will develop in the hearts of the youth.
Family loyalty means for each member to support and sustain every other member. Loyalty in the family embraces love and appreciation and is evidenced by a willingness to sacrifice for and serve one another.
Loyalty to friends make it possible for them to rely on you and you on them, and what a wonderful sense of security this brings.
In one’s business relations, loyalty to an employer is most vital. Loyalty here means to be faithful and trustworthy and to give the best of your ability, recognizing that your employer’s success is reflected in your welfare. Loyalty produces power and effectiveness. An ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.
Loyalty to God
What does loyalty to God and church imply?
Simply stated, it would seem to be doing God’s will without reservations.
Our Lord and Savior set the pattern of loyalty in Gethsemane when in his prayer to the Father he said, “Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” Mark 14:36
Judas set the pattern of disloyalty as he betrayed his Master, the Christ. He became madly remorseful, but under the influence of Satan, he hanged himself Matt. 27:3-5 the final chapter of his disloyalty.
The great dedication of the Prophet Joseph Smith and other mighty men of modern Israel illustrates the meaning of loyalty to God and to church.
And the Lord has told us: “Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again.
“And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple” D&C 103:27-28
An interesting experience is told of Brother J. Golden Kimball in speaking to a meeting of Saints on the subject of tithing. He said, “All of you who would be willing to die for the gospel please put up your hands.” Nearly every hand in the congregation was raised.
Then he said, “All of you who have been paying an honest tithing please raise your hands.” It seems that only a few hands were raised.
Brother Kimball turned to the bishop and said, “See, they would rather die than pay their tithing.”
Tithing, of course, is only one of God’s commandments that tests our loyalty. Loyalty is truly one of the great and eternal principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Loyalty to country
Now with respect to being loyal to our country:
It is traditional that those elected or appointed to important governmental positions take an oath of allegiance. Public servants must be loyal to the office to which they are elected or appointed. Disloyalty results in impeachment or dismissal.
We know that the Constitution of our country is a divinely established document, and in the words of modern-day scripture we recognize that it “should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles” (D&C 101:77).
The position of the Church in this matter is clearly stated in the Twelfth Article of Faith: “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law” (A of F 1:12).
Choice for loyalties
Now in considering things as they are, in considering the need of honesty and consistency in living, and in considering the need for greater freedoms, never let us forget that we must choose where we place our loyalties.
As Joshua of old declared, “. . . choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).
There are many today who have chosen to serve the Lord and are giving much, yes, even their lives, for true freedom principles that bring us real happiness, growth, and development. On the other hand, there are others who are loyal to false freedom principles that would, if they prevailed, destroy us as individuals and as a country.
Always remember that what we do, far more than what we say, shows where our loyalties are.
My counsel to you is to live for true freedom, choose the right, do what you ought to do, and make the choice that Joshua did—to serve the Lord.
Never give your loyalty to a cause that will bring you a false freedom of delusion, counterfeit happiness, failure, and eventual destruction. Your loyalties set the pattern for your life and eventually become a way of life for you.
Be loyal to yourself, your family, your God and church, your country, friends, and employers. This will assure you true freedom and independence and result in peace, great achievement, happiness, and eventually eternal life. It has been said by W. H. Murray that until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. The moment one definitely commits himself, then Providence moves too. I know this is true.
Let us all, as in the words of our glorious hymn, commit ourselves to be “True to the faith that our parents have cherished, True to the truth for which martyrs have perished, To God’s command, Soul, heart, and hand, Faithful and true we will ever stand” (Hymns, No. 157).
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.