Monday, March 30, 2015

Counsel from modern prophets about drought

According to the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, "The 2015 water supply is considerably lower than average and reservoirs are not expected to fill. Weber Basin Water Conservancy District invites and urges you to continue to follow conservation practices and policies that have been previously implemented." (Downloaded Mar 28, 2015 from WeberBasin.com.)

The above statement by Weber Basin Water is confirmed by the following snowpack report, last updated Saturday, Mar 28, 2015.

(Downloaded Mar 28, 2015 from KSL.com.)

Two modern prophets, Spencer W. Kimball and Gordon B. Hinckley, have pointed to Sabbath observance as the cure for drought.


"Early this year when drouth conditions seemed to be developing in the West, the cold and hardships in the East, with varying weather situations all over the world, we felt to ask the members of the Church to join in fasting and prayer, asking the Lord for moisture where it was so vital and for a cessation of the difficult conditions elsewhere.

"Perhaps we may have been unworthy in asking for these greatest blessings, but we do not wish to frantically approach the matter but merely call it to the attention of our Lord and then spend our energy to put our lives in harmony.

"One prophet said:

"'When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:

"'Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.' (1 Kgs. 8:35–36.)

"The Lord uses the weather sometimes to discipline his people for the violation of his laws. He said to the children of Israel:

"'If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;

"'Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

"'And your threshing shall reach into the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time; and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.

"'And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: ...neither shall the sword go through your land.' (Lev. 26:3–6.)...

"'The Lord gave strict commandments: "Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.' (Lev. 19:30.)

"Innumerous times we have quoted this, asking our people not to profane the Sabbath; and yet we see numerous cars lined up at merchandise stores on the Sabbath day, and places of amusement crowded, and we wonder.

"Numerous times have we quoted:

"'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

"'Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

"'But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: In it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

"'For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.' (Ex. 20:8–11.)

"But today numerous of the people of this land spend the Sabbath working, devoting the day to the beaches, to entertainment, to shows, to their weekly purchases.

"The Lord makes definite promises. He says:

"'Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.' (Lev. 26:4.)

"God does what he promises, and many of us continue to defile the Sabbath day." (Ensign, May 1977.)


[From the Church News, June 7, 2003.]

Tracts of newer housing are scattered around the cropland and cattle pastures of Eagle Mountain and the surrounding Cedar Valley. Population growth in the past five years has been so substantial that two stakes of the Church now bear the name Eagle Mountain.

It was the construction of a new stake center in the town that drew the attention of President Gordon B. Hinckley....

Thus the members of the Eagle Mountain Utah West Stake, formed last September from a division of the Eagle Mountain Utah Stake, had the treat of having the Church president dedicate their new building....

Perhaps it was natural that President Hinckley would touch on the five-year drought that has afflicted Utah and revisit a theme he spoke on at general conference.

"I think the Lord is trying us a little," he said. He quoted Leviticus 26:3-6, which promises, "If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season."

"What a magnificent promise," he exclaimed and added that as he traveled to the stake center that morning, "I looked at the store parking lots that were filling on the Sabbath day. I looked at the farms that were being tilled on the Sabbath day. I looked at some of the other activities that were going forth on the Sabbath day, and I said to myself, maybe the Lord is reminding us that we need to draw closer to Him and be more true and faithful and deserving of His great and good and marvelous blessings."

He went on to quote from Solomon's temple dedication: "When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against thee, if they pray toward this place and confess thy hand and turn from their sin when thou dost afflict them; Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants" (2 Chronicles 6:26-27).

"I believe, my brothers and sisters, that the Lord is reminding us that we ought to be more faithful," President Hinckley said. "We ought to be more diligent. We ought to draw closer to Him. We ought to be more anxious to keep His commandments and do His divine will."

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Sunday, February 01, 2015

Snubbing Benson

To snub means to rebuff, ignore, or spurn disdainfully, and that is exactly what the LDS blog Approaching Justice (hereinafter, "A.J.") did last September when it commemorated Constitution Day with a short animated cartoon and summed up the U.S. Constitution this way:

"It is about how to make laws. Really, that is it. It is rules about how laws are made and who has the power to make what laws."

Click on the image below to visit A.J.'s post.

Meanwhile, Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994) was a modern apostle and prophet who explained the U.S. Constitution over and over and in detail throughout his 51 year ministry. In fact, no Prophet has taught the principles and importance of the U.S. Constitution more thoroughly or more often than did Ezra Taft Benson.

So here's the snub: After setting forth its own oversimplified, 28-word explanation of the Constitution, A.J. arrogantly asserts:

"Anyone that adds anything to that is selling you something. DO NOT BUY IT."

But Ezra Taft Benson did add something to that, a lot in fact, and he was sent by God to do it. Hence, today I am answering A.J.'s post. My response is in three parts. The first two parts were posted here on this blog last month.

Part one (click here): Preparation for his prophetic calling included Ezra Taft Benson's worldwide experience as a government official. It was not just a coincidence that he presided over the Church during the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution.

Part two (click here): According to Ezra Taft Benson, verses 77 and 80 of section 101 in the Doctrine and Covenants are fundamental to a correct understanding of the Constitution. Over the years, he quoted these two verses of scripture again and again as he urged the Saints to defend and preserve the U.S. Constitution.

Part three: Every Latter-day Saint with interest in the U.S. Constitution should listen to this 1986 speech by then Church President Ezra Taft Benson. It is titled, "The Constitution—A Heavenly Banner." (Note the introduction by Jeffrey R. Holland.)

There is no animation. It is audio only. And it might seem a little long compared to A.J.'s animated cartoon. But unlike the cartoon, it is a message from a Prophet and it actually talks about the U.S. Constitution.

If you wish, you can follow along, reading the text of the speech as you listen (click here). Or you might just quickly skim over the text and call that good enough.

But whatever you decide, don't forget who established the U.S. Constitution and don't forget who prepared a modern Prophet to teach us what it is really "all about."

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Saturday, January 03, 2015

Do Mormons want their prophets to keep still on politics?

In a First Presidency Message published in the Church's international magazine, Ezra Taft Benson said:

"The world prefers that prophets either be dead or worry about their own affairs. Some so-called experts of political science want the prophet to keep still on politics. Some would-be authorities on evolution want the prophet to keep still on evolution. And so the list goes on and on." (Liahona, June, 1981.)

Do Mormons want their prophets to keep still on politics? No, not all of their prophets, just the one who was most uniquely and thoroughly prepared by God to be His spokesman on politics and on the U.S. Constitution (see "Ezra Taft Benson, A Uniquely Prepared Prophet").

Thomas S. Monson has highlighted the special connection that existed between Ezra Taft Benson and the U.S. Constitution:

"I think it is the inspiration of Almighty God that at this particular time [1989] we have serving as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Ezra Taft Benson, one of the greatest advocates of freedom, and one of those who loves most the Constitution of this land." (Church News, Dec. 30, 1989.)

Ezra Taft Benson was called to general Church leadership in 1943, became Church President in 1985, and died in 1994. A persistent theme throughout his 51-year ministry as apostle and prophet was our individual responsibility to defend and preserve the United States Constitution.

Ezra Taft Benson saw significance in verses 77 and 80 of section 101 in the Doctrine and Covenants. Over the years, Ezra Taft Benson quoted these two verses of scripture again and again as he urged the Saints to defend and preserve the U.S. Constitution.

This year’s Teachings of Presidents manual notes:

"In April 1948, Elder Benson gave his first of many general conference addresses focusing on ‘the prophetic mission’ of the United States of America and the importance of freedom." (p.21.)

In that "first of many" addresses, Ezra Taft Benson cited D&C 101:77, 80, something he did repeatedly throughout the remainder of his ministry.

Please listen to the audio while you read the following paragraph from a 1973 speech Ezra Taft Benson gave to the students at BYU. Notice how he emphasizes one particular word.

"I am grateful that the God of heaven saw fit to put his stamp of approval upon the Constitution and to indicate that it had come into being through wise men whom he raised up unto this very purpose. He asked the Saints, even in the dark days of their persecution and hardship, to continue to seek for redress from their enemies 'according,' he said, 'to the laws and constitution ... which I have suffered [or caused] to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh' (D&C 101 :77). And then he made this most impressive declaration: 'And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood' (Ibid., 101:80)." ("This Nation Shall Endure," BYU Speeches, 1973; see also Conference Report, Oct. 1954.)

This year’s Teachings of Presidents manual points out that Ezra Taft Benson "observed the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States by speaking on the subject in the October 1987 general conference of the Church." (p.32.)

In that general conference, Ezra Taft Benson spoke as God’s mouthpiece to the Church and to the world as he emphasized that the U.S. Constitution "'belongs to all mankind' (D&C 98:5) 'and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh' (D&C 101:77)." (Ensign, Nov. 1987; italics Benson’s.)

Then, in the last talk he was able to personally deliver in general conference (see Teachings of Presidents, p.xi), he cited D&C 101:77, 80 one more time as he testified that God Himself established the U.S. Constitution:

"God raised up the founding fathers of the United States of America and established the inspired Constitution. (See D&C 101:77–80.)" ("I Testify," Ensign, Nov. 1988.)

Harold B. Lee, a boyhood friend and apostolic associate, lauded Ezra Taft Benson's loyalty to the U.S. Constitution:

"The two ruling passions of his life might be said to be, first, his unshakable faith in the intervention of an Omnipotent Power in the affairs of men; and second, his certainty that the Constitution of the United States was divinely inspired." (So Shall Ye Reap, p.viii.)

Regarding the U.S. Constitution, there are no surprises in this year's Teachings of Presidents manual. Ezra Taft Benson was President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he spoke to the students at Brigham Young University and made this prophetic statement:

"We must learn the principles of the Constitution and then abide by its precepts.... The Church will not tell us how to do this, but we are admonished to do it." ("The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner," Sep. 16, 1986; emphasis added.)

What Ezra Taft Benson taught about the U.S. Constitution was grounded in the standard works. Throughout his life, he referred repeatedly to verses 77 and 80 from section 101 in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Do Mormons want their prophets to keep still on politics? No, not all of their prophets, just the one who traveled the world as a political leader and conducted official Government business with the kings and rulers of this world—just the one who was most uniquely and thoroughly prepared by God to be His spokesman on politics and on the U.S. Constitution (see "Ezra Taft Benson, A Uniquely Prepared Prophet").

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Ezra Taft Benson: A Uniquely Prepared Prophet

God prepares His prophets. Joseph Smith declared: "I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain;... with all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there, and thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty." [1]  Indeed, the life of every prophet is filled with experiences that prepare him for his prophetic calling.

So it was with Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994). His biographer, Sheri L. Dew, recently explained: "President Ezra Taft Benson's life is remarkable by any measure—and almost impossible to do justice to in a full-length biography, let alone in one article. Studying the life of a prophet is more, much more, than simply recounting events. It is an opportunity to see the hand of the Lord in action as He prepares and tutors a man to be ready when the moment comes that He anoints him as His mouthpiece on the earth." [2]

Preparation for his prophetic calling included Ezra Taft Benson's keen interest in government combined with worldwide experience as a government official. It was not just a coincidence that he presided over the Church during the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. He was this dispensation's Prophet specialist on politics.

Becoming a National Political Figure

In 1939, Ezra Taft Benson became the executive secretary of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. In this capacity, he was the Council's chief operating officer.

For the next four years, he represented the cooperatives on Capitol Hill. He also coordinated efforts to educate cooperative leaders nationwide about agricultural issues. In addition, he published a monthly bulletin for the Council and attended Council meetings throughout the country.

During this important period of his life, Ezra Taft Benson regularly had close contact with high U.S. government officials and learned to navigate the murky waters of national politics.

When he left Washington in 1943, he had become a national political figure. [3]

An International Statesman

At the end of World War II, Ezra Taft Benson supervised the Church's relief effort in Europe. In just ten months, he traveled more than 60,000 miles and met with high ranking government officials in 13 nations as he delivered food, clothing, and medical supplies to the people of post-war Europe. [4]

With headquarters in London, England, Ezra Taft Benson organized Mormon relief efforts in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Finland, and Poland. [5]

Everywhere he went, there was a constant struggle with bureaucratic red tape. Completion of this assignment required his utmost faith and diplomacy. [6]

While he was in Europe, Ezra Taft Benson again represented the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, this time at the International Conference of Agriculture Producers in London, England. Many delegates to this Conference invited him to contact them again when he visited their countries. [7]

He also participated with the American delegation to the Conference of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Copenhagen, Denmark. [8]

By the time he returned from this mission, Ezra Taft Benson had become an international statesman. [9]

United States Secretary of Agriculture

Then came his experience as the first Mormon to serve in the cabinet of a United States President. Newspapers from coast to coast headlined the news that Eisenhower had named the first clergyman in the century to a cabinet post. [10]

In a later article, the New York Times Magazine praised his integrity: "He acts like a man whose conscience is always clear—his testimony [before Congress] today will be the same next week or the week after or a year from now. He doesn't have to remember what he said to an opposition Senator at their last meeting. This is a built-in ulcer-saving device not always found in Washington." [11]

Secretary Benson traveled internationally, as he sought to increase agricultural exports abroad. He visited Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Trinidad, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Columbia, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico. In each nation he met with presidents, ministers of agriculture, and ambassadors. [12]

He represented the United States in Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Italy, and Switzerland, calling on government officials and observing agriculture in these nations. In Rome, he delivered the keynote address at the International Federation of Agricultural Producers. [13]

His work took him to Japan, India, Pakistan, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, England, and Hong Kong, meeting with such world leaders as Jordan's King Hussein, and Israel's Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. [14]

When Nikita Khrushchev visited Washington, Ezra Taft Benson supervised his visit to the USDA Beltsville Experiment Station in Maryland. [15]

On a trip through Yugoslavia, West Germany, Poland, the Soviet Union, Finland, Sweden, and Norway, Secretary Benson met with Yugoslavia's President Tito and the Soviet Minister of Agriculture. [16]

Toward the end of his service as Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson made yet another trip to Europe and the Middle East. [17]

His last official trip was to the Orient and South Seas. He visited Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and New Zealand. [18]  When it was over he had visited more than forty nations as an official of the United States government. [19]

More International Statesmanship

Three years after his return from Washington, Ezra Taft Benson was back in Europe supervising the Church's missionary work there. As he traveled from country to country, he renewed acquaintances with heads of state, ministers of agriculture, and other high ranking officials. [20]  During one visit to Italy, for example, he was greeted with open arms by the U.S. Ambassador and the Italian Minister of Religion in Rome [21]  and by the time he was called back to Salt Lake City, missionaries were proselyting in Italy for the first time. [22]

During this period of his life he gave his greatest number of talks about freedom and the U.S. Constitution. [23]  It is apparent that everywhere he went, his feelings and concerns about America and freedom were confirmed by what he saw and heard. His political education had been gradual but firsthand. [24]

Patriotism and the Book of Mormon

For Ezra Taft Benson, patriotism and love of country were neither old-fashioned nor incidental—they were an integral part of his ministry.

He will be remembered as one of the greatest patriots of our time—a patriot of international stature. [25]  A tribute entered in the Congressional Record called him "intensely patriotic." [26]  In 1965, he was named to the American Patriots Hall of Fame. [27]

Ezra Taft Benson has explained his patriotic motivation as follows: "From the time I was a small boy I was taught that the American Constitution is an inspired document. I was taught that we should study the Constitution, preserve its principles, and defend it against any who would destroy it. To the best of my ability I have always tried to do this. I expect to continue my efforts to help protect and safeguard our inspired Constitution." [28]

He explained his emphasis on the Book of Mormon this way: "What is the essential message of the Book of Mormon that is so vital to our time? It is a witness to our generation. It prophesied the founding of this nation and how we may survive as a free country." [29]

From his early youth, Ezra Taft Benson devoured the Book of Mormon. He read it on trains and planes and late in the evening before retiring. Often, he sent copies of the Book of Mormon to people he met while traveling, to national and world leaders. [30]

It was his stated opinion that "a person can learn more about what is really happening in America from the Book of Mormon than he can from ... newspapers." [31]

A Uniquely Prepared Prophet

The general officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do a lot of traveling. They regularly see much of the world as they meet with Church members around the globe.

But Ezra Taft Benson did something most Mormon leaders do not do, something no other Mormon Prophet has ever done. Ezra Taft Benson traveled the world as a political leader. He conducted official Government business with the kings and rulers of this world. He knew them by name. And they knew him.

Any man with Ezra Taft Benson's patriotism and experience deserves our careful attention. Considering his stature as a Latter-day Prophet, Ezra Taft Benson's political viewpoint should be important to every Latter-day Saint.



1.  As quoted by Gordon B. Hinckley in Ensign, Jan. 1974, p.124.

2.  "2015 Curriculum to Focus on Ezra Taft Benson," LDS Church News, December 3, 2014.

3.  Sheri L. Dew, Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography, Deseret Book, 1987, pp.143-180; herinafter cited as Biography.

4.  Frederick W. Babbel, On Wings of Faith, Bookcraft, 1972, pp.1-190; see also Biography, pp.197-227.

5.  Ibid.; see also New Era, Jan. 1986, p.7.

6.  Biography, p.216.

7.  Biography, p.217.

8.  Biography, p.217.

9.  Biography, pp.420 & 507.

10.  Biography, p.256.

11.  Biography, p.295-296.

12.  Biography, p.303.

13.  Biography, p.305.

14.  Biography, p.325.

15.  Biography, p.338.

16.  Biography, p.340-341.

17.  Biography, p.349.

18.  Biography, p.353-354.

19.  Biography, p.364.

20.  Biography, p.375.

21.  Biography, p.377.

22.  Biography, p.382.

23.  Biography, pp.366-367.

24.  Biography, p.363.

25.  Biography, p.507.

26.  Biography, p.359.

27.  Biography, p.385.

28.  The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Bookcraft, 1988, pp.614-615; see also pp.50-51.

29.  Ibid., p.576.

30.  Biography, pp.59, 195, & 498.

31.  Biography, p.366.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

The politics of Ezra Taft Benson in 2015

Did God Himself establish the Constitution of the United States? Does it belong to all mankind? Should it be maintained today? (See D&C 98:5; 101:77, 80.)

God's word shall not pass away

Ezra Taft Benson was President of the Church from 1985 to 1994. Malcolm S. Jeppsen was a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 1989 to 1994.

In 1991, while serving as a Counselor in the Utah North Area Presidency (and while Ezra Taft Benson was still Church President), Malcolm S. Jeppsen was the visiting authority in several stake conferences and gave a talk (click here) wherein he counselled against using the "writings and speeches of President Benson given years ago when world conditions were different."

Specifically, he counselled against using Ezra Taft Benson's writings to warn about "individuals or conspirators in our government as being ready to subvert our constitution."

Malcolm S. Jeppsen gave this talk in my own stake and I heard it in person. I challenged him in writing (click here) about his claim that changes in world conditions had invalidated the Prophet's words. The issue wasn't really world conditions. The issue was whether Ezra Taft Benson spoke God's word in the past.

"Though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away." (D&C 1:38.) The passing away of the heavens and the earth would be an extreme change in world conditions, yet God's word would not be effected.

Ezra Taft Benson and the U.S. Constitution

All Latter-day Prophets, from President Joseph Smith to President Thomas S. Monson (click here), have affirmed God's hand in the founding of the U.S. Constitution. Even if that is viewed as less relevant to members living outside the United States, yet it is based on scripture that has not been rescinded. Specifically, three verses (D&C 98:5; 101:77, 80) declare God's approval of and support for the U.S. Constitution.

What, then, about Ezra Taft Benson's so-called political teachings, those related to the Constitution? For decades, some of us have sidestepped the Constitution and at the same time have accused Ezra Taft Benson of being political. But Ezra Taft Benson has only asked us to do what scripture demands: Maintain and preserve the Constitution which God Himself established.

A significant portion of Ezra Taft Benson's 51-year ministry as apostle and prophet was devoted to defending the Constitution against its domestic and foreign foes. And this is another fact that may be considered less relevant to members living outside the United States. But surely the rest of us dare not just forget Ezra Taft Benson's teachings and watch from the sidelines while the U.S. Constitution is dismantled and discarded.

Dare we?

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Prince and Wright and the Demise of Communism

In their book, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism (University of Utah Press, 2005), Gregory A. Prince and William Robert Wright discuss the Church's 1966 statement on Communism which was issued by David O. McKay. The excerpt quoted by Prince and Wright includes the following:

"We consider [Communism] the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God's work among men that exists on the face of the earth." (p.313.)

Thus, McKay said the greatest threat to missionary work in 1966 was Communism. At the time, Communist governments did not allow missionaries or even Church materials into their countries. McKay's assessment was well grounded.

But what about today, half a century later?

The demise of Communism

On page 321 of their book, Prince and Wright trumpet this heading:


The common English definition of the word "demise" is as follows:

demise: noun   1. a person's death. synonyms death, dying, passing. 2. the end or failure of an enterprise or institution. synonyms end, breakup, disintegration, fall, downfall, collapse

According to Prince and Wright, McKay had overstated the threat of Communism. They claim that, although he was "willing to go to war to fight Communism, the war never came." (p.321.)

Throughout the world

And lest anyone think this was merely a regional demise, Prince and Wright emphasize:

"Communism as a successful form of government quickly became discredited throughout the world." (p.321; emphasis added.)

Communism, discredited "throughout the world," would no longer be the greatest threat to missionary work. So what is that threat today?

The greatest threat to missionary work

Contrary to the opinion of Prince and Wright, David O. McKay's 1966 assessment of Communism's effect on missionary work is still accurate today. Consider the following:

The People's Republic of China (PRC) has existed since 1949 when it was founded by the Communist Party of China, the country's sole governing political party.

The reader is invited to visit the LDS Church's "Newsroom" and view "Facts and Statistics" for a few of the countries of the world. The chart below shows "Newsroom" statistics for China and two of its neighbors.

Notice that statistics for Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China are listed by the Church separately. This may be in part because they each have their own money, passports, legal system, and language(s). It may also be due to the fact that LDS missionaries freely proclaim the gospel in Hong Kong but not in China. Even online missionaries are presently asked by the Church to avoid crossing into China:

"Online proselyting should not cross international borders into countries where the Church has chosen or agreed not to proselyte. This currently includes the People's Republic of China." (Official LDS web page, Mormons and China).

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations

Today, nearly 1.4 billion people live in the People's Republic of China, approximately 20 percent of the world’s population. In order to illustrate what it means for one country to have one-fifth of the world’s population, this map divides the world into five regions, each with the same population as China.

Source: The Atlantic, Aug. 14, 2013.

McKay's assessment still valid

In 1966, Communism prevented the Church from reaching a large percentage of God's mortal children. At that time, President David O. McKay identified Communism as the greatest threat to the spread of God's work among men that existed on the face of the earth.

Today, one in five of earth's inhabitants live where missionary work is prohibited by Communism. It seems clear to me that McKay's 1966 assessment of Communism's effect on missionary work is still valid.

And it also seems clear to me that the demise of Communism throughout the world is a Prince and Wright myth.

The image below was added on 2014-11-29 in response to an anonymous comment claiming that "China is categorically no longer a communist country." Anonymous might want to share that critical piece of news with BBC News (among others).

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