Addressing the Saturday evening priesthood session, President Ezra Taft Benson urged single adult men to be exemplary in their Church activity, and emphasized to them the importance of celestial marriage.
Also speaking at the session were President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson, first and second counselors in the First Presidency, respectively; Elder James E. Faust of the Council of the Twelve; and Bishop Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric.Before the session began, lines extended along the sidewalks outside. As the doors of the Tabernacle were opened, priesthood bearers, some fathers and sons, moved in slow progress toward the building.
Performing at the session was a choir from the combined Ogden and Mt. Ogden regions, under the baton of Jerry F. Simon. As the choir performed one of President Benson's favorites, "How Great Thou Art," the prophet sang along.
In his address directed to the single men of the Church, President Benson declared: "Without marriage, the purposes of the Lord would be frustrated. Choice spirits would be withheld from the experience of mortality. And postponing marriage unduly often means limiting your posterity, and the time will come, brethren, when you will feel and know that loss.
"I can assure you," he emphasized "that the greatest responsibility and the greatest joys in life are centered in the family, honorable marriage and rearing a righteous posterity. And the older you become, the less likely you are to marry, and then you may lose these eternal blessings altogether."
President Benson expressed his love, great expectations and hope for the single men of the Church. "You have so much to contribute to the Lord and the kingdom of God now and in the future."
He made a number of suggestions to single men. They should, he said:
Draw close to the Savior through heartfelt prayer. "Remember, `The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.' "
Study the scriptures. "Particularly make the study of the Book of Mormon a lifetime pursuit, and daily sup from its pages."
Be an example in Church activity. "Honor the Sabbath day, attend your meetings, observe the Word of Wisdom, pay your tithes and offerings, support your leaders, and otherwise keep the commandments." Also, he added, serve diligently in callings, live worthy of a temple recommend and attend the temple frequently.
Dress and groom to reflect a lifelong commitment to share the gospel.
Be thoughtful, loving, helpful and appreciative of family members.
Maintain the standards of the Church in dating and courting.
Understand that temple marriage is essential for salvation and exaltation. "Remember the advice of Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who said that `the most important single thing that any Latter-day Saint ever does in this world is to marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority.' "
Serve in the community. "Do something meaningful in defense of your God-given freedom and liberty."
He said he had received a letter from a couple, saying they were worried about the single status of their sons.
"My dear single adult brethren, we are also concerned," he said. "We want you to know that the position of the Church has never changed regarding celestial marriage. It is a commandment of God. . . .
"To obtain a fulness of glory and exaltation in the celestial kingdom, one must enter into this holiest of ordinances."
He said some single brethren might have fears about not being able to provide for a family. "Those fears must be replaced with faith," he said. "I assure you, brethren, that if you will be industrious, faithfully pay your tithes and offerings, and conscientiously keep the commandments, the Lord will sustain you."
President Benson added: "Also, do not be caught up in materialism, one of the real plagues of our generation that is acquiring things, fast-paced living, and securing career success in the single state."
"Honorable marriage is more important than wealth, position and status," he emphasized, noting that husband and wife can work on career goals together.
He said that single men should not expect perfection in choice of a mate. "Do not be so particular that you overlook her most important qualities of having a strong testimony, living the principles of the gospel, loving home, wanting to be a mother in Zion, and supporting you in your priesthood responsibilities."Comment on this story
President Benson cautioned against dating "one girl after another for the sole pleasure of dating without seeking the Lord's confirmation in your choice of your eternal companion." A worthy companion, he said, will inspire one's finest deeds.
"Know, my good brethren, that I have spoken from my heart and by His Spirit because of my love and concern for you.
"It is what the Lord would have you hear today. With all my heart I echo the words of the prophet Lehi from the Book of Mormon, `Arise from the dust, my sons, and be men.' " (2 Ne. 1:21.)