Article Categories

Select Quotations from Gospel Ideals by David O. McKay

The following quotes come from the book Gospel Ideals, authored by ninth president David O. McKay (Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953). This was an employee gift by the First Presidency in 1993. To visit the site with all of the books and quotes from these, go here.

Age of Accountability

“The Church of Jesus Christ promulgates the doctrine that little children are redeemed and sanctified through the atonement of our Lord and Savior. If they die before reaching the age of ac­countability, they become heirs of the celestial kingdom of heav­en” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 74).

Agency, Free

“To deprive an intelligent human being of his free agency is to commit the crime of the ages” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 287).


“THE MOST DISTINGUISHING FEATURE. If at this moment each one of you were asked to state in one sentence or phrase the most distinguishing feature of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what would be your answer? It occurs to me now that my answer would be this: Divine authority by direct revelation. There are those who claim authority through historical descent, others form the scriptures, but this Church stands out as making the distinctive claim that the authority of the priesthood has come directly from God the Father and the Son, by revelation to Joseph Smith” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 98).

“MARKS OF THE GREAT UNITED CHURCH. Once this reason for the existing disunion throughout Christendom is recognized, and with it the acceptance of the fact that Jesus Christ, the author of our salvation, is the only one who has the authority and right to establish his Church among men—once the ministers of the sectarian churches of so-called Christianity are absolutely honest with themselves and mankind, and will acknowledge the fact that they have not been divinely authorized to officiate in the name of Jesus Christ nor to administer any ordinances in his Church—once they accept the dictates of reason, and the teaching of the scriptures, both of which give the conviction that a man must be called of God to officiate in the ordinances of the gospel—then, and not till then, will the great difficulty be overcome of establishing one great united Christian church upon the earth” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 115).


“Paul referring to this practice of baptism in his argument in favor of the resurrection. He said, ‘Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?’ (1 Cor. 15:29). The pseudo-Christian world, unenlightened by revelation, has stumbled over the meaning of this simple text, and not a few commentators have tried to explain away its true applicability to all mankind of the Savior’s teachings” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 18).

History (of the Church)

“STUDY THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH. There are many people in the world who condemn us because they are ignorant of the real facts concerning the Church. The great comfort to us, however, is that we know that the purpose of the Church; we know its history—a little of it; not, however, so much as we should know, we younger people. We ought to study it more. There is inspiration in the history of this Church. There is inspiration and truth in reading the sayings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and those associated with him in the early days. Read it; study it; do not censure because of ignorance” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 149).


“IS THE MISSIONARY PROJECT REALISITIC? But does the world need Christianizing? Our Protestant brethren say, ‘Why don’t you send your elders out to the heathen, why go to Christian nations?’ As I have said, our mission is to the whole world. We believe so-called Christian nations need the message as well as the so-called heathen lands. . . “(David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, pp. 120-121).

“THE PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED. Again there is the problem of the physically handicapped; of course you would like them to go, but think how they will interfere with their companions. Elders should go two by two, and so should sisters, and no one of them should be hampered in his or her activity with somebody who is not equal to the responsibility of missionary work” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 126).


“FAITH, GRACE, AND WORKS. The fallacy that Jesus has done all for us, and live as we may, if on our deathbed, we only believe, we shall be saved in his glorious presence, is most pernicious. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, has given us the means whereby man may obtain eternal happiness and peace in the kingdom of our Father, but man must work out his own salvation through obe­dience to the eternal principles and ordinances of the gospel. For centuries men have been blinded by the false teaching of ‘belief alone sufficient’; and today there is manifest on every hand the sorry plight into which this and other perverse doctrines have thrown the pseudo-Christian sects. The world is in sore need at the present time of the gospel of individual effort—the gospel of faith and works. He who will not grasp this means provided him, will sink beneath the waves of sin and falsehood” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 8).

“THE GRAND KEY. If you would be happy, obey the principles of the gospel.—DNCS, January 2, 1952, p. 4” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 503).









Share this

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on email

Check out these related articles...