President Anthony W. Ivins, First Counselor in the First Presidency. Conference Report, October 1931, p.87-94
My brethren and sisters, I stand before you this morning in humility and humbly ask that during the few moments of time I expect to occupy I may have your sympathy, the support of your faith, and the help of the Lord, that I may clearly outline to you the thoughts which I have in my mind.
I am going to read from the book of Isaiah, 19th chapter, 19th and 20th verses:
"In that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord.
"And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a savior, and a great one, and he shall deliver them."
REFERS TO BOOK
I have read this scripture, my brethren and sisters, as a basis for the brief remarks that I expect to make in regard to a matter that has caused more or less discussion among members of the Church because of the recent publication of this small book which I hold in my hand. The title of the book is "Our Bible in Stone." The author is Francis M. Darter of Los Angeles, a member of the Church, in good standing, an experienced engineer and a mathematician of ability.
It treats principally the erection, symbolism and prophetic character of the pyramid of Gizeh, or in Greek, Cheops. Various other applications so far as the name is concerned have been applied to this structure. Because of its superiority over all other like structures it has come to be known and referred to as the Great Pyramid of Gizeh.
SITUATED IN EGYPT
The Great Pyramid of Gizeh is situated in Egypt, about ten miles west of the city of Cairo, and one hundred and twenty-five miles south from the city of Alexandria, which was founded by Alexander the Great 332 B. C. It is bounded on the west by the Libyan desert, and is therefore in the borders of the land. It is one of a group of nine other similar structures, which are known as the Pyramids of Gizeh.
It is a noteworthy fact that while many pyramids are found in Egypt, none is known to exist in other parts of the world except in America, where many such structures are known to have been erected, but no other pyramids can be compared with the unusual structure to which my remarks are to be confined.
The orientation of the great pile, as it applies to the points of the compass, and the accuracy with which its proportions are related one to the other, are a marvel to those who have made a study of it.
GOVERNED BY STARS
The relationship of the Pyramid to modern mathematics, by which scholars have endeavored to fix the date of its construction, indicates that in its erection the builders were familiar with and governed largely by the movement of the heavenly bodies, which science the moderns refer to as astronomy.
Sir John Herschel, from astronomical calculation, places the construction of the Pyramid at 2160 B. C., and Professor Piazza Smyth at 2170 B. C. Basil Stewart, in his recently published book, "The Witness of the Great Pyramid," after a careful study of the application of astronomy in its construction, says:
"The Great Pyramid therefore may be considered the earliest known record in existence wherein is embodied the fact of the immense cycle known as the precession of the equinoxes."
OF GREAT MAGNITUDE
The magnitude of the structure may be best understood by comparing it with something with which we are familiar. The area covered by the base of the structure is in excess of thirteen acres, or three acres larger than the block upon which this building stands, which is ten acres. The height of the Pyramid is 485 feet above the base, or more than twice the height of the temple to the east of us. The bulk of the building is more than ninety million cubic feet, and sufficient stone was used in its construction to build a wall four feet high and two feet thick, twenty-two hundred miles in length, or which would reach from Chicago to San Francisco.
Who were the builders of the Pyramid no one knows. Khufu (Cheops, in Greek) is given credit for having been the builder. This personage has been identified by some students as Seth, the son of Adam: others give Enoch, the son of Jared, credit for having been the builder: others Shem, the Son of Noah; while some believe that Melchizedek, that mysterious personage to whom Abraham paid tithes, and whom some of these scholars identify as the Patriarch Job, was the person who constructed it.
Herodotus, who lived nearly five hundred years before the birth of Christ, and who is referred to as the father of history, knew of the existence of the Great Pyramid, and wrote concerning it. He says that the Egyptians detested the memory of the kings who caused their fathers to erect these structures, and besides compelled them to close their own temples, and for this reason they were not willing to mention their names, but called the two first pyramids erected after Philition, a shepherd who fed his cattle about the place.
Manetho, himself an Egyptian, wrote as follows:
"There came from the east, in a strange manner, men of an ignoble race, who had the confidence to invade our country, and easily subdued it by their power without a battle. All this invading nation was styled Hyksos, that is, 'Shepherd Kings'."
He then relates how they departed for Judea and built a city there named Jerusalem. This he says was long before the exodus of the Israelitish people from Egypt under Moses.
OLD THEORY CHALLENGED
It is known that Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings, dominated Egypt at the time that Jacob and his family went into that country, during the period when Joseph ruled as vice regent of the reigning Pharaoh, and it was among this people that Joseph chose his wife, Asenath, who became the mother of his sons Ephraim and Manasseh.
The first definite suggestion that the Great Pyramid was other than the tomb of a king, or other merely temporal monument, was in a work written by John Taylor in London in 1859. He conceived the idea that it was a divinely planned and constructed monument, designed to be a witness to the human race, showing in advance the history of mankind from the creation to the period of the second coming of our Lord, who would establish dominion over the earth upon which we dwell and usher in a reign of righteousness and peace.
At a later date C. Piazza Smyth, astronomer royal of Scotland, wrote upon the subject, agreeing with the conclusions reached by Taylor. Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie, Professor John Edgar, D. Davidson, Joseph A. Seiss, Sir John Herschel, Basil Stewart and many other scholarly men, after making a study of the subject, became advocates of the theory advanced by Taylor, that the Great Pyramid has something more than human in its construction and symbolism.
For ages after its construction the interior of the Great Pyramid remained a sealed mystery. Obsessed with the belief that within the great pile hordes of treasure had been concealed, men finally determined to penetrate and explore it. A tunnel was driven into the structure far towards the center, but the work was so difficult that it was about to be discontinued when the workmen unexpectedly broke into the passageway, and the mystery was solved.
Nothing was found to indicate that the Pyramid had been constructed to be the tomb of a king, as was usually the case with the smaller structures of like architecture. It was discovered that the original builders had constructed a series of passages or galleries in the interior of the Pyramid, the entrance to which had been concealed and so strongly closed that it became necessary to blast around it in order that entrance might be made possible. This entrance is on the north side of the structure, and the first gallery or passage descends from the opening at an angle of about twenty-six degrees to a point far below the floor of the Pyramid into the solid rock upon which it stands, where it terminates in a chamber which is called the Pit.
A short distance from the entrance, at the same angle, another passageway leads upward and communicates with two other chambers, one referred to as the Queen's Chamber near the center and the other higher up, as the King's Chamber.
CONCLUSIONS OF SCHOLARS
It is the accuracy with which-these galleries are constructed and certain markings and steps which are placed at intervals along the way, that have convinced scholars who have made careful study of the subject that the Pyramid was intended by its builders to represent the history of our race, as has been stated, from the remote past to the time of the second coming of our Lord.
Discussion of the symbolism of the Great Pyramid is not a new thing in the Church. I well remember that Orson Pratt, during his lifetime, lectured on the subject and made mathematical calculations by which he reached the conclusion that certain measurements of the galleries and markings which were upon them had reference to the opening of the Gospel dispensation in which we live, and the final consummation of the purposes of our Father in heaven by which peace would come to the world and happiness to mankind.
I remember also that his calculations brought conclusions which differed from others who had made a study of the subject, but were in the main the same. Soon after the World War students of the Pyramid announced that according to their theory, and it is only a theory, the year 1928 would witness the beginning of a period of tribulation which would continue with increasing intensity until 1936, and would bring sorrow and mourning to the inhabitants of the earth. At that date their symbols and measurements bring us to the King's Chamber, and the record of the Pyramid, if it has a record, will cease with the advent of our Lord and the establishment of a period of peace, happiness and good will among men.
The Church has not at any time, nor does it now, accept the conclusions of pyramid students to be definitely correct. In fact there is great doubt that the arbitrary basis upon which their calculations and conclusions are founded is correct.
I do not wish to be understood to say that they are in error. Neither do I say that they are correct. But this much I desire to declare to this congregation: While I have not given profound study to the theories of men regarding the origin and symbolism of this miracle in stone, I have read and studied it in a general way and have found nothing in it to convince me that the record of the Great Pyramid definitely forecasts coming events.
The Church does not depend upon Pyramids of Gizeh nor the conclusions of scientific investigators, however helpful they may sometimes be in the study of these questions, for an interpretation of the scripture which refers to the return of Christ our Lord to earth and the millennium of peace and good-will which is to be enjoyed trader his personal administration.
We believe in the literal gathering of the house of Israel, that Judah and Benjamin will he united with Ephraim and the ten tribes from whom they have been separated since the reign of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon: that Zion will be built upon this continent; that Christ our Lord will reign personally among his people; and that the earth will be restored to its paradisaical glory.
This declaration of our faith is based upon the words of our Lord as they are contained in the Bible, and have come to us through modern revelation.
PRECEDING HIS SECOND COMING
As Jesus sat upon the Mount of Olives the disciples came to him privately, saying:
"Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world ?"
Our Lord warned them to take heed lest they be deceived. He told them that preceding the time of his coming there would be a period when war would prevail throughout the world; that nation would rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and that there would be famine and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places; that those who believed in him would suffer persecution, and that tribulation such as had never before been known would be experienced. But he assured them that those who had faith to endure to the end would be saved.
He told them that before his coming the Gospel which he taught would be restored to earth and preached among all people, as a witness, before the end should come. And then he said, "shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven *** and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
At the time of his ascension, when the cloud received him, as his disciples gazed in wonder and astonishment, two men in white apparel appeared and said:
"Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
The affirmation of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ and the further fact that he would at a subsequent period of time return to earth to assume control over its affairs and usher in a millennium of peace are so definitely attested that no real believer in the Bible can deny them.
EXACT TIME NOT REVEALED
Conditions which would prevail prior to his glorious appearance are definitely stated, but the exact time when he shall appear has not been revealed. He himself says, referring to the time of his glorious appearance: "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father."
He does tell us that he will come in an hour when we expect him not and warns us that we must always be prepared to meet him. He warns us further that if at that time we are found oppressing our brethren and eating and drinking with the drunken he will cut us off, root and branch, which will cause weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.
THE AUTHOR'S OWN VIEWS
Now, my brethren and sisters, I have referred to this little book and its contents as I desire that you might understand. It will undoubtedly go into the mission field and our Elders amy make use of it. I simply want to warn you against sensationalism of any kind.
While the author, as I have stated, is a member of the Church in full standing, this work goes out as his own views. I do not wish to deprecate the amount of work he must have applied in the preparation of this book, in the study of the scriptures, and in the preparation of the charts which are contained in it. I do not say that his conclusions are wrong, but I do say that they do not come to us as the voice of the Church, nor are they to be accepted as such.
Brother J. Golden Kimball told us yesterday that he was a great believer in dreams that come true. I am reminded of the fact that immediately after the close of the World War these students of the Pyramids announced and published it that according to their measurements and calculations there would begin in the year 1928 a period which would bring tribulation and sorrow to the people of the world: that they would be required to humble themselves before the Lord, and that that period of tribulation would continue until the year 1936. This was based entirely upon the measurement of the galleries and the steps that are in the Pyramids.
We all know that a part of this dream at least has come true. Men come to us and tell us that there is no depression; that it is only our imagination. It is true that we are surrounded by plenty, but in the midst of plenty many are in want. Such talk to me is sheer nonsense. My father-in-law, Erastus Snow, used to say that such statements reminded him of a man trying to hold himself up by his own bootstraps. When Great Britain who has stood in the ages past as a financial master of the world sends out cries for financial help; when Germany who stands in the very forefront of the nations of the world in intellectual development in music, in chemistry, in mechanism, sends out calls for help, and is on the very verge of dissolution and anarchy, it is obvious that there is something wrong.
When our own government is wrestling with problems which they hardly know how to control, but are doing their very best to meet them: when banking establishments are going down like block-houses, and hundreds of millions of dollars of the savings of poor people are being lost to them because of these failures, it appears obvious to me that we are passing through a time of tribulation. I believe it is better at any rate that we should think so. I agree with the Governor of our state in his declaration that we are in a period which requires our most careful attention and our best efforts to avert. If there are those who do not believe it they will find it out before we are through with it.
While I am on my feet I want to say one thing: This condition naturally brings trouble to banking institutions, and men are referring to banks as heartless usurers. Banks are not money-lenders alone, they are the custodians of the funds of the people. They do not tend their own money, they lend the money of the widow and the orphan and the fatherless which has been entrusted to them. They make investment of it that it may bring returns to these people who so greatly need it, and it is their sacred duty to preserve those funds to save them from loss. When men go to banks and borrow money they must do it with the expectation that they are to pay it back. It is not their money, it is not the money of the bank: it is the money of the people. And so when banks are careful to preserve their resources and to keep them liquid, so they can meet the demands that are made upon them, they should be complimented and not found fault with.
This brings me right back to another thing that the Redeemer said. He told us you know, that there would be weeping and wailing among the merchants--or the prophet told us that--because there would be no one to buy their merchandise. We have very nearly lived to see that. He told us that it will be the same with the giver of usury as it is with the taker of usury from him. This is not a condition which affects one class of our citizens only, it affects men from the wealthy of our country to those who are in the most humble circumstances.
Well, now, my brethren and sisters, what about it all ?
TRUST THE LORD
Just be calm and turn to the Lord. It is not the result of any occurrence of the immediate past. We have been gradually drifting toward it for years and years, and personally I have known that it would come, and I bore witness of it from this stand to the people a year ago. I applied it to my own affairs. I pleaded with the people to put their houses in order and get out of debt, for I knew this was coming, because God himself through his Only Begotten Son had declared it.
There is nothing that men can do, nothing that we can do that will avert the fulfilment of those sayings, and it is not the design of our Father in heaven at all either. It is simply the result of our own lack of wisdom, of our own disposition to he selfish, of the accumulation of the wealth of the country in the hands of a few men which prevents its equal distribution among the masses.
Now, my brethren and sisters, if the Church has anything to say to you it will come from them direct and not from the writings of other men. It will come to you in a manner that you will understand it. It will not be speculative. It will come to you philosophically, truthfully and governed by common sense.
God bless you, is my humble prayer, through Jesus Christ, Amen.
Monday, June 28, 2010
President Anthony W. Ivins, First Counselor in the First Presidency. Conference Report, October 1931, p.87-94