Prophecy and history predict and record a great and universal apostasy which was to be followed by a restoration as predicted by John in Revelation. The fact of the great apostasy is attested by both sacred and secular writ, and history bears witness that it became universal. We proclaim this fact of history not as an attack on any church. We do not assume any position of "holier than thou" or "wiser than thou," but we announce this historic fact of the apostasy as a vindication of the claim that there has been in fact a restoration of the gospel.
It is common to assume that human progress affects everyone - that even the dullest man, in these bright days, knows more than any man of, say, the Eighteenth Century, and is far more civilized. This assumption is quite erroneous. . . . The great masses of men, even in this inspired republic, are precisely where the mob was at the dawn of history. They are ignorant, they are dishonest, they are cowardly, they are ignoble. They know little if anything that is worth knowing, and there is not the slightest sign of a natural desire among them to increase their knowledge.
The practical man is the adventurer, the investigator, the believer in research, the asker of questions, the man who refuses to believe that perfection has been attained.... There is no thrill or joy in merely doing that which any one can do.... It is always safe to assume, not that the old way is wrong, but that there may be a better way.
As witnesses not of our intentions but of our conduct, we can be true or false, and the hypocrite's crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.