Talk Excerpts
All photographs used by permission.  Copyright 2009 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Speakers:

Elder M. Russell Ballard:  Fathers and Sons:  A Remarkable Relationship
Elder Walter F. Gonzalez:  Becoming More Powerful Priesthood Holders
Elder Yoon Hwan Choi:  I Love Loud Boys
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:  Two Principles for Any Economy
President Henry B. Eyring:  Be Ready
President Thomas S. Monson:  School Thy Feelings, O My Brother

Elder M. Russell Ballard
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Fathers and Sons:  A Remarkable Relationship

Tonight I want to talk to you fathers and sons about how you talk to each other.  There is no other relationship quite like that which can and should exist between a boy and his dad.  It can be one of the most nurturing, joyful relationships in life, one that can have a profound impact on who boys become and also on who dads become.  Now, I understand that some of you young men do not have fathers with whom you can have these kind of conversations.  And some of you men do not have sons of have lost your sons to accident or illness.  But much of what I say tonight will apply to uncles and grandfathers and priesthood leaders and other mentors who sometimes fill in the gaps for these significant father-son relationships.

Tonight I want to give you young men three simple suggestions on how to take full advantage of your relationship with your dad.  And then I want to give you fathers three suggestions about relating and communicating with your sons.

First, trust your fathers.  He is not perfect, but he loves you and would never do anything he didn’t think was in your best interest.  So talk to him.  Share your thoughts and feelings, your dreams and your fears.

Second, take an interest in your father’s life.  Ask about his job, his interests, his goals.  How did he decide to do the work that he does?  What was he like when he was your age?  How did he meet your mother?  And as you learn more about him, you may find that his experiences help you to better understand why he responds the way that he does.

And third, ask your father for advice.  Let’s be honest:  he is probably going to give you his advice whether you ask for it or not, but it just works so much better when you ask.

Okay, fathers, now it’s your turn.

First, fathers, listen to your sons-really listen to them.  Ask the right kinds of questions, and listen to what they have to say each time you have a few minutes together.  You need to know-not to guess but to know-what is going on in your son’s life.

Second, pray with and for your sons.  Give them priesthood blessings.  A son who is worried about a big exam or a special event will surely benefit from a father’s priesthood blessing.  Occasions like the start of a new school year, a birthday, or as he begins to date may be opportune times to call upon the Lord to bless your son.

Third, dare to have the “big talks” with your sons.  You know what I mean:  talks about drugs and drinking, about the dangers of today’s media-the Internet, cyber technologies, and pornography-and about priesthood worthiness, respect for girls, and moral cleanliness.  While these should not be the only subjects you talk about with your sons, please don’t shy away from the.

Elder Walter F. Gonzalez
Of the Presidency of the Seventy
Becoming More Powerful Priesthood Holders

There are books that are released to the market and quickly become bestsellers.  Sometimes they generate so much interest that people eagerly await their release.  Such books seem to flood the market right away and you can see people reading them everywhere.  God in His infinite wisdom reserved the Book of Mormon for our benefit.  Its purpose is not to become a bestseller.  Nevertheless, we can turn this sacred book into a best-read and best-applied book in our life.  Let me suggest three activities that can help us turn the Book of Mormon into the best-read and applied book, which will empower us today, to become more powerful priesthood holders even as those in ancient times.

First, feast upon the words of Christ.  We must read the Book of Mormon in order to “feast upon the words of Christ; for behold the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”  Feasting upon the words of Christ is a unique experience.  When we read and look for principles and doctrines that will help us in our daily lives, we will have a renewed enthusiasm.

Second, apply in our lives all that we learn about Christ.  Reading the Book of Mormon and looking for attributes of Christ is a great edifying experience.  For instance, the brother of Jared recognized that the Lord was a God of truth, therefore he could not lie.  What a great hope this attribute brings to my soul!  All the promises in the Book of Mormon and the promises given by the living prophets today will be fulfilled because He is God and cannot lie.

Third, teach the doctrine and principles found in the sacred pages of the Book of Mormon.  We can teach anyone from this book.  Can you imagine the additional “convincing power of God” when missionaries and family members quote, read, or repeat by heart the book’s very words?…

I know that families will be fortified by implementing the teachings of this great book in their lives.

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi
First Quorum of the Seventy
I Love Loud Boys

I would like to tell you about a group of loud, young men who came into my life when I was a young bishop in Seoul, Korea many years ago.  These were boys that lived in the neighborhood.  Only one or two of them were members of the Church at the time. The boys that were members were the only members in their family.  They were all friends, and they came to the church to play and to be together.

I was a young father of two sons, who were seven and nine years old, at the time.  I did not know what I could do for these young men.  They were so rowdy, that once my wife, Bon-Kyoung, asked me if we could move to another ward so that our sons could see good examples from other young men.  I pondered and prayed to Heavenly Father to help me to find the way to help these young men.  Finally, I made the decision to try and teach them how they could change their lives.

A vision came upon my mind very clearly.  I felt that if they were to become missionaries, their lives would be changed.  From that moment on, I became very excited and I tried to spend as much time as possible with them, teaching them the importance of missionary service and how to prepare for a mission.

At that time, Elder Seo, a full-time missionary was transferred to our ward.  He was one who had grown upon in the Church and as an Aaronic Priesthood youth had participated in a young men’s singing group with his friends.


  He met those boisterous boys in our ward.  Elder Seo taught those who were not members the missionary discussions and he also taught them the songs he used to sing.  He made a triple quartet with those loud boys and names them the Hanaro Quartet, which means “be as one.”.

[Elder Choi went on to tell the details of the story and the progress of the boys]

They sang together every time they came to our home.  Their loud sound hurt our ears.  But we always praised them because listening to them sing was far more enjoyable than seeing them get into trouble.

Through the years these activities continued.  Most of these young men matured in the gospel and a miracle happened.  Over time, nine of the boys who were not members were baptized.  They changed from loud, rowdy boys into “valiant stripling warriors.”

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
Two Principles for Any Economy

Brethren, we do feel very close to you.  We love you, and we always pray for you.  I have seen enough ups and downs throughout my life to know that winter will surely give way to the warmth and hope of a new spring.  I am optimistic about the future.  Brethren, for our part, we must remain steadfast in hope, work with all our strength and trust in God.

[President Uchtdorf recalled a very difficult time in his boyhood and described it in some detail]

Knowing that some of you are experiencing your own periods of anxiety and despair, I wanted to speak today about two important principles that sustained me through this formative period of my life.

The First Principle:  Work.

How I admire men, women, and children who know how to work!  How the Lord loves the laborer!…Those who are unafraid to roll up their sleeves and lose themselves in the pursuit of worthwhile goals are a blessing to their families, communities, nations, and to the Church.

The Lord doesn’t expect us to work harder than we are able.  He doesn’t (nor should we) compare our own efforts to those of others.  Our Heavenly Father asks only that we do the best we can-that we work according to our full capacity, however great or small that may be.

Work is an antidote for anxiety, an ointment for sorrow, and a doorway to possibility.  Whatever our circumstances in life, my dear brethren, let us do the best we can and cultivate a reputation for excellence in all that we do.  Let us set our minds and bodies to the glorious opportunity for work that each new day presents.

When our wagon gets stuck in the mud, God is much more likely to assist the man who gets out to push than the man who merely raises his voice in prayer.

Now, a word to us seasoned brethren:  retirement is not a part of the Lord’s plan of happiness.  There is no sabbatical or retirement program from priesthood responsibilities-regardless of age or physical capacity.  While the phrase, “been there, done that” may work as an excuse to avoid skateboarding, decline the invitation for a motorbike ride, or bypass the spicy curry at the buffet, it is not an acceptable excuse for avoiding covenant responsibilities to consecrate our time, talents, and resources in the work of the kingdom of God.

The Second Principle:  Learn.

Brethren, you have a duty to learn as much as you can.  Please encourage your families, your quorum members, everyone to learn and become better educated.  If formal education is not available, do not allow that to prevent you from acquiring all the knowledge you can.  Under such circumstances, the best books, in a sense, can become your “university”-a classroom that is always open and admits all who apply.  Strive to increase your knowledge of all that is “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.”  Seek knowledge “by study and also by faith.”  Seek with a humble spirit and contrite heart.  As you apply the spiritual dimension of faith to your study-even of temporal things-you can amplify your intellectual capacity, for “if your eye be single to [God’s] glory, your whole [body] shall be filled with light,.and comprehend all things.”

President Henry B. Eyring
First Counselor in the First Presidency
Be Ready

Wherever I am in the day or night, there is nearby a small container of olive oil.  This is the one which I keep in the middle drawer of the desk where I work.  There is one in my pocket when I am working outdoors or traveling.  There is also one in a kitchen cabinet in my home.

The one I hold now has a date on it.  It is the day when someone exercised the power of the priesthood to consecrate the pure oil for the blessing and the healing of the sick.  The young men of the Aaronic Priesthood and even their fathers might think that I am a little extreme in my preparation.

But the call during the day or the knock at the door at night always comes as a surprise.  Someone will say, “Please, could you come quickly?”  Once, years ago, it was s father calling from a hospital.  His three-year-old daughter had been thrown 50 feet by a speeding car as she ran across the street to join her mother.  When I arrived at the hospital the father plead that the power of the priesthood could preserve her life.  The doctors and the nurses only reluctantly let us reach through a plastic barrier to place a drop of oil on the one opening in the heavy bandages which covered her head.  A doctor said to me, with irritation in his voice, “Hurry with whatever you are going to do.  She is dying.”

He was wrong.  She lived and learned to walk again.

When the call came I was ready.  The preparation was far more than having consecrated oil close at hand.  It must being long before the crisis which requires priesthood power.  Those who are prepared will be ready to answer.

The preparation begins in families, in Aaronic Priesthood quorums, and mostly in the private lives of young men.  The quorums and the families must help, but the preparation that counts will be made by the young men making choices to rise to their great destiny as priesthood servants for God.

The destiny of the rising generation of priesthood holders is far more than to be ready to bring God’s power down to heal the sick.  The preparation is to be ready to go and do whatever the Lord wants done as the world is preparing for His coming.  None of us knows exactly what those errands will be.  But we do know what it will take to be ready, so each of us can prepare.

President Thomas S. Monson
President of the Church
School Thy Feelings, O My Brother

Recently, as I watched the news on television, I realized that many of the lead stories were similar in nature, in that the tragedies reported all basically traced back on one emotion:  anger.

I thought of the words of the Psalmist:  “Cease from anger and forsake wrath.


“.

We’ve all felt anger.  It can come when things don’t turn out the way we want.  It might be a reaction to something which is said to us.  We may experience it when people don’t behave the way we want them to behave.  Perhaps it comes when we have to wait for something longer than we expected.  We might feel angry when others can’t see things from our perspective.  There seems to be countless possible reasons for anger.

There are times when we can become upset at imagined hurts or perceived injustices.

The Apostle Paul asks, in Galatians, chapter four, verse twenty-six of the Joseph Smith Translation, “Can ye be angry and not sin?  Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”  I ask, is it possible to feel the Spirit of our Heavenly Father when we are angry?  I know of no instance where such would be the case.

To be angry is to yield to the influence of Satan.  No one can make us angry.  It is our choice.  If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry.  I testify that such is possible.

Anger, Satan’s tool, is destructive in so many ways.

My brethren, we are all susceptible to those feelings which, if left unchecked, can lead to anger.  We experience displeasure or irritation or antagonism and, if we so choose, we lose our temper and become angry with others.  Ironically, those others are often members of our own family-the people we really love the most.

Many years ago I read the following Associated Press dispatch which appeared in the newspaper:  “An elderly man disclosed at the funeral of his brother, with whom he had shared, from early manhood, a small, one-room cabin near Canisteo, New York, that following a quarrel, they had divided the room in half with a chalk line and neither had crossed the line or spoken a word to the other since that day-62 years before.”  Just think of the consequence of that anger.  What a tragedy!

May we make a conscious decision, each time such a decision must be made, to refrain from anger and to leave unsaid the harsh and hurtful things we may be tempted to say.