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Counsel to Young Men
President Boyd K. Packer
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“Young men speak of the future because they have no past, and old men speak of the past because they have no future. I am an old man, but I will speak to the Aaronic Priesthood about your future.
“There are some things you need to understand.
“The priesthood is something you cannot see, nor hear, nor touch, but it is a real authority and a real power.
“You are a son of God. You lived in a pre mortal existence as an individual spirit child of Heavenly Parents. At the time of your birth, you received a mortal body of flesh and blood and bone in which to experience earth life. You will be tested as you prepare yourself to return to our Heavenly Parents.
“I ask you the same question that Paul asked the Corinthians: ‘What? Know ye hot that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?’
“Your gender was determined in the pre-mortal existence. You were born a male. You must treasure and protect the masculine part of your nature. You must have respectful, protective regard for all women and girls.
“Avoid the deadly poison of pornography and narcotics. If these are in your life, beware! If allowed to continue, they can destroy you. Talk to your parents; talk to your bishop. They will know how to help you.
“Resist every impulse that will trouble your spirit.
“Your generation is filled with uncertainties. A life of fun and games and expensive toys has come to an abrupt end. We move from a generation of ease of entertainment to a generation of work and responsibility. We do not know how long that will last.
“The reality of life is now part of your priesthood responsibilities. It will not hurt you to want something and not have it. There is a maturing and disciplining that will be good for you. It will ensure that you can have a happy life and raise a happy family. These trials come with responsibility in the priesthood.”
“This Is Your Phone Call”
Bishop Richard C. Edgley
First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric
“Often, individuals who are not of our faith-members of other churches, relief organizations, governments, and the news media-comment on how quickly the Church is able to mobilize so many who are willing to help. They ask, ‘How do you do it?’ The response to this question can be simply stated as, ‘We are prepared, we have organization, we have empathy, and we have charity.’ It usually just takes a few phone calls from presiding authorities or local leaders to mobilize hundreds and sometimes thousands of individuals to go to the rescue of their fellow brothers and sisters in distress.
“Tonight I wish to speak of another challenge to which we have opportunities to respond, and brethren, this is your phone call. This challenge is not one of natural causes; however, its effects are real and are being felt globally. And while we are optimistic about the future, we continue-as we have for decade-to espouse the fundamental principle that we are our brother’s keeper.
“Elder Robert D. Hales has recently observed, ‘The economic clouds that have long threatened the world are now fully upon us. The impact of this economic storm on our Heavenly Father’s children requires a gospel vision of welfare today more than ever before.’ The unemployment and financial wakes of this storm are splashing over every stake and every ward throughout the Church. I suspect they have been felt in some way by each of us, whether personally, through members of our families or extended families, or through someone we know.
“Brethren, there is no organization better able to respond to the challenges of humanity than the priesthood of the Most High God. We have the organization. Stake presidents, bishops, elders quorum presidents, and high priest group leaders-we now call upon you to mobilize our priesthood quorums in response to the employment and financial challenges facing our members. Consider this your personal phone call. Now is the time to rally around, lift up, and help the families in our quorums who may be in distress.
“Opportunities about and yours is the opportunity and responsibility of marshaling the Lord’s resources. Among our quorum members you will likely find those who know of job openings, and others who are skilled at writing resumes or assisting in interview preparation. Regardless of titles or skills, you will find a brotherhood committed to bear one another’s burdens.”
Elder Claudio R. M. Costa
Of the Presidency of the Seventy
“It is our responsibility as fathers to lead our families in daily family prayer, daily study of the scriptures, and in family home evening. We must prioritize and preserve these opportunities to build and strengthen the spiritual underpinnings of our families. President Hinckley said, ‘Try not to let anything interfere. Consider it sacred.’
“Concerning family home evening, he said, ‘Keep Monday night sacred for family home evening.’
“Our children, just like their parents, have time demands on them in every aspect of their lives. They have activities involving church and school and friends. Many of our children are attending schools where they are the minority. Frequently the schools schedule events on Monday evenings. Activities like sports, rehearsals or practices, choirs, and other events. We need to keep Monday nights free of other commitments so that we can have our family home evenings. No other activity is more important for our family.
“It is during the family home evening and in other family settings that we prepare our children to receive the blessings of the Lord.
“Family home evening is a very special time for us to strengthen ourselves and each family member.
“Daily study of the scriptures is another important family activity. I remember when my son was seven years old. He was taking a shower one night during a storm when we lost the power in our house. My wife called to him and told him to hurry to finish his shower, and to then take a candle and come slowly downstairs for our family prayer. She warned him to be careful to not drop the candle on the carpet because it could start a fire and the house could burn down. Several minutes later, he came down the stairs struggling to hold the candle in one hand and with the other arm he was carrying his scriptures. His mother asked him why he was bringing his scriptures? He answer to her was, ‘Mom, if the house burns down, I must save my scriptures!’ We knew that our efforts to help him to love the scriptures had been planted in his heart forever.
We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
“The tendency to focus on the insignificant at the expense of the profound happens not only to pilots-but to everyone.
We are all at risk. The driver who focuses on the road has a far greater chance of arriving at his destination accident free than the driver who focuses on sending text messages on his phone.
“We know what matters most-the Light of Christ teaches this to everyone. I imagine that any priesthood holder listening to my voice today, if asked to prepare a talk on the subject, could do an excellent job. Our weakness is in failing to align our actions with our conscience.
“Pause for a moment and think about where your own heart is. Are you focused on the things that matter most? How you spend your time may provide a clue. Where do your thoughts go when the clamor of pressing deadlines quiets? Is it on those short-lived fleeting things that matter only in the moment, or is your heart set on things that matter most?…
“My dear brethren of the priesthood, we live in the latter days. The gospel of Jesus Christ is restored to the earth. The keys of the priesthood of God are given again to man. We live in an era of anticipation and preparation, entrusted by God to prepare ourselves, our families, our world for the approaching dawn-the day when the Son of God will ‘descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God’ and usher in His millennial reign.
“We have been entrusted with the holy priesthood and charged with the responsibility, power, and right to act as agents of our Heavenly King.
“These are the things that matter most. These are the things of eternal value that deserve our attention.
“We cannot allow ourselves to get distracted from our sacred duty. We cannot lose focus on the things that matter most.
“We live in times of great challenges and great opportunities. The Lord is seeking men like Nehemiah-faithful brethren who fulfill the oath and covenant of the priesthood. He seeks to enlist unfaltering souls who diligently go about the work of building the kingdom of God -those who, when faced with opposition and temptation, say in their hearts, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down.”
In the Bonds of the Priesthood
President Henry B. Eyring
First Counselor in the First Presidency
“My purpose tonight is to help you to be brave and bold in your priesthood service.
“You will need bravery and you will need boldness because you are enlisted in the Lord’s army in the last dispensation. This is not a time of peace. It has been so since Satan arrayed his forces against our Heavenly Father’s plan in the pre-existence. We don’t know the details of the combat then. But we know one result. Satan and his followers were cast down into the earth. And since the creation of Adam and Eve the conflict has continued. We have seen it intensify. And the scriptures suggest that the war will become more violent and the spiritual casualties on the Lord’s side will mount.
“Almost all of us have seen a battle field portrayed in a film or read the description in a story. Over the din of explosions and the shouts of soldiers, there comes a cry ‘Man down!’
“When that cry sounds, faithful soldiers will move toward the sound. Another soldier or a medic will ignore danger and move to the injured comrade. And the man down will know that help will come. Whatever the risk, someone will run low or crawl to get there in time to protect and give aid. That is true in every band of men joined in a difficult and dangerous mission which they are determined to fulfill at any sacrifice. The histories of such groups are full of stories of those loyal men who were determined that no man be left behind.
“Such a feeling of responsibility for others is at the heart of faithful priesthood service. Our comrades are being wounded in the spiritual conflict around us. So are the people we are called to serve and protect from harm. Spiritual wounds are not easily visible, except with inspired eyes.
“Consequently, as a priesthood holder responsible for the spiritual survival of some of Heavenly Father’s children, you will then move to help without waiting for a cry, ‘Man Down!’ Even a best friend or other leaders or parents may not see what you have seen.
“My prayer is that you will have joy in your priesthood service throughout your life and forever. I pray that you will develop the bravery and love for Heavenly Father’s children that led the sons of Mosiah to plead for the chance to face death and danger to take the gospel to a hardened people. Their desire and their bravery came from feeling responsible for the eternal happiness of strangers in danger of eternal misery.”
Be Your Best Self
President Thomas S. Monson
President of the Church
“In the world today we face difficulties and challenges, some of which can seem truly daunting. However, with God on our side we cannot fail. As we bear His holy priesthood worthily, we will be victorious.
“This is not a time for fear, brethren, but rather a time for faith-a time for each of us who holds the priesthood to be his best self.
“Although our journey through mortality will at times place us in harm’s way, may I offer to you tonight three suggestions which, when observed and followed, will lead us to safety. They are:
“Pray fervently; and
“These suggestions are not new; they have been taught and repeated again and again. If we incorporate them into our lives, however, we will have the strength to withstand the Adversary. Should we ignore them, we will be opening the door for Satan to have influence and power over us.
“I promise you, whether you hold the Aaronic of the Melchizedek priesthood, that if you will study the scriptures diligently, your power to avoid temptation and to receive the direction of the Holy Ghost in all you do will be increased.
“To those within the sound of my voice who are struggling with challenges and difficulties large and small, prayer is the provider of spiritual strength; it is the passport to peace.
“Holders of the priesthood may not necessarily be eloquent in their speech. They may not hold advanced degrees in difficult fields of study. They may very well be men of humble means. But God is not respecter of persons, and He will sustain His servants in righteousness as they avoid the evils of our day and live lives of virtue and purity.
“Let us never despair, for the work in which we are engaged is the work of the Lord. It has been said, ‘The Lord shapes the back to bear the burden placed upon it.
“The strength which we earnestly seek in order to meet the challenges of a complex and changing world can be ours when, with fortitude and resolute courage, we stand and declare with Joshua, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”