Honor the Priesthood and Use It Well
Elder Richard G. Scott
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
The purpose of priesthood authority is to give, to serve, to lift, to inspire—not to exercise unrighteous control or force. In some cultures tradition places a man in a dominant role with a feeling of authority to control and regulate all family affairs. That is not the way of the Lord. In some places the wife is almost owned by her husband, as if she were another of his possessions. That is a cruel, unproductive, mistaken vision of marriage encouraged by Lucifer that every priesthood holder must reject. It is founded on the false premise that a man is somehow superior to a woman. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The scriptures confirm that Father in Heaven saved His greatest, most splendid, supreme creation, woman, to the end. Only after all else was completed was woman created. Only then was the work pronounced complete and good.
Of our wives, mothers, grandmothers, and sisters and other important women in our lives, President Hinckley declared:
Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue and with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth.
By divine design a woman is fundamentally different from a man in many ways. She is compassionate, seeks the interests of others around her. However, that compassionate nature can become overwhelming for women who identify far more to accomplish than they can possibly do, even with the help of the Master. Some become discouraged because they do not feel they are doing all they should do. I believe this is a feeling that many worthy, effective, devoted women of the Church experience.
Therefore, as a husband or son, express gratitude for what your wife and mother do for you. Express your love and gratitude often. That will make life far richer, more pleasant and purposeful for many of the daughters of Father in Heaven who seldom hear a complimentary comment and are not thanked for the multitude of good things they do. As a husband when you sense that your wife needs lifting, hold her in your arms and tell her how much you love her. May each of us ever be tender and appreciative of the special women who enrich our lives.
The family proclamation states that a husband and wife should be equal partners. I feel assured that every wife in the Church would welcome that opportunity and support it. Whether it occurs or not depends upon the husband. Many husbands practice equal partnership with their companion, to the benefit of both and the blessing of their children. However, many do not. I encourage any man who is reluctant to develop an equal partnership with his wife, to obey the counsel inspired by the Lord and do it. Equal partnership yields its greatest benefit when both husband and wife seek the will of the Lord in making important decisions for themselves and for their family.
Arms of Safety
Elder Jay E. Jensen
Of the Presidency of the Seventy
A family had been taking pictures on a lookout point of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. They heard screams and ran to find that a two-year-old girl had fallen through a railing and fell to a ledge about 35 feet below. The little one tried to climb back up, but her movements caused her to slip ever further until she was five feet from a dangerous 200-foot drop.
A 19-year-old young man named Ian saw where she was and, using his emergency response training, knew how to handle the situation. These are his words: “Immediately, it all came at me, and I just knew what I had to do. I set down my camera and went up the trail a little ways where it wasn’t as steep, climbed over the rail, scrambled down a bunch of rocks and through brush and found her.” Holding her in his arms for an hour, Ian waited until emergency teams could drop down with the ropes to rescue them.
The phrase “holding her in his arms” caught my attention because the scriptures talk about arms—arms of love, arms of mercy, and arms of safety.
The scripture phrase “encircled in the arms of safety” comes from Amulek’s message to the Zoramites about the infinite and eternal atonement. He taught that the sacrifice of the Son of God made it possible for man to have faith in Christ to lead us to repent, “And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety” ( Alma 34:9-16).
To better understand “arms of safety” it is important to remember that the Savior used tangible things, such as coins, seeds, sheep, loaves, fishes, and body parts to teach gospel principles.
Arms are tangible and we use them to express affection and love. When I come home from the office I am encircled in the tangible arms of my wife. I have experienced arms of love and safety throughout my service in Latin America by means of the common greeting “abrazo” or a hug.
As I have pondered how to effectively teach the atonement to others, the phrase “arms of safety” has been useful. When we were baptized and received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, we received two ordinances that introduce us to the arms of safety. By coming humbly and fully repentant to sacrament meeting and worthily partaking of the sacrament, we may feel those arms again and again.
Winning the War against Evil
Elder James J. Hamula
Of the Seventy
I speak tonight to my brethren of the Aaronic priesthood…You have come into the world at a most significant time. We are entering the final climatic stages of a great war. This war commenced before the foundations of the world, and has been pursued with awful consequence throughout the world’s history. I speak of the war between the followers of Christ and all those who deny Him as their God.
John the Revelator wrote concerning this war: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serprent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12: 7-9)
It was Satan who instigated this pre-mortal war. He did so by rebelling against our Father’s plan of salvation for His children and rejecting the Christ designated to effectuate the plan. Tragically, a third of our Father’s children followed Satan. Yet two-thirds did not. You, my young friends, were among these, and with them have come to earth to pursue the Father’s plan of happiness.
Unfortunately, Satan’s war did not end with his expulsion from heaven. As John observed, Satan and his followers were “cast out into the earth” and have come here with “great wrath.
” The evidence of their wrath can be seen in the blood and horror that has afflicted man from the beginning of time. The nature and extent of the wounds inflicted on man can be fathomed only by God, who notwithstanding his infinite station, was moved to weep as he surveyed the landscape of casualties.
We now find ourselves in the last days of this earth’s temporal history. In a coming day, our Father’s Son will return to the earth from which He was rejected and reclaim it as His own. In that day, He will subdue Satan and his legions and usher in a thousand years of peace and righteousness. In anticipation of that day, God has restored His kingdom to the earth one last time. That kingdom is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Significantly, every other attempt to establish God’s kingdom on earth has ultimately failed. Yes, there have been seasons of success here and there. But never before has the kingdom of God been permanently sustained among men. This last and final restoration of God’s kingdom, however, is different. It will not, indeed, it cannot fail.
To ensure its ultimate success, the final restoration of God’s kingdom has been commenced with unprecedented spiritual power, and is being sustained by that same spiritual power and something more. Reserved to come forth in these last days and labor for our Father and His Son are some of the most valiant and noble of our Father’s sons and daughters. Their valiance and nobility were demonstrated in the pre-earth struggle with Satan. There, “being left to choose good or evil,” they “chose good” and exhibited “exceedingly great faith” and “good works”. Such are the traits that are now needed to sustain the work of God in the earth and to save the souls of men from the intensifying wrath of the adversary.
Lift Where You Stand
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Of the First Presidency
Some years ago in our meetinghouse in Darmstadt, Germany, a group of brethren was asked to move a grand piano from the chapel to the adjoining cultural hall, where it was needed for a musical event. None were professional movers, and the task of getting that gravity-friendly instrument through the chapel and into the cultural hall seemed nearly impossible. Everybody knew that this task required not only physical strength but also careful coordination. There were plenty of ideas, but not one could keep the piano balanced correctly. They repositioned the brethren by strength, height, and age over and over again—nothing worked.
As they stood around the piano, uncertain of what to do next, a good friend of mine, Brother Hanno Luschin, spoke up, “Brethren,” he said, “stand close together and lift where you stand.”
It seemed too simple. Nevertheless, each lifted where they stood, and the piano rose from the ground and moved into the cultural hall as if on its own power. That was the answer to the challenge. They merely needed to stand close together and lift where they stood.
I have often thought of Brother Luschin’s simple idea and have been impressed by its profound truth. Tonight I would like to expand on that simple concept, “lift where you stand.”
Although it may seem simple, lifting where we stand is a principle of power. Most of the priesthood bearers I know understand and live by this principle. They are eager to roll up their sleeves and go to work, whatever that work might be. They faithfully perform their priesthood duties. They magnify their callings. They serve the Lord by serving others. They stand close together and lift where they stand.
There are those, however, who sometimes struggle with this concept. And when they do, they seem to fall into one of two camps; either they seek to lead of they seek to hide. They covet a crown or a cave.
Those who seek to lead may feel they are capable of doing more than what they are currently asked to do. Some might think, “If only I were a bishop, I could make a difference.” They believe that their abilities far surpass their calling. Perhaps if they were in an important position of leadership, they would work hard at making a different. But they wonder, “What possible influence can I have as merely a home teacher or a counselor in the quorum presidency?”
Those who seek to hide may feel that they are too busy to serve in the Church. When the chapel needs to be cleaned, when the Mendez family needs help moving, when the bishop calls them to teach a class, they always seem to have a ready excuse.
Twenty years ago, President Ezra Taft Benson shared reports from bishops and stake presidents that some members “are turning down calls to serve claiming they are “too busy” or they “haven’t got time.” Others, they say, accept such callings, but refuse to magnify those callings.”
President Benson went on to say; “The Lord expects each of us to have a calling in His Church so that others may be blessed by our talents and influence.”
O Ye That Embark
President Henry B. Eyring
Of the First Presidency
In His kindness and in great trust, Heavenly Father and the Savior allowed a selected few of His sons on earth to hold the priesthood. We have the authority and the power to act in God’s name to offer the true gospel of Jesus Christ and its ordinances to as many of Heavenly Father’s children as we can. So. You can sense the importance and magnitude of our trust from God. And you can sense its supreme importance and the opposition we face.
It is not surprising that we feel from time to time nearly overwhelmed. Your thought that, “I’m not sure I can do this,” is evidence that you understand the reality of what it means to hold the priesthood of God. The fact is that you can’t do it by yourself. The call is too difficult and too important for your mortal power and for mine. Recognizing that is at the foundation of great priesthood service.
When those feelings of inadequacy strike us, or when fear or despondency are pushed into our hearts is the time to remember the Savior. He assures that we don’t do this work alone. There are scriptures to put on your mirror and to remember in the moments when you are under attack. There are some I am trying to memorize.
President Thomas S. Monson remembered the promised words of the Savior as he blessed me six months ago to stand fearlessly in my calling when it was close to seeming too hard or perhaps impossible. These words of the Savior were given to His tiny band of priesthood holders sent to proclaim the restored gospel and call the whole world to repentance.
“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you to bear you up.”
That promise which President Monson remembered and quoted was fulfilled for me.
Confidence replaced doubt, the Spirit came, medical helpers were inspired, my life was preserved, and I was borne up. Because of that blessing by President Monson it will always be easy for me to remember the Savior and trust His promise that He goes before and beside us in His service.
I know that the promise of angels to bear us up is real. You might want to bring to memory the assurance of Elisha to his frightened servant. That assurance is ours when we feel close to being overwhelmed in our service.
“And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, “Alas, my master! how shall we do?
“And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
“And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw; and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-17).
Like that servant there are more with you than those you can see opposed to you. Some who are with you will be invisible to your mortal eyes. The Lord will bear you up and He will call others to stand with you.
To Learn, To Do, To Be
President Thomas S. Monson
Of the First Presidency
Do what we should do. In a revelation on priesthood, given through Joseph Smith the prophet, recorded as the 107 th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, “learning” moves to “doing” as we read, “Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed in all diligence.”
Each priesthood holder attending this session tonight has a calling to serve, to put forth his best efforts in the work assigned to him. No assignment is menial in the work of the Lord for each has eternal consequences. President John Taylor warned us: “If you do not magnify your calling, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty. And who of us can afford to be responsible for the delay of eternal life of a human soul? If great joy is the reward of saving one soul, then how terrible must be the remorse of those whose timid efforts have allowed a child of God to go unwarned or unaided so that he has to wait till a dependable servant of God comes along.”
The old adage is ever true: “Do your duty, that is best; leave unto the Lord the rest.”
Most service given by priesthood holders is accomplished quietly and without fanfare. A friendly smile, a warm handclasp, a sincere testimony of truth can literally lift lives, change human nature, and save precious souls.
An example of such service was the missionary experience of Juliusz and Dorothy Fussek, who were called to fill a two-year mission in Poland. Brother Fussek was born in Poland. He spoke the language. He loved the people. Sister Fussek was English and knew little of Poland and its people.
Trusting in the Lord, they embarked on their assignment. The living conditions were primitive, the work lonely, their task immense. A mission had not at that time been established in Poland. The assignment given the Fusseks was to prepare the way, that a mission could be established so that other missionaries could be called to serve, people could be taught, converts could be baptized, branches could be established, and chapels erected.
Did Elder and Sister Fussek despair because of the enormity of their assignment? Not for a moment. They knew their calling was from God. They prayed for his divine help, and they devoted themselves wholeheartedly to their work. They remained in Poland not two years but five years. All of the foregoing objectives were realized.
Elders Russell M. Nelson, Hans B. Ringger, and I, accompanied by Elder Fussek, met with Minister Adam Wopatka of the Polish government, and we heard him say, “Your church is welcome here. You may build your buildings, you may send your missionaries. You are welcome in Poland. This man,” pointing to Juliusz Fussek, “has served your church well. You can be grateful for his example and his work.”