Faith of Our Fathers
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Of the First Presidency
I would like to say a word about President Thomas S. Monson. Some years ago, President Monson came to a regional conference in Hamburg, Germany, and it was my honor to accompany him. President Monson has a remarkable memory and we talked about many of the Saints in Germany — I was amazed that he remembered so many so well.
President Monson asked about Brother Michael Panitsch, a former stake president and then a patriarch who had been one of the stalwart pioneers of the Church in Germany. I told him that Brother Panitsch was seriously ill, that he was bedridden, and unable to attend our meetings.
President Monson asked if we could pay him a visit.
I knew that shortly before his trip to Hamburg, President Monson had undergone foot surgery and that he could not walk without pain. I explained that Brother Panitsch lived on the fifth floor of a building with no elevator. We would have to climb the stairs to see him.
But President Monson insisted. And so we went.
I remember how difficult it was for President Monson to climb those stairs. He could take only a few at a time before needing to stop and rest. He never uttered a word of complaint, and he would not turn back. Because the building had high ceilings, the stairs seemed to go on forever, but President Monson cheerfully persevered until we arrived at the apartment of Brother Panitsch on the fifth floor.
Once there, we had a wonderful visit. President Monson thanked him for his life of dedicated service and cheered him with a smile. Before we left, he gave him a wonderful priesthood blessing.
No one but Bother Panitsch, the immediate family, and myself ever saw that act of courage and compassion.
President Monson could have chosen to rest between our long and frequent meetings. He could have asked to see some of the beautiful sights of Hamburg. I have often thought of how remarkable it was that of all the sights in that city, the one he wanted to see more than any other was a feeble and ailing member of the Church who had faithfully and humbly served the Lord.
President Monson came to Hamburg to teach and bless the people of a country, and that is what he did. But at the same time, he focused on the one, name by name. His vision is so broad and far-reaching to grasp the complexities of a worldwide Church, yet he is also so compassionate to focus on the one.
The Best Investment
Elder Sheldon F. Child
Of the Quorum of the Seventy
When I was a young boy, one of our neighbors had a herd of dairy cows. One of his cows died, leaving a newborn calf, which he gave to me. I took care of the calf, fed it, and raised it.
The day my dad took it to the stock yards to be sold was a day of mixed emotions for me: I had grown attached to my calf, and yet I was looking forward to receiving the rewards of my labor. My request was that the money I received from selling the calf be in silver dollars. I remember Dad coming home that night and dropping 20 silver dollars into my hands.
Money was hard to come by, and I thought I had all the money in the world. I counted, admired and polished each coin carefully. When Sunday came, I reluctantly put two of my bright shiny coins into my pocket to pay my tithing. As hard as it was to surrender my precious silver dollars to the bishop, I still remember how good I felt being obedient to the Lord and paying my tithing.
After Sunday School, my mother was waiting for me by the bishop’s office. I think she wanted to make sure I had actually paid my tithing. On the way home she told me how proud she was of me. Then she said, “Your grandfather always told us children that if we would faithfully pay an honest tithing, the Lord would bless us and it would be the best investment that we could ever make.”
My grandfather understood that “there is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated — and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:20).
Tithing is a commandment from God, and when we obey His law, He is bound to bless us. Even as a seven-year-old boy, that was something I could understand. Our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, in speaking about God’s laws, stated, “Violate them and we suffer lasting consequences. Obey them and we reap everlasting joy.”
You’ll remember when Israel was chastened for robbing God, the people asked, “Wherein have we robbed thee?” The answer came, “In tithes and offerings.” And then the Israelites were promised that if they would obey His law of tithing, they would be entitled to receive His blessings. The Lord said, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3: 8,10).
My Soul Delighteth in the Things of the Lord
Sister Susan W. Tanner
Former Young Women General President
In the Book of Mormon, Nephi speaks often of delight. He delights in “the things of the Lord,” in the scriptures, and in the “great and eternal plan” of the Lord. Notably, Nephi often remembers his sources of delight in the midst of affliction, serving to lift and focus his spirit on eternal blessings.
We too should delight in the things of the Lord for it will “lift” our hearts and give us cause to “rejoice.” Let me mention a few of the things I delight in.
I delight in our Savior Jesus Christ. List Nephi, “I glory in my Jesus” ( 2 Nephi 33:6), in His ministering and saving roles upon the earth. He provides light and hope and has given us the Holy Ghost for further guidance and comfort along the pathway we should go. It is only through Him that we can return to our Father. “Salvation can dome unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ” (Mosiah 3:17).
I delight in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets with whom I have had the blessed opportunity to serve. I testify that President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s prophet on the earth today. I delight that he is truly a Christlike minister to the one, reaching out in warmth and love to each individual.
I delight in priesthood keys and temples that dot the earth, making available to each of us eternal ordinances and covenants. Some of my most celestial days recently have been my own children’s temple marriages, with my father performing that holy ordinance.
I delight in the strength of the youth as I see them throng the temples to do baptisms for the dead. I love their worthy adherence to the standards leading to the temple and their preparation to be faithful missionaries and righteous mothers and fathers.
I delight that I am a daughter of Heavenly Father who loves me. I learned of my divine identity in my earliest years at my mother’s side. Just recently I saw my three-year-old granddaughter learning her identity from her mother. Eliza had gone to bed distraught. She could be comforted only as her mother again told Eliza’s favorite true story about the special night when Heavenly Father distinctly and clearly whispered to her mommy’s heart that Eliza was a special spirit with a noble mission ahead.
I take great delight in my role as a nurturer, which allows me to express my deepest identity as a woman. I never fail to be struck by the way that women, young women, and even little girls seem to have an instinctive interest and ability in nurturing. It is not only a mother’s primary responsibility, but also part of our “individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” To nurture is to teach, to foster development, to promote growth, to feed, and to nourish. Who would not shout for joy at being given such a blessed role?
President Boyd K. Packer
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Yesterday in a solemn assembly we sustained the First Presidency, a President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a new members of the Twelve, and new members of the Quorums of Seventy.
The calling of apostles began wit the Lord Himself: “He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
“And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles” (Luke 6:12-13).
Andrew heard John speak and ran to his brother Simon and said, “We have found the Messias …
“He brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, “Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone” (John 1:41-42).
Simon and his brother Andrew were casting nets into the sea; James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were mending their fishing nets; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew, a publican or tax collector; Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Canaanite; Judas, the brother of James; and Judas Iscariot. They made up the Quorum of the Twelve.
He bid them all, “Come follow me” (See Matt 4:19).
He said to Peter, “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
And He told the Twelve, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12).
He gave His apostles “power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases
“And he sent them to preach the kingdom of god, and to heal the sick … everywhere” (Luke 9:1-2,6).
And He said: “[The] Twelve hold the keys to open up the authority of my kingdom upon the four corners of the earth, and after that to send my word to every creature” (D&C 124: 128).
President Thomas S. Monson
Of the First Presidency
Change for the better can come to all. Over the years we have issued appeals to the less active, the offended, the critical, the transgressor — to come back. “Come back and feast at the table of the Lord and taste again the sweet and satisfying fruits of fellowship with the Saints.”
In the private sanctuary of one’s own conscience lies that spirit, that determination to cast off the old person and to measure up to the stature of true potential. In this spirit, we again issue that heartfelt invitation: Come back.
We reach out to you in the pure love of Christ and express our desire to assist you and to welcome you into full fellowship. To those who are wounded in spirit or who are struggling and fearful, we say, let us lift you and cheer you and calm your fears. Take literally the Lord’s invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11: 28-30).
It was said of the Savior that he “went about doing good … for God was with him” (Acts 10: 38). May we follow that perfect example. In this sometimes precarious journey through mortality, may we also follow that advice from the Apostle Paul which will help to keep us safe and on course:
Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).
I would encourage members of the Church wherever they may be to show kindness and respect for all people everywhere. The world in which we live is filled with diversity. We can and should demonstrate respect toward those whose beliefs differ from ours.
May we also demonstrate kindness and love within our own families. Our homes are to be more than sanctuaries; they should also be places where God’s spirit can dwell, where the storm stops at the door, where love reigns and peace dwells.
The world can at times be a frightening place in which to live. The moral fabric of society seems to be unraveling at an alarming speed. None — whether young or old or in-between — is exempt from exposure to those things which have the potential to drag us down and destroy us. Our youth, in particular, face temptations we can scarcely comprehend. The adversary and his hosts seem to be working nonstop to cause our downfall.
We are waging a war with sin, my brothers and sister, but we need not despair. It is a war we can and will win. Our Father in Heaven has given us the tools we need in order to do so. He is at the helm. We have nothing to fear. He is the God of light. He is the God of hope. I testify that He loves us — each and every one.
Mortality is a period of testing, a time to prove ourselves worthy to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. In order to be tested, we must sometimes face challenges and difficulties. At times there appears to be no light at the tunnel’s end — no dawn to break the night’s darkness.
We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dream and the despair of vanished hopes. We join in uttering the biblical plea, “Is there no balm in Gilead?”
We are inclined to view our own personal misfortunes through the distorted prism of pessimism. We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone. If you find yourself in such a situation, I plead with you to turn to our Heavenly Father in faith. He will lift you and guide you. He will not always take your afflictions from you, but He will comfort and lead you with love through whatever storm you face.
With all my heart and the fervency of my soul, I lift my voice in testimony today as a special witness and declare that God does live. Jesus is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer: He is our Mediator with the Father. He loves us with a love we cannot fully comprehend, and because He loves us, He gave His life for us. My gratitude to Him is beyond expression.