“O Remember, Remember”
President Henry B. Eyring
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. Let me tell you how that got started. I came home late from a Church assignment. It was dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front of my house. He was carrying a load of pipes over his shoulder, walking very fast and dressed in his work clothes. I knew that he had been building a system to pump water from a stream below us to our property.
He smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed past me into the darkness to go on with his work. I took a few steps towards the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.”
I went inside. I didn’t go to bed, although I was tired. I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. Grandpa didn’t have to do what he was doing for us. He could have had someone else do it or not do it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenanted disciples of Jesus Christ always do. I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it.
I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write I would ponder the question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?”
As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.
“More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance – even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened.
My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will build our testimonies. You may not keep a journal. You may not share whatever record you keep with those you love and serve. But you and they will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done.
“The Living Waters of the Gospel of Jesus Christ”
Elder Quentin L. Cook
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Brothers and sisters, President Hinckley extended this call to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve late Thursday afternoon. I cannot possibly articulate the kaleidoscope of feelings I have experienced since then. There have been sleepless nights and much prayer. My spirits have been buoyed however by the knowledge that President Hinckley is the prophet and that the membership of the Church will be praying for me and my family. To say that I feel deeply inadequate would be an understatement .
The overwhelming feeling that I have in receiving this call is that we must live by faith and not by fear.
Sister Cook and I were in Vavahu in the Tongan Islands on one occasion. I had just spoken about following the Prophet in the general session of Stake Conference. At the luncheon following the conference, I sat next to a distinguished elderly patriarch. He indicated how grateful he was to hear what the Prophet was teaching.
He gave me the following account: Vavahu, which is a relatively small island, usually has sufficient rain, but periodically there are severe droughts. The island has long inlets or bays almost like sounds, which curl into the island below steep hills. When drought conditions left the village without water there was only one way they could obtain fresh water and stay alive. Over the centuries, they had found that fresh water traveled down through rock formations inside the mountains and came up in a few spots in the sea.
The Tongan men would set off in their small boats with a wise elder standing at one end of the boat looking for just the right spot. The strong young men in the boats stood ready with containers to dive deep into the seawater. When they reached the appropriate spot, the wise man would raise both arms to heaven. That was the signal. The strong young men would dive off the boat as deep as they could and fill the containers with fresh spring water.
This old patriarch likened this life-saving tradition to the living waters of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the wise man to God’s prophet here on earth. He noted that the water was pure, fresh and in their drought condition life saving, but it was not easy to find. It was not visible to the untrained eye. This patriarch wanted to know everything the prophet was teaching.
We live in a precarious time. The world is in desperate need of the fresh spring water, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should listen intently to the Prophet as we make choices.
“Don’t Leave for Tomorrow What You Can Do Today”
Elder Claudio R. M. Costa
Of the Presidency of the Seventy
We know God has taught us for centuries how to protect and take care of our families. We also know and can see that the adversary has been attacking the family. Now is the time to use all those teachings. Now is the time to perform our God-given duties concerning the family .
In the Family Proclamation we . learn that, “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.
In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”
It is in the home that the family learns and applies gospel principles. Great love is necessary in order to teach and guide a family. Loving fathers and mothers will teach their children to worship God in their home. When a worshipping attitude/spirit permeates the home, that attitude/spirit is extended into the lives of each family member. This will prepare them to do whatever sacrifice is necessary to be able to return to God’s presence and stay together as a family for all eternity.
The Family Proclamation helps us understand much of the love of the Savior refers to when He told us must love one another. He gave us the supreme example of love when He declared, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He later atoned for all our sins, and finally gave His life for all of us.
We can lay down our lives to those we love not physically dying for them, but rather living for them – giving of our time, always being present in their lives, serving them, being courteous, affectionate, and showing true love for those of our family, and to all men as the Savior taught.
“Mothers Who Knew”
Sister Julie B. Beck
Of the Relief Society Presidency
In the Book of Mormon, we read about two thousand exemplary young men who were exceedingly valiant, courageous and strong. “Yea they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.” These faithful young men paid tribute to their mothers. They said, “Our mothers knew it.” I suspect that the mothers of Captain Moroni, Mosiah, Mormon and other great leaders also knew.
The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual darkness in high places.” However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are, who God is, and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children.
Mothers who know desire to bear children. Whereas in many cultures in the world children are ‘becoming less valued,’ in the culture of the gospel we still believe in having children.
Mothers who know honor sacred ordinances and covenants.
Mothers who know are nurturers .
Mothers who know are leaders. In equal partnership with their husbands, they lead a great eternal organization. These mothers plan for the future of their organization. They plan for missions, temple marriages and education. They plan for prayer, scripture study, and Family Home Evening. Mothers who know build children into future leaders and the primary examples of what leaders look like.
Who will prepare this righteous generation of sons and daughters? Latter-day Saint women will do this – women who know the Lord and bear testimony of Him.
“Small and Simple Things”
Elder Christoffel Golden Jr.
Of the Seventy
Alma, the Book of Mormon prophet, aptly remarked, “Now ye may suppose that this foolishness in me; but.by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and . by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.”
Quite recently I was privileged to observe this process in the life of a brother named Stan, who had been less active for some forty-five years. He had lived a good life and supported both his wife and a son in their activity as faithful members in the Church. Yet for personal reasons he chose to remain outside the fellowship of the Church. Even so, each month he welcomed the home teachers.
During February 2006, Stan received new home teachers. Their first visit was pleasant enough .Their next visit did little to alter their initial observations, even though Stan was a little warmer and friendlier.
On their third visit, however, there was as visible change in Stan’s countenance and demeanor . he and his wife had commenced reading one chapter a day from the Book of Mormon.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie eloquently described the type of reawakening Stan experienced. “Here is a man who gains a copy of this blessed book, begins to read it, and continues . until, having read it all, his famished soul is filled with the bread of life. He cannot lay it aside or ignore its teachings. It is as though the waters of life are flowing into the barren deserts of his soul, quenching the arid, empty feeling that theretofore separated him from his God” .
Stan’s thirst for learning and rediscovery of the restored gospel soon expanded his reading beyond one chapter a day, accompanied by deep soul searching and fervent prayer.
“Clean Hands and a Pure Heart”
Elder David A. Bednar
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Brothers and sisters, it is possible for us to have clean hands but not have a pure heart. Please notice that both clean hands and a pure heart are required to ascend into the hill of the Lord and to stand in His holy place.
Let me suggest that hands are made clean through the process of putting off the natural man and by overcoming sin and the evil influences in our lives through the Savior’s Atonement. Hearts are purified as we receive His strengthening power to do good and become better. All of our worthy desires and good works, as necessary as they are, can never produce clean hands and a pure heart.
It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that provides both a cleansing and redeeming power that helps us to overcome sin and a sanctifying and strengthening power that helps us to become better than we ever could by relying upon our own strength. The infinite Atonement is for both the sinner and for the saint in each of us.
In the Book of Mormon, we find the masterful teachings of King Benjamin concerning the mission and Atonement of Jesus Christ. The simple doctrine he taught caused the congregation to fall to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them. “And they viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
Again in this verse we find the twofold blessing of both forgiveness of sin, suggesting clean hands, and the transformation of our nature, signifying pure hearts.
As King Benjamin concluded his instruction, he reiterated the importance of these two basic aspects of spiritual development.
“And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you – that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God – I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor.”
Our sincere desire should be to have both clean hands and a pure heart – both a remission of sins from day to day and to walk guiltless before God. Clean hands alone will not be enough when we stand before Him who is pure, and who as “a lamb without blemish and without spot” freely spilled His precious blood for us.
“The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain”
President Gordon B. Hinckley
Of the First Presidency
The Church has become one large family scattered across the earth. There are now more than 13 million of us in 176 nations and territories. A marvelous and wonderful thing is coming to pass. The Lord is fulfilling His promise that His gospel shall be as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands which would roll forth and fill the whole earth, as Daniel saw in vision. A great miracle is taking place right before our eyes .
When the Church was organized in 1830, there were but six members, only a handful of believers, all residing in a largely unknown village. Today, we have become the fourth or fifth largest Church in North America, with congregations in every city of any consequence. Stakes of Zion today flourish in every state of the United States, in every province of Canada, in every state in Mexico, in every nation of Central America and throughout South America.
Congregations are found throughout the British Isles and Europe, where thousands have joined the Church through the years. This work has reached out to the Baltic nations, and on down through Bulgaria, Albania, and other areas of that part of the world. It reaches across the vast area of Russia. It reaches up into Mongolia and all down through the nations of Asia into the islands of the Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand, and into India and Indonesia. It is flourishing in many of the nations of Africa.
Our general conferences are carried by satellite and other means in 92 different languages.
And this is only the beginning. This work will continue to grow and prosper and move across the earth .
The Book of Mormon is the only book ever published, of which I know, that carries in it a promise that one who reads it prayerfully and asks concerning it in prayer will have revealed to him by the power of the Holy Ghost a knowledge that it is true.
Since its first publication in a rural print shop in Palmyra, New York, there have been more than 133 million copies produced. It has been translated into 105 languages. Not long ago, it was named one on the twenty most influential books ever published in North America.
Recently a first edition sold for $105,000. But the cheapest paperback edition is as valuable to the reader who loves it language and message.”