Preparing the World for the Second Coming
Elder Neil L. Andersen
Of the Quorum of the Twelve
I speak tonight especially to the 12 to 25 year olds who hold the priesthood of God. We think about you a lot and we pray for you. I once told the story of our four-year-old grandson giving his little brother a strong push. After consoling the crying child, my wife, Kathy, turned to the four-year-old and thoughtfully asked, “Why would you push your little brother?” He looked at his grandmother and responded, “Mimi, I’m sorry. I lost my CTR ring, and I cannot choose the right.” We know that you try hard to always choose the right. We love you very much.
Have you ever thought about why you were sent to earth at this specific time? You were not born during the time of Adam and Eve, or while Pharaohs ruled Egypt, or during the Ming Dynasty. You have come to earth at this time twenty centuries after the first coming of Christ. The priesthood of God has been restored to the earth, and the Lord has set His hand to prepare the world for His glorious return. These are days of great opportunity and important responsibilities. These are your days.
With your baptism, you declared your faith in Jesus Christ. With your ordination to the priesthood, your talents and spiritual capacities have been increased. One of your important responsibilities is to help prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Savior.
The Lord has appointed a prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, to direct the work of His priesthood. To you, President Monson has said, “The Lord needs missionaries.” “Every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of [you] who have been given so very much.”
Missionary service requires sacrifice. There will always be something you leave behind when you respond to the Prophet’s call to serve…
The Lord has blessed this work and the Church is being established across the world. This meeting is being translated into 93 languages. We are grateful for the 52,225 full time missionaries serving in more than 150 countries. The sun never sets on righteous missionaries testifying of the Savior. Think of the spiritual power of 52,000 missionaries, endowed with the Spirit of the Lord, boldly declaring that there is “no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come…only in and through the name of Christ.” We express appreciation to the tens of thousands of returned missionaries who have given and continue to give their very best. The world is being prepared for the Second Coming of the Savior in large measure because of the Lord’s work through his missionaries.
Elder Steven E. Snow
Of the Seven Presidents of the Seventy
Hope is an emotion which brings richness to our everyday lives. It is defined as “the feeling that events will turn out for the best.” When we exercise hope, we “look forward with desire and reasonable confidence.” As such, hope brings a certain calming influence to our lives as we confidently look forward to future events.
Sometimes we hope for things over which we have little or no control. We hope for good weather. We hope for an early spring. We hope our favorite sports team will win the World Cup, the Super Bowl or the World Series…
In the gospel of Jesus Christ, hope is the desire of his followers to gain eternal salvation through the Atonement of the Savior.
This is truly the hope we must all have. It is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. Peter admonished the early followers of Christ to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you. . .” (1 Peter 3:15)
Our hope in the Atonement empowers us with eternal perspective. Such perspective allows us to look beyond the here and now on into the promise of the eternities. We don’t have to be trapped in the narrow confines of society’s fickle expectations. We are free to look forward to celestial glory, sealed to our family and loved ones.
This “perfect brightness of hope” of which Nephi speaks is the hope in the Atonement, eternal salvation made possible by the sacrifice of our Savior. This hope has led men and women through the ages to do remarkable things. Apostles of old roamed the earth and testified of Him and ultimately gave their lives in His service.
Sacred Keys of the Aaronic Priesthood
Brother Larry M. Gibson
First Counselor of the Young Men General Presidency
My feelings are tender as I observe you young men of the Aaronic Priesthood watching over, supporting, and strengthening those around you, including your families and members of your quorum. How I love you.
Recently I watched as a 13-year-old young man was set apart as deacons quorum president. Afterwards, the bishop shook his hand and addressed him as “president,” explaining to the quorum members that he “addressed him as president to emphasize the sacredness of his calling. The deacons quorum president is one of only four people in the ward who hold keys of presidency. With those keys, he, with his counselors, will lead the quorum under the inspiration of the Lord.” This bishop understood the power of presidencies lead by a president who holds and exercises sacred keys.
Later I asked this young man if he was ready to preside over this great quorum. His response was “I’m nervous. I don’t know what a deacons quorum president does. Can you tell me?”
I told him he had a wonderful bishopric and advisers who would help him become a successful and powerful priesthood leader. I knew they would respect the sacred keys of presidency he held.
I then posed this question: “Do you suppose the Lord would call you to this important calling without giving you direction?”
He thought, then responded, “Where do I find it?”
After some discussion, he realized that he would find direction from the scriptures, the words of the living prophets, and answers to prayer. We determined to find a scripture that would be a starting place for his search to learn the responsibilities of his new calling.
We turned to the 107th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 85. It mentions that a deacons quorum president is to sit in council with his quorum members and teach them their duty. We noted that his quorum is not a class but a council of young men and they are to strengthen and edify one another, under the president’s direction. I expressed confidence that he would be an outstanding president who would rely on inspiration from the Lord and magnify his sacred calling as he taught his fellow deacons their duties.
Your Potential, Your Privilege
President Dieter F.
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
There once was a man whose lifelong dream was to board a cruise ship and sail the Mediterranean Sea.
He dreamed of walking the streets of Rome, Athens, and Istanbul. He saved every penny until he had enough for his passage. Since money was tight, he brought an extra suitcase filled with cans of beans, boxes of crackers, and bags of powdered lemonade, and that is what he lived on every day.
He would have loved to take part in the many activities offered on the ship—working out in the gym, playing miniature golf, and swimming in the pool. He envied those who went to movies, shows, and cultural presentations. And, oh, how he yearned for only a taste of the amazing food he saw on the ship—every meal appeared to be a feast! But the man wanted to spend so very little money that he didn’t participate in any of these. He was able to see the cities he had longed to visit but for the most part of the journey, he stayed in his cabin and ate only his humble food.
On the last day of the cruise, a crew member asked him which of the farewell parties he would be attending. It was then that the man learned that not only the farewell party but almost everything on board the cruise ship—the food, the entertainment, all the activities—had been included in the price of his ticket. Too late, the man realized that he had been living far beneath his privileges.
The question this parable raises is: Are we as priesthood holders living below our privileges when it comes to the sacred power, gifts, and blessings that are our opportunity and right as bearers of God’s priesthood?
We all know that the priesthood is much more than just a name or title. The Prophet Joseph taught that “the Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity . . . to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years.” It holds “even the key of the knowledge of God.” In fact, through the priesthood the very “power of godliness is manifest.”
The blessings of the priesthood transcend our ability to comprehend. Faithful Melchizedek Priesthood holders can “become . . . the elect of God.” They are “sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies,” and can ultimately receive “all that [the] Father hath.” This may be hard to comprehend, but it is beautiful, and I testify that it is true.
The fact that our Heavenly Father would entrust this power and responsibility to man is evidence of His great love for us and a foreshadowing of our potential as sons of God in the hereafter.
Learning in the Priesthood
President Henry B. Eyring
Of the First Presidency
While I was still a deacon, my family moved to Utah. There, I found three wonderful things in place to speed my growth in the priesthood. The first was a president who knew how to sit in council with the members of his quorum. The second was great faith in Jesus Christ that led to great love for each other. And the third was a shared conviction that our overarching priesthood purpose was to labor for the salvation of men.
It wasn’t the well-established ward that made the difference. What was there could be anywhere, in whatever unit of the Church you are in.
These three things may have been so much a part of your experience in the priesthood that you hardly notice them. For others you may not feel the need for growth so these helps may be invisible to you…
I found the first when I was welcomed into a priests quorum with the bishop as our president. That may seem a small thing to you but it gave me a sense of power in the priesthood that has changed my service in the priesthood ever since. It began by the way he led us.
As nearly as I could tell, he treated the opinions of young priests as if we were the wisest men in the world. He waited until all who would speak had spoken. He listened. And when he decided what should be done, it seemed to me that the Spirit confirmed the decisions to us and to him…
The second key to increased learning is to have love for each other that comes from great faith. I am not sure which comes first but both always seem to be there whenever there is great and rapid learning in the priesthood…
The third aid to learning in the priesthood comes with a shared conviction about why the Lord blesses and trusts us to hold and to exercise His priesthood. It is to labor for the salvation of men. This shared conviction brings unity in quorums. We can begin to learn about this from the scriptural account of how we spirit sons were prepared before birth for that rare honor of holding the priesthood.
President Thomas S. Monson
We have come to the earth in troubled times. The moral compass of the masses has gradually shifted to an “almost anything goes” position.
I’ve lived long enough to have witnessed much of the metamorphosis of society’s morals. Where once the standards of the Church and the standards of society were mostly compatible, now there is a wide chasm between us, and it’s growing ever wider.
Many movies and television shows portray behavior which is in direct opposition to the laws of God. Do not subject yourself to the innuendo and outright filth which are so often found there. The lyrics in much of today’s music fall in the same category. The profanity so prevalent around us today would never have been tolerated in the not-too-distant past. The Lord’s name is taken in vain over and over again. Recall with me the commandment—one of the ten—which the Lord revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” I am sorry that any of us is subjected to profane language, and I plead with you not to use it. I implore you not to say or to do anything of which you cannot be proud.
Stay completely away from pornography. Do not allow yourself to view it, ever. It has proven to be an addiction which is more than difficult to overcome. Avoid alcohol and tobacco or any other drugs, also addictions which you would be hard pressed to conquer.
What will protect you from the sin and evil around you? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior and of His gospel will help see you through to safety. If you have not read the Book of Mormon, read it. If you do so prayerfully and with a sincere desire to know the truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest it’s truth to you.
If it is true—and it is—then Joseph Smith was prophet who saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. The Church is true. If you do not already have a testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one.
It is essential for you to have your own testimony, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far. Once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through obedience to the commandments of God and through regular prayer and scripture study. Attend Church. You young men, attend seminary or institute if such is available to you…
The gift of the priesthood is priceless. It carries with it the authority to act as God’s servants, to administer to the sick, to bless our families and to bless others as well. Its authority can reach beyond the veil of death, on into the eternities. There is nothing else to compare with it in all this world. Safeguard it, treasure it, live worthy of it.