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President Thomas S. Monson
Since we met six months ago, my brothers and sisters, I have traveled to Mexico City, Mexico, with President and Sister Henry B. Eyring, to rededicate the temple there. For many months it had been undergoing extensive renovations.
The evening before the rededication, a magnificent cultural event was held in the Aztec Stadium. Approximately 87,000 spectators squeezed into the open-air stadium, and a cast of more than 8,000 young people participated in the program, which featured an 80-minute display of music, dance and Mexican history.
President Eyring and I were each presented a serape and a sombrero. Outfitted in this native costume, I couldn’t resist serenading the group with an impromptu version of “El Rancho Grande” which I had originally learned in my ninth grade Spanish class.
Each of the two dedicatory sessions the following day were filled with the Spirit of the Lord.
Just two weeks ago, in 12 sessions, we dedicated the Draper Utah Temple , a magnificent structure nestled in the foothills of the mountains in the south portion of the Salt Lake Valley . There were approximately 685,000 people—members and nonmembers alike—who attended the open house. Over 365,000 members were present at the dedicatory sessions, including the sessions broadcast by satellite to various stake centers. The Spirit of the Lord was present in rich abundance as the temple was dedicated.
In the near future we will be dedicating the Oquirrh Mountain Temple , and then in the coming months and years there will be many more dedications. We look forward to these occasions. There is something about a temple dedication which prompts a re-evaluation of one’s own performance and a sincere desire to do even better.
Becoming Provident Providers: Temporally and Spiritually
Elder Robert D. Hales
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
What is a provident provider?
All of us are responsible to provide for ourselves and our families, in both temporal and spiritual ways. To provide providently, we must practice the principles of provident living: joyfully living within our means—being content with what we have, avoiding excessive debt, and diligently saving and preparing for “rainy day” emergencies. When we live providently, we can provide for ourselves and our families and also follow the Savior’s example to serve and bless others.
Being provident providers, we keep that most basic commandment, “Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:17). Our world is fraught with feelings of entitlement. Some of us feel embarrassed, ashamed, less worthwhile, if our family does not have everything the neighbors have. As a result, we go into debt to buy things we can’t afford—and things we do not really need. Whenever we do this, we become poor temporally and spiritually. We give away some of our precious, priceless agency and put ourselves in self-imposed servitude. Money we could have used to care for ourselves and others must now be used to pay our debts. What remains is often only enough to meet our most basic physical needs. Living at the subsistence level, we become depressed, our self-worth is affected, and our relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and the Lord are weakened. We do not have the time, energy, or interest to seek spiritual things.
How then do we avoid and overcome the patterns of debt and addiction to temporal, worldly things? May I share with you two lessons in provident living that can help each of us? These lessons, along with many of the most important lessons of my life, were taught to me by my wife and eternal companion. These lessons were learned at two different times in our marriage—both on occasions when I wanted to buy her a special gift.
The first lesson was learned when we were newly married and had very little money. I was in the Air Force, and we had missed Christmas together. When I got home, I saw a beautiful dress in a store window and suggested to my wife that if she liked it, we would buy it. Mary went into the dressing room. After a moment the sales clerk came out and returned the dress to its place in the store window. “What happened?” I asked Mary later. She replied, “It was a beautiful dress, but we can’t afford it!” Those words went straight to my heart. I have learned that the three most loving words are “I love you,” and the four most caring words for those we love are,”We can’t afford it.”
The second lesson was learned several years later when we were more financially secure. Our wedding anniversary was approaching, and I wanted to buy Mary a fancy coat to show my love and appreciation for our many happy years together. When I asked what she thought of the coat I had in mind, she replied with words that, again, penetrated my heart and mind. “Where would I wear it?” she asked. (At the time she was a ward Relief Society president helping to minister to needy families.)
Then she taught me an unforgettable lesson! She looked me in the eyes and sweetly asked, “Are you buying this for me or for you?” In other words, she was asking, “Is the purpose of this gift to show your love for me or to show me that you are a good provider?” I pondered her question and realized I was thinking less about her and our family and more about me.
Revealed Quorum Principles
Brother Michael A. Neider
Second Counselor of the Young Men General Presidency
I met Matt Andersen, a Teacher’s quorum president whose father was serving as a mission president in Mexico . When Matt was set apart as the quorum president, he was the only member of the Teachers Quorum attending church in his ward. President Matt Andersen was learning a new language so he could be an effective missionary. Going forward with faith, courage and confidence gained at home and in the deacon’s quorum, he determined to use his keys of presidency to bless the members of his quorum and their families. He immediately asked for a list of quorum members from the ward clerk, practiced his Spanish, and with a prayer in his heart called the one boy who was listed with a telephone number. He said, “Omar! Tu! Iglesia! Hoy!” Or in English, “Omar! You! Church! Today!” Just the basic message!
The miracle is that Omar came to church that day, and soon thereafter so did his mother and sister. President Andersen then invited the Bishop to drive him, translate, and together visit two other boys whose names were on the list, but without telephone numbers. His keys of presidency, the ministering of angels and the powers of Heaven combined. The result was that these two boys also came to church and formed the new teacher’s quorum presidency. Other boys and their families also returned to the blessings of the gospel and the priesthood.
My young brethren and sisters, you are powerful tools in the Savior’s hands and he can use you to bring the blessings of the gospel to others. Bishops, do not overlook the strength and skill of your Aaronic Priesthood quorum and Young Women presidencies.
The Lord needs them in this important work. There are hearts they can reach and work perhaps only they can do. Give them assignments! Open doors for their leadership and the ministering of angels as promised in Doctrine and Covenants 13.
Respect and Reverence
Margaret S. Lifferth
First Counselor Primary General Presidency
Respect for others and reverence for God are close cousins. They are rooted in humility and love. President David O. McKay said that “Reverence flows from our admiration and respect for Deity.” Primary children learn this concept as they sing this verse from a Primary song.
Reverence is more than just quietly sitting; It’s thinking of Father above,
A feeling I get when I think of his blessings. I’m reverent for reverence is love.”
However, reverent behavior is not a natural tendency for most children. It is a quality that is taught by parents and leaders through example and training. But remember, if reverence is rooted in love, so is the teaching of it. Harshness in our training begets resentment, not reverence. So begin early and have reasonable expectations. A toddler can learn to fold his arms and get ready for prayer. But it takes time, patience and consistency. Remember that we are not only teaching a child his first lessons in reverence, but the child may be mastering his first attempts at self-discipline.
This process of teaching and self-discipline continues line upon line, and precept upon precept. Thus, a child learns to be reverent during prayers and the sacrament. He sits by his parents during the meeting. Then he grows in lessons of self-discipline as later, he learns to fast, to obey the word of wisdom, to make good Internet choices, and to keep the law of chastity. We each grow in ability as well as understanding. We bless our children and youth as we exemplify, teach and encourage them through this process because self-mastery is not only the root of self-respect, it is essential in inviting the spirit to teach, confirm and testify.
Finding Strength in Challenging Times!
Elder Allan F. Packer
Of the First Quorum of the Seventy
When I was a young man in high school, one of my passions was American football. I played middle linebacker. The coach worked the team hard, teaching us the basics. We practiced until the skills became natural and automatic. During one play against our biggest rival, I had an experience that has helped me over the years. We were on defense. I knew my assigned opponent and as the play unfolded, he moved to my right into the line of scrimmage. There was a lot of noise from players and fans. I reacted as the coach had taught us and followed my man into the line, not knowing if he had the ball. To my surprise, I felt that ball partially in my hands. I gave it a tug, but my opponent didn’t let go. As we tugged back and forth, amid all the noise I heard a voice yelling, “Packer, tackle him!” That was enough to bring me to my senses, so I dropped him on the spot.
I have wondered how I heard that voice above all the other noise. I had become acquainted with the voice of the coach during the practices, and I had learned to trust it. I knew that what he taught worked.
The Power of Covenants
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
On August 15, 2007, Peru suffered a massive earthquake that all but destroyed the coastal cities of Pisco and Chincha. Like many other Church leaders and members, Wendeslao Conde, the president of the Balconcito Branch of the Church in Chincha, immediately set about helping others whose homes were damaged.
Four days after the earthquake, Elder Marcus B. Nash of the Seventy was in Chincha helping to coordinate the Church’s relief efforts there and met President Conde. As they talked about the destruction that had occurred and what was being done to help the victims, President Conde’s wife, Pamela, approached carrying one of her small children. Elder Nash asked Sister Conde how her children were. With a smile she replied that through the goodness of God, they were all safe and well. He asked about the Conde’s home. “It’s gone,” she said simply. “What about your belongings?” he inquired. “Everything was buried in the rubble of our home,” Sister Conde replied. “And yet,” Elder Nash noted, “you are smiling as we talk.” “Yes,” she said, “I have prayed and I am at peace. We have all we need. We have each other, we have our children, we are sealed in the temple, we have this marvelous Church, and we have the Lord. We can build again with the Lord’s help.”
This tender demonstration of faith and spiritual strength is repeated in the lives of the Saints across the world in many different settings It is a simple illustration of a profound power that is much needed in our day and that will become increasingly crucial in days ahead. We need strong Christians who can persevere against hardship, who can sustain hope through tragedy, who can lift others by their example and their compassion, and who can consistently overcome temptations. We need strong Christians who can make important things happen by their faith and who can defend the truth of Jesus Christ against oral relativism and militant atheism.
What is the source of such moral and spiritual power, and how do we obtain it? The source is God. Our access to that power is through our covenants with Him.
President Henry B. Eyring
Of the First Presidency
With all the differences in our lives we have at least one challenge in common. We all must deal with adversity. There may be periods, sometimes long ones, when our lives seem to flow with little difficulty. But it is in the nature of our being human that comfort gives way to distress, periods of good health come to an end, and misfortunes arrive. Particularly when the comfortable times have gone on for a while, the arrival of suffering or the loss of material security can bring fear and sometimes anger.
The anger comes at least in part from a feeling that what is happening is unfair. The good health and the serene sense of being secure can become to seem deserved and natural. When they vanish, a feeling of injustice can come. Even a brave man I knew wept and cried out in his physical suffering to those who ministered to him: “I have always tried to be good. How could this happen?”
My purpose today is to assure you that our Heavenly Father and the Savior live and that they love all humanity. The very opportunity for us to face adversity and affliction is part of the evidence of their infinite love. God gave us the gift of living in mortality so that we could be prepared to receive the greatest of all the gifts of God, which is eternal life. Then, our spirits will be changed. We will become able to want what God wants, to think as He thinks, and thus be prepared for the trust of an endless posterity to teach and to lead through tests to be raised up to qualify to live forever in eternal life.
It is clear that for us to have that gift and to be given that trust we must be transformed through making righteous choices where that is hard to do. We are prepared for so great a trust by passing through trying and testing experiences in mortality. That education can come only as we are subject to trials while serving God and others for Him.