The Least of These

President Boyd K. Packer
Of the Quorum of the Twelve

“In the revelation given as a preface for the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord explained who would do His work.  Listen carefully as I read that revelation, and think of the trust that the Lord has in us: 

“’Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;

“’And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—

“’The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh.’

“The next verse provides for the priesthood to be conferred upon ordinary, worthy men and boys:

“’That every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;

“’That the fullness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.

“’Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

“’And inasmuch as they erred it might be known;

“’And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed;

“’And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent;

“’And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time’ (D&C 1:17-20, 23-38; emphasis added).

“Now another generation of youth comes forward.  We see a strength in them beyond what we have seen before.  Drinking and drugs and moral mischief are not a part of their lives.  They band together in study of the gospel, in socials, and in service.

“They are not perfect.  Not yet.  They are doing the best they can, and they are stronger than the generations that came before.

“As the Lord told Oliver Granger, ‘When [they fall they] shall rise again, for [their] sacrifice shall be more sacred unto me than [their] increase’ (D&C 117:13).

“Some worry over missions that were missed, or marriages that did not turn out, or babies that did not arrive, or children that seem lost, or dreams unfulfilled, or because age limits what they can do.  I do not think it pleases the Lord when we worry because we think we never do enough or that what we do is never good enough.

“Some needlessly carry a heavy burden of guilt which could be removed through confession and repentance.”

We Did This for You

Sister Elaine S. Dalton
Second Counselor, Young Women General Presidency

“How can the promises made to the fathers be planted in the hearts of the children?  How can the hearts of the children be turned to their fathers?  This can only happen when we understand our identity and roles in this work, and remain worthy and prepared to enter the temple and act on behalf of those who have gone before.

“Brigham Young said, ‘We have a work to do just as important in its sphere as the Savior’s work was in its sphere…We are now called upon to do ours; which is to be the greatest work man ever performed on the earth’ (Howard W. Hunter, “We Have a Work to Do,” Ensign. March 1995, 64)

“In the vision of the redemption of the dead given to President Joseph F. Smith, he saw many of the noble and great prophets who had been on the earth prior to the Savior’s coming.  He also saw the Prophet Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, his father, and ‘other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fullness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work’ (D&C 138:53)

“Who were those other choice spirits?  Our generation was somewhere there among those ‘noble and great’ leaders, prepared in the world of spirits to be on the earth at this time!  The scriptures tell us that, ‘Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men’ (D&C 138:56).

The labor we were prepared and reserved to perform includes ‘the building of temples and the performance of ordinances therein for the redemption of the dead’ (D&D 138:54).

Keeping our Covenants

Elder Richard J. Maynes
Of the Seventy

“Brothers and sisters, we are all looking forward to the day when we can return home to our Heavenly Father.  In order to qualify for exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom, we must gain the trust of the Lord here on earth.  We gain the trust of the Lord through earning it, and that is accomplished through our actual performance in living His gospel and keeping our covenants.  In other words, we earn the trust of the Lord by doing His will.

“Remember when the Lord warned Joseph Smith regarding those who ‘draw near unto me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me’ (Joseph Smith History, 1:19).

“Remember the admonition of James, ‘But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only…’ (James 1:220.

“Actions truly do speak louder than words.  In fact, actions mean much more to the Lord than words.  The Lord declared in the Doctrine & Covenants, ‘If thou lovesth me thou shalt me and keep all my commandments (D&C 42:29).

Remember the Teachings of Your Family

Elder H. Bryan Richards
Of the Seventy

“Over my teenage years, I remember vividly my father’s regular study of the Book of Mormon.  His love of the Book of Mormon and counsel to me to study and ponder over it were the beginning of a journey with that sacred record that is the foundation of my personal testimony today.  It is a journey each of us must take.

“Others along the way helped me on my personal journey with the Book of Mormon.  My first seminary teacher shared her experience as a young missionary wanting to know if the Book of Mormon was true.  She told of reading King Benjamin’s speech, and in her mind’s eye seeing King Benjamin standing on his tower and hearing him deliver that great sermon.  Her testimony, accompanied by the Spirit, left a deep impression on my mind…

“I want to share with you some of the great blessings the Book of Mormon can bring to us.  The Book of Mormon can and does change lives.  After our son John received his mission call to Japan, he said to me, ‘Dad, before I enter the Missionary Training Center, I am going to read the Book of Mormon twice.’  I said to John, ‘That is quite a demanding goal.’  I felt his resolve and made the decision to follow his example.  I began reading early each morning.

  A few days later when I came home from work, John said to me, ‘I caught up with you today.’  I asked, ‘What do you mean?’ His response, ‘I caught up to where you are in the Book of Mormon.  You left it open on your desk.’  The next morning after my reading, I felt inspired to turn about 150 pages past where I was.  I left my Book of Mormon open where he could not miss it and went to work.  After a meeting that morning, I checked my voice mail.  The very first message said, ‘Yeah, sure Dad!’

“Why this story?  As I watched my son read from the Book of Mormon, I began to see a special change in his life as he prepared to enter the MTC.  That experience has anchored my son to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“More Holiness Give Me”

Bishop H. David Burton
Presiding Bishop

“The current conventional wisdom is that more is better and less is usually undesirable.  For some, the pursuit to acquire more of this world’s goods and services has become a passion.  For others, more of the world’s wealth is necessary just to sustain life or raise living standards to a minimum level.  The unbridled desire for more often has tragic consequences.  For example, President Boyd K. Packer reminded us, ‘we could be like a father determined to provide everything for his family.  He devotes energy to that end and succeeds; only then does he discover that what they needed most, to be together as a family, has been neglected.  And he reaps sorrow in place of contentment (General Conference Oct. 1998).

“Parents who have been successful in acquiring more often have a difficult time saying no to the demands of overindulged children.  Their children run the risk of not learning important values like hard work, delayed gratification, honesty, and compassion.  Affluent parents can and do raise well-adjusted, loving, and value-centered children, but the struggle to set limits, make do with less, and avoid the pitfalls of more, more, more has never been more difficult.  It is hard to say no to more when you can afford to say yes.

“Parents are rightfully anxious about the future.  It is difficult to say no to more sports equipment, electronics, and lessons, and team participation when parents believe more will help children thrive in an increasingly competitive world.  Young people seem to want more, partly because there is infinitely more to catchy their eye; the American Academy of Pediatrics estimated that American children see more than 40,000 commercials a year.

“Fewer and fewer parents ask their children to do chores around the house because they think they are already overwhelmed by social and academic pressures.  But children devoid of responsibilities risk never learning that every individual can be of service and that life has meaning beyond their own happiness.”

“In her book My Grandfather’s Blessings, Dr. Rachel Rumen tells of becoming good friends with a couple and their young son, Kenny.  When she visited, she would sit on the floor with Kenny and play with his two Hot Wheels cars.  Sometimes she would have the one without a fender and he had the one with a door missing and sometimes vise versa.  He loved those cars!  When a gas station chain offered a Hot Wheels car with every fill-up, she recruited the staff at her clinic to go to that particular station and collect the cars.  As soon as she had all of the models, she wrapped them in a big box to take to Kenny.  She hoped she wouldn’t offend his parents, who lived quite meagerly.  Kenny excited opened the big box and took out the cars one by one.  They filled the windowsills and even extended to the floor.  What a collection!  Later, while visiting the family, Rachel noticed Kenny just staring out the window.  When she asked Kenny, ‘what’s the matter?  Don’t you like your new cars?’ he looked down sheepishly.  ‘I’m sorry, Rachel.  I guess I just don’t know how to love so many Hot Wheels.’”

Press On

Elder Joseph B. Within
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

“Often, those who struggle with adversity ask the question, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ They spend sleepless nights wondering why they feel so lonely, sick, discouraged, oppressed, or brokenhearted.

“The question, ‘why me?’ can be a difficult one to answer and often leads to frustration and despair.  There is a better question to ask ourselves:  The question is, ‘What could I learn from this experience?’

“The way we answer that question may not only determine the quality of our lives on this earth but also in the eternities to come.  Though our trials are divers, there is one thing the Lord expects of us no matter our difficulties and sorrows:  He expects us to press on.”

Closing Remarks

President Gordon B. Hinckley
Of the First Presidency

“As we conclude I wish to remind you of another matter.  It is that we might go to the house of the Lord more frequently.  As I said at the opening session of the conference, I have done all that I know how to do to bring temples closer to our people.  There are still many who have to travel long distances, and I hope they will continue to make the effort until such time as a temple is justified in the midst.

“Most of our temples could be much busier than they are.  In this noisy, bustling, competitive world what a privilege it is to have a sacred house where we may experience the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of the Lord.  The element of selfishness crowds in upon us constantly.  We need to overcome it, and there is no better way than to go to the house of the Lord and there serve in a vicarious relationship in behalf of those who are beyond the veil of death.  What a remarkable thing this is.  In most cases, we do not know those for whom we work.  We expect no thanks.  We have no assurance that they will accept that which we offer.  But we go and in the process we attain to a state that comes of no other effort.  We literally become saviors on Mount Zion.  What does that mean?  Just as our Redeemer gave His life as a vicarious sacrifice for all men, and in so doing became our Savior, even so we, in a small measure, when we engage in proxy work in the temple, become as saviors to those on the other side who have no means of advancing unless something is done in the behalf by those on earth.

“And so, I invite you to take greater advantage of this blessed privilege.  It will refine your natures.  It will peel off the selfish shell in which most of us live.  It will literally bring a sanctifying element into our lives and make of us better men and women.”