Sunday, June 5, 2011

Prophets

Or the story behind a good quote.

Last Sunday our teacher read the following quote in class:

"The passage of time has not altered the capacity of the Redeemer to change men’s lives. As he said to the dead Lazarus, so he says to you and me: '… come forth.' (John 11:43.) Come forth from the despair of doubt. Come forth from the sorrow of sin. Come forth from the death of disbelief. Come forth to a newness of life. Come forth."

I thought she said it was given by Elder McConkie in the April 1974 general conference, so when I got home I looked it up; the quote wasn't there.

However, this quote was there:

"The great need in the world today is not for the Lord to send a prophet to reveal his mind and will. He has done that; we have a prophet; we are guided by many men who have the spirit of inspiration. The great need today is for men to have a listening ear and to give heed to the words that fall from the lips of those who wear the prophetic mantle." (Elder Bruce R. McConkie)

Knowing that Steven was preparing a talk about the importance of following prophets, I sent it over to him. He really liked it and actually used it for the conclusion of his talk. I just thought it was amazing how the Lord works. I don't know whether the teacher said Monson and I heard McConkie, or if she really said McConkie; it doesn't matter. What does matter is that the Lord sometimes "works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform." Steven needed that quote for his talk, and he got it.

Oh, and I eventually did find the reference for the first quote. It's from Thomas S. Monson, given at that same general conference.

Friends are Important

I've spent quite a bit of time over the past few months pondering this thought and trying to meet the challenge:

"As a member of the Church, reach out to those you do not know and greet them warmly. Each Sunday extend a hand of fellowship to at least one person you did not know before. Each day of your life, strive to enlarge your own circle of friendship." (Russell M. Nelson)

The older I get, the more I realize how important true friendship is. Although at times it may seem difficult to build strong relationships, particularly as that circle gets larger and larger, the blessings that come from the good examples and and thoughtful acts of others make it worthwhile. And the very best relationship to strengthen is the one with Heavenly Father. That will make all the rest even better.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Faith

The following quote was shared in our Sunday School lesson this week:

“Faith is a gift of God bestowed as a reward for personal righteousness. It is always given when righteousness is present, and the greater the measure of obedience to God’s laws the greater will be the endowment of faith” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 264).

I've always loved that quote, but the teacher didn't give the reference, and I've learned (from teaching seminary!) that sources are important. This morning I found it quoted in this talk by Elder Pearson. It's a great talk and I wanted to remember it as well, so that's why I'm writing this post! I loved the whole talk, and particularly appreciated his summary:

"These Six Destructive Ds—doubt, discouragement, distraction, lack of diligence, disobedience, and disbelief—all erode and destroy our faith. We can choose to avoid and overcome them."

I'm continually reminding myself that fear and faith can't co-exist. And discouragement and distraction have been a temptation lately. I appreciate the words of the prophets that help strengthen my resolve to focus on faith and not doubt. We can do it!