Welcome to the Talk Of The Week Club. I began this club as a way to share my love of learning and growing in the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My hope and desire is for you to learn and grow in your faith and love of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Each Thursday a new talk will be posted, come back, open your heart and mind, allow yourself to receive and I promise you will be spiritually fed.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Week 22: O Remember, Remember

Ten years ago in a College Poetry class I was given an assignment to keep a "Gratitude Journal." Each day, for the whole semester, we were to write down 5 things we were thankful for. At the time I was young, in love, recently engaged, waiting to get married....so my Gratitude Journal was filled with: I'm grateful for my soon to be hubby...I'm grateful for my soon to be Mother-in-law...I'm grateful I picked out the perfect flowers...I'm thankful I look so HOT in my Bridals... But I also wrote down things like I'm thankful for the Savior's infinite love, I'm grateful for my health, and I'm thankful I made it safely to school today. I didn't know then but years later I still have that Gratitude Journal and while I didn't exactly write your typical "journal entry" I was able to preserve those feelings I had and in a way preserve the many blessings I was privy to in that time of my life, however inconsequential they may have seemed at the time.

Recently, (as in the last few days) a friend reminded me of a talk given by President Eyring in the fall session of conference 2007, entitled "O Remember, Remember" re-reading this talk reminded me of that Gratitude Journal and that record I have of those many blessings I received that important semester of my life. Lately, I think I often live life day to day and never really recognize the blessings in my life as I should. However, and I hate to admit it, I never fail to complain about the daily annoyances. Listening to this talk has made me want to again begin documenting the things I am thankful for each day so I can remember God's Love for me, the kindness he shows to me daily....and maybe in doing so impart a little of that gratitude onto my kids as well.

MP3 Link

Mormon Messages from YouTube

President Henry B. Eyring
Second Counselor in the First Presidency

“O remember, remember,” Book of Mormon prophets often implored.1 My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness.

President Henry B. EyringI was grateful for the choir in their broadcast this morning, which was about the Savior, and grateful to see that the words of one of the songs they sang, “This Is the Christ,” were written by President James E. Faust. As I sat down next to Brother Newell, I leaned over to him and asked, “How are your children?” He said, “When President Faust sat in that chair, that’s what he always asked.” I’m not surprised, because President Faust was always a perfect example of a disciple that was described in Music and the Spoken Word today. I always felt that when I grew up, I wanted to be like President Faust. There may still be time.

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 after dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front door 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 up 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 toward the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—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 have done it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenant 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 this 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 Jesus Christ. 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.

The years have gone by. My boys are grown men. And now and then one of them will surprise me by saying, “Dad, I was reading in my copy of the journal about when . . . ” and then he will tell me about how reading of what happened long ago helped him notice something God had done in his day.

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. You remember that song we sometimes sing: “Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”2

It won’t be easy to remember. Living as we do with a veil over our eyes, we cannot remember what it was like to be with our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in the premortal world; nor can we see with our physical eyes or with reason alone the hand of God in our lives. Seeing such things takes the Holy Ghost. And it is not easy to be worthy of the Holy Ghost’s companionship in a wicked world.

That is why forgetting God has been such a persistent problem among His children since the world began. Think of the times of Moses, when God provided manna and in miraculous and visible ways led and protected His children. Still, the prophet warned the people who had been so blessed, as prophets always have warned and always will: “Take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life.”3

And the challenge to remember has always been the hardest for those who are blessed abundantly. Those who are faithful to God are protected and prospered. That comes as the result of serving God and keeping His commandments. But with those blessings comes the temptation to forget their source. It is easy to begin to feel the blessings were granted not by a loving God on whom we depend but by our own powers. The prophets have repeated this lament over and over:

“And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.

“Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.”

And the prophet goes on to say:

“Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!”4

Sadly, prosperity is not the only reason people forget God. It can also be hard to remember Him when our lives go badly. When we struggle, as so many do, in grinding poverty or when our enemies prevail against us or when sickness is not healed, the enemy of our souls can send his evil message that there is no God or that if He exists He does not care about us. Then it can be hard for the Holy Ghost to bring to our remembrance the lifetime of blessings the Lord has given us from our infancy and in the midst of our distress.

There is a simple cure for the terrible malady of forgetting God, His blessings, and His messages to us. Jesus Christ promised it to His disciples when He was about to be crucified, resurrected, and then taken away from them to ascend in glory to His Father. They were concerned to know how they would be able to endure when He was no longer with them.

Here is the promise. It was fulfilled for them then. It can be fulfilled for all of us now:

“These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”5

The key to the remembering that brings and maintains testimony is receiving the Holy Ghost as a companion. It is the Holy Ghost who helps us see what God has done for us. It is the Holy Ghost who can help those we serve to see what God has done for them.

Heavenly Father has given a simple pattern for us to receive the Holy Ghost not once but continually in the tumult of our daily lives. The pattern is repeated in the sacramental prayer: We promise that we will always remember the Savior. We promise to take His name upon us. We promise to keep His commandments. And we are promised that if we do that, we will have His Spirit to be with us.6 Those promises work together in a wonderful way to strengthen our testimonies and in time, through the Atonement, to change our natures as we keep our part of the promise.

It is the Holy Ghost who testifies that Jesus Christ is the Beloved Son of a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to have eternal life with Him in families. With even the beginning of that testimony, we feel a desire to serve Him and to keep His commandments. When we persist in doing that, we receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost to give us power in our service. We come to see the hand of God more clearly, so clearly that in time we not only remember Him, but we come to love Him and, through the power of the Atonement, become more like Him.

You might ask, “But how does this process get started in someone who knows nothing about God and claims no memory of spiritual experiences at all?” Everyone has had spiritual experiences that they may not have recognized. Every person, upon entering the world, is given the Spirit of Christ. How that spirit works is described in the book of Moroni:

“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

“But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. . . .

“Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.”7

So, even before people receive the right to the gifts of the Holy Ghost, when they are confirmed as members of the Church, and even before the Holy Ghost confirms truth to them before baptism, they have spiritual experiences. The Spirit of Christ has already, from their childhood, invited them to do good and warned them against evil. They have memories of those experiences even if they have not recognized their source. That memory will come back to them as missionaries or we teach them the word of God and they hear it. They will remember the feeling of joy or sorrow when they are taught the truths of the gospel. And that memory of the Spirit of Christ will soften their hearts to allow the Holy Ghost to testify to them. That will lead them to keep commandments and want to take the name of the Savior upon them. And when they do, in the waters of baptism, and as they hear the words in confirmation “Receive the Holy Ghost” spoken by an authorized servant of God, the power to always remember God will be increased.

I testify to you that the warm feelings you have had as you have listened to truth being spoken in this conference are from the Holy Ghost. The Savior, who promised that the Holy Ghost would come, is the beloved, glorified Son of our Heavenly Father.

Tonight, and tomorrow night, you might pray and ponder, asking the questions: Did God send a message that was just for me? Did I see His hand in my life or the lives of my children? I will do that. And then I will find a way to preserve that memory for the day that I, and those that I love, will need to remember how much God loves us and how much we need Him. I testify that He loves us and blesses us, more than most of us have yet recognized. I know that is true, and it brings me joy to remember Him. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

1. Mosiah 2:41; Alma 37:13; Helaman 5:9.
2. “Count Your Blessings,Hymns, no. 241.
3. Deuteronomy 4:9.
4. Helaman 12:1–2, 5.
5. John 14:25–26.
6. See D&C 20:77, 79.
7. Moroni 7:16–17, 19.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Week 21: Teachers, the Timeless Key

Hi Everyone!

As I searched for a talk to share with you my heart kept pulling me to share the joys and struggles of technology in teaching and in our lives. We are SO blessed by so much in our day! I am so grateful for all the tools we now have especially now that I am homeschooling. We have the Mormon Channel radio station now as well as our own YouTube Channel. We can hear the General Conference from last conference as well as years past with the click of a button in nearly every language! We have fan pages on Face Book and Twitter (I’m @MissVibrant there), blogs, and more! We could spend literally our entire lives on-line but in so doing we would MISS out on much of our Earthly experience! I love this talk because it reminded me that regardless of the technology I have the opportunity and responsibility to teach and testify everyday! As I embrace the technology I need to remember to balance what I find “fun” with what God has called me to do!

Be blessed and have a beautiful week!

There is no audio this week but I am sure you can find something FABULOUS to listen to on one of the other links I provided above!

Teachers, the Timeless Key

Harold G. Hillam, “Teachers, the Timeless Key,” Ensign, Nov 1997, 62

Regardless of life’s circumstances or the nature of one’s calling, all members of the Church have the opportunity to teach and to testify.


This historic letter that I hold in my hand was typed 98 years ago. Each sheet is placed in a plastic, sealed envelope to protect it. Though written nearly a century ago, the words contained on these pages have a great deal of significance for us today.

The year 1899 marked a jubilee celebration—the 50-year anniversary of the organization of the first Sunday School of the Church. As a culmination of that jubilee year, a time capsule in the form of a beautiful hand-carved box was filled with items considered to have meaning for those who would be present at its opening 50 years in the future.

Accordingly, in 1949 the time capsule was opened, and among other historical items was this letter addressed to the “General Sunday School Authorities of a.d. 1949.” The letter includes the following:

“The establishment of the first Sunday Schools in the Rocky Mountains was attended with hardships and discouragements. The people were in a dry and barren land and were subjected to many privations. It required all their time and strength to secure the necessaries of life; yet in the midst of it all, with the limited facilities at hand, they began the education of their children.”

The letter continues: “Now brethren, we can but dimly see what the next fifty years will do for the youth of Zion. The methods of today may be entirely abandoned for new ones to be discovered in the future.

“It is probable that when you receive this Jubilee box, many of us, whose names are signed to this greeting, will have passed to the other side with the great army of Sunday School workers, and the greeting therefore of those of us who have gone to the great beyond, will be to you as a voice from the dead.

“This Sunday School work has been to us a labor of love and our interest does not merely exist for today, but extends into the future.

“… We beseech you that whatever may be the methods employed, whatever may be the changes wrought in the fifty years to come, that you never forget for an instant the object of the great Sunday School work, viz: To teach the children the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; to make Latter-day Saints of them.”

The letter was signed by the general Sunday School presidency, as well as 21 other board members, including Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant, both of whom later served as President of the Church.

The letter was prophetic. Indeed, the signers may have seen only dimly what the next 50 years would bring for the youth of Zion. During that time the communication methods of the late 19th century were totally replaced by tremendous advances in the dissemination of information. Even the typewriter used to prepare this 1899 document was at the time a recent novelty and was the cutting edge in communication! The first broadcast of the human voice was still two years away. The first radio network broadcast was 21 years in the future, and general conference would not be transmitted over radio for another 25 years.

Could the writers of this 1899 letter have imagined, even dimly, the technological advances—the radio, color television, computers, the Internet, or the programming—that are present today, they would have been astounded to learn that just one small computer disk would contain large collections of the greatest of books and talks known to mankind. They would have seen that with just a few keystrokes of the computer, one could open the scriptures and with ease cross-reference them with other great talks and writings of the prophets, and with the attending light and knowledge which comes from God.

Sadly, they also would have seen that the very same tools that teach light and truth can, with the same ease but with different strokes of the keys, bring to view some of the most vile, sordid, wicked, and immoral material.

Indeed, we have been blessed with magnificent tools and methods which can be used to assist in teaching, but as with all tools, they are to be used with wisdom and discretion if they are to bless and simplify our lives. Just as fire under control brings so many comforts and benefits, a fire improperly used or out of control wreaks havoc and destruction.

As we prepare for another 50 or 100 years, we might also see but dimly what lies ahead. We must learn to make wise use of the tools and technology that we have.

Wise use of our technology would include care in that which we invite into our homes by the way of television, videos, computers, including the Internet. There is much that is good and edifying in the media, but there is also much that is gross, immoral, and time-consuming, enticing us to be “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). During the Second World War when gasoline was in short supply and rationed, I remember signs saying, “Is this trip necessary?” Today, with ever-increasing demands on everyone and time in short supply, might we ask ourselves before we turn on the video game, the television, the computer, or access the many programs available, “Is this trip necessary?”

Perhaps every person who is listening might also ask these questions of himself or herself and expect an honest reply: “Is the information I am receiving from this tool of learning edifying, and adding truth into my life? Are the hours I am investing an effective use of my valuable time? Does this computer game assist me in fulfilling my responsibilities and goals?” If the answer is not a resounding yes, then we should have the courage and determination to click the off button and direct our lives to more important tasks.

Despite the staggering technological advances of the past century, one of the elements of this 1899 letter still remains constant: that is, the importance of well-trained, humble, dedicated, and loving teachers.

Everyone can remember a special teacher that has made a profound difference in their life. I will ever be thankful to Miss Hamilton, my second-grade teacher. She was also my Sunday School teacher. I can still recall her saying, “Now remember, always be a good boy!” and “I am so proud of you.” She always made me feel very important. I grew to love her, and I’m sure she loved me. That school year was a glorious one. I hated to see it come to a close. The news traveled fast in the small town of Sugar City, Idaho, and one summer day my mother called me in the house to inform me of the disastrous news: my dear Miss Hamilton had gone and gotten married! And she didn’t even check with me to see if it was all right.

Our daughter-in-law, also a teacher, received a note at the end of a school year from one of her third-grade students. He wrote, “Miss Scoresby, I will miss you more than my pet gerbil that died.”

We are in essence a church of teachers. Regardless of life’s circumstances or the nature of one’s calling, all members of the Church have the opportunity to teach and to testify. The very nature of our lives bears witness of what we believe and teaches all who come within our sphere of influence.

Many, perhaps most, adult members of the Church, however, find themselves in a position to teach in a more direct manner. Leaders, parents, and called teachers have the specific responsibility to constantly improve their teaching abilities so they can prepare, train, and edify those who fall within their stewardship. President David O. McKay reminded us that “the proper training of childhood is man’s most important and sacred duty” (Gospel Ideals [1953], 220). The Lord has made it clear that parents shall “teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord” (D&C 68:28).

There is power in the doctrines of the Church—hence the need for us all to be ever learning and constantly fortifying ourselves spiritually. President Hinckley has said: “The forces against which we labor are tremendous. We need more than our own strength to cope with them. To all who hold positions of leadership, to the vast corps of teachers and missionaries, to heads of families, I should like to make a plea: In all you do, feed the Spirit—nourish the soul. … I am satisfied that the world is starved for spiritual food” (“Feed the Spirit—Nourish the Soul,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1967, 85–86).

President Hinckley made that statement nearly 30 years ago at a general conference. Then, how much more need have we to be spiritually fortified today! Indeed, inspired gospel teaching among all members of the Church is a lifeline to the spiritual stability and growth of members of all ages.

Technology will surely advance and methods will certainly change, but the personal touch by a dedicated, loving teacher who radiates the Spirit is the key to filling the desire of the writers of this 1899 document, which was to teach the children, and others, the “principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; to make Latter-day Saints of them.” In the name of the greatest teacher of all, even Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Week 20: Keeping Life's Demands in Balance

Again I have found myself in search of that elusive balance for all that I do. I have been feeling zapped of spiritual, physical, and mental energy. I've been seeking in prayer, books, talks, and conversations ways to help me feel more balanced. I recently realized that perhaps I was asking the wrong question. I had been asking for help to find balance. When after months I noticed I was becoming even more unbalanced it occurred to me that maybe the proper request was not to find balance but to have my eyes opened to see the balance that was surrounding me.

Do you remember looking at those posters in which a hidden figure is embedded if you only stare at it long enough, squint your eyes just right, or tilt your head in the right direction you might see the figure. I was always envious of people who could walk right up to them and see the boat or the pyramid right away. I could look at those forever without getting the satisfaction of witnessing the optical illusion. I took to finding balance like one of those posters. Trying so hard, making it so complicated. The more I tried to find it the further I got from actually achieving it.

Today's talk, I felt, held a lot of answers for me. I hope that you too will find it beneficial. I have also made a worksheet to help me review my activities. I took the information to make it right from this talk. Here is the link to use it if you would like to.

I am excited to take the challenge from Elder Ballard to, "Live everyday with joy in your heart,"
and keep life's demands in balance.

Have a wonderful week,

Keeping Life’s Demands in Balance

M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, May 1987, 13

My dear brothers and sisters, since last general conference, I have felt in my own life the power of priesthood blessings and the power of the faith and prayers of Church members. For many years, I have given blessings to others. I have fasted and prayed for their well-being and have exercised my faith for their recovery. Recently, during a serious illness, I was the recipient of such faith, prayers, and blessings. I thank you, brothers and sisters, for the prayers that you have offered in my behalf.

One of my colleagues said to me that some good would come from this illness. He suggested that it is good, on occasion, for everyone to face adversity, especially if it causes introspection that enables us to openly and honestly assess our lives. That is what I did.

The night before my surgery, my doctors talked about the possibility of cancer. When I was left alone, my mind filled with thoughts of my family and of my ministry. I found comfort in the ordinances of the gospel that bind me to my family if we are faithful. I realized that I needed to rearrange some of my priorities to accomplish the things that matter most to me.

Sometimes we need a personal crisis to reinforce in our minds what we really value and cherish. The scriptures are filled with examples of people facing crises before learning how to better serve God and others. Perhaps if you, too, search your hearts and courageously assess the priorities in your life, you may discover, as I did, that you need a better balance among your priorities.

All of us must come to an honest, open self-examination, an awareness within as to who and what we want to be.

As most of you know, coping with the complex and diverse challenges of everyday life, which is not an easy task, can upset the balance and harmony we seek. Many good people who care a great deal are trying very hard to maintain balance, but they sometimes feel overwhelmed and defeated.

A mother of four small children said: “There is no balance at all in my life. I am completely consumed in trying to raise my children. I hardly have time to think of anything else!”

A young father, who felt the pressure of being the family provider, said: “My new business requires all of my time. I realize that I am neglecting my family and church duties, but if I can just get through one more year I will make enough money, and then things will settle down.”

A high school student said: “We hear so many contrasting views that it is hard to always know what is right and what is wrong.”

How often have we heard this one? “No one knows better than I do how important exercise is, but I just have no time in my day for exercising.”

A single parent said: “I find it next to impossible to accomplish all that I need to do to manage my home and lead my family. In fact, sometimes I think the world expects too much of me. Regardless of how hard I work, I never will live up to everyone’s expectations.”

Another mother of four remarked: “My struggle is between self-esteem, confidence, and feelings of self-worth versus guilt, depression, and discouragement for not doing everything I am told we must do to attain the celestial kingdom.”

Brothers and sisters, we all face these kinds of struggles from time to time. They are common human experiences. Many people have heavy demands upon them stemming from parental, family, employment, church, and civic responsibilities. Keeping everything in balance can be a real problem.

A periodic review of the covenants we have made with the Lord will help us with our priorities and with balance in our lives. This review will help us see where we need to repent and change our lives to ensure that we are worthy of the promises that accompany our covenants and sacred ordinances. Working out our own salvation requires good planning and a deliberate, valiant effort.

I have a few suggestions that I hope will be valuable to those of you concerned with balancing life’s demands. These suggestions are very basic; their concepts can easily be overlooked if you are not careful. You will need a strong commitment and personal discipline to incorporate them into your life.

First, think about your life and set your priorities. Find some quiet time regularly to think deeply about where you are going and what you will need to do to get there. Jesus, our exemplar, often “withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed” (Luke 5:16). We need to do the same thing occasionally to rejuvenate ourselves spiritually as the Savior did. Write down the tasks you would like to accomplish each day. Keep foremost in mind the sacred covenants you have made with the Lord as you write down your daily schedules.

Second, set short-term goals that you can reach. Set goals that are well balanced—not too many nor too few, and not too high nor too low. Write down your attainable goals and work on them according to their importance. Pray for divine guidance in your goal setting.

You recall that Alma said he would like to be an angel so he could “speak with the trump of God, … to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!” (Alma 29:1). He then said, “But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me. …

“Why should I desire more than to perform the work to which I have been called?” (Alma 29:3, 6).

Third, everyone faces financial challenges in life. Through wise budgeting, control your real needs and measure them carefully against your many wants in life. Far too many individuals and families have incurred too much debt. Be careful of the many attractive offers to borrow money. It is much easier to borrow money than it is to pay it back. There are no shortcuts to financial security. There are no get-rich-quick schemes that work. Perhaps none need the principle of balance in their lives more than those who are driven toward accumulating “things” in this world.

Do not trust your money to others without a thorough evaluation of any proposed investment. Our people have lost far too much money by trusting their assets to others. In my judgment, we never will have balance in our lives unless our finances are securely under control.

The prophet Jacob said to his people: “Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness” (2 Ne. 9:51).

Brothers and sisters, remember to always pay a full tithing.

Fourth, stay close to your spouse, children, relatives, and friends. They will help you keep a balance in your life. In a recent study by the Church, adults in the United States were asked to identify a time when they were very happy and to describe the experience. They were also asked to describe a time when they were very unhappy. For most people, one thing that had made them the most happy or the most sad was their personal relationships with others. Much less important were their personal health, employment, money, and other material things. Build relationships with your family and friends through open and honest communication.

A good marriage and good family relationships can be maintained through gentle, loving, thoughtful communication. Remember that often a glance, a wink, a nod, or a touch will say more than words. A sense of humor and good listening are also vital parts of good communication.

Fifth, study the scriptures. They offer one of the best sources we have to keep in touch with the Spirit of the Lord. One of the ways I have gained my sure knowledge that Jesus is the Christ is through my study of the scriptures. President Ezra Taft Benson has called upon members of the Church to make the study of the Book of Mormon a daily habit and a lifetime pursuit. The Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy is good counsel for each of us. He wrote: “From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:15–16).

Sixth, many people, including me, have difficulty finding the time for sufficient rest, exercise, and relaxation. We must schedule time on our daily calendars for these activities if we are to enjoy a healthy and balanced life. Good physical appearance enhances our dignity and self-respect.

Seventh, the prophets have taught repeatedly that families should teach one another the gospel, preferably in a weekly family home evening. This family practice, if we are not very careful, can slowly drift away from us. We must not lose this special opportunity to “teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom” (D&C 88:77), which will lead families to eternal life.

Satan is always working to destroy our testimonies, but he will not have the power to tempt or disturb us beyond our strength to resist when we are studying the gospel and living its commandments.

My last suggestion is to pray often as individuals and as families. Parents need to exercise the discipline required to lead out and motivate children to join together for regular family prayers. Our youth can know the right decisions to make each day through constant, sincere prayer.

The prophet Alma summarized the importance of prayer in these words: “But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering” (Alma 13:28). When I am in tune spiritually, I find that I can balance everything in my life much more easily.

I realize, brothers and sisters, that other suggestions could be added to these. However, I believe that when we focus on a few basic objectives, we are more likely to be able to manage the many demands that life makes on us. Remember, too much of anything in life can throw us off-balance. At the same time, too little of the important things can do the same thing. King Benjamin counseled “that all these things are done in wisdom and order” (Mosiah 4:27).

Often the lack of clear direction and goals can waste away our time and energy and contribute to imbalance in our lives. A life that gets out of balance is much like a car tire that is out of balance. It will make the operation of the car rough and unsafe. Tires in perfect balance can give a smooth and comfortable ride. So it is with life. The ride through mortality can be smoother for us when we strive to stay in balance. Our main goal should be to seek “immortality and eternal life” (Moses 1:39). With this as our goal, why not eliminate from our lives the things that clamor for and consume our thoughts, feelings, and energies without contributing to our reaching that goal?

Just a word to Church leaders: Be very careful that what you ask from members will help them attain eternal life. For Church members to be able to balance their lives, Church leaders must be sure they do not require so much from members that they have no time to accomplish their personal and family goals.

Not long ago, one of my children said, “Dad, sometimes I wonder if I will ever make it.” The answer I gave to her is the same as I would give to you if you have had similar feelings. Just do the very best you can each day. Do the basic things and, before you realize it, your life will be full of spiritual understanding that will confirm to you that your Heavenly Father loves you. When a person knows this, then life will be full of purpose and meaning, making balance easier to maintain.

Live every day with joy in your heart, brothers and sisters. I humbly testify that life can be wonderful, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Week 19: Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast

Hello Sisters!

I so much enjoyed Conference. Did any of the rest of you feel Spiritually Transfused by it? I find when I get a little worried about things, I just need to listen to one of the Hymns sung for Conference or reread or listen to a talk, and I am immediately feeling more full of faith. It is a miracle to me the power of a living Prophet and Apostles to lift and inspire us. I thank Heavenly Father every day for them. I cannot imagine what life would be like without them.

I recently enjoyed this wonderful talk by Elder Holland that has really impacted and encouraged me. Here is a favorite part:

"Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—that is the first principle of the gospel. We must go forward. God expects you to have enough faith, determination, and trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. He expects you not simply to face the future; He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it, rejoice in it, and delight in your opportunities.God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe."

His talk focus's on celebrating and enjoying all that is ours to joy in as we live in the fullness of times. I appreciated his encouragement to become true Latter-day Saints, worthy of greeting our Savior. I am grateful for his insights and inspiration and hope you feel lifted and inspired by it too.

Much love,


P.S. I have discovered something that I think is new to lds.org, a complete menu of the music from Conference. We can listen or load one song or all. I thought the music was as inspiring as the messages. Here is the link for your enjoyment:

Conference Music

P.P.S. I discovered one other little treasure. At the end of Elder Christofferson's talk are some wonderful, teaching footnotes. I am going to check all talks for these now as they were great insights!

MP3 Link

Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
CES Fireside for Young Adults
September 12, 2004
Brigham Young University

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Thank you for coming, even if you did know who the speaker would be. It’s a thrill for me to be with you tonight. Where did you all come from? (Don’t answer that! We don’t have time.) And although I can’t see all of you, I am very conscious of the wonderful, much larger satellite audience gathered in so many other locations around the world—some 80,000 or so of you. We welcome all of you, and I thank you for your attendance and your invitation to me to speak.

I want to excuse Sister Holland tonight. She would have dearly loved being with us, but she is in Houston, Texas, tonight, helping with a brand-new granddaughter born to our daughter and son-in-law there. If those of you gathered in Houston turn around slowly and look near the back of the room, you may see a cute little grandmother hiding on the back row pretending to be an institute student. Now I know full well how young she looks, brethren, but please, she is already taken. I appreciate her support there just as much as if she were here at my side tonight. I bring you her love, and only such duty as grandmothers have at such times would keep her from being here with us. “Hermana Holland, te amo.”

As many of you know, Sister Holland and I have just returned from a two-year assignment in Chile, where, like so many of you tonight are doing, we sat with young adults and institute students in stake centers half a world away, receiving these broadcasts far from Church headquarters. We too felt the Spirit of the Lord and the love of our leaders. We especially felt the fellowship of thousands around the world, like you, who were the same age, shared the same faith, and wanted the same things for a full and happy future.

I come tonight very mindful of my young friends in Chile but equally mindful of all our other friends around the world—in England and France, in Korea and Japan, in Australia and Nigeria and the Ukraine, to say nothing of the legions of you gathered throughout North America. Bienvenidos to all of you, whatever language you speak, and please know that I love you. There is such strength in our numbers. I pray for the Spirit and blessings of the Lord to be upon all of us and earnestly desire that what I say will be of some value to each of you.


I want to speak to you tonight in the context of ongoing anxiety in the world and some of the challenges we face at home and abroad. Of course there have always been challenges in every age and dispensation, but yesterday—September 11—was the third anniversary of a violent and near-unimaginable event that rocked the whole world. Indeed, the aftermath of that act has dramatically and perhaps permanently affected many of the ways in which the world now lives. Perhaps with such an anniversary yesterday, the fears and concerns of our modern times are still in your hearts today.

In any case, certainly our neighbors—the citizens of the nations to which we are beaming this broadcast tonight—have, since September 11, 2001, been dangling off balance, have been made more fearful, and have been alarmed by international events and the almost wholesale new use of the word terror. Not many years ago that word was reserved almost entirely for B-grade movie advertisements and Stephen King novels. Now, sadly, it is daily fare in our newspapers and so common in conversation that even young children, including the schoolchildren in Russia, are conscious that the world in which we live can be brutally, criminally affected by people called “terrorists.” And there are other disasters of other kinds, natural and otherwise, documented in the news that remind us that life can be fragile, that life can present fateful turns of events.

The Last Days

Against that backdrop, I know that many of you have wondered in your hearts what all of this means regarding the end of the world and your life in it. Many have asked, “Is this the hour of the Second Coming of the Savior and all that is prophesied surrounding that event?” Indeed, sometime not long after 9-11, I had a missionary ask me in all honesty and full of faith, “Elder Holland, are these the last days?” I saw the earnestness in his face and some of the fear in his eyes, and I wanted to be reassuring. I thought perhaps an arm around him and some humor could relieve his anxiety a little. Giving him a hug, I said, “Elder, I may not be the brightest person alive, but even I know the name of the Church.” We then talked about being Latter-day Saints. I said, “Yes, Elder, we are in the last days, but there is really nothing new about that. The promised Second Coming of the Savior began with the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1820. So we already have about 184 years of experience seeing the Second Coming and the last days unfold. We can be certain that we are in the last days—years and years of them,” I said, and gave him a friendly shake of the hand and sent him on his way.

He smiled, seemed more reassured to put all this in some context, and went on his way. I assume he has long since finished a successful mission and is now happily at home getting on with his life, perhaps even sitting in this audience somewhere looking for a wife! (He’d better be.)

I hasten to say that I do know what this young man was really asking. What he really meant was, “Will I finish my mission? Is there any point in getting an education? Can I hope for a marriage? Do I have a future? Is there any happiness ahead for me?” And I say to all of you what I said three years ago to him: “Yes, certainly—to all those questions.”

As far as the actual timing of the final, publicly witnessed Second Coming itself and its earthshaking events, I do not know when that will happen. Furthermore, President Gordon B. Hinckley has said that he doesn’t know when it will happen, and that is because no one knows when it will happen. The Savior said that even the angels in heaven would not know (see Matthew 24:36).

We should watch for the signs and read the meaning of the seasons, we should live as faithfully as we possibly can, and we should share the gospel with everyone so that blessings and protections will be available to all. But we cannot and must not be paralyzed just because that event and the events surrounding it are out there ahead of us somewhere. We cannot stop living life. Indeed, we should live life more fully than we have ever lived it before. After all, this is the dispensation of the fulness of times.

I say this because in recent times—post 9-11 times, I suppose—I have heard very fearful and even dismal opinions coming from some in your age-group regarding the questions that missionary had in mind. I have heard some of you say that you wonder whether there is any purpose in going on a mission or getting an education or planning for a career if the world we live in is going to be so uncertain. I have even heard sweethearts say, “We don’t know whether we should get married in such uncertain times.”

Worst of all, I have heard reports of some newlyweds questioning whether they should bring children into a terror-filled world on the brink of latter-day cataclysms. May I tell you that, in a way, those kinds of attitudes worry me more than Al-Qaeda worries me.

I have just two things to say to any of you who are troubled about the future. I say it lovingly and from my heart.

First, we must never, in any age or circumstance, let fear and the father of fear (Satan himself) divert us from our faith and faithful living. There have always been questions about the future. Every young person or every young couple in every era has had to walk by faith into what has always been some uncertainty—starting with Adam and Eve in those first tremulous steps out of the Garden of Eden. But that is all right. This is the plan. It will be okay. Just be faithful. God is in charge. He knows your name and He knows your need.

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—that is the first principle of the gospel. We must go forward, as it says in K. Newell Dayley’s hymn commemorating our pioneers of the past, “with faith in ev’ry footstep.”1 But like those pioneers, you do have to keep taking them—one step and then another and then the next. That is how tasks are accomplished, that is how goals are achieved, and that is how frontiers are conquered. In more divine language, that is how worlds are created and it is how your world will be created.

God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities.

God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe.

Drawing upon my vast background of children’s bedtime stories, I say you can pick your poultry. You can either be like Chicken Little and run about shouting “The sky is falling; the sky is falling” or you can be like the Little Red Hen and forge ahead with the productive tasks of living, regardless of who does or doesn’t help you or who does or doesn’t believe just the way you believe.

So much for farmyard stories! How about two scriptures, both directed at those who live in perilous times?

The first is from section 101 of the Doctrine and Covenants. If you recall, this revelation came as the Saints who were gathered in Missouri were suffering great persecution—were at the very height of their persecution. Mobs had driven them from their homes. Hostility, even hatred, followed them from county to county as they sought refuge. These frightened Saints lost land, livestock, clothing, furniture, crops, and a host of personal possessions. Threats of death were heard every day. I suppose, at its worst, this was the most difficult and dangerous time—may I say “terror-filled”—that the Church had ever known. Later on names like Haun’s Mill and Liberty Jail would take their place in our vocabulary forever.

Yet in that frightening time the Lord said to His people:

“Let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

“Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.

“They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion—

“And all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled” (D&C 101:16–19).

So, my young friends, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion. And remember the most fundamental definition of Zion we have ever been given: those who are “pure in heart” (D&C 97:21). If you will keep your hearts pure, you and your children and your grandchildren shall sing songs of everlasting joy as you build up Zion—and you shall not be moved out of your place.

The other verse I refer to is from the Savior, spoken to His disciples as He faced His Crucifixion and as they faced fear, disarray, and persecution. Talk about troubled times! In His last collective counsel to them in mortality, and knowing full well what lay ahead for Him and for them, He said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

So, in a world of tribulation—and there will always be plenty of it—let’s remember our faith. Let’s recall the other promises and prophecies that have been given, all the reassuring ones, and let’s live life more fully, with more boldness and courage than at any other time in our history.

Christ has overcome the world and made straight a path for us in the wilderness. He has said to us in our day: “Gird up your loins and be prepared. Behold, the kingdom is yours, and the enemy shall not overcome” (D&C 38:9). So let’s gird up. Let’s get some gusto into singing those songs of everlasting joy.


That leads directly to the other related point I want to make regarding the day in which you and I live. In times of anxiety we tend to focus pretty much (like my young missionary friend did) on the “Latter-day” part of that title.

But tonight I issue a call to each of you to concentrate on the “Saint” portion of that phrase. That is the element in our Church title that should be demanding our attention. Think of the blessings we enjoy. Think of the remarkable age in which we live. Think of the economic and educational, scientific and spiritual blessings we have that no other era or people in the history of the world have ever had, and then consider the responsibility we have to live worthily in our moment in time.

This Great Dispensation

We are making our appearance on the stage of mortality in the greatest dispensation of the gospel ever given to mankind, and we need to make the most of it.

Here is a favorite quote of mine from the Prophet Joseph Smith: “The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; . . . we are the favored people that God has [chosen] to bring about the Latter-day glory.”2

Note this similar affirmation from Wilford Woodruff in1894. Perhaps I do not need to remind you of the staggering challenges President Woodruff faced. Those years here in the West were, I suppose, every bit as fearful in their own way as were the ones I described in Missouri: prophets in seclusion, apostles in prison, fear (in President Woodruff’s words) “that the whole nation” was turning against our people, preparing to “make war upon” the Church.3

Nevertheless, President Woodruff said in the midst of such troubles: “The Almighty is with this people. We shall have all the revelations that we will need, if we will do our duty and obey the commandments of God. . . . While I . . . live I want to do my duty. I want the Latter-day Saints to do their duty. . . . Their responsibility is great and mighty. The eyes of God and all the holy prophets are watching us. This is the great dispensation that has been spoken of ever since the world began. We are gathered together . . . by the power and commandment of God. We are doing the work of God. . . . Let us fill our mission.”4

Lastly, let me share this from President Hinckley, our modern prophet, who currently guides us through the challenging times of our present hour. Citing just last April conference that very theme struck by President Woodruff, he said to all of us:

“We of this generation are the end harvest of all that has gone before. It is not enough to simply be known as a member of this Church. A solemn obligation rests upon us. Let us face it and work at it.

“We must live as true followers of the Christ, with charity toward all, returning good for evil, teaching by example the ways of the Lord, and accomplishing the vast service He has outlined for us.

“May we live worthy of the glorious endowment of light and understanding and eternal truth which has come to us through all the perils of the past. Somehow, among all who have walked the earth, we have been brought forth in this unique and remarkable season. Be grateful, and above all be faithful.”5

It is interesting to me that in those three quotations, over a representative period of time, our prophets have focused not on the terror of the times in which they lived and not on the ominous elements of the latter days, in which we are all living, but they felt to speak of the opportunity and blessing, and above all the responsibility, to seize the privileges afforded us in this, the greatest of all dispensations. I love the line from the Prophet Joseph Smith saying that earlier prophets, priests, and kings “have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and . . . have sung and written and prophesied of this our day.” What were they so joyful about? I can assure you they weren’t concentrating on terror and tragedy. Brother Woodruff’s words were: “The eyes of God and all the holy prophets are watching us. This is the great dispensation that has been spoken of ever since the world began.”6 Let me repeat President Hinckley’s words: “Through all the perils of the past, [s]omehow, among all who have walked the earth, we have been brought forth in this unique and remarkable season. Be grateful, and above all be faithful.”

I don’t know how all of that makes you feel, but suddenly any undue anxiety about the times in which we live dissipates for me, and I am humbled and spiritually thrilled, motivated at the opportunity we have been given. God is watching over His world, His Church, His leaders, and He is certainly watching over you. Let’s just make sure we are the “pure in heart” and that we are faithful. How blessed you will be. How fortunate your children and grandchildren will be.

Think about it. No earlier people down through the gospel ages—including our own parents, in many cases—have had anywhere near the blessings that you and I have been given.

Think of the help we have been given to take the light of the gospel to a darkened world. We have approximately 55,000 missionaries—obviously far more than in any other age in the history of the world since time began. And that number is repeated every two years by those going out to replace their predecessors! But we need even more. We have an LDS presence in some 170 countries. We publish our scriptures in more than 100 languages.

Over 6,000 years or so ago there was one temple in the old world (it was rebuilt two or three times, but it was always the same temple on the same mountain: Mount Moriah in Jerusalem) and two or three temples in Book of Mormon history, but now we live in a time when temples are multiplying so rapidly we can hardly keep up. As of a few minutes ago we had 119 active temples with more, I am sure, to be announced and put under construction.

Add the miracle of the computer, which helps us document our family histories and systematically perform saving ordinances for the redemption of our dead. Add modern transportation, which allows the First Presidency, the Twelve, and other General Authorities to circle the globe and personally bear witness of the Lord to all of the Saints in all of the lands. Add that where we cannot go we can now “send,” as the scriptures say, with satellite broadcasts like the one we are using tonight (see D&C 84:62).

Add all the elements of education, science, technology, communication, transportation, medicine, nutrition, and revelation that surround us, and we begin to realize what the angel Moroni meant when he said repeatedly to the boy prophet Joseph Smith, quoting the Old Testament prophet Joel, that in the last days God would pour out His spirit upon “all flesh” and that the whole world, all humankind, would be blessed by the light coming in all fields of endeavor as part of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Joel 2:28; italics added; see also Joseph Smith—History 1:41).

We consider all these blessings that we have in our dispensation, and we pause to say to our Father in Heaven, “How great Thou art”7 and “How good Thou art.”

In fact, I have a theory about those earlier dispensations and the leaders, families, and people who lived then, of those whom the Prophet Joseph, President Woodruff, and President Hinckley spoke. I have thought often about them and the destructive circumstances that confronted them. They faced terribly difficult times and, for the most part, did not succeed in their dispensations. Apostasy and darkness eventually came to every earlier age in human history. Indeed, the whole point of the Restoration of the gospel in these latter days is that it had not been able to survive in earlier times and therefore had to be pursued in one last, triumphant age.

We know the challenges Abraham’s posterity faced (and still do). We know of Moses’s problems with an Israelite people who left Egypt but couldn’t quite get Egypt to leave them. Isaiah was the prophet who saw the loss of the 10 Israelite tribes to the north. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel were all prophets of captivity. Peter, James, John, and Paul, the great figures of the New Testament, all saw apostasy creeping into their world almost before the Savior had departed and certainly while they themselves were still living. Think of the prophets of the Book of Mormon, living in a dispensation ending with such painful communication between Mormon and Moroni about the plight they faced and the nations they loved dissolving into corruption, terror, and chaos.

In short, apostasy and destruction of one kind or another was the ultimate fate of every general dispensation we have ever had down through time. But here’s my theory. My theory is that those great men and women, the leaders in those ages past, were able to keep going, to keep testifying, to keep trying to do their best, not because they knew that they would succeed but because they knew that you would. I believe they took courage and hope not so much from their own circumstances as from yours—a magnificent congregation of young adults like you tonight gathered by the hundreds of thousands around the world in a determined effort to see the gospel prevail and triumph.

Moroni said once, speaking to those of us who would receive his record in the last days:

“Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.

“Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Mormon 8:34–35).

One way or another, I think virtually all of the prophets and early apostles had their visionary moments of our time—a view that gave them courage in their own less-successful eras. Those early brethren knew an amazing amount about us. Prophets such as Moses, Nephi, and the brother of Jared saw the latter days in tremendously detailed vision. Some of what they saw wasn’t pleasing, but surely all those earlier generations took heart from knowing that there would finally be one dispensation that would not fail.

Ours, not theirs, was the day that gave them “heavenly and joyful anticipations” and caused them to sing and prophesy of victory. Ours is the day, collectively speaking, toward which the prophets have been looking from the beginning of time, and those earlier brethren are over there still cheering us on! In a very real way, their chance to consider themselves fully successful depends on our faithfulness and our victory. I love the idea of going into the battle of the last days representing Alma and Abinadi and what they pled for and representing Peter and Paul and the sacrifices they made. If you can’t get excited about that kind of assignment in the drama of history, you can’t get excited!

A Wedding Feast

Let me add another element to this view of the dispensation that I think follows automatically. Because ours is the last and greatest of all dispensations, because all things will eventually culminate and be fulfilled in our era, there is, therefore, one particular, very specific responsibility that falls to those of us in the Church now that did not rest quite the same way on the shoulders of Church members in any earlier time. Unlike the Church in the days of Abraham or Moses, Isaiah or Ezekiel, or even in the New Testament days of James and John, we have a responsibility to prepare the Church of the Lamb of God to receive the Lamb of God—in person, in triumphant glory, in His millennial role as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. No other dispensation ever had that duty.

In the language of the scriptures, we are the ones designated in all of history who must prepare the bride for the advent of the Bridegroom and be worthy of an invitation to the wedding feast (see Matthew 25:1–12; 22:2–14; D&C 88:92, 96). Collectively speaking—whether it is in our lifetime or our children’s or our grandchildren’s or whenever—we nevertheless have the responsibility as a Church and as individual members of that Church to be worthy to have Christ come to us, to be worthy to have Him greet us, and to have Him accept and receive and embrace us. The lives we present to Him in that sacred hour must be worthy of Him!

We Must Be Acceptable to Him

So, setting aside fear of the future or concerns about the dimensions of a backyard bomb shelter, I am filled with awe, with an overwhelming sense of duty to prepare my life (and to the extent that I can, to help prepare the lives of the members of the Church) for that long-prophesied day, for that transfer of authority, for the time when we will make a presentation of the Church to Him whose Church it is.

I do know this: When Christ comes, the members of His Church must look and act like members of His Church are supposed to look and act if we are to be acceptable to Him. We must be doing His work and we must be living His teachings. He must recognize us quickly and easily as truly being His disciples. As President J. Reuben Clark Jr. once advised, our faith must not be difficult to detect.8

Yes, if in that great, final hour we say we are believers, then we had surely better be demonstrating it. The Shepherd knows His sheep, and we must be known in that great day as His followers in deed as well as in word.

Surely that is why President Hinckley said: “It is not enough [for us, you and me, now, in our time] to simply be known as a member of this Church. . . . We must live as true followers of . . . Christ.”9

Yes, my beloved young friends, these are the latter days, and you and I are to be the best Latter-day Saints we can. Put an emphasis on the last word there, please.

When will all of this finish? When shall Christ appear publicly, triumphantly, and the Millennium begin? I have already told you that I don’t know. What I do know is that the initial moments of that event began 184 years ago. I do know that as a result of that First Vision and what has followed it, we live in a time of unprecedented blessings—blessings given to us for the purpose of living faithfully and purely so when the Bridegroom finally and triumphantly arrives, He can personally, justifiably bid us to the wedding feast.

Is there a happy future for you and your posterity in these latter days? Absolutely! Most assuredly you have a beautiful future. All wedding feasts are happy occasions. Will there be difficult times when those ominous latter-day warnings and prophecies are fulfilled? Of course there will. There always have been. Be prepared. Will those who have built upon the great rock of Christ withstand such winds, such hail, and the mighty shafts in the whirlwind? You know that they will. You have it on good word. You have it on His word! That “rock upon which ye are built . . . is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men [and women] build they cannot fall” (see Helaman 5:12).

My beloved young brothers and sisters, I leave you my love and my testimony that God not only lives, He loves us. He loves you. Everything He does is for our good and our protection. There is evil and sorrow in the world, but there is no evil or harm in Him. He is our Father—a perfect father—and He will shelter us from the storm.

I testify not only that Jesus is the Christ, the Holy and Only Begotten Son of God, but that He lives, that He loves us, that on the strength and merit of His atoning sacrifice, we too will live eternally. He conquered death and hell for us, and He conquered fear in the same way.

This is the Church and kingdom of God on earth. Joseph Smith was a prophet and Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet. Truth has been restored. You and I are fortunate enough to have been born when all of this knowledge and all of this safety are available to us.

I leave an apostolic blessing on each one of you individually within the sound of my voice that you will live with confidence, optimism, faith, and devotion. I bless you that you will be serious about life’s challenges but not frightened or discouraged. I bless you to feel the joy of the Saints in the latter days—never crippling anxiety or destructive despair. Indeed, the only concern I would have us entertain is a very personal one: How can we live more fully, more faithfully, so that all the blessings of this great dispensation can be showered upon each one of us and upon those whose lives we touch?

“Fear not, little flock. . . . Look [to Christ] in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” “Ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath . . . prepared for you. . . . Be of good cheer. . . . The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours” (D&C 6:34, 36; 78:17–18).

I leave you my blessing, my love, and an apostolic witness of the truthfulness of these things in the protective name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.


1. “Faith in Every Footstep,” Ensign, Jan. 1997, 15.

2. History of the Church, 4:609–10.

3. Wilford Woodruff’s diary, Dec. 31, 1889, cited in James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed., rev. and enl. (1992), 420.

4. In James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (1965–75), 3:258; see also Gordon B. Hinckley, in Conference Report, Apr. 2004, 84–85; or Ensign, May 2004, 83.

5. In Conference Report, Apr. 2004, 85; or Ensign, May 2004, 84.

6. In Conference Report, Apr. 2004, 85; italics added.

7. See “How Great Thou Art,” Hymns, no. 86; italics added.

8. See The Charted Course of the Church in Education, rev. ed. (1994), 7.

9. In Conference Report, Apr. 2004, 85; or Ensign, May 2004, 84.