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Friday, April 18, 2014

Follow the Prophet

                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we teach the rising generation to follow the counsel of the living prophet.  The prophet of the Lord on earth today is Thomas S. Monson.  He is the mouthpiece of the Lord, and we will be blessed as we follow his counsel.

                Elder William R. Walker of the Quorum of the Seventy suggested five ways to follow the example of President Monson.

                “We can be positive, and we can be happy.  On one occasion President Monson said:  `We … can choose to have a positive attitude.  We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.  In other words, we can choose to be happy and positive, regardless of what comes our way.’ (See “Messages of Inspiration from President Monson,” Church News, Sept. 2, 2012, p. 2.)”

                Elder Walker described an experience of being invited to attend a meeting in the First Presidency boardroom.  He was waiting quietly outside the room waiting to be invited in when he heard whistling in the hall and thought it was inappropriate behavior for the place.  “A moment later the whistler walked around the corner – it was President Monson.  He was happy, and he was positive.  He greeted me warmly….  Even with the weight of the whole Church on his shoulders, he is an example of happiness and he always has a positive attitude.  We should be that way.”

                “We can be kind and loving toward children.  Jesus spoke often of children.  His prophet, President Monson, speaks often of children as well.  I’ve seen, particularly at temple dedications, how he loves children and, by his example, teaches us how to treat them.  At every temple dedication he focuses on the children.  He loves to include them in the cornerstone ceremony and always invites a few of them to put some mortar in the cornerstone to participate in the symbolic completion of the temple.  He makes it fun for them.  He makes it memorable for them.  He always has a big smile for them.  He encourages and commends them.  It is a wonderful thing to see.”

                “We can follow the promptings of the Spirit.  President Monson beautifully stated his devotion to the Lord and his commitment to following the promptings of the Spirit with these words:  `The sweetest experience I know in life is to feel a prompting and act upon it and later find out that it was the fulfillment of someone’s prayer or someone’s need.  And I always want the Lord to know that if He needs an errand run, Tom Monson will run that errand for Him.”  (See On the Lord’s Errand, DVD, 2008.)

                “We can love the temple.  President Monson will go down in history as one of the great temple builders in the history of the Church.  Since becoming President of the Church in February 2008, he has continued the great work of building temples.  In the six years he has been the prophet, President Monson has announced plans to build 33 new temples.

                “President Monson has said, `May each of us live worthy lives, with clean hands and pure hearts, so that the temple may touch our lives and our families.’  (See “Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, Oct. 2010, p. 19.)

                “He has also given this wonderful promise:  `As we love the temple, touch the temple, and attend the temple, our lives will reflect our faith.  As we come to these holy houses of God, as we remember the covenants we make within, we shall be able to bear every trial and overcome each temptation.”  (See Be Your Best Self (1979), p. 56; emphasis added.)

                “We can be kind, considerate, and loving.  President Monson is a wonderful example of loving others.  His entire ministry has been filled with making visits to homes, placing his hands on heads and giving blessings; making unexpected phone calls to comfort and encourage; sending letters of encouragement, commendation, and appreciation; visiting hospitals and care centers; and find time to go to funerals and viewings despite a very busy schedule.

                “Just as the Savior would do, Thomas Monson has gone about doing good (see Acts 10:38) and blessing and loving others; this has been the driving force in his life.”

                As an example – one of many – Elder Walker described meeting with the First Presidency to discuss plans for the dedication of the Brigham City Utah Temple located about an hour north of Salt Lake City.  Even though President Monson could easily travel to Brigham City to dedicate the temple, he assigned President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to do the dedication.  “Brigham City is the hometown of President … Packer, this great Apostle who has sat beside me for so many years in the Twelve.  I want him to have the honor and blessing of dedicating the temple in his hometown….  I want it to be his day.”

                I attended a broadcast of the dedication and sensed the gratitude that President Packer felt for this honor.  He and his wife both grew up in Brigham City and spent a wonderful in the temple there.  Elder Walker stated, “I was very touched by President Monson’s kind and magnanimous gesture to his fellow Apostle.  We can all be that way.  We can share and be kind and think more of those around us.”

                President Monson has taught us in words and example how to live as true followers of Jesus Christ.  We will be blessed as we follow the pattern he has provided for us.  As we do so we will strengthen our capacity to be even more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

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