Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thomas S. Monson

                    My very important person for this week is Thomas Spencer Monson, prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I chose to write about President Monson because he has such a sense of duty and is such a good example of service to other people.

                    President Monson serves other people because he has a testimony of Jesus Christ and is converted to following Him.  He explained how Christ is the perfect example of doing one's duty to serve others.   "Although He came to earth as the Son of God, He humbly served those around Him.  He came forth from heaven to live on earth as mortal man and to establish the kingdom of God.  His glorious gospel reshaped the thinking of the world" ("The Bridge Builder," Ensign, Nov. 2003, 68).

                    The scriptures tell us that He said, "I came into the world to do the will of my Father" (Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 3 Nephi 27:13).  Another scripture tells us that He "went about doing good,… for God was with him" (Acts 10:38).

                    President Monson reminded us that Christ answered His call of duty in the Garden of Gethsemane when He said, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:  nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39).  President Monson also said, "The Savior was ever up and about - teaching, testifying, and saving others.  Such is our individual duty as members" ("Anxiously Engaged," Ensign, Nov. 2004, 56).

                    Thomas S. Monson follows his own advice.  We often hear stories of his visits to the many aged widows in his ward, but we know that he served other people also.  He was only 22 years old in 1950 when he was called to serve as bishop of the Sixth-Seventh Ward in the Temple View Utah Stake.  This was his home ward, the same ward where he grew to manhood.  He accepted his responsibility to be the "father of the ward, the president of the Aaronic Priesthood, a provider for the poor and needy, the keeper of proper records, and the common judge in Israel" with his usual optimism and love for others.

                    One of his assignments as bishop was to send a subscription to the Church News and to the Improvement Era to every serviceman from his ward.  He was also counseled to write a monthly personal letter to every serviceman from his ward.  Then Bishop Monson understood the importance of personal letters because he had served in the navy during World War II.  He called a sister in the ward to assist him in mailing the letters, and then he proceeded to write to every one of those 23 servicemen every month.  He continued to write to all of them even though some of them did not write back.  One young man did not write to his bishop for seventeen months, but Bishop Monson never got discouraged.  Then he received a letter:  "Dear Bishop, I ain't much at writin' letters.  Thank you for the Church News and magazines, but most of all thank you for the personal letters.  I have turned over a new leaf.  I have been ordained a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood.  My heart is full.  I am a happy man."

                    Several years later while he was speaking at a stake conference,  Elder Monson mentioned writing to all his servicemen.  After the meeting was over, this former serviceman came up to him and thanked his former bishop once again.  "Thank you again for your concern for me and the personal letters which you sent and which I treasure" ("The Call to Duty, "Ensign, May 1986, 39).

                    Elder and then President Thomas S. Monson gave the same counsel for many years as shown by the following quotes (All quotes are from Heidi S. Swinton in "Thomas S. Monson - Answering the Call of Duty," Ensign, August 2012, 11). 

"As we follow in [Jesus Christ's] steps today, we too will have an opportunity to bless the lives of others.  … Jesus invites us to give of ourselves:  `Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.'" ("The Gifts of Christmas," Ensign, Dec. 2003, 2)

                    "To find real happiness, we must seek for it in a focus outside ourselves.  No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellowmen.  Service to others is akin to duty, the fulfillment of which brings true joy" ("The Lord's Way," Ensign, May 1990, 93).

                    "Whatever our calling, regardless of our fears or anxieties, let us pray and then go and do, remembering the words of the Master, even the Lord Jesus Christ, who promised, `I am with you always, even unto the end of the world'" ("They Pray and They Go," Ensign, May 2002, 51).

                    "We can strengthen one another; we have the capacity to notice the unnoticed.  When we have eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that know and feel, we can reach out and rescue those for whom we have responsibility" ("The Call to Serve," Ensign, Nov. 2000, 47).

                    "None of us lives alone - in our city, our nation, or our world.  There is no dividing line between our prosperity and our neighbor's poverty" ("In Quest of the Abundant Life," Ensign, Mar. 1988, 3).

                    "There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save" ("How Firm a Foundation," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 68).

                    "Perhaps when we face our Maker, we will not be asked, `How many positions did you hold,' but rather, `How many people did you help?'" ("Faces and Attitudes," New Era, Sept. 1977, 50).

                    "As we go about our daily lives, we discover countless opportunities to follow the example of the Savior.  When our hearts are in tune with His teachings, we discover the unmistakable nearness of His divine help.  It is almost as though we are on the Lord's errand; and we then discover that, when we are on the Lord's errand, we are entitled to the Lord's help" ("Windows," Ensign, Nov. 1989, 69).

                    "By learning of Him, by believing in Him, by following Him, there is the capacity to become like Him.  [Our] countenance can change; [our] heart can be softened; [our] step can be quickened; [our] outlook enhanced.  Life becomes what it should become" ("The Way of the Master," Ensign, Jan. 2003, 4).

                    Thomas S. Monson is a very important person in the eyes of the Lord because President Monson is the Lord's mouthpiece on earth today.  President Monson is also a very important person in my eyes because I know he is the living prophet of God.  I encourage all of us to follow his counsel because I know that his counsel is exactly what the Lord would have us do.  I know that God desires each of His children to serve His other children; in fact, I know that we have a duty to do so!


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