Have you ever wondered what “sustaining” our Church leaders really means? We have the opportunity as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to sustain those the Lord has called to serve. We show our willingness to sustain them when we raise our hand affirmatively when asked, but we should understand that sustaining our leaders means much more than simply raising our hand. When we indicate our willingness to sustain someone, we are effectively saying that we stand behind them, pray for them, will accept any assignments and callings they offer, obey their counsel, and refrain from criticizing them.
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency explained that when we vote to sustain someone, “we make solemn promises. We promise to pray for the Lord’s servants and that He will lead and strengthen them (see Doctrine and Covenants 93:51). We pledge that we will look for and expect to feel inspiration from God in their counsel and whenever they act in their calling (see Doctrine and Covenants 1:38).
“That promise will need to be renewed in our hearts frequently. Your Sunday School teacher will try to teach by the Spirit, but just as you might do, your teacher may make mistakes in front of the class. You, however, can decide to listen and watch for the moments when you can feel inspiration come. In time you will notice fewer mistakes and more frequent evidence that God is sustaining that teacher.
“As we raise a hand to sustain a person, we commit to work for whatever purpose of the Lord that person is called to accomplish. When our children were small, my wife was called to teach the little children in our ward. I not only raised my hand to sustain her, but I also prayed for her and then asked permission to help her. The lessons I received of appreciation for what women do and of the Lord’s love for children still bless my family and my life.” (See “Called of God and Sustained by the People,” Liahona, June 2012.)