President ThomasS. Monson, the prophet of the Lord, addressed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently. His message to the priesthood brethren on Saturday evening was to keep the commandments, seek the Holy Ghost, avoid sin, repent, and strengthen testimonies. “Throughout our lives we will need to nurture strong testimonies by studying the scriptures and by praying and by pondering the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When firmly planted, our testimonies of the gospel, of the Savior, and of our Heavenly Father will influence all that we do.” “May we keep the commandments! Wonderful and glorious things are in store for us if we do.”
Speaking to the general membership of the Church on Sunday, President Monson asked us “to be an example and a light to the world” by cultivating the following “attributes of a believer” to let our lights shine: (1) Be an example in word and in conversation, (2) Emulate the Savior’s example of charity, (3) Be an example in spirit, (4) Be an example of faith, (5) Be an example of purity. He concluded his talk: “That each of us within the sound of my voice may pledge to follow Him, thus becoming a shining light to the world, is my prayer.”
President Monson is noticeably growing older and weaker. We collectively held our breath as we watched him start slumping and speaking slower towards the end of his talk. I personally was praying that he would not fall, and I know others were also.
Greg Trimble wrote of his feelings in an article entitled “President Monson … I Wish I Could Have Held You Up.” “If you were watching general conference this Sunday morning, your heart probably melted as you watched President Monson’s physical strength begin to fail on him in front of the entire Church. He started strong, and then all of the sudden it was as if an entire lifetime of church service came crashing down onto his shoulders.
“It’s the first time that I can remember actually praying specifically for a person at the pulpit so that they would have the strength to endure. As I watched this man… this great man struggle through the last half of his message, I couldn’t help but become emotional. For me, it was as if the words he was speaking at the moment took a backseat to the symbolism of what I was witnessing, and in that moment, it was as if his spirit was speaking directly to mine.”
Another blogger wrote, “Towards the end of his address, President Monson’s speech slowed, and he began repeating words. He appeared to have difficulty standing, and he was leaning on the podium to brace himself. My feelings went from slight concern to fear very quickly. My greatest worry was that he would fall, and my greatest question was, `Why is no one standing by him?’
“Luckily, President Monson was able to finish his talk and we all watched with relief as President Uchtdorf and others grabbed hold of President Monson and helped him to his seat. That was the end of the story as I knew it.”
The blogger then shared the following account given by Michelle Cope: “Most of you probably did not see what was happening behind President Monson at the end of his talk. I was on the floor, just a few rows form the very front of the Conference Center with a clear view of the scene. You might have noticed that President Monson really struggled to finish the last couple of minutes of his talk and especially the last 30 seconds. I was afraid for him. I thought he might faint, pass out, or something worse.
“And then, my heart melted when I saw behind President Monson was President Uchtdorf – on the edge of his seat, almost half-way standing up, with his arms stretched out, ready to catch the Prophet at any moment if he fell. You could see the worried expression on President Uchtdorf’s face as well as focused determination. He was on high alert and ready to catch him. As soon as President Monson said, `Amen’, President Uchtdorf was immediately at his side and carried him back to is seat, safe and sound.”
A third blogger shared the Facebook posting of Risa Anderson Bates: “Do you believe children see things we can’t? I do! My sister had her children draw the Prophet during his talk today to help them listen better.
“President Monson’s health started to greatly falter towards the end of his talk, and many of us were worried. Yet he incredibly finished what he started.
“My niece Saylor (age 5) did as she was told and `drew what she saw’. When my sister questioned her about the two figures on either side of him, she replied she didn’t know, but there were 2 guys!”
“Saylor’s mother then explained a conversation she had with her daughter the following day. `The next morning I laid in bed with her and asked her to tell me about the people she drew next to the Prophet. Her face lit up and with a huge smile she said, “They were covered with sprinkles!! (Sparkles). Oh how precious my girls are and oh how precious our Prophet is!!!’
“How truly remarkable little children, who many times are allowed to see that which we cannot. Bates later said: `I truly believe they are closer to `above’ that we are. No wonder we are supposed to be `child-like’.”
This blogger reminded readers of a promise found in Doctrine and Covenants 84:88 that President Monson often quoted: “I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”
Obviously, President Uchtdorf did not see angels or he would not have shown such concern. I personally believe the children saw angels bearing President Monson up. I have no doubts that angels support our prophets and apostles as well as other righteous people. Why would the Lord let His prophet fall when He could send angels to “bear [him] up”? My concern now is that our dear beloved President Monson will be taken from us soon.