A prophet's voice - Following the Lord's anointed
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We have recently gathered together with latter-day saints all over the world to hear the voice of Prophets, seers and revelators in general conference. It was indeed a glorious spiritual feast! Prayers were answered, difficult issues addressed, life's experiences and trials put into perspective, and testimonies borne which penetrated every heart. At the conclusion of this spiritual feast, I am reminded of a few lines from Rudyard Kipling's poem entitled "Recessional":
The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!
The question I am asking myself is: What can I do to make the things I have felt and learned become a part of my actions, my relationships, and my life? Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve, described my feelings best when he said: "It is not even enough for us to be convinced of the gospel; we must act and think so that we are converted by it. In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something" (Dallin Oaks, "The Challenge to Become," Ensign, January 2001).
The story was once shared with me of two women who walked together each day. One was a member of the Church and the other was not. In an effort to share the gospel with her friend, the Church member said, "I am so excited because it is general conference time." To which the friend inquired, What is that? The woman then said, "This is a time held every six months when members of the Church gather to hear the words of prophets, seers and revelators. These words are translated and broadcast all over the world." The neighbor became very animated and asked, "You mean, you believe in prophets who can see things that are not yet seen?" To which she replied. "Yes, that is exactly right." The two walked along in silence as the woman's friend absorbed this. At length her friend asked, "So tell me, what did they tell you to do last general conference?" The Church member thought for a long while. And then admitted, "You know, I can't remember." This prompted one additional observation from her friend. "Then what good does it do to belong to a Church who believes in living prophets if you don't remember what they told you to do?"
As the world is flooded with messages twittering, blogging and Facebooking around the world, young women and their leaders must be attentive and alert to the sure voices of prophets, seers and revelators. In fact, I believe, in a world increasing in media messages each young woman must be riveted on their words and know how to apply them in their lives. Prophets speak for God. They are a voice of warning. They can guide, direct, admonish correct and teach. They can provide personal answers to life's questions and challenges. They can also prepare each of us for what is to come.
In Young Women, the curriculum has been updated with current messages from the prophets, seers, revelators and other Church leaders. This is being done through the use of the online Resource Guide, which updates the lessons in the Young Women Lesson Manual 3. These inspired general conference addresses can now become part of our Sunday lessons, and could also become a part of family discussions, youth talks, seminary sharing, and family home evening lessons. General conference talks were posted almost immediately after they were delivered. The Church's Youth website (www.youth.ldschurch.org) contains quotes that are especially relevant to the lives of our young women. Leaders and parents can use these talks and quotes to begin a discussion in a lesson setting. The Resource Guide for Leaders will continually update the lessons with the current words of the prophets, visual resources and relevant questions. These teachings will bless and guide the young women and all of us as we focus not only on what they have said but what we will do to live the doctrine they have taught. In the recent General Young Women meeting, President Henry B. Eyring taught the young women, their mothers and leaders about testimony. He said, "You remember the promise of the Savior: 'If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.' " He then went on to teach, "You will come to feel light growing in your life. It will not come without effort. But it will come as your testimony grows and you choose to nurture it."
I believe that in order for our precious young women to be able to navigate in the world in which they now live, they will need to be riveted on the words of the prophets, seers and revelators. They will need to hear them in general conference, in their homes and in their young women classes. They will need to not only know what was taught but how to accept and act on these prophetic words. They will need to be shown how to relate the doctrine to their everyday lives and the situations they face. They will need to be mentored on how it connects with Personal Progress. It is so important that what they learn on Sunday, translates into action on Monday.
Perhaps Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve summed it up best when he said, "As our conference comes to a close, ... We testify to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people that God not only lives but also that He speaks, that for our time and in our day the counsel you have heard is, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, 'the will of the Lord, … the word of the Lord, … the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.' "
As general conference came to a close, I like you, felt renewed commitment, testimony, and enthusiasm for the great work in which we are engaged. I felt a deep sense of gratitude for every young women leader all over the world. Our great work is to assist the Lord in helping to provide settings where the Spirit can take words of truth deep into the hearts of each young woman so that as the scriptures say … "they never did fall away." As one young woman told her grandfather, "I want to leave the meetings with a fire in my heart."
Perhaps each of us will want to carefully consider ways we will teach these messages in classes, in our homes and in the community. Perhaps each of us might want to make a personal "to do list" of things that we can do in our lives to learn and live these messages. Perhaps each of us will want to review carefully the messages in written and visual form on the Internet. The time has come to hold these words close, download them onto our iPods, our iPads and our mobile devices; but more importantly into our hearts — "lest we forget, lest we forget."