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Sister Kathy Andersen emphasizes the importance of following 'the watchman on the tower'

Carcassonne, a city in France that has stood since medieval times, is protected by large walls. Watchmen in ancient times climbed the city’s tall towers to spot impending danger and warn the people of Carcassonne of the things they could not see.

During BYU Women’s Conference on May 4, Sister Kathy Andersen spoke of visiting the city with her husband, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They thought of the people who lived in the city centuries ago and then they thought of Latter-day Saints today.

Church members are like the people of Carcassonne and the prophet is the watchman on the tower, she said.

“This is our day. This is our time,” she said. “As we help prepare for the Second Coming of the Savior, we have to know what we have been asked to do by the prophet of our day and then we have to have the faith and courage to simply do it.”

Speaking to thousands gathered in the BYU Marriott Center, Sister Andersen said one of her favorite stories is found in 2 Kings 5.

“You will remember that Namaan had leprosy and went to the Prophet Elisha to be healed,” she recalled. “The prophet instructed that Namaan should simply wash in the River Jordan seven times to be healed. Naaman protested but finally he did wash in the River Jordan seven times, and he was healed.”

Like Namaan, Church members have also received guidance and direction from a prophet, she said.

Sister Andersen said one month ago, during the Sunday morning session of general conference, President Russell M. Nelson, acting as a watchman, gave Latter-day Saints a “glimpse of the glorious days he sees ahead.”

“Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory,” President Nelson said.

Sister Andersen said President Nelson also gave Church members a glimpse of grave spiritual danger ahead.

“In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting and constant influence of the Holy Ghost,” he said.

Sister Andersen said when members hear a prophet's warning and realize they are in harm’s way, they should move to safety. “President Nelson gave us very specific direction on what to do,” she said.

• “Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly.”

• “I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation.”

• “I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation.”

Sister Andersen added: “Should we be concerned? Yes! Do we need to be afraid? No! Because there is a path to safety.”

During his conference address, President Nelson asked members to “find a quiet place where [we] can regularly go” to pray. Sister Andersen said President Nelson also asked members to:

• Humble yourself before God.

• Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father.

• Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.

• Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses — yes, the very longings of your heart.

Then President Nelson gave specific direction:

• Listen!

• Write the thoughts that come to your mind.

• Record your feelings.

• Follow through with actions that you are prompted to take.

“Like you, I have prayed since I was a child but I haven’t always prayed like this until the last few weeks. I will tell you that I have felt something different, like ‘the dews from heaven distilling upon my soul ... ,’ ” said Sister Andersen. “We can do all that we have been asked to do. If we really want to follow the prophet with exactness, God will help us do it.”