Notes from the second hour of the priesthood session, October 2006. All three members of the First Presidency spoke this hour.
Notes from the first hour are at http://www.millennialstar.org/index.php/2006/10/01/priesthood_session_notes_october_2006_fi_1
Pres. James E. Faust
My grandfather grazed his cattle in high mountain valleys. They needed nutirents from rock salt, from mines several miles away. I filled a pack saddle with rock salt — horse was “slow poke”. Grandfather gave me Slowpoke so I could follow him on his horse. My horse was slow, but he was given a heavy load. Salt stung my legs.
Grandfather — sang “Show me your companinons and I will tell you who you are” as we rode.
Salt provides nutrients to cattle. Humans need more than rock salt. Life is more than meat. The human spirit needs love, words of faith and doctrine.
Spiritual nourishment prepares us for baptism, repentance, willingness to take His name, manifesting by our works that we have received of His spirit. The most important nutrient is that God is our Father, Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost is the Comforter. This is borne to us by the Holy Ghost. This leads to faith and trust in God.
We get this nourishment from many sources. Here are three:
A high school senior decided to study scriptures for a half hour each day. As he was reading the New Testament, he felt he wasn’t getting the insight and expected blessings that he thought he should. “What am I doing wrong?” he wondered. Just then, he recalled an episode at school, in which he and some friends were telling off-color jokes to which he had contributed. As he recalled this, his eyes fell upon the following passage from Matthew:
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.–Matt. 12:36-37
He knew that the Spirit had directed him to these words at this time. He was reading, studying, even enjoying the scriptures, but not living the counsel in the scriptures. As he tried to incorporate the scriptures in his life, he saw the blessings.
When knowledge of the gospel fills our soul we love God and want to seve him and our fellow men.
A group of priests were gathering food for a service project. Jim wanted to collect the most, but he returned to the meeting place with an empty cart. He had stopped at home of non-member woman, explained to her what he was doing. She looked for food to contribute, and he noticed that her cupboards were bare. There were many kids in the house. She gave him a can of peaches. Jim got halfway up the street, then felt a prompting to go back and give her all the food he had collected, which he did. Jim had tasted the nutrient of selfless service
Many nutrients come from serving a mission, from helping people become spiritually awake, so they can accept the gospel.
J. Golden Kimball story (Bryce’s note: Pres. Faust paraphrased the first long paragraph, but I include it here because it’s easier for me to cut and paste than to edit my notes
Let me call your attention to an incident. It happened away down in Alabama. That was at a time in the â€™90â€™s when I presided over the southern states mission. The elders had been asked to assemble themselves together. They were laboring in that low, marshy, malarial district that was scarcely safe for a human being to live in, suffering with malaria, rather low-spirited, because they had been travelling without purse or scrip through that section of the country. We assembled to hold a conference. After the conference was over, two days, we were to hold a priesthood meeting. We had no place to meet in those days except in the woods, but I had instructed the elders to clean some place off in the woods, a circle, where we could meet together and hold our priesthood meeting. On that occasion there was a young man whose mother was a remarkable woman, a Latter-day Saint. The father had left the Church years and years ago. He opposed the boy, he stood out against him, but the motherâ€™s faith and the faith of the young man who was in that conference did not fail. I donâ€™t know what the trouble was, but one of his legs was as large as my body, and it looked like a great piece of raw meat. It looked like it would burst. The people there did the best they could for him. He had no physician. We did not know what a physician was in the South, in my day. There may have been physicians there, but I never happened to meet any. So on this occasion I said to this elder: â€˜Well, you will have to stay here with the people. You canâ€™t go up there.â€™ â€˜Why,â€™ he said, â€˜Brother Kimball, I have been dreaming about this, and I have been talking about it. It would ruin my whole mission unless I can be at that priesthood meeting.â€™ â€˜Well,â€™ I said, â€˜if you feel that way, two of the elders will carry you up there, one mile.â€™ We went there in order to get away, to a place where we would be secluded, and when we got into the woods in that little circle and sat down, as best we could, I looked those elders over. I was not very well myself, but I said: â€˜Brethren, what are you preaching?â€™
â€˜We are preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.â€™
â€˜Are you telling these people that you have the power and authority, through faith, to heal the sick?â€™
They said, â€˜Yes.â€™
â€˜Well then, why donâ€™t you believe it?â€™
This young man spoke up and he said: â€˜I believe it.â€™ He sat down on a stump and the elders gathered around him. He was anointed and I administered to him, and he was healed right in their presence. It was quite a shock; and every other elder that was sick was administered to, and they were all healed. We went out of that priesthood meeting and the elders received their appointments, and there was a joy and happiness that cannot be described. The people gathered around, and the elders before their departure, got down and they cried. Those elders, many of them, had never seen one another until they assembled in that conference, and â€˜Such love,â€™ those people said, â€˜we have never knownâ€™
Spiritual nutrients can lose their potency if we do not live worthy of the divine guidance we need.
13 Â¶ Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.–Matt. 5:13
We must keep our minds and bodies clean of that which pollutes. We would never eat spoiled food — it is the same same with our minds and spirits — internet, computer games, movies, etc.
Becasue we live in such an evnirornment, we need to increase our spiritual strength.
Enos prayed all day and night. He craved the spiritual nutrients. Christ told the woman at well, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14).
Hopefully we are here tonight becasue we want to be spiritually nourished. I hope that we will always have this desire.
Each young man has inside you all of the essential elements for your eternal destiny. These need to be strenghtened and nourished — some are physical, some are spiritual. Alma taught, “that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.” (Alma 34:34)
Through your priesthood you are able to bless others in the name of the Lord. This comes from the divine agency and trust put in us by the Lord. “Whomsoever you bless, I will bless.”
I hope will be faithful in our covenants, in our family relationships, with our spouses, parents, children.
Pres. Thomas S. Monson
Bryce’s note: Much of the content of this talk can also be found in an address from the October 1999 conference: http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1999.htm/ensign%20november%201999.htm/priesthood%20power.htm
Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
Duty. Robert E. Lee — “Duty is the sublimest word in the language. You can never do more than your duty. You should never wish to do less”
Each of us has duties associated with the priesthood. Much is expected of each of us.
Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.–D&C 107:99
Forty-four years ago I heard William J. Critchlow Jr., then president of the South Ogden Stake, speak to the brethren in the general priesthood session of conference, and retell a story concerning trust, honor, and duty. May I share the story with you. Its simple lesson applies to us today, as it did then.
Rupert stood by the side of the road watching an unusual number of people hurry past. At length he recognized a friend. â€˜Where are all of you going in such a hurry?â€™ he asked.
The friend paused. â€˜Havenâ€™t you heard?â€™ he said.
â€˜Iâ€™ve heard nothing,â€™ Rupert answered.
â€˜Well,â€™ continued [the] friend, â€˜the King has lost his royal emerald. Yesterday he attended a wedding of the nobility and wore the emerald on the slender golden chain around his neck. In some way the emerald became loosened from the chain. Everyone is searching, for the King has offered a reward to the one who finds it. Come, we must hurry.â€™
â€˜But I cannot go without asking Grandmother,â€™ faltered Rupert.
â€˜Then I cannot wait. I want to find the emerald,â€™ replied his friend.
Rupert hurried back to the cabin at the edge of the woods to seek his grandmotherâ€™s permission. â€˜If I could find it we could leave this hut with its dampness and buy a piece of land up on the hillside,â€™ he pleaded with Grandmother.
But his grandmother shook her head. â€˜What would the sheep do?â€™ she asked. â€˜Already they are restless in the pen, waiting to be taken to the pastureâ€”and please do not forget to take them to water when the sun shines high in the heavens.â€™
Sorrowfully, Rupert took the sheep to the pasture, and at noon he led them to the brook in the woods. There he sat on a large stone by the stream. â€˜If I could only have had a chance to look for the Kingâ€™s emerald,â€™ he thought. Turning his head to gaze down at the sandy bottom of the brook, suddenly he stared into the water. What was it? It could not be! He leaped into the water, and his gripping fingers held something that was green, with a slender bit of gold chain. â€˜The Kingâ€™s emerald!â€™ he shouted. â€˜It must have been flung from the chain when the King [astride his horse, galloped across the bridge spanning the stream, and the current carried] it here.â€™
With shining eyes Rupert ran to his grandmotherâ€™s hut to tell her of his great find. â€˜Bless you, my boy,â€™ she said, â€˜but you never would have found it if you had not been doing your duty, herding the sheep.â€™ And Rupert knew that this was the truth.
The lesson to be learned from this story is found in the familiar couplet: “Do your duty; that is best. Leave unto the Lord the rest.”
Quorum presidents — your duty does not end when your term of office concludes — it continues throughout your life.
As teachers quorum president, at the urging of my advisor, I worked to make sure teachers were attending regularly. Two were a challenge, but with patience, diligence and persuasion, they came. Each of them drifted back to inactivty later. Over the years, I’ve seen them. Whenever I do, I remind them, “I’m still your quorum president, and I won’t let go. You mean so much to me, and I want you to enjoy the blessings of activity in the church.”
For those of us who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, our privilege to magnify our callings is ever present. We are shepherds watching over Israel. The hungry sheep look up, ready to be fed the bread of life. Are we prepared to feed the flock of God? It is imperative that we recognize the worth of a human soul, that we never give up on one of His precious sons.
One Halloween, I was assisting one who lost his way. Driving home late from work (on purpose, to avoid dealing with trick-or-treaters). I was passing St. Mark’s hospital, and recalled that my friend Max lay ill in the hospital (we had discovered we had grown up in the same ward although at different times). I went into the hospital, and was told that when Max had registered at the hospital, he had listed another church besides the LDS church as his religion. I met with him, and learned that he had been offended by others in the church, so he went to another church. I gave him a blessing, and reminded him that he held the Melchizedek Priesthood. His wife Alice also was very ill, and was in an adjoining room. I joined him in giving a blessing to her. It was a powerful spiritual experience.
On my way out, I told the nurse, with permission of Max and his wife, I wanted to see his record changed to reflect his religion as LDS. Max and Alice are now gone, but they spent the last years of their lives receiving the blessings of activity in the chhurch.
our task is to reach out ot those who need our help. we are on the lrods errand, so we are entitled to the lords help. If we don’t try, they we don’t do, and if we don’t do, then whhy are we here (from shenandoah).
We must so conduct our lives, so whhen the call comes, we are worthy to do so. We cannot escpae thee effect of our personal influence. we must make usre that our influence is positive and uplfiting. are our hands clean, and hearts pure?
Are our reaching hands clean? Are our yearning hearts pure? Looking backward in time through the pages of history, we glean a lesson of worthiness from the words of the dying King Darius.
Darius, through the proper rites had been recognized as legitimate King of Egypt. His rival Alexander the Great had been declared legitimate son of Ammon. He, too, was Pharaoh. Alexander, finding the defeated Darius on the point of death, laid his hands upon his head to heal him, commanding him to arise and resume his kingly power, concluding, “I swear unto thee, Darius, by all the gods, that I do these things truly and without fakery.” Darius replied with a gentle rebuke, “Alexander, my boy, do you think you can touch heaven with those hands of yours?” (quoted by Hugh Nibley, Abraham in Egypt Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 192).
George Albert Smith, said, “It is your duty first of all to learn what the Lord wants and then by the power and strength of His holy Priesthood to [so] magnify your calling in the presence of your fellows in such a way that the people will be glad to follow you.”
How does one magnify a calling? Simply by performing the service that pertains to it.
We have accepted the call; we have been ordained; we bear the priesthood.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.–James 1:22
May all of us assembled tonight in this priesthood meeting make a renewed effort to qualify for the Lordâ€™s guidance in our lives. There are many out there who plead and pray for help. There are those who are discouraged, those who are beset by poor health and challenges of life which leave them in despair.
Iâ€™ve always believed in the truth of the words, â€œGodâ€™s sweetest blessings always go by hands that serve him here below.â€ 9 Let us have ready hands, clean hands, and willing hands, that we may participate in providing what our Heavenly Father would have others receive from Him.
I conclude with an example in my own life. Once I had a treasured friend who seemed to experience more of lifeâ€™s troubles and frustrations than he could bear. Finally he lay in the hospital, terminally ill. I knew not that he was there.
Sister Monson and I had gone to that same hospital to visit another person who was very ill. As we exited the hospital and proceeded to where our car was parked, I felt the distinct impression to return and make inquiry concerning whether Hyrum Adams might be a patient there. Long years before, I had learned never, never, to postpone a prompting from the Lord. It was late, but a check with the desk clerk confirmed that indeed Hyrum was a patient.
We proceeded to his room, knocked on the door, and opened it. We were not prepared for the sight that awaited us. Balloon bouquets were everywhere. Prominently displayed on the wall was a poster with the words â€œHappy Birthdayâ€ written on it. Hyrum was sitting up in his hospital bed, his family members by his side. When he saw us, he said, â€œWhy, Brother Monson, how in the world did you know that this is my birthday?â€ I smiled but I left the question unanswered.
Those in the room who held the Melchizedek Priesthood surrounded this, their father and my friend, and a priesthood blessing was given.
After tears were shed, smiles of gratitude exchanged, and tender hugs received and given, I leaned over to Hyrum and spoke softly to him: â€œHyrum, remember the words of the Lord, for they will sustain you. He promised, â€˜I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.â€™ â€ 10
let us learn our duties, and live worthy to perform our duties, and so follow in the footsteps of our Master — father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley
The time has come to go to work. This is probably the largest gathering of priesthood men that has ever occured
I recently listened on tv to a concert by the BYU men’s chorus. They sang, Rise Up, O Men of God. It was written in 1911 by William P. Merrill. A version of it is in our hymnbook. (I do not recall ever hearing it before) The words carry the spirit of old English hymns written by Charles Wesley
Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and sould and mind and strength
To serve the King of Kings.
Rise up, O men of God,
In one united throng.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
And end the night of wrong.
Rise up, O men of God!
Tread where his feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men of God!
The scriptures are plain in their appliciation to each of us. Nephi quotes from Isaiah “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandmentsâ€”then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” (1 Ne 20:18).
Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.–2 Ne 1:23
There is not one of us who cannot improve his life, and this must happen, for we hold the priesthood of God. If we are boys who have the Aaronic Priesthood, we are entitled to the ministering of angels. What a remarkable thing this is. If we hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, then we have the keys of the kingdom. With this priesthood comes the obligation to be worthy of it. Pornography and abusive behavior render us unworthy.
Rise up, O men of God! and put these things behind you.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. —Isa. 41:10
Some young men delight in dressing in a slouchy manner. It is unbecoming of young men ordained to the priesthood of God. Our language sometimes matches our dress, through profanity, and the taking of the Lord’s name in vain. The Lord has spoken plainly against this.
Pres. Spencer W. Kimball was in the hospital. A male nurse put him on a gurney, bumped it, and took the Lord’s name in vain. Pres. Kimball, half conscious, said, “Please, please, that is my Lord’s name who you revile.” The nurse apologized: “I am sorry, very sorry”.
Another matter of great concern — in revelation, the Lord has mandated that this people get all the education they can. A troubling trend — Elder Ralph Kerr, Church Commissioner of Education, reports that nearly 73% of young women, but only 65% of young men graduate from high school. Approx. 61% of young men enroll in college immediately after graduating high school, while 72% of women do. In 1950, 70% of college students were males. By 2010, it will be 40% male, 60% female. Women have earned more bachelor’s degrees since 1982 than men, and more master’s degrees since 1986. It is plain that young women are exceeding young men in purusing education.
Rise up and take advantage of educational opportunities. We speak of being equally yoked. This applies to the matter of education. Also, your ecucation will help your service in the church. The higher the level of education, the greater the level of activity in the church.
Pornography easily becomes an addiction of the worst kind. A letter: “I am a 35 year old male. For most of my adult life, I have been addicted to pornography. I am very ashamed to admit this. It is as real an addition as that of an alcoholic or a drug addict. The church cannot do enough to counsel members to avoid pornography. I was molested by a cousin, and pornography was used to facilitate this. I think it is ironic that those who support pornogrphay that they call it freedom of expression. I have no freedom. Please tell the members to not only avoid, but to eliminate sources of pornographic material in their lives. Not only books and magazines, but cable channels and others.”
“Pornogrpahy and perversion have become commonplace. I have found pornographic magainzes by the roadside and in dumps. We must teach our children, to tell them how evil these things are, to avoid them.”
The computer is a wonderful instrument when properly used, but when used to deal with pornogrophy or chatrooms, or any other evil practice, then there must be self-discipline enough to turn it off.
Purge ye out the iniquity which is among you; sanctify yourselves before me; —D&C 43:11
The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple. —D&C 93:35
The Lord has spoken plainly, We must take care of our mortal body and avoid that which would do it harm. He has promised,
Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.” —D&C 112:10
God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now;–D&C 121:26
All of us would do well to study the life fo the Master and to emulate his doings. Also study the exmaple of Joseph Smith.
If we will make an effort to improve our lives, the result will become evident.