Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Thomas S. Monson General Conference Highlights: October 1976 - April 1978

Here's a focus on some Thomas S. Monson General Conference talks as I go through the past, proving highlights.

OCTOBER 1976 - "Which Road Will You Travel?"

You and I have the God-given gift to choose the direction we go. Indeed, the apostle Paul likened life to a race with a clearly defined goal. To the saints at Corinth he urged: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” (1 Cor. 9:24.) In our zeal, let us not overlook the sage counsel from Ecclesiastes: “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.” (Eccl. 9:11.) Actually, the prize belongs to him who endures to the end.

Each must ask himself the questions: “Where am I going?” “How do I intend to get there?” “Really, what is my divine destiny?”...

May each of us know where he is going, be willing to make the continuous effort required to get there, avoid any detour, and be ready to pay the often very high price of faith and determination to win life’s race. Then, as mortality ends, we shall hear the plaudit from our Eternal Judge, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matt. 25:21.)

APRIL 1977 - "Your Jericho Road"

Each of us, in the journey through mortality, will travel his own Jericho Road. What will be your experience? What will be mine? Will I fail to notice him who has fallen among thieves and requires my help? Will you?

Will I be one who sees the injured and hears his plea, yet crosses to the other side? Will you? Or will I be one who sees, who hears, who pauses, and who helps? Will you?

Jesus provided our watchword, “Go, and do thou likewise.” When we obey that declaration, there opens to our eternal view a vista of joy seldom equaled and never surpassed...

My brothers and sisters, today there are hearts to gladden, there are deeds to be done—even precious souls to save. The sick, the weary, the hungry, the cold, the injured, the lonely, the aged, the wanderer—all cry out for our help.

The road signs of life enticingly invite every traveler: This way to fame; this way to affluence; this way to popularity; this way to luxury. Pause at the crossroads before you continue your journey. Listen for that still, small voice which ever so gently beckons, “Come, follow me. This way to Jericho.”

OCTOBER 1977 - "The Way of the Lord"

No member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who has canned peas, topped beets, hauled hay, or shoveled coal in such a cause ever forgets or regrets the experience of helping provide for those in need. Devoted men and women help to operate this vast and inspired program. In reality, the plan would never succeed on effort alone, for this program operates through faith after the way of the Lord...

In a plan outlined and taught by inspired prophets of God, Latter-day Saints fast one day each month and contribute generously to a fast offering fund at least the equivalent of the meals forfeited and usually many times more. Such sacred offerings finance the operation of storehouses, supply cash needs of the poor, and provide medical care for the sick who are without funds.

In many areas, the offerings are collected each month by the boys who are deacons as they visit each member’s home generally quite early on the Sabbath day. I recall that the boys in the congregation over which I presided had assembled one morning, sleepy-eyed, a bit disheveled, and mildly complaining about arising so early to fulfill their assignment. Not a word of reproof was spoken, but during the following week, we escorted the boys to Welfare Square for a guided tour. They saw firsthand a lame person operating the telephone switchboard, an older man stocking shelves, women arranging clothing to be distributed—even a blind person placing labels on cans. Here were individuals earning their sustenance through their contributed labors. A penetrating silence came over the boys as they witnessed how their efforts each month helped to collect the sacred fast offering funds which aided the needy and provided employment for those who otherwise would be idle.

APRIL 1978 - "The Prayer of Faith"

Today, in a quiet grove at Valley Forge, there is an heroic-sized monument to Washington. He is depicted not astride a charging horse nor overlooking a battlefield of glory, but kneeling in humble prayer, calling upon the God of Heaven for divine help. To gaze upon the statue prompts the mind to remember the oft-heard expression, “A man never stands taller than when upon his knees.”

Men and women of integrity, character, and purpose have ever recognized a power higher than themselves and have sought through prayer to be guided by that power. Such has it ever been. So shall it ever be.

In the very beginning, Father Adam was commanded, “Call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.” (Moses 5:8.) Adam prayed. Abraham prayed. Isaac prayed. Moses prayed, and so did every prophet pray to that God from whence came his strength. Like the sands slipping through an hourglass, generations of mankind were born, lived, and then died. At long last came that glorious event for which prophets prayed, psalmists sang, martyrs died, and all mankind hoped.

The birth of the babe in Bethlehem was transcendent in its beauty and singular in its significance. Jesus of Nazareth brought prophecy to fulfillment. He cleansed lepers, He restored sight, He opened ears, He renewed life, He taught truth, He saved all. In so doing, He honored His Father and provided you and me with an example worthy of emulation.

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