Friday, August 29, 2014
Thomas S. Monson General Conference Highlights: October 2005 - October 2007 Priesthood session
OCTOBER 2005 - "Do Your Duty - That Is Best"
It is important for each deacon to be guided to a spiritual awareness of the sacredness of his ordained calling. In one ward, the lesson was effectively taught pertaining to the collection of fast offerings.
On fast day, the ward members were visited by deacons and teachers so that each family could make a contribution. The deacons were a bit disgruntled, having to arise earlier than usual to fulfill this assignment.
The inspiration came for the bishopric to take a busload of the deacons and teachers to Welfare Square in Salt Lake City. Here they saw needy children receiving new shoes and other items of clothing. Here they witnessed empty baskets being filled with groceries. There was no money exchanged. One brief comment was made: “Young men, this is what the money you collect on fast day provides—even food, clothing, and shelter for those who are in need.” The Aaronic Priesthood young men smiled more, stepped higher, and served more willingly in filling their assignments.
Now, pertaining to the teachers and priests, every one of you should be given the assignment to home teach with a companion who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood. What an opportunity to prepare for a mission. What a privilege to learn the discipline of duty. A young man will automatically turn from concern for self when he is assigned to “watch over” others.
President David O. McKay counseled: “Home teaching is one of our most urgent and most rewarding opportunities to nurture and inspire, to counsel and direct our Father’s children. … [It] is a divine service, a divine call. It is our duty as Home Teachers to carry the divine spirit into every home and heart.”
APRIL 2006 - "Our Sacred Priesthood Trust"
On one occasion, President David O. McKay was asked by a woman not a member of the Church what specific belief set apart the teachings of the Church from those of any other faith. In speaking of this later, President McKay indicated that he had felt impressed to answer, “That which differentiates the beliefs of my church from those of others is divine authority by direct revelation.”...
The late Elder Delbert L. Stapley of the Quorum of the Twelve once observed: “There are two main requirements of this oath and covenant. First is faithfulness, which denotes obedience to the laws of God and connotes true observance of all gospel standards. …
“The second requirement … is to magnify one’s calling. To magnify is to honor, to exalt and glorify, and cause to be held in greater esteem or respect. It also means to increase the importance of, to enlarge and make greater.”
The Prophet Joseph Smith was once asked, “Brother Joseph, you frequently urge that we magnify our callings. What does this mean?” He is said to have replied, “To magnify a calling is to hold it up in dignity and importance, that the light of heaven may shine through one’s performance to the gaze of other men. An elder magnifies his calling when he learns what his duties as an elder are and then performs them.”
Those who bear the Aaronic Priesthood should be given opportunity to magnify their callings in that priesthood.
OCTOBER 2006 - "True to Our Priesthood Trust"
The legendary General Robert E. Lee of American Civil War fame declared: “Duty is the sublimest word in our language. … You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less” (in John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations , 620).
Each of us has duties associated with the sacred priesthood which we bear. Whether we bear the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood, much is expected of each of us. The Lord Himself summed up our responsibility when He, in the revelation on the priesthood, urged, “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).
I hope with all my heart and soul that every young man who receives the priesthood will honor that priesthood and be true to the trust which is conveyed when it is conferred...
Brethren, our task is to reach out to those who, for whatever reason, are in need of our help. Our challenge is not insurmountable. We are on the Lord’s errand, and therefore we are entitled to the Lord’s help. But we must try. From the play Shenandoah comes the spoken line which inspires: “If we don’t try, then we don’t do; and if we don’t do, then why are we here?”...
The call of duty can come quietly as we who hold the priesthood respond to the assignments we receive. President George Albert Smith, that modest yet effective leader and eighth President of the Church, declared, “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 magnify your calling in the presence of your fellows in such a way that the people will be glad to follow you” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1942, 14).
APRIL 2007 - "The Priesthood - A Sacred Gift"
President Joseph F. Smith defined the priesthood as “the power of God delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family, … by which [men] may speak the will of God as if the angels were here to speak it themselves; by which men are empowered to bind on earth and it shall be bound in heaven, and to loose on earth and it shall be loosed in heaven.” President Smith added, “[The priesthood] is sacred, and it must be held sacred by the people.”
My brethren, the priesthood is a gift which brings with it not only special blessings but also solemn responsibilities. It is our responsibility to conduct our lives so that we are ever worthy of the priesthood we bear. We live in a time when we are surrounded by much that is intended to entice us into paths which may lead to our destruction. To avoid such paths requires determination and courage...
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “There is no limit to the power of the priesthood which you hold. The limit comes in you if you do not live in harmony with the Spirit of the Lord and you limit yourselves in the power you exert.”
My brethren of the priesthood—from the youngest to the oldest—are you living your life in accordance with that which the Lord requires? Are you worthy to bear the priesthood of God? If you are not, make the decision here and now, muster the courage it will take, and institute whatever changes are necessary so that your life is what it should be. To sail safely the seas of mortality, we need the guidance of that eternal mariner—even the great Jehovah. If we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help...
My brethren, let us ever remember that the priesthood of God which we bear is a sacred gift which brings to us and to those we serve the blessings of heaven. May we, in whatever place we may be, honor and protect that priesthood. May we ever be on the Lord’s errand, that we might ever be entitled to the Lord’s help.
There is a war being waged for men’s souls—yours and mine. It continues without abatement. Like a clarion call comes the word of the Lord to you and to me and to priesthood holders everywhere: “Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.”
OCTOBER 2007 - "A Royal Priesthood"
We who hold the priesthood of God and honor it are among those who have been reserved for this special period in history. The Apostle Peter described us in the second chapter of 1 Peter, the ninth verse: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”...
As we offer unto the Lord our family and our personal prayers, let us do so with faith and trust in Him. Let us remember the injunction of the Apostle Paul to the Hebrews: “For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” If any of us has been slow to hearken to the counsel to pray always, there is no finer hour to begin than now. William Cowper declared, “Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.” Those who feel that prayer might denote a physical weakness should consider that a man never stands taller than when he is upon his knees...
May we have vision. May we put forth effort. May we exemplify faith and virtue and ever make prayer a part of our lives. Then we shall indeed be a royal priesthood.