Friday, August 22, 2014

Thomas S. Monson General Highlights: October 1989 - April 1991

Continuing with Thomas S. Monson highlights, where he'd have more responsibility and talking opportunities as Pres. Ezra Taft benson's poor health prevented him from speaking at any more conferences.

OCTOBER 1989 - "The Service That Counts" (from Priesthood session)

This is the service that counts, brethren—the service to which all of us have been called, the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As He enlists us to His cause, He invites us to draw close to Him. He speaks to you and to me:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28–30.)

To all who go forth in His service, He provides this assurance: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” (D&C 84:88.)

Many assembled tonight have responsibility to provide leadership to those holding the Aaronic Priesthood. To you I say: The finest teaching you can provide is that of a good example. Youth need fewer critics and more models to follow. All of us who are engaged in the Lord’s work have the responsibility to reach out to those who are less active and bring them to the service of the Lord. Their souls are ever so precious.

OCT89 - "Windows"

Each time I would visit an older widow whom I had known for many years and whose bishop I had been, my heart grieved at her utter loneliness. A favorite son of hers lived many miles away, and for years he had not visited Mother. Mattie spent long hours in a lonely vigil at her front window. Behind a frayed and frequently opened curtain, the disappointed mother would say to herself, “Dick will come; Dick will come.”

But Dick didn’t come. The years passed by one after another. Then, like a ray of sunshine, Church activity came into the life of Dick. He journeyed to Salt Lake to visit with me. He telephoned upon his arrival and, with excitement, reported the change in his life. He asked if I had time to see him if he were to come directly to my office. My response was one of gladness. However, I said, “Dick, visit your mother first, and then come to see me.” He gladly complied with my request.

Before he could get to my office, there came a phone call from Mattie, his mother. From a joyful heart came words punctuated by tears: “Tom, I knew Dick would come. I told you he would. I saw him through the window.”

Years later at Mattie’s funeral, Dick and I spoke tenderly of that experience. We had witnessed a glimpse of God’s healing power through the window of a mother’s faith in her son.

APRIL 1990 - "Conference Is Here"

Let us live the commandments of God. Let us follow in the footsteps of His Son and our Savior, even Jesus Christ the Lord. As we sincerely and fervently seek Him, we shall indeed find Him.

He may come to us as one unknown, without a name—as of old, by the lakeside, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same words, “Follow thou me” (John 21:22), and sets us to the task which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands, and to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship; and they shall learn in their own experience who He is.

APR90 - "My Brother's Keeper" (from Priesthood session)

In the touching account of the good Samaritan, Jesus teaches vividly the interpretation of the lesson, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 19:19.) Answered effectively is the haunting question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

An entire vista of opportunity is unfolded to our view when we contemplate the magnitude of King Benjamin’s admonition, recorded in the Book of Mormon: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17.)...

We have no way of knowing when our privilege to extend a helping hand will unfold before us. The road to Jericho each of us travels bears no name, and the weary traveler who needs our help may be one unknown. Altogether too frequently, the recipient of kindness shown fails to express his feelings, and we are deprived of a glimpse of greatness and a touch of tenderness that motivates us to go and do likewise.

APR90 - "A Little Child Shall Lead Them"

President Ezra Taft Benson is one who exemplifies a true love for these little ones. To see the tiny tots gather at his side, extend a small hand to be held in his or to kiss his cheek, is to see the love adults should have for these children. No one in the presence of President Benson refers to a child as a “kid.” His correction for such a remark is sure and to the point. A visiting ambassador from another nation errantly made this slip. He was corrected with love.

When we realize just how precious children are, we will not find it difficult to follow the pattern of the Master in our association with them. Not long ago, a sweet scene took place at the Salt Lake Temple. Children, who had been ever so tenderly cared for by faithful workers in the temple nursery, were now leaving in the arms of their mothers and fathers. One child turned to the lovely women who had been so kind to them and, with a wave of her arm, spoke the feelings of her heart as she exclaimed, “Goodnight, angels.”...

My heart burned warmly within me when the First Presidency approved the allocation of a substantial sum from your special fast-offering contributions to join with those funds from Rotary International, that polio vaccine might be provided and the children living in Kenya immunized against this vicious crippler and killer of children.

I thank God for the work of our doctors who leave for a time their own private practices and journey to distant lands to minister to children. Cleft palates and other deformities which would leave a child impaired physically and damaged psychologically are skillfully repaired. Despair yields to hope. Gratitude replaces grief. These children can now look in the mirror and marvel at a miracle in their own lives.

OCTOBER 1990 - "That We May Touch Heaven" (from Priesthood session)

To help him and all youth prepare for their service to God, a new booklet, entitled For the Strength of Youth, has been published under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. The booklet features standards from the writings and teachings of Church leaders and from scriptures, adherence to which will bring the blessings of our Heavenly Father and the guidance of His Son to each of us...

Our beloved President Ezra Taft Benson sends to you his greetings. He loves you. He trusts you. And how might you return that love, that trust?

You have a heritage: Honor it.
You will meet sin: Shun it.
You have the truth: Live it.
You have a testimony: Share it.

OCT90 - "Days Never to Be Forgotten"

In the month of May, my wife and I were in the historic city of Berlin. We boarded a taxi and asked that the driver take us to the Berlin Wall. When the driver failed to respond to the direction provided, again the desired destination was given. Still no movement. Then he turned toward us and, in halting English, explained, “I can’t. The wall is kaput—gone!” We drove to the Brandenburg Gate. We viewed its restoration. We gazed from West Berlin to East Berlin, now one Berlin, and reflected on the events which followed the wall’s demise: a new mission of the Church established in Poland, another in Hungary, yet another in Greece, and a mission reestablished in Czechoslovakia. And now, official recognition of our Leningrad Branch in the Soviet Union. Who, except the Lord Himself, could have foreseen these historic events? It was He who declared, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.” (Matt. 24:14.) Surely the purposes of the Lord continue to unfold to our view if we but have eyes that truly see and hearts that know and feel.

OCT90 - "The Lighthouse of the Lord" (from Women's session)

All of you are sisters to one another and daughters of our Heavenly Father. It is with a humble and prayerful heart that I stand before you. I have always loved the words frequently quoted by President David O. McKay as he described you: “Woman was taken out of man—not out of his feet to be trampled underfoot, but out of his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.”

But the thought that never fails to stir my soul is the simple and sage advice: “Men should take care not to make women weep, for God counts their tears.”

Do we in attendance tonight know who we are and what God expects us to become? Remember that the recognition of a power higher than oneself does not in any sense debase; rather, it exalts. If we will but realize that we have been created in the image of God, we will not find Him difficult to approach, for God did create “man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen. 1:27.) This knowledge, acquired through faith, will bring inner calm and profound peace.

APRIL 1991 - "The Power of Prayer"

President Benson has suggested that I begin this conference with a brief message in his behalf. He is pleased that the president of the United States has proclaimed that yesterday, today, and tomorrow be designated as days of national prayer and that sincere expressions of gratitude ascend to heaven for the end of the war in the Middle East. The First Presidency has commented: “We are thankful for the resolution of the war, and it is our fervent hope and prayer that all nations involved will work in concert for a lasting peace. The collective prayers of the nation and the world should focus not only on a lasting peace but also on the needs of the many on both sides who lost loved ones and endured suffering in the conflict.”

President Benson has stated: “The price of peace is righteousness. Men and nations may loudly proclaim, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there shall be no peace until individuals nurture in their souls those principles of personal purity, integrity, and character which foster the development of peace. Peace cannot be imposed. It must come from the lives and hearts of men. There is no other way.” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988, p. 703.)

APR91 - "A Royal Priesthood" (from Priesthood session)

One of the great leaders of our time, President Harold B. Lee, in a devotional address at BYU, spoke of a Latter-day Saint young man who, during World War II, was in England. He had gone to an officers’ club where they were holding a riotous kind of celebration. He noticed, off to the side, a young British officer who didn’t seem to appreciate the party at all. So he walked over to him and said, “You don’t seem to be enjoying this kind of party.” And this young British officer straightened himself a few inches taller than he was before and replied, “No, sir; I can’t engage in this kind of party because, you see, I belong to the royal household of England.” As our Latter-day Saint young man walked away, he said to himself, “Neither can I, because I belong to the royal household of the kingdom of God.” (“Be Loyal to the Royal within You,” in Speeches of the Year, 1973, Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1973, p. 100.)

Perhaps the young man remembered the bold declaration of the Apostle Peter: “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.” (1 Pet. 2:9.) Brethren, be loyal to the royal within you.

APR91 - "Never Alone"

Children have the capacity for compassion. They have no fear to express their genuine feelings. In the popular movie entitled Home Alone, a scene near the end grips the viewer’s emotions and causes that familiar lump to fill the throat. The scene takes place in a chapel; the time is Christmas; the two lonely characters are seated next to one another on a church bench. The older man, who lives by himself, is estranged from family and bereft of friends. His next-door neighbor, played by Macaulay Culkin, is the lad left “home alone” by his family, which had departed for a European vacation, inadvertently forgetting this one small family member.

The boy asks the lonely man if he has any family. The gentleman explains quietly that he and his son and his son’s family have parted ways and no longer communicate. In the innocence of youth, the boy blurts out the plea, “Why don’t you just call your son and tell him you are sorry and invite him home for Christmas!”

The old man sighs and responds, “I’m too afraid he would say no.” The fear of failure had blocked the ability to express love and to voice an apology.

The viewer is left to wonder concerning the outcome of the conversation, but not for too long. Christmas comes; the boy’s family returns. He is pictured at an upstairs bedroom window looking in the direction of the old man’s sidewalk. Suddenly he views a tender scene as the neighbor welcomes his returning son, his daughter-in-law, and their children. Son embraces father, and the old man buries his head against the shoulder of his precious son. As they turn to walk on, the old neighbor looks upward to the bedroom window of the house next door and sees his small friend observing the private miracle of forgiveness. Their eyes meet, their hands express a gentle greeting of gratitude. “Welcome home” replaces “Home alone.”

One emerges from the theater with moist eyes. As the brightness of day envelops the silent throng, perhaps there are those whose thoughts turn to that man of miracles, that teacher of truth—even the Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. I know my thoughts did.

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