The Price of Priesthood Power"
Congenital heart disease afflicted three children born to Ruth and Jimmy Hatfield. Their first son, Jimmy Jr., died without a definitive diagnosis. I entered the picture when the parents sought help for their two daughters, Laural Ann and her younger sister, Gay Lynn. I was heartbroken when both girls died following their operations.1 Understandably, Ruth and Jimmy were spiritually shattered.
Over time, I learned that they harbored lingering resentment toward me and the Church. For almost six decades, I have been haunted by this situation and have grieved for the Hatfields. I tried several times to establish contact with them, without success.
Then one night last May, I was awakened by those two little girls from the other side of the veil. Though I did not see or hear them with my physical senses, I felt their presence. Spiritually, I heard their pleadings. Their message was brief and clear: “Brother Nelson, we are not sealed to anyone! Can you help us?” Soon thereafter, I learned that their mother had passed away, but their father and younger brother were still alive.
Emboldened by the pleadings of Laural Ann and Gay Lynn, I tried again to contact their father, who I learned was living with his son Shawn. This time they were willing to meet with me.
In June, I literally knelt in front of Jimmy, now 88 years old, and had a heart-to-heart talk with him. I spoke of his daughters’ pleadings and told him I would be honored to perform sealing ordinances for his family. I also explained that it would take time and much effort on his and Shawn’s part to be ready and worthy to enter the temple, as neither of them had ever been endowed.
The Spirit of the Lord was palpable throughout that meeting. And when Jimmy and Shawn each accepted my offer, I was overjoyed! They worked diligently with their stake president, bishop, home teachers, and ward mission leader, as well as with young missionaries and a senior missionary couple. And then, not long ago, in the Payson Utah Temple, I had the profound privilege of sealing Ruth to Jimmy and their four children to them. Wendy and I wept as we participated in that sublime experience. Many hearts were healed that day!...
I fear that there are too many men who have been given the authority of the priesthood but who lack priesthood power because the flow of power has been blocked by sins such as laziness, dishonesty, pride, immorality, or preoccupation with things of the world.
I fear that there are too many priesthood bearers who have done little or nothing to develop their ability to access the powers of heaven. I worry about all who are impure in their thoughts, feelings, or actions or who demean their wives or children, thereby cutting off priesthood power...
Are we willing to pray, fast, study, seek, worship, and serve as men of God so we can have that kind of priesthood power? Because two little girls were so eager to be sealed to their family, their father and brother were willing to pay the price to bear the holy Melchizedek Priesthood.
My dear brethren, we have been given a sacred trust—the authority of God to bless others. May each one of us rise up as the man God foreordained us to be—ready to bear the priesthood of God bravely, eager to pay whatever price is required to increase his power in the priesthood. With that power, we can help prepare the world for the Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Greatest Leaders Are the Greatest Followers"
Young Men General President
If I were to ask you, “Who is the greatest leader who ever lived?”—what would you say? The answer, of course, is Jesus Christ. He sets the perfect example of every imaginable leadership quality.
But what if I were to ask you, “Who is the greatest follower who ever lived?”—wouldn’t the answer again be Jesus Christ? He is the greatest leader because He is the greatest follower—He follows His Father perfectly, in all things.
The world teaches that leaders must be mighty; the Lord teaches that they must be meek. Worldly leaders gain power and influence through their talent, skill, and wealth. Christlike leaders gain power and influence “by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned.”
In God’s eyes, the greatest leaders have always been the greatest followers.
In Praise of Those Who Save"
I am grateful that I belong to a church that values marriage and family. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are known throughout the world for having some of the finest marriages and families you can find. I believe this is, in part, due to the precious truth restored by Joseph Smith that marriages and families are meant to be eternal. Families are not just meant to make things run more smoothly here on earth and to be cast off when we get to heaven. Rather, they are the order of heaven. They are an echo of a celestial pattern and an emulation of God’s eternal family.
But strong marriage and family relationships do not happen just because we are members of the Church. They require constant, intentional work. The doctrine of eternal families must inspire us to dedicate our best efforts to saving and enriching our marriages and families. I admire and applaud those who have preserved and nourished these critical, eternal relationships...
perfect but for a person with whom, throughout a lifetime, we can join efforts to create a loving, lasting, and more perfect relationship. That is the goal.
Brethren, those who save their marriages understand that this pursuit takes time, patience, and, above all, the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It requires you to be kind, envy not, seek not your own, not be easily provoked, think no evil, and rejoice in the truth. In other words, it requires charity, the pure love of Christ.
All this won’t just happen in an instant. Great marriages are built brick by brick, day after day, over a lifetime.
And that is good news.
Because no matter how flat your relationship may be at the present, if you keep adding pebbles of kindness, compassion, listening, sacrifice, understanding, and selflessness, eventually a mighty pyramid will begin to grow...
The great enemy of charity is pride. Pride is one of the biggest reasons marriages and families struggle. Pride is short-tempered, unkind, and envious. Pride exaggerates its own strength and ignores the virtues of others. Pride is selfish and easily provoked. Pride assumes evil intent where there is none and hides its own weaknesses behind clever excuses. Pride is cynical, pessimistic, angry, and impatient. Indeed, if charity is the pure love of Christ, then pride is the defining characteristic of Satan.
Pride may be a common human failing. But it is not part of our spiritual heritage, and it has no place among holders of the priesthood of God.
Life is short, brethren. Regrets can last a long time—some will have repercussions that echo through eternity.
HENRY B. EYRING - "Eternal Families"
Before we were born, we lived in a family with our exalted and eternal Heavenly Father. He ordained a plan that enables us to advance and progress to become like Him. He did it out of love for us. The purpose of the plan was to allow us the privilege of living forever as our Heavenly Father lives. This gospel plan offered us a life of mortality in which we would be tested. A promise was given that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, if we obeyed the laws and priesthood ordinances of the gospel, we would have eternal life, the greatest of all His gifts.
Eternal life is that kind of life which God our Eternal Father lives. God has said that His purpose is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). The great purpose of every priesthood holder, therefore, is to assist in the work of helping people rise to eternal life...
As we are faithful in our service to help Heavenly Father’s children to go home to Him, we will qualify for the greeting we all so much want to hear when we finish our earthly ministry. These are the words: “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” (Matthew 25:21).
Among those “many things” is the promise of an endless posterity. My prayer is that we may all qualify and help others to qualify for that supernal blessing in the home of our Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
A Sacred Trust"
My beloved brethren, I pray for the Spirit to guide my remarks this evening. A common thread binds us together. We have been entrusted to bear the priesthood of God and to act in His name. We are the recipients of a sacred trust. Much is expected of us.
We read in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 121, verse 36, “The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven.” What a wonderful gift we have been given. Ours is the responsibility to guard and protect that priesthood and to be worthy of all the glorious blessings our Father in Heaven has in store for us—and for others through us.
Wherever you go, your priesthood goes with you. Are you standing in holy places? Before you put yourself and your priesthood in jeopardy by venturing into places or participating in activities which are not worthy of you or of that priesthood, pause to consider the consequences. Remember who you are and what God expects you to become. You are a child of promise. You are a man of might. You are a son of God.