Sunday, September 20, 2009

His Servants, the Prophets

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

His Servants, the Prophets, by Elder F. Michael Watson
Of the Seventy

I remember watching general conference and seeing Elder Watson's name on the screen and wondering, Who is this man, again? I knew that I recognized his name, but couldn't quite place it. After a quick online search, I learned that he had served as secretary to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for almost as long as I've been alive. Learning this confirmed his name in my memory because I received a letter from him while I was serving a mission (a great story for later...).

Learning of his extensive service with general authorities added additional understanding of and appreciation for his words. He spoke of knowing many presidents of the church—now I knew how.

What would it be like to be personally acquainted with prophets and apostles? Wonderful and humbling, I imagine. Here are points that impressed me from his summaries of serving with seven church presidents since 1970:

  1. President Joseph Fielding Smith — Hearing of President Smith's frequent use of the question posed in Psalms 24 reminded me of my father-in-law singing those verses each Sunday morning we were together. He reminds me to have "clean hands, and a pure heart."

  2. President Harold B. Lee — Considerably applicable to my life is the charge to listen to and heed the words of the prophets, even if: "It may contradict your political views . . . [or] your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life." But the promise remains that the Lord will bless us significantly.

  3. President Spencer W. Kimball — "There is a miracle of forgiveness and God will forgive." Each day I'm increasingly aware of my need for forgiveness and help to improve.

  4. President Ezra Taft Benson — I had missionary companions who must have prayed as did President Benson: "His prayers were almost entirely in thankfulness instead of asking for blessings." I think that such focus on what we receive can help us to remember the source of our blessings, which will help us keep our baptismal covenants to "Always remember Him."

  5. President Howard W. Hunter — Our family has been striving to do as he taught: "Establish the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of [your] membership."

  6. President Gordon B. Hinckley — Temples. "President Hinckley’s passion with the building of temples and the sacred work performed therein will be a polar star for each of us to follow."

  7. President Thomas S. Monson — He is the kind of friend I want to be: "He has truly exemplified in his life the pattern of the Master and the sincere desire to always be found in His service."

I'm reminded of the song from the Children's Songbook:

Now we have a world where people are confused
If you don't believe it, go and watch the news.
We can get direction all along our way,
If we heed the prophets—follow what they say.

Follow the prophet... don't go astray.
Follow the prophet... he knows the way.
(Follow the Prophet, #110)

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