Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Our Very Survival

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Our Very Survival, by Kevin R. Duncan
Of the Seventy

Elder Duncan's talk was given in the Saturday afternoon session of conference. Like Elder Costa (link), Elder Duncan used the word prophet many times (33 to be exact). To help our children pay attention to what is said during conference, they have packets of conference-related activities, but even more, they listen for a specific word each session. This word, which they choose themselves beforehand, if heard, entitles them to a piece of candy. They happened to choose "prophet" for this session, and they were enrapt in his talk. In fact, because they paid attention, our candy dish ran out of candy corns!

Elder Duncan reminded of the trials that the early pioneer settlers in the Salt Lake Valley faced their first winter after arriving there the previous year. Faced with difficulty and what looked like a barren desert, some of these pioneers were tempted to leave the proximity of the prophet and seek fortune in California where a few of their fellow pioneers had recently discovered gold (this was the beginning of the famous California gold rush; in fact, my children are watching a film outlining the efforts of the Mormon Battalion—including the gold discovery—as I'm typing this).

What would you do? Would you stay with the prophet of God, or try your luck panning for gold?

Despite their difficulties that winter, those who stayed and followed the prophet prospered:

The Saints prospered. The winter of 1848 was a great catalyst for the Lord to teach His people a valuable lesson. They learned—as we all must learn—that the only sure and secure road to protection in this life comes through trusting in and obeying the counsel from the prophets of God.

What legacy did these early saints leave for us? The film my children are watching is titled, "A Legacy More Precious than Gold." While we may not face the same challenges as those early pioneers, we do have a decision to make:

This world is full of so many self-help books, so many self-proclaimed experts, so many theorists, educators, and philosophers who have advice and counsel to give on any and all subjects. . . While some information has merit, as members of the Church we have access to the source of pure truth, even God Himself. We would do well to search out answers to our problems and questions by investigating what the Lord has revealed through His prophets.

Like Elder Costa, Elder Duncan quoted from President Benson's devotional, "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet." In addition to listing the fourteen points, he reminded that "our [very] salvation hangs on" following the prophet.

Will we seek our fortune away from the counsel of prophets, or will we find a greater reward now and in the future by heeding their words and striving to do the will of God? Those early saints made the choice to stay and build His Kingdom and build His holy house.

I'm grateful for the righteous examples of those who have gone before. They teach us to follow the living prophets and give heed to their inspired words. Elder Duncan likewise testified that "there is no safer way to approach life, find answers to our problems, gain peace and happiness in this world, and protect our very salvation than by obeying their words."

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