Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Serve with the Spirit

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Serve with the Spirit, by Henry B. Eyring
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

My son, Andrew, is named after two of his ancestors who first heard, accepted, and embraced the restored gospel.

Andrew Lafayette Siler was born in December of 1824 in Sweet Water, Tennessee, was baptized on Valentines Day in 1850, and died in Kanab, Utah in 1898. Between those times he lived a full life.

William Dickinson Pratt (elder brother of Parley P. Pratt) was born in September of 1802 in Wooster, New York, joined the Church and went through the temple in Nauvoo in December 1845, and died in Salt Lake in 1870. He, likewise, lived a full life among these few events.

What ties these men together is their connection to our family. They both served the Lord with the Spirit, helped lead their families in righteousness, and because of their influence (and others'), five generations later, my wife and I met in an English class, fell in love, and were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.

President Eyring tells the stories of two of his ancestors who accepted the gospel because missionaries served with the Spirit. These two met on the trail to Utah, fell in love, and were married. Unlike President Eyring, I don't know how many descendants the two in our family histories have, I am grateful for them:

I am among the tens of thousands of descendants of that boy and that girl who bless the names of two priesthood holders who brought the ministrations of the Spirit of God with them.

We named our youngest son after the two mentioned above (the others were also named from individuals in family history). It's fun to think that those two men set in motion part of something great the ultimately led to the creation of our little family (of course they were just two of many ancestors). I'm grateful for them and what the many things they did—much of their lives are a mystery to me! Despite the unknowns, I'm grateful for what I do know: that they had many times when they went forward doing what the Lord called them to do. The self-application of their example is President Eyring's message:

My message for us tonight is this: let us do whatever is required to qualify for the Holy Ghost as our companion, and then let us go forward fearlessly so that we will be given the powers to do whatever the Lord calls us to do.

I don't usually think of my accomplishments and my daily life from the lens of those five generations out, but if I did, I might imagine them looking back thanking me and my wife for what we did for them (along with others). This is a new and interesting way to consider service in the Church and doing what the Lord asks me to do!

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