A couple of weeks ago I spoke in our ward's sacrament meeting. Here is a copy of my remarks. 😊
In April 2020, our prophet, Russell M. Nelson gave an amazing talk called “Hear Him.” In this talk he said:
“I renew my plea for you to do whatever it takes to increase your spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation.” President Nelson was pleading for us to find ways to hear our Heavenly parents. He promised us that, “Doing so will help you know how to move ahead with your life, what to do during times of crisis, and how to discern and avoid the temptations and the deceptions of the adversary.”
There are many ways we can “Hear Him,” and often they will be unique to each of us. But the three predominant ways in which we receive heavenly messages are:
Through the Holy Ghost
Through our canonized books of scriptures
And finally, through our modern scripture; the words of his anointed servants.
Less than 2 months ago we were given modern day scripture through prophets and apostles in General Conference. I ask all of us, myself included, how have we done at implementing that scripture into our lives?
We often look at examples from the scriptures where people failed to heed the prophet and wonder how they could be so blind.
We’re flabbergasted that the children of Israel could be so faithless. When God sent poisonous serpents in response to their continual complaining, their prophet – Moses, instructed them to just look upon a serpent of brass on a pole and they would be healed (Numbers 21). And yet we learn from Alma that many ignored the counsel of the prophet and perished.
We’re perplexed at those who would not listen to their prophet, Noah, and his pleas for them to repent. Even when he promised them that “the floods will come in upon you...they hearkened not.” (Moses 8:24)
And it seems beyond comprehension that the people of the Book of Mormon couldn’t decipher the continual cycle of prosperity, pride and destruction. They were sent countless prophets to warn the of this, but this still fell prey to it every time.
We wonder how they could all be so short sighted. How could they not see? Why would they not listen?
But I ask again, how have we done at implementing the prophet’s council into our lives? How are we doing at heeding the words of our Lehi? Our Noah? Our Moses?
In each General Conference, the speakers spend countless hours preparing their messages to be in line with what the Lord would have them say and what we need to hear. They are striving to literally be an answer to our prayers. They are striving to speak scripture.
Doctrine & Covenants 68:4 - “And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.”
In this October’s General Conference, there were 39 talks filled with scripture. Today, I would like to focus just on the 3 talks given by our beloved prophet, Russell M. Nelson. I went through each of those 3 messages and pulled out all of the specific things he asked us to do. So, not just comments or teachings, but invitations to do something very specific. I’m going to briefly go through each of those.
Before I do, I would like you to imagine yourself a few thousand years ago. You’re bustling around your city trying to get some things done. Buy food for the goats, trade some of your weavings for a nice water pot, catch up on the local gossip at the community well, a quick stop at Build-a-Bear. When amongst all this fun you see this burly bearded fellow. Some call him a prophet. His name is Noah, and he’s giving advice to all that will listen. Imagine yourself literally listening to the prophet Noah.
And as you hear these anew, I encourage you to listen with both your physical and spiritual ears. If you do, the Spirit will let you know which are the important to implement in your life.
1. Referring to the messages of General Conference: “I invite you to listen for three things … pure truth, the pure doctrine of Christ and, pure revelation.”
2. “If you have not yet sought for the ministering of the Holy Ghost to help you hear what the Lord would have you hear during these two days, I invite you to do so now. Please make this conference a time of feasting on messages from the Lord through His servants. Learn how to apply them in your life.”
3. “…it is now time that we each implement extraordinary measures—perhaps measures we have never taken before—to strengthen our personal spiritual foundations.”
4. “If you don’t yet love to attend the temple, go more often—not less.”
5. Speaking to those not able to attend the temple: “I invite you to set a regular time to rehearse in your mind the covenants you have made.”
6. Speaking specifically to young adults: “I would plead with you to seek a companion with whom you can be sealed in the temple.”
7. Speaking to those who are not sealed in the temple: “…I would plead with you to take the necessary steps to receive that crowning, life-changing ordinance.”
8. To all of us: “I plead with you to seek—prayerfully and consistently—to understand temple covenants and ordinances.”
9. “…I plead..." [Sorry, let me interject here for a second. I noticed that he uses the word “plead” 6 separate times in these 13 invitations. Plead is a powerful word. He’s not asking, he’s not commanding, he’s pleading]. Back to #9: “….I plead with you today to counter the lure of the world by making time for the Lord in your life—each and every day.”
10. “I plead with you to make time for the Lord! Make your own spiritual foundation firm and able to stand the test of time by doing those things that allow the Holy Ghost to be with you always.”
11. “…focus on Jesus Christ. Talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, feast upon the words of Christ, and press forward with steadfastness in Christ. Make your Sabbath a delight as you worship Him, partake of the sacrament, and keep His day holy.”
12. “….please make time for the Lord in His holy house.”
13. For the 4th time in this talk, he again asks us to: “…make time for Him in your life—each and every day.”
So how would your life be different if you applied these 13 invitations from a prophet God over the next 6 months.
Would you & your family be blessed if you studied the prophetic counsel from General Conference and tried to apply what you learn?
Would you and your family be blessed if you worked to strengthen your spiritual foundation by being in the temple more often and making those covenants a greater focus in your life?
Would you and your family be blessed if you made time for the Lord every day?
I promise that the answer is unequivocally YES.
I plead with you to find your own witness that we have a prophet on the earth today and that by heeding his counsel you will be blessed both now and throughout eternity.
Let me tell you about when I gained a testimony of prophets.
In 1998, the prophet at the time, Gordon B. Hinckley, came to speak to the saints in Lethbridge. As President Hinckley walked out on to the stage, all 7500 people stood and sang together “We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet.” As that 88 year old man slowly walked out, holding hands with his wonderful wife Marjorie, the Spirit of God confirmed to me that he was a prophet. That he spoke for God at that time. I can’t remember a thing he said that day, but I will never forget that feeling.
10 years later, in 2008, President Hinckley passed way. Thomas S. Monson, after 45 years as an Apostle, was ordained as the prophet. I distinctly remember watching him speak at the next General Conference, and thinking to myself, “This dude is different.” (You’re probably not supposed to call the prophet “dude”, but that’s what I thought). As I listened, the Spirit let me know the prophetic mantle had been passed this man. I knew he was God’s chosen prophet for that time.
When President Nelson became the prophet, I didn’t actually have that same type of witness. But as I look back, I feel confident that God knew I knew. He’d already testified to me twice that he calls prophets, and I didn’t need it again. And I can testify to you today that I have no doubt that Russell M. Nelson has been called by God to be our prophet. Our watchman on the tower. Our Moses. Our Noah.
I pray that each of us will not take the teachings of the prophet lightly.
Let me end with a final quote, again from the talk “Hear Him” I referenced earlier. President Nelson said:
“What will happen as you more intentionally hear, hearken, and heed what the Savior has said and what He is saying now through His prophets? I promise that you will be blessed with additional power to deal with temptation, struggles, and weakness. I promise miracles in your marriage, family relationships, and daily work. And I promise that your capacity to feel joy will increase even if turbulence increases in your life.”
I believe this is true. I can’t think of a time in my life where I heeded the counsel of the prophet and my life was not better because of it.
I plead with you to follow the prophet, In the name of he who our prophet represents, Jesus Christ, amen.