What President Monson Said about Kindness, Charity, and Love

Courtesy LDS Media LibarayWhen President Monson spoke at the beginning of priesthood meeting instead of the end this past April, I felt on edge. It is hard to fight the feeling that his time is short. (Of course I don’t know that for sure: I feel it. And many times, feel turns into know for me.)

I listened intently to those brief remarks.  I have since thought, “Could he have spoken on a more vital topic than the pure of Christ?” My answer, to myself? “No.”

Here are a few thoughts from the talk that got my attention.

  • “We do not honor the priesthood of God if we are not kind to others.”
  • “Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all . . .” (Moroni 7:46.)
  • “‘Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others'” (from Joseph B. Wirthlin).
  • “Let us examine our lives and determine to follow the Savior’s example by being kind, loving, and charitable. And as we do so, we will be in a better position to call down the powers of heaven for ourselves, for our families, and for our fellow travelers in this sometimes difficult journey back to our heavenly home.”

What President Monson Said about the Book of Mormon

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President Monson’s words were precious and few at our last general conference (April 2017). In two talks, he covered a lot of ground in a matter of 6 or 7 minutes.

I was deeply touched by what he said about the Book of Mormon. What if these were the last words we will hear from him across a pulpit? I think they may be and are therefore worth our careful attention. We’ve been hearing from him for a long time. I mean, I was five years old when he was called as an apostle.

Here are some highlights that jumped off the page at me. Simple, to the point, and very poignant, especially the promises at the end.

  • There is a “critical need [for] members of this Church to study, ponder, and apply its [the Book of Mormon’s] teachings in our lives.”
  • “If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so.”
  • “If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one.”
  • “I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives.”

Sing We Now at Parting

I really enjoyed this arrangement of “Sing We Now at Parting” sung at the end of our last general conference. I have listened to it a number of times. For some reason, it reminds me of my youth, when I first joined the Church.

Do you remember back 30 years ago when priesthood and Sunday School were held in the mornings and then we would come back for sacrament meeting in the evening? I am sure some of you do. I do.

I was the only member in my family. I was a senior in high school. I would sit alone in our little country chapel. No carpet on the floors, no pads on the benches, but the Comforter was there. The cold winter nights were warmed by the hymns of Zion, tunes that I had never sung before but seemed like old friends. I was welcomed by the hands and hugs of the people of my little ward. The chapel was not full of people, but it was full of the Spirit. It was a sweet time in my life, still precious to me many years later.

This is what this song reminds me of. I hope you enjoy it, too. (I’m not sure if this video is from the same conference session, but it is the same arrangement.)

Preparing for Conference Today

There is hardly anything I enjoy more than conference weekend. I really mean that. It draws us together as a family. I love our special foods. I love being with my wife and children all weekend long.

When we honor ourselves by paying close attention to the words of the living prophets. it seems that the Lord’s promises distill on us like spring rain. “And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought…and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not” (Isaiah 58:11).

I really appreciated my wife’s counsel during family night this past week. She quoted a talk given by Wendy Watson Nelson at BYU-Idaho in 2002 about taking a question to conference. She was engaged to a man at the time and had a concern. Here’s an excerpt from that talk. It’s a long excerpt, but it is powerful:

“In preparation for April general conference, which was just two weeks away, my bishop taught me a truth I had never known before. Although I hadn’t spoken to him about my engagement or my concerns, when my bishop offered this truth over the pulpit, he was speaking to me. He didn’t use my name—but I knew he was talking directly to me. He even let others listen in. But clearly, he was speaking to me.

“Here’s the truth my bishop spoke: ‘If you have a question that you need answered, if you will prayerfully and humbly listen to general conference, you will get it answered every time. Perhaps at the time, perhaps over time, but you will get your question answered every time!’

“Did I have a question? Absolutely. And I was desperate for an answer from the Lord.

“I prepared myself for that general conference by fasting and praying, and by purchasing blank audiotapes. Now, I realize that audiotapes are not typically requisite for listening to general conference; however, this was in the days that not all conference sessions were broadcast to Canada, and I wanted to audiotape the sessions for my Mom and Dad.

“I can still picture the Saturday of that April general conference. I listened eagerly to every talk. I listened with my ears, mind and heart poised and ready to hear the answer to my question: ‘Should I marry this man?’

“I experienced this day of general conference unlike any other. It was a highly unusual day of talks, because each and every talk was on marriage! Every single talk! Multiple speakers—but only one topic: marriage—or so it seemed. And the most amazing thing to me was that at the end of all those Saturday addresses on marriage, the clear answer I received was, ‘Don’t marry this man.’

“I can still picture, at the conclusion of conference, turning off the TV, shutting off the cassette recorder, and walking directly and calmly to the telephone, and dialing my fiancé’s number to cancel our engagement.

“I wasn’t nervous at all. I was at peace. I had asked. And I had received my answer. So, what’s a young woman to do when she has asked, and then heard and felt the voice of the Lord telling her what to do? What’s a young woman to do but to follow through?

“Fast forward several years. My ex-fiancé is married and he appears to be happily involved in family life. I have completed my masters degree, have worked a couple of years, moved to a new city, dated some great men, and continued to be directed by the Lord to pursue further education.

“Another fast forward a couple of years: It is Christmas time and among the cards and letters is something from my ex-fiancé. It is a lengthy, hand-written letter from this now no-longer-young man, declaring that he is choosing a lifestyle inconsistent with gospel teachings and Church standards, and telling me of the sorrow that has come to his wife and family since their recent divorce and his declaration.

“My dear young brothers and sisters, things are not always the way they appear to be!

“Years ago on that Saturday evening when I ended my engagement, it seemed to many people—many who chided me for the breakup, many who tried to convince me to change my mind—that I was terminating a relationship with a marvelous young man, a man with whom I could experience much love and joy, as we entered into the covenant of marriage, and commenced raising up a family to the Lord.

“How unkind could I be? How cruel! How unwise to turn away from this great man and his love—especially at my age (I was 24 after all!!) To many people, it seemed like I was throwing away an opportunity of a lifetime. But things are not always the way they appear to be.

“The Lord knew this young man’s heart, mind and actions. And when I asked, with as much preparation and faith as I could muster, and as I listened to the messages of general conference, I was guided (some days it still feels more like ‘snatched’) away from something that looked good but wasn’t.”

I am taking my question to the Lord this morning. And I have complete confidence and faith that I will get my answer. I encourage you to do the same. Then I’d love to hear from you—not your personal and private answers, but whether you tried it and whether it worked for you. I know it will work for any of us, if we just have faith.

Have a wonderful conference weekend.