30 March 2012

Written for Our Day

Today's scripture reading was the twenty-eighth chapter of 2 Nephi. It perfectly describes our day!
". . . the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord's; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord's; . . . And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance." (2 Nephi 28:3,4)
"Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good and say that it is of no worth!" [Remember what Gingrich said about Romney being married to the same woman and not having affairs.] For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish. . . . For behold, at that day shall he [the devil] rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good." (2 Nephi 28:16,20)

When we finished reading the chapter I commented that this chapter perfectly describes the political campaign this year. Not to mention various and sundry wickedness throughout the world.

I love the Book of Mormon, it truly is the handbook for our day. And it gives hope and purpose to the righteous:
". . .nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts." (2 Nephi 28:32)
 

27 March 2012

There is a Balm in Gilead

After the difficulties of the past week I was grateful for Monday morning and the quiet after everyone left for the day. While I was folding some bedding that needed to be put away I felt impressed to sing hymns, so I began with There is Sunshine in My Soul Today, followed by Count Your Blessings and We Are Sowing. I felt lighter and stronger as I finished my task. Coming down stairs I put on three CD's of hymns and enjoyed the spirit they brought into my home as I went about my work.

I love music! I sang my first solo in church when I was about eight. It was for Mother's Day and I sang a song from the old green children's song book called My Grandmother's Garden. When I was almost 14 I was called to be the Primary chorister (in the olden days when Primary was on a weekday afternoon). I've led the music in Primary, Sunday School, Relief Society, Sacrament Meeting, and several ward choirs. It is one of my most cherished callings. As a teenager I would put on Mormon Tabernacle Choir albums (the old-fashioned LP's) and "direct" the choir as they sang. I have a secret desire to direct them in real life. Can you imagine what a thrill that would be?!!

Music calms my soul and invites the spirit, which is what I needed yesterday. Today as we read our chapter of the Book of Mormon I enjoyed more balm as we read these verses:
For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. . . And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. . . And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.    (2 Nephi 25:23,26,29) 
I'm so looking forward to the refreshment of General Conference this weekend. And then to the return of our missionary son from Argentina on Wednesday.

20 March 2012

Offenses

I've said before that this area is challenging for me. We are the only members (active) of the church in our town, and we are far from our families.  We are our only support, my husband, me and our children. One evening in December at the close of a Youth Christmas activity our youngest son began to give the closing prayer. He paused for second to collect his thoughts and in that moment of quiet the three or four year old son of one of the youth leaders deliberately made a noise (you know how young children are), my son cracked up and in a second other youths were giggling. The little boy glanced around appreciatively at his audience while my son tried to regain his composure. I looked for the father to step forward to help his little boy be quiet, but he didn't and no one else did either so I stepped over to the boy and bending over him said "You need to be quiet while we have prayer," as I folded his arms and gently held him. As I did that the Branch President attempted to stop me saying "That's not your job." I ignored him and stayed bent over helping the boy remain reverent. Another youth took over and said the closing prayer. It all happened within a few seconds. When the prayer ended I complimented the little boy on his reverence and let him go. No one said anything to me and it's a good thing they didn't because I was shaking with anger. My sons and I helped clean up for a few minutes then we left. I drove home with tears streaming down my face. I can't remember a time when I felt such anger and humiliation. If it wasn't my job, whose was it? The father didn't step forward, the Branch President who was closest to the boy didn't, Sisters who have the boy in Primary didn't step up, neither did the teens who were sitting next to the little boy. How is a child to learn proper behavior in the church unless someone shows him. The father is a recent convert, divorced, only has the boy every other week. He isn't an experienced Dad. So, thinking I was helping, I stepped over to help both the boy and his father. Apparently that wasn't the right thing to do.

On the way home in my mind I said "I'm never going back to church there." As I said that, the word of the Lord came into my mind saying, "He isn't the reason you go to church there, he won't be the reason you leave," and a measure of peace came into my heart. That's right. I didn't search for a congregation with a Pastor I liked who makes me feel good for coming to church. I go to church where I'm assigned by geography and I'm not going to let a mere mortal stand between me and my Savior.

For just a moment I could understand how and why people choose to leave the church, refusing to attend because of an offense. The members of this little branch struggle with offenses, giving and taking. The Relief Society President won't speak to me because I offended her last year. I had no idea! The only reason I found out is because our husbands work together in the Young Mens and my husband said to hers that when we first moved here I thought I had found a kindred spirit in her, and wondered why she no longer spoke to me; he said to my husband, "I know, I tell her to just let go, that it is in the past, but she won't." I have no idea what I did, which makes it difficult to offer a sincere and specific apology, but I will try nevertheless.

Yesterday, I called out a Seminary student for some deceitful behavior and this morning she didn't show up. Even after I apologized! Her family is one of the few strong and active families in the branch. I even emailed her mother asking for help and advice to mend the fences. She never answered. It makes me crazy!!!!!

Should I not attend church so I won't offend anyone by my presence, actions or words? Should I attend but not interact with anyone so I won't offend? Is it better to not have any callings so I won't offend? What is it about me, my actions and my words that offends others? This is a perplexing situation. I have been very careful to refrain from saying "Well in Utah (or VA, or WA, or CA where we've lived) we did things this way." I think I'm friendly and open to all, not cliquish or cold. I attempt to help in any way I can, without waiting to be asked. (Except now I don't go anywhere near that little boy because "it's not my job.")

There are a few things of which I am certain:
1. I do not deliberately set out to cause trouble and offend people.
2. I apologize when I know that I've offended and I attempt to resolve and rebuild the relationship.
3. No matter what happens, I know that the Gospel is true and that Jesus is my Savior and I won't let any hurt feelings that I have stop me from attending church and participating in the ordinance of the Sacrament. I need the strengthening influence of the hymns, prayers, lessons and ordinances.

I have had my feelings hurt, been offended by actions, looks and words, throughout my life, even by priesthood leaders. I chalk it up to ignorance of the situation or bad manners, but never deliberate malice. Why do others regard me as a malefactor, and hold grudges? And why do so many members stop attending church when they are called to repentance, either by a leader or by their own guilt? Makes me wonder how strong their testimony, faith and commitment are.

14 March 2012

I Love the Scriptures

A year and a half ago our Stake Presidency challenged us to read the Book of Mormon before the next stake conference in six months. We did so, finishing on time and establishing a good habit for our family. Since then we've finished both the New Testament and The Pearl of Great Price. When we finished the Pearl we began the Book of Mormon again. Today we are at 2 Nephi 9.  


I teach Early Morning Seminary and this year's course of study is the Old Testament, which I really love. We are just finished Isaiah and I find, once again, that I truly enjoy Isaiah. He is so much easier to understand if you've read Genesis through Chronicles. When you know the history of the Israelites what Isaiah says and prophesies is clearer. 


Now I don't claim to understand every word of Isaiah, but I can say with Nephi that my soul delights in the words of Isaiah. The themes I see are repentance, the need for a Savior, testimony of that Savior coming once and then coming again, The Savior's invitation to return to him, the blessings of obedience to the commandments. What's not to love!


I heard President Spencer W. Kimball speak at a special women’s fireside held September 16, 1978 in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. The following words burned into my heart and I felt a witness that he was speaking to me.


"Study the scriptures. Thus you may gain strength through the understanding of eternal things. You young women need this close relationship with the mind and will of our Eternal Father. We want our sisters to be scholars of the scriptures as well as our men."


This was shortly before I went on a mission to Florida Tallahassee in February 1979. I vividly remember that in every testimony meeting (and there seemed to be lots of them) numerous Elders would stand and say something like "I sure wish I'd studied harder in Seminary." (This was before the bar was raised.) And I'd sit there smiling to myself thinking "I'm so glad I studied diligently in Seminary and Institute." 


The scriptures are the owner's manual, the guidebook, the letters from home for our journey through this mortal life. Almost every day I remember to say thank you to my Heavenly Father for all those who wrote them and preserved them through the years. 


I'll end with this from Isaiah 63:7,8
I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lvoingkindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie; so he was their Saviour.

12 March 2012

Teaching Reverence Begins at Home

One of my favorite "parental paydays" came at a concert of The Orchestra at Temple Square in about 2006. We took our five children, ages 16, 14, 12, 9 and 7, the oldest a girl with her four brothers. We were excited to be at that concert because the conductor, Igor Gruppman, was a member of our Provo, UT ward, and one of the violinists, Heather Rust, was our youngest son's violin teacher. At the intermission we stood to stretch and relax; I turned around to look at the size of the audience and the woman behind us said, "You have the best behaved children I have ever seen. I'm amazed at how quiet and attentive they are."

Their behavior that night was not by chance. I, and to a lesser degree my husband, had been teaching them proper behavior since they were born. I'll share what we've done in the hopes that you'll learn and share with others so that we may all be a more reverent people.

Training our children wasn't a regimented science, but incorporated into our living as naturally as I could. It began with reading to our children as babies. I'd sit on the couch with a picture book or simple story and just read it or talk about the pictures. They would often squirm and fuss, but I held them and repeatedly engaged them by pointing out interesting things in the pictures or asking questions. A six month old can sit still and listen for a few minutes and as the baby's age increases so does their attention span. Alternating with reading I'd put on classical music and we'd sit quietly listening to the music. By eighteen months, when they are old enough for Nursery, they are able to sit and listen to a short lesson, sing songs and participate in a group setting.

I began having Family Home Evening when our oldest, Noble, was about three and Elder PW was about 18 months. I had an ulterior motive for doing so; my husband was not a member and I wanted to teach him some of the gospel basics. So I asked if we could have FHE and would he help with the children. He agreed. My motivation for beginning was also something I read in Raising Up A Family to the Lord by Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy. He quotes Elder A. Theodore Tuttle:

How would you pass the test, parents, if your family was isolated from the Church and you had to supply all religious training? Have you become so dependent on others that you do little or nothing at home? Tell me, how much of the gospel would your children know, if all they knew is what they had been taught at home? Ponder that. I repeat, how much of the gospel would your children know if all they knew is what they had been taught at home? Remember, the Church exists to help the home. Parents, the divine charge to teach has never been changed. Do not abdicate your duty.
Here is the complete text of that General Conference Address in 1979.

We would hold the children on our laps and proceed through the song, prayer, short lesson, then have a fun activity and treat. Simple, probably fifteen minutes, but they were learning to sit, listen and feel in a reverent, spiritual way.

This continued with the subsequent children, three more boys, as well.

Additionally, we used mealtimes to teach reverent behavior. We all sat at the table; we offered a blessing on the food; we taught and practiced good table manners consistently. I set the table with a cloth, china (as opposed to plastic) plates, glass glasses, and cloth napkins.  I did this because I wanted my children to grow up knowing how to use these things. And in a college Cultural Anthropology class I saw a film about an indigenous tribe that allowed their toddlers to use machetes to crack open nuts because they believe their children to be capable of learning how to use adult tools without injury. I was impressed with that philosophy and adapted it to my table settings.

My husband was an active duty Marine and we lived in the Washington DC area so we taught our children about proper respect for the flag, and being respectful on our visits to National Monuments, cemeteries, museums, and such. Much of the time I was paying more attention to our children and correcting their behavior than I was to the place we were visiting. It was tiring and hard work, but I wanted to train my children young so that I could confidently take them anywhere as they grew up!

When we moved to Provo for my husband to attend BYU, I found out about the Utah Valley Symphony and purchased a family season ticket. This was the next step in training. The Symphony performed in the  historic Provo Tabernacle, which was the same building in which we attended Stake Conference. I insisted that we all dress in "date clothes", which meant dresses for girls, and slacks and button down shirts for the boys. This was to help them feel the dignity of the occasion. I was silently disgusted at the many who showed up in worn out jeans and t-shirts, but I kept up with mine in their date clothes. They protested and I insisted. They also HAD to go, there wasn't a choice. I made it as fun as I could with a stop for ice cream at the BYU Creamery on Ninth.

All of this was taking place outside of church. Remember reverent behavior is taught at home!

Now for what we did at church to reinforce what we taught at home.

With babies: we did not allow them to crawl around the floor or wander down the aisle and up onto the stand, etc. They sat on our laps or on the bench; standing on the bench was allowed if the person behind was mature and not encouraging our babies to be noisy. When we had three children I asked my (non-member) husband to attend Sacrament Meeting with me as I had only two hands and three children. He did so and we made it through. After he joined the church he struggled with staying active and there were many months and years when I attended alone with all five children.

We kept the "entertainment" to a minimum in Sacrament Meetings. I brought water and some non-sugary cereal or crackers for toddlers but if a child is old enough for Primary, he/she is old enough to get through the meeting without eating. I brought a sport top bottle of water for anyone who thought they needed a drink, thus keeping them in the meeting. Anyone past potty training, was taken to the bathroom before the meeting and not allowed to go during. You get to know your children and can discern their needs. We have one who we could believe when he said "I need to go."  I also taught and insisted on the children cleaning any mess we made. I encouraged them to live the things they learned in scouting--leave a place better than you find it. This was also something that TopDad imparted from his Marine Corps training.



I had three or four SILENT toys that stayed in the Sunday bag for babies to play with. I rotated a few books that could be looked at. For children between three and eight I had paper and pencil to draw or write with. After baptism they were expected to listen to the talks and pay attention. Were they perfect. Oh heavens no. Are you kidding? But, children rise to the level of expectation and I could and still can control their behavior in church with just a look or touch to the shoulder or knee. They know what is expected and they do their best to behave.

The most effective book I ever had was a Reverence Book I made for them. It is a small photo album that I have filled with artwork depicting events from the Savior's life. On the right side is the picture and on the left is the scripture that tells the event.



I began with a dozen or so pictures and scriptures and have added more over the years. When my sister was cleaning out her stuff she sent me postcards of the Arnold Friberg Book of Mormon artwork and I added those.  This is a book that even helps me to keep my mind focused during the Sacrament service. I highly recommend making a simple book of the Savior. There are plenty of pictures available even if you just cut up old church magazines or pamphlets. If you ever get to BYU, go to the bookstore and there you will find a treasure trove of artwork for your reverence book.

By the time our children reach the teenage years they know how to behave, not that they always want to, but they know how to. We sit together as a family, I keep poking the boys to keep them awake, cell-phones are off and in the pocket (actually that's been a problem for only JET who has a phone, the younger two don't have their own yet), and they know to get out the hymn book and sing. I totally embarrassed one son by taking a hymn book to him as he sat at the Sacrament Table but wasn't singing. After that he made a point of holding the book high enough for me to see that he was participating in the hymn. It only takes once!

I love my children and all of this training has paid off; I feel confident of their ability to feel and recognize spiritual feelings because they know how to be reverent, that is still, quiet and respectful, whether they are in Sacrament Meeting, at a concert, at a cemetery, or any other solemn occasion. My heart swells with pleasure when I'm complimented on their behavior and maturity. I shed tears of joy and gratitude when they themselves thank me for all I have taught them. (That's the two oldest who are adults and gone from home) When they were younger and we lived in Virginia we even had people pay for our dinner at restaurants because they were so impressed with our children! Now that's a payday!

I believe the keys are to practice at home, be consistent, have high expectations and endure to the end.

Our daughter was a nanny to three children, two were four year old twins, boy and girl. She came home after the first day and said "I'm so thankful you were my mother. You raised us right." She was aghast that this family, members of our ward, didn't have any books in their home, and these four year olds didn't know how to sit still. (They were terrors at church and the dad spent most of his time out in the hall, where he let them run wild anyway.) After working with those children for four months they had improved slightly, but what a struggle. This was interesting to me--Noble was not allowed to let the children watch movies or TV, she had to play with them, read to them, etc. She'd come home exhausted; and then tell me about how the parents would come home and immediately turn on a movie for the children to watch so they wouldn't have to deal with them (the children) after a tiring day at work. Noble could see exactly why those children were the way they were. Absolutely no training.  She thanked me over and over for all the work I had done to train her and her brothers.

If it sounds like I'm tooting my own horn, I am, no one else will! Raising children is hard work, but it is the most important work we can do in this life. Plus, I have learned more about my Heavenly Father from being a parent than any other way, thing or lesson.

One final note. General Conference is coming up. We began when the children were small to attend General Conference. It drove TopDad crazy to try to keep them quiet and occupied for two hours at a time. I never gave up! If you want your teens to enjoy General Conference you need to begin when they are little children; or as soon as you join the church or come back into activity. Begin today! We were so grateful when we could get conference on cable TV, I'd call on the Monday before conference and sign up for the service and then the Monday after conference I'd call them to disconnect. After a few times they got to know me and it was no big deal. I'd cook special meals and treats for Conference weekend so it was a spiritual and physical feast. I used all the helps from The Friend magazine to get the children engaged with the speakers. They could play silently with Legos or similar, but once they reached twelve they had to listen and take notes. Extra treats were given for notes taken. After a few years of this expectation there are no more questions, they know what happens on Conference weekend. They even put in orders for special foods. It is a joyful time and we look forward to seeing our children establish these habits in their own families in the coming years.

Start now! Have high expectations (like Heavenly Father has for us)! Persevere and Endure to the End!

P.S. If you happen to see a mother who is struggling alone, please help her by either sitting by her children or taking one of them to sit with you, instead of giving her dirty looks or making snide comments. She is probably doing the best she can and would appreciate a grandma/pa or aunt/uncle or cousin to help with the children. I know I went home in tears many times when I struggled alone with our five and would have kissed the feet of someone who helped me.

09 March 2012

The Family - A Proclamation to the World

I've long wanted to share this talk with a wider audience. I know God hears and answers our prayers, even before we pray them.

THE FAMILY
A Proclamation to the World
11 August 1996


When I set out to sew myself a new outfit, two important tools I use are a pattern and a tape measure.  I measure myself and then make adjustments in the pattern so the finished garment will fit my body; longer, shorter, wider, more narrow.  I make adjustments until I feel confident of a perfect fit.

This is similar to the process we should employ to fit ourselves to the standard our Heavenly Father has set for us.  He has given us the measurements for entrance into his kingdom.  We adjust ourselves to fit his pattern.  We stretch, shrink, cut off, or add to, as needed so our spirit’s control of our bodies’ measures up to his specifications.  It is neither fast nor easy, but a process that takes a lifetime of constant attention to gospel doctrines and commandments and our compliance to them.

Several years ago in another stake, a panel of knowledgeable Gospel enthusiasts were brought together for a fireside to discuss and debate gospel issues, in much the same format as a weekly panel discussion of current events shown on PBS.  I did not attend because I don’t believe it’s appropriate to debate gospel doctrines, issues or principles in that manner.  There are no compromises or concessions to be made so living the gospel is easier.  The Lord told Joseph Smith “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”  (D&C 1:38) We do not need to discuss doctrines that have not been fully revealed to us either.  When we lack understanding of gospel principles, personal study and prayer will reveal the mysteries of God to us.  “If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things - that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.” (D&C 42:61).

We have the word of the Lord through prophets, ancient and modern.  The only compromises in the gospel we should be making are on our side, wherein we change ourselves to fit the Lord’s standard through obedience to the commandments and the counsel of the prophet.  The Lord makes it clear what will happen to those who don’t follow the prophet.  “And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;” (D&C 1:14)

We have been told that of all the prophets that have ever lived the most important one to us is the one who is living now, speaking for the Lord now.  We are so blessed to live in the dispensation of the fullness of times, when we are led by a prophet though this “dark and dreary waste.” (1Ne.8:7)

One year ago [now 17 years ago] as preparations were made and reported on for the World’s Conference on Women in Beijing, China, we heard many voices clamoring for recognition, spouting slogans and demanding rights.  Listening to radio reports and reading the newspapers, I longed to hear what the prophet had to say about all this, knowing he would speak the truth as revealed from the Lord.

As the days went by and no statements were forthcoming I had a heavy heart and a thirst for the word of the Lord.  I kept a prayer in my heart that the Lord would make his will clearly known concerning these troubling issues.

Imagine then my feelings as I sat in the chapel for the General Relief Society Broadcast and listened to President Hinckley read The Family - A Proclamation to the World.  Tears of gratitude streamed down my face and I knew the Lord had answered the unexpressed longings of my heart.  Here was the bread of life for a world in the midst of a famine of the word of God; Living Water for a drought stricken people; a sword of truth to cut through the war of words.

We are truly blessed to have immediate access to this proclamation.  So far as I know the press in this area did not report on it or publish it.  You’ll notice that it is to the World, not just the church.  President Hinckley is the Prophet to the entire population on the world.  His responsibility, like Noah’s of old, is to proclaim truth to all of Heavenly Father’s children, however unpopular or politically incorrect that truth is. We who have taken upon ourselves gospel covenants are required to listen to the word of the Lord through his prophet and follow his instruction, counsel and guidance, molding our spirits and bodies to the standard pattern of the Lord.  “For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.” (D&C 82:3)

There is so much talk in the world about rights and so little about responsibilities.  But the world has things backwards, and that is one reason there are so many seemingly unsolvable problems.  When we take on duties and responsibilities first, the rights and privileges naturally follow.

We have received the greater light.  No longer are we in the dark about matters of gender, proper roles, or responsibilities. The prophets and apostles have spoken “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.”  (D&C 68:4)  Now we have the opportunity to grow and change our lives to conform to this revealed truth.  One of the greatest stumbling blocks for us members of the church is that we like to think of ourselves as exceptions to the rule.  We rationalize and maneuver trying to fit the standards and commandments to us, when we should be using our energy to fit ourselves to the standards and commandments.  We will never be let into the Celestial Kingdom as an exception.  We will be let in only when we fully conform to the standards set for admittance by our Father in Heaven.  He said, “For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.” (D&C 78:7)

I urge you to read and study the Proclamation.  Prayerfully judge yourself against it.  See where you can improve.  Rejoice where you are in compliance.  The Proclamation was published in the November 1995 Ensign along with all the Relief Society Broadcast and October General Conference talks.  Do you receive the Ensign in your home?  If not, why not?  I’ve heard lots of excuses over the years.  The worst excuse is that we can’t afford it right now.  How much do we spend each month on magazines, newspapers and cable television to bring the words and deeds of everyone else into our homes?  Isn’t it worth it to spend the equivalent of about 84¢ each month to have access to the message from the First Presidency, as well as articles by apostles and prophets?  I hope that we can examine our lives and find that it is well worth it and take action to bring the words of truth and light into our homes for ourselves and our families.

As I listened to President Hinckley read the solemn proclamation as part of the General Relief Society Broadcast last fall my heart was filled with gratitude until I felt I would burst if I didn’t stand and sing at the top of my voice “We Thank Thee, O God, for A Prophet! To guide us in these latter days.”  (Hymns #19)

All that evening and the next day I had a prayer in my heart that I could find the words to express my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the blessings of the Truth.  Late Sunday evening as I was getting ready for bed, words began to take shape in my mind and I hurried to write them down.  (I keep a notebook and pencil on my bedside stand for that very purpose.)  I dedicated them to President Hinckley in gratitude for his leadership as our living prophet, seer, and revelator.

How blessed we are to have a guide,
A prophet of the Lord;
To lead us in these latter-days
Of famine, drought and sword.

With strident voices on all sides
He speaks a calming word,
To cheer us and encourage us.
The Lord, our prayers, has heard.

He calls to us “Repent from sin.”
And asks us to do more
To live the gospel in our homes,
Rich blessings are in store.

We pray that he will lead us in 
The path of righteousness.
He has not faltered, nor yet will.
Let’s follow and be blessed.

Brothers and sisters, I testify to you that God lives, he hears and answers our prayers.  We are led by a Prophet and will be greatly blessed for following him.  Jesus Christ is our Savior.  He should be our hero and his life of obedience our guide.  I love the gospel and my family.  I’m grateful to live at this time.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.