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.
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 [Northern VA] 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.