Guideposts for Life's Journey | Thomas S. Monson

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Guideposts for Life's Journey | Thomas S. Monson

BROTHER FOR THAT BEAUTIFUL AND STIRRING MUSIC WE’RE PLEASED TO HAVE AS OUR SPEAKER THIS MORNING PRESIDENT THOMAS S. MONSON, COUNSELOR AND FIRST PRESIDENCY HE WAS CALLED TO THE PRESIDENCY IN 1963 AND HE HAS SERVED AS PRESIDENT TO THE CANADIAN MISSION AND BE A BISHOP AND A MEMBER OF THE STATE PRESIDENCY PRESIDENT MONSON GRADUATED CUM LAUDE IN BUSINESS MANAGEMENT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH HE PURSUED GRADUATE WORK THERE AND SERVED ON THE COLLEGE OF BUSINESS FACULTY HE LATER EARNED AN M B.A. FROM BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY HE HAS RECEIVED HONORARY DOCTORATES FROM BYU AND SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE PROFESSIONALLY, HE’S HAD A DISTINGUISHED YEAR IN PUBLISH BE AND PRINTING HE HAS BEEN AN ADVERTISING SECON EXECUTIVE FOR THE DESERET NEWS AND BOARD CHAIRMAN OF THE DESERET NEWS PUBLISHING COMPANY HE’S ALSO SERVED ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE PRINTING INDUSTRY OF AMERICA HE CURRENTLY SERVES AS A TRUSTEE AND AN OFFICER OF THE BYU AND THE CHURCH BOARD OF EDUCATION HE SERVED FOR MANY YEARS ON THE UTAH STATE BOARD OF REGENTS AND IN 1981 WAS APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN TO SERVE ON THE PRESIDENT’S TASK FORCE FOR PRIVATE SECTOR INITIATIVES PRESIDENT MONSON WAS HONORED WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD IN 1966 HE IS ALSO A RECIPIENT OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA’S SILVER BEAVER AWARD, PRESTIGIOUS CIVSIR BUFFALO AWARD AND THE BRONZE WOLF IN 1997 HE RECEIVED A MINUTEMAN AWARD FROM THE UTAH NATIONAL GUARD AS WELL AS BYU’S EXEMPLARY MANHOOD AWARD IN 1998, HE AND HIS WIFE, THE FORMER FRANCES BEVERLY JOHNSON BEFORE EACH GIVEN THE CONTINUUM OF HUMANITARIAN AWARD THE MONSONS ARE PARENTS OF THREE CHILDRE MAJORING IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING FROM OREM, UTAH NOW WE’LL HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF HEARING FROM PRESIDENT MONSON >> PRESIDENT THOMAS S. MONSON: AS WE WERE TAKING OUR SEATS ON THE STAND TODAY, OUR ASSOCIATE TURNED TO ME AND SAID HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN SISTER MONSON? I THOUGHT BACK, A LONG TIME AND THEN I REMEMBERED OUR FIRST DATE YOU’RE YOUNG, MY YOUNG BROTHERS AND SISTERS, YOU MIGHT APPRECIATE THIS I SAW HER ON A DANCE FLOOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH I WAS DANCING WITH A YOUNG LADY FROM WEST HIGH SCHOOL SHE WAS DANCING WITH A YOUNG MAN FROM EAST HIGH SCHOOL I SAW HER AND THOUGHT I GOT TO MEET HER AND THEN AT THE STREET CAR STOP ON 13TH EAST, THE SECOND SOUTH, THERE SHE WAS ONE DAY I LEARNED THE TRUTH OF A GREAT STATEMENT FROM THE TIME THE DECISION COMES COMES THE TIME FOR PREPARATION IS PAST AND WE MET EACH OTHER ON THAT STREET CAR AND THEN I CALLED HER FOR OUR FIRST DATE I WENT TO HER HOME AND HER MOTHER AND FATHER WERE ALL DRESSED UP AND GREETED ME FORMALLY SHE SAID THIS IS TOM MONSON HER FATHER SAID IS THAT A SWEDISH NAME? I SAID YES, SIR HE SAID GOOD AND THEN HE WENT INTO THE BEDROOM AND BROUGHT FORTH FROM THE DRESSER DRAWER A PICTURE OF TWO MISSIONARIES IN SWEDEN WAY BACK IN ABOUT 1898 AND THEY WERE CARRYING COPIES OF THE BOOK OF MORMON HE SAID ARE YOU RELATED TO THIS MISSIONARY? I SAID YES THAT’S ELIAS MONSON, MY GRANDFATHER’S BROTHER HE WAS THE MISSIONARY AND HIS COMPANION WHO BROUGHT MY ENTIRE FAMILY INTO THE CHURCH THEN HE REACHED UP AND KISSED ME ON THE CHEEK AND THEN HER MOTHER, WHO IS ALSO SWEDISH, REACHED UP WITH A TEAR IN HER EYE AND KISSED ME ON THE OTHER CHEEK THAT HAD NEVER HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE THEY WERE ALWAYS TURNING ON THE PORCH LIGHT [LAUGHTER] >> PRESIDENT THOMAS S. MONSON: WELL, THAT’S JUST A LITTLE BIT

ABOUT HOW THE TWO OF US MET WE WERE MARRIED WAY BACK IN 1948 IT’S BEEN A WONDERFUL MARRIAGE AND CONTINUES TO BE I THOUGHT LONG AND PRAYED ABOUT WHAT I’D SAY TO YOU TONIGHT I HAVE COME TO A FEW CONCLUSIONS I RATHER THOUGHT THAT IF I WERE IN THE AUDIENCE, WHAT MIGHT I LIKE TO HEAR? SO FIRST TIME I MUST COMPLIMENT THE CHOIR AND PUTTING A PRIORITY ON WHERE YOU OUGHT TO BE AT THIS GIVEN TIME I’D LIKE TO SPEAK TO YOU MY YOUNG BROTHERS AND SISTERS, WHAT A GLORIOUS SIGHT YOU ARE IT’S AN HONOR AND PRIVILEGE FOR ME TO BE HERE WITH YOU MY RESPONSIBILITY IS GREAT I REALIZE THAT YOUR TIME IS VALUABLE YOUR TALENTS ARE MANY AND YOUR FUTURE IS BRIGHT I SEEK HEAVENLY HELP IN RESPONDING TO THIS CHALLENGE I SUPPOSE EVERY ONE OF US IN THIS CONGREGATION HAS HAD A FEW, OH, SHALL WE CALL THEM “HEART STOPPERS” IN HIS OR HER LIFE? I KNOW I HAVE BEFORE GOING FORWARD WITH MY GENERAL THEME, I MIGHT MENTION ONE OR TWO OF THEM THE PAST GENERAL CONFERENCE MARKED 44 YEARS SINCE I WAS CALLED TO SERVE AS A MEMBER OF THE QUORUM OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES IN OCTOBER OF 1963, A FEW DAYS FOLLOWING THAT CONFERENCE, I MET WITH MY COLLEAGUES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE FOURTH FLOOR ROOM OF THE SALT LAKE TEMPLE THE PRESIDENCY AND THE 12 EVERYTHING WAS NEW TO ME WE WERE TO PARTAKE OF THE SACRAMENT THAT DAY AS WE PREPARED TO RECEIVE IT, PRESIDENT DAVID O. McKAY SAID, AND I QUOTE, BEFORE WE PARTAKE OF THE BREAD AND WATER, I’D LIKE TO INVITE OUR NEWEST MEMBER, BROTHER MONSON, TO INSTRUCT THE FIRST PRESIDENCY AND COUNCIL OF THE 12 ON THE ATONING SACRIFICE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WE WILL NOW HEAR FROM YOU, BROTHER MONSON THAT WAS A HEART STOPPER FOR ME I MANAGED, BARELY AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEETING, WE MOVED TO THE LUNCHROOM RESERVED FOR THE FIRST PRESIDENCY AND THE 12 WHERE WE WERE TO EAT AS WE SAT AROUND THE TABLE, PRESIDENT McKAY SAID, BROTHER MONSON, DO YOU BELIEVE THAT WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE REALLY WROTE THE SONNETS ATTRIBUTED TO HIM? OH, YES, I RESPONDED, I DO PRESIDENT McKAY HE THEN ESAID WONDERFUL, SO DO SO DO I I THOUGHT I HOPE HE MOVES AWAY FROM SHAKESPEARE I WAS A BUSINESS MAJOR HOWEVER, HE TURNED TO ME AGAIN AND SAID, BROTHER MONSON, DO YOU READ SHAKESPEARE? I SAID OCCASIONALLY FINE HE SAID WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORK OF SHAKESPEARE? I THOUGHT QUICKLY, PERHAPS A MORE DESPERATE PRAYER THAN A REASONED THOUGHT AND REPLIED HENRY VIII >> WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE PASSAGE HE ASKED? >> I HAD A HEART STOPPING SITUATION RIGHT THERE THEN I THOUGHT OF CARDINAL WOLSEY, THAT MAN WHO SERVED AS KING BUT NEGLECTED HIS GOD I RECITED TO PRESIDENT McKAY WHAT CARDINAL WOLSEY LAMENTED WHEN HE WAS SHORN OF ALL OF HIS POWER QUOTE, HAD I BUT SERVED MY GOD WITH HALF THE ZEAL WITH WHICH I SERVED MY KING, HE AND MINE AGE WOULD NOT HAVE LEFT ME NAKED TO MINE ENEMIES PRESIDENT McKAY SAID, OH, I LOVE THAT PASSAGE, TOO THEN HE CHANGED THE SUBJECT FOR WHICH I SHALL BE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL AS WE JOURNEY THROUGH MORTALITY, “HEART STOPPERS” WILL COME TO EACH OF US MY YOUNG FRIENDS, I COMMEND YOU FOR PAYING THE PRICE IN TIME AND EFFORT AND MONEY TO OBTAIN YOUR EDUCATION YOUR PARENTS MAY BE SACRIFICING, SKIMPING, GOING WITHOUT THAT WHICH THEY NEED TO GIVE YOU AN EDUCATION, WHICH WILL ENABLE YOU TO EXCEL IN TODAY’S WORLD WHATEVER YOUR FUTURE PATHWAY MAY BE, MAY I SUGGEST TO YOU TODAY FOUR GUIDEPOSTS TO ASSIST IN YOUR RESPECTIVE JOURNEYS THROUGH SCHOOL AND THROUGH LIFE ITSELF FIRST, GLANCE BACKWARD

SECOND, LOOK HEAVENWARD THIRD, REACH OUTWARD AND, FOURTH, PRESS ONWARD LET US CONSIDER EACH IN ITS TURN FIRST, GLANCE BACKWARD A REVIEW OF THE PAST CAN BE HELPFUL THAT IS, IF WE LEARN FROM THE MISTAKES AND FOLLIES OF THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE AND IF WE DO NOT REPEAT THEM JOHN TOLAND, A PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR IN SUMMING UP HIS MONUMENTAL WORK, “THE RISING SUN”, DECLARED I’VE DONE MY UTMOST TO LET THE EVENTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES AND IF ANY CONCLUSION WAS REACHED, IT WAS THAT THERE ARE NO SIMPLE LESSONS IN HISTORY THAT IT IS HUMAN NATURE THAT REPEATS ITSELF, NOT HISTORY >> I SUGGESTED MERELY A GLANCE AT THE PAST IT’S NOT PRACTICAL TO THINK WE CAN RETURN SOME OF YOU MAY BE FAMILIAR WITH THORNTON WILDER’S CLASSIC DRAMA “OUR TOWN” IF YOU ARE, YOU WILL REMEMBER THE TOWN OF GROVER’S CORNERS IN THE PLAY, EMILY WEBB DIES IN CHILDBIRTH AND WE READ OF THE LONELY GRIEF OF HER YOUNG HUSBAND GEORGE, LEFT WITH THEIR FOUR-YEAR-OLD SON EMILY DOES NOT WISH TO REST IN PEACE SHE WANTS TO EXPERIENCE AGAIN THE JOYS OF HER LIFE SHE’S GRANTED THE PRIVILEGE TO RETURN TO EARTH AND TO RELIVE HER 12TH BIRTHDAY AT FIRST, IT’S EXCITING TO BE YOUNG AGAIN BUT THE EXCITEMENT WEARS OFF QUICKLY THE DAY HOLDS NO JOY, NOW THAT EMILY KNOWS WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE FUTURE IT’S UNBEARABLY PAINFUL TO REALIZE HOW UNAWARE SHE HAD BEEN AT THE MEANING AND WONDER OF LIFE WHILE SHE WAS ALIVE BEFORE RETURNING TO HER RESTING PLACE, EMILY LAMENTS DO HUMAN BEINGS EVER REALIZE LIFE WHILE THEY LIVE IT EVERY MINUTE? MAY EACH OF US LEARN TO APPRECIATE THE GIFT OF LIFE, THAT WE’VE BEEN GIVEN, AND IN THAT CONTEXT, AT THIS TIME OF YEAR WHEN WE WILL SOON BE CELEBRATING THANKSGIVING, I WOULD URGE ALL OF US TO GLANCE BACKWARD IN ORDER TO RECOGNIZE THOSE THINGS FOR WHICH WE ARE THANKFUL AND THEN TO EXPRESS APPRECIATION TO ANYONE TO WHO WE OWE A DEBT OF GRATITUDE MAY WE EXPRESS THANKS TO PARENTS FOR CARING FOR SACRIFICING FOR LABORING IN OUR BEHALF MAY WE EXPRESS THANKS TO FRIENDS, TO PROFESSORS, AND TO ANY OTHERS WHO HAVE HELPED US ALONG THE WAY MAY WE EXPRESS THANKS TO OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN FOR THE BLESSING OF LIFE AND THE CHANCE TO RETURN TO HIM AND MAY WE EXPRESS THANKS TO HIM FOR THE GIFT OF HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON WHO DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE MAY THE LESSONS WE LEARN AS WE GLANCE BACKWARD HELP US TO LIVE MORE FULLY EACH DAY OF OUR FUTURE HOW DO WE GLANCE BACKWARD? LET US LOOK HEAVENWARD, FROM THE HEAVENS CAME THE GENTLE INVITATION, LOOK TO GOD AND LIVE WE’VE NOT BEEN LEFT TO WANDER IN DARKNESS AND IN SILENCE UNINSTRUCTED, UNINSPIRED, WITHOUT REVELATION ONE WHO KNEW AND TAUGHT THIS TRUTH WAS PRESIDENT HAROLD B LEE WHO WROTE THIS INSCRIPTION ON THE TITLE PAGE OF THE TRIPLE COMBINATION SCRIPTURE WHICH HE PRESENTED TO HIS TEENAGE DAUGHTER TO MY DEAR MAUREEN, THAT YOU MAY HAVE A CONSTANT MEASURE BY WHICH TO JUDGE BETWEEN TRUTH AND THE ERRORS OF MAN’S PHILOSOPHIES AND THUS GROW IN SPIRITUALITY AND INCREASE IN KNOWLEDGE, I GIVE YOU THE SACRED BOOK TO READ FREQUENTLY AND CHERISH THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFE LOVINGLY YOUR FATHER, HAROLD B LEE FROM THE SCRIPTURES, FROM THE PROPHETS COMES COUNSEL FOR OUR TIME AS WE LOOK HEAVENWARD YOU HAVE THE BLESSING OF RECEIVING YOUR EDUCATION AT AN INSTITUTION GOVERNED BY THE PRINCIPLES AND IDEALS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS WHERE ONE OF THE GOALS OF THE UNIVERSITY IS TO BUILD TESTIMONIES OF THE RESTORED GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST AND ENCOURAGE LIVING ITS PRINCIPL PRINCIPLES LOOKING HEAVENWARD SHOULD BE OUR LIFELONG ENDEAVOR SOME FOOLISH PERSONS TURN THEIR BACKS ON THE WISDOM OF GOD AND

FOLLOW THE ALLURE MEANT OF FICKLE FASHION, THE ATTRACTION OF FALSE POPULARITY AND THE THRILL OF THE MOMENT THEIR COURSE OF CONDUCT RESEMBLES THE DISASTROUS EXPERIENCE OF ESAU WHO EXCHANGED HIS BIRTHRIGHT FOR A MESS OF POTTAGE WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF SUCH ACTION? I TESTIFY TO YOU TODAY THAT TURNING AWAY FROM GOD’S TEACHINGS WILL BRING BROKEN COVENANTS, SHATTERED DREAMS AND CRUSHED HOPES SUCH A QUAGMIRE OF QUICKSAND, I PLEAD WITH YOU TO AVOID, FOR YOU ARE OF A NOBLE BIRTHRIGHT, ETERNAL LIFE IN THE KINGDOM OF OUR FATHER IS YOUR GOAL SUCH A GOAL IS NOT ACHIEVED IN ONE GLORIOUS ATTEMPT BUT RATHER THE RESULT OF A LIFETIME OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND ACCUMULATION OF WISE CHOICES, EVEN A CONSTANT SEA OF PURPOSE AND LOFTY IDEALS AMIDST THE CONFUSION OF OUR AGE, THE CONFLICTS OF CONSCIENCE AND THE TURMOIL OF DAILY LIVING AND ABIDING FAITH BECOMES AN ANCHOR TO OUR LIVES BY REACHING HEAVENWARD AND SEEKING HEAVENLY FATHER IN PERSONAL AND FAMILY PRAYER, WE AND OUR LOVED ONES WILL DEVELOPMENT THE FULFILLMENT OF WHAT THE GREAT ENGLISH STATESMAN WILLIAM H. GLADSTONE DESCRIBED AS THE WORLD’S GREATEST ASSET AND NEED, A LIVING FAITH IN A PERSONAL GOD SUCH FAITH WILL ILLUMINATE OUR WAY AS A LIGHTHOUSE OF THE LORD WHEN YOU HAVE AN ABIDING FAITH IN THE LIVING GOD, WHEN YOUR OUTWARD ACTIONS REFLECT YOUR INNER CONVICTIONS, YOU HAVE THE COMPOSITE STRENGTH OF EXPOSING HID VIRTUES THEY COMBINE TO GIVE SAFE PASSAGE TO WHATEVER ROUGH SEAS MIGHT ARISE WHEREVER WE MAY BE, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER CAN HEAR AND ANSWER THE PRAYER OFFERED IN FAITH MANY YEARS AGO, ON MY FIRST VISIT TO THE FABLED VILLAGE OF SAUNIATU IN SAMOA, SO LOVED BY PRESIDENT DAVID O. McKAY, MY WIFE AND I MET WITH THE LARGE GATHERING OF SMALL CHILDREN OH, ABOUT 5 AND 6 YEARS OF AGE NEARLY 200 IN NUMBER AT THE CONCLUSION OF OUR MESSAGES TO THESE SHY, YET BEAUTIFUL YOUNGSTERS, I SUGGESTED TO THE NATIVE SAMOAN TEACHER THAT WE GO FORWARD WITH THE CLOSING EXERCISES HE ANNOUNCED THE FINAL HYMN, I SUDDENLY FELT COMPELLED TO GREET PERSONALLY EACH OF THESE CHILDREN MY WATCH REVEALED TIME WAS TOO SHORT FOR SUCH A PRIVILEGE, FOR WE WERE SCHEDULED ON A FLIGHT OUT OF THE COUNTRY SO I DISCOUNTED THE IMPRESSION BEFORE THE BENEDICTION WAS TO BE SPOKEN, I AGAIN FELT THAT I SHOULD SHAKE THE HAND OF EACH CHILD I MADE THE DESIRE KNOWN TO THE INSTRUCTOR, WHO DISPLAYED A BROAD AND BEAUTIFUL SAMOAN SMILE IN SAMOAN, HE ANNOUNCED THIS TO THE CHILDREN THEY BEAMED THEIR APPROVAL THE INSTRUCTOR THEN REVEALED THE REASON FOR HIS AND THEIR JOY, HE SAID WHEN WE LEARNED A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF THE 12 WAS TO VISIT US HERE IN SAMOA, SO FAR AWAY FROM CHURCH HEADQUARTERS, I TOLD THE CHILDREN IF THEY WOULD EARNESTLY AND SINCERELY PRAY AND EXERT FAITH, LIKE THE BIBLE ACCOUNTS OF OLD, THAT THE APOSTLE WOULD VISIT OUR TINY VILLAGE OF SAUNIATU AND THROUGH THEIR FAITH, HE WOULD BE IMPRESSED TO GREET EACH CHILD WITH A PERSONAL HANDCLASP CHEERS COULD NOT BE RESTRAINED AS THE PRECIOUS BOYS AND GIRLS STOOD, WALKED SHYLY BY AND WHISPERED SOFTLY TO US THE SWEET SAMOAN GREETING “TALOFA LAVA”, PROFOUND EXPRESSION OF FAITH HAD BEEN EVIDENT IN ADDITION TO THAT, HOWEVER, THEY MARCHED FORWARD TO THE PIANO PLAYING, TEACHER PLAYING IN THE SHADE OF THE OLD APPLE TREE AND THEY SANG THAT THEY SANG AS THEY MARCHED UP AND SHOOK OUR HANDS THE SAMOANS HAVE THE GIFT OF SONG AND THEY BELTED OUT THAT NUMBER IN THE SHADE OF THE OLD APPLE TREE AND THEY HAD NEVER EVER SEEN AN APPLE TREE, BUT THEY SURLY SANG AS THOUGH THEY CREATED IT REMEMBER THAT FAITH AND DOUBT CANNOT EXIST IN THE SAME MIND AT THE SAME TIME, FOR ONE WILL DISPEL THE OTHER

SHOULD DOUBT KNOCK AT YOUR DOORWAY, JUST SAY TO THOSE SKEPTICAL, DISTURBING REBELLIOUS THOUGHTS, I PROPOSE TO STAY WITH MY FAITH, WITH THE FAITH OF MY PEOPLE I KNOW THAT HAPPINESS AND CONTENTMENT ARE THERE AND I FORBID YOU, AGNOSTIC, DOUBTING THOUGHTS, TO DESTROY THE HOUSE OF MY FAITH I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE PROCESSES OF CREATION, BUT I ACCEPT THE FACT OF IT I GRANT THAT I CANNOT EXPLAIN THE MIRACLES OF THE BIBLE, AND I DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DO SO BUT I ACCEPT GOD’S WORD I WASN’T WITH JOSEPH, BUT I BELIEVE HIM MY FAITH DID NOT COME TO ME THROUGH SCIENCE, AND I WILL BAC RECEIVE DIVINE DIRECTION I BEAR WITNESS TO YOU TODAY THAT THE SWEETEST SPIRIT AND FEELING IN ALL OF MORTALITY IS WHEN WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE ON THE LORD’S ERRAND, AND THEN TO KNOW FOR ASSURENESS THAT HE HAS GUIDED OUR FOOTSTEPS PRAY OFTEN ON SUNDAYS WHEN I’M NOT OTHERWISE ASSIGNED I WILL ATTEND THE SACRAMENT MEETING AT THE CARE CENTERS LOCATED NEAR THE HOLIDAY WHERE WE LIVE THEIR PRECIOUS SOULS, ALL CONFINED TO WHEELCHAIRS, MEET IN AN ATTITUDE OF WORSHIP WORTHY PRIESTHOOD HOLDERS FROM THE SURROUNDING AREAS ARE CALLED AS BISHOPS OR BRANCH PRESIDENTS TO PRESIDE OVER THE CARE CENTER UNITS AND PRIESTS AND DEACONS ARE ASSIGNED EACH WEEK TO BLESS AND PASS THE SACRAMENT AND THE WIVES OF THE PRIESTHOOD LEADERS ATTEND TO HELPING ELDERLY PEOPLE PARTAKE OF THE SACKMENT ONE CANNOT ATTEND WITHOUT BEING UPLIFTED AND INSPIRED ONE SUNDAY, A YOUNG MAN WAS TO PLAY A VIOLIN FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE ELDERLY AND INCAPACITATED THRONG AS HE BEGAN AND AS HE PLAYED, HIS MUSIC BECAME SWEETER WITH EACH PASSING MINUTE TEARS CAME TO THE YOUNG MAN’S EYES AS HE LATER MENTIONED, THE NOTES TUMBLED THROUGH HIS MIND, ONE FOLLOWING THE OTHER IN PERFECT SUCCESSION HE HAD NEVER PLAYED WITH SUCH PURE INSPIRATION AS HE HAD THAT PARTICULAR DAY HE PROFFERED IT WASN’T MY SKILL IT WAS THE YEARNING OF THE SPECIAL AUDIENCE AND AT THE SAME TIME, IN THE SAME MEETING, AN ELDERLY LADY CALLED OUT I HAVE NO COMPULSION TO BE SILENT I AM COLD A PRIEST OF THE SACRAMENT TABLE SAID NOTHING, BUT AROSE, WALKED TO HER SIDE AND REMOVED HIS JACKET AND PLACED IT AROUND THE SHOULDERS OF THE LADY WHO WAS COLD TO HIM I SAID, WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TODAY YOU WILL EVER REMEMBER YOUR ACT OF KINDNESS REPLACED THE NOBILITY OF YOUR SOUL YOU HAVE BEEN AS THE GOOD SAMARITAN, WHO GREETED THE HELPLESS TRAVELLER ON THE ROAD TO JERICHO AS WE LOOK HEAVENWARD, WE INEVITABLY LEARN OF OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO REACH OUTWARD, TO FIND REAL HAPPINESS, WE MUST SEEK FOR IT IN THE FOCUS OUTSIDE OF OURSELVES NO ONE HAS LEARNED THE MEANING OF LIVING UNTIL HE OR SHE HAS SURRENDERED HIS OR HER EGO TO THE SERVICE OF FELLOWMAN SERVICE TO OTHERS IT’S AKIN TO DUTY TO FULFILLMENT OF WHICH BRINGS TRUE JOY WE DO NOT LIVE ALONE IN OUR CITY, OUR NATION OR OUR WORLD THERE’S NO DIVIDING LINES BETWEEN OUR PROSPERITY AND OUR NEIGHBORS’ WRETCHEDNESS LOVE THY NEIGHBOR IS MORE THAN A DIVINE TRUTH IT IS A PATTERN FOR PERFECTION THIS TRUTH INSPIRES THE FAMILIAR CHARGE, GO FORTH TO SERVE TRY AS SOME OF US MAY, WE CANNOT ESCAPE THE INFLUENCE OUR LIVES HAVE UPON THE LIVES OF OTHERS OURS IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD, TO LIFT, TO ASPIRE AND INDEED TO LEAD THE NEW TESTAMENT TEACHES THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TAKE A RIGHT ATTITUDE TOWARD CHRIST WITHOUT TAKING AN UNSELFISH ATTITUDE TOWARD MEN INASMUCH AS YOU HAVE DONE IT UNTO THE LEAST OF THESE MY BRETHREN, YOU HAVE DONE IT UNTO ME WE MAY THINK AS WE PLEASE, BUT THERE’S NO QUESTION ABOUT WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, THERE IS NO ROAD TO THE HEART OF GOD THAT DOES NOT LEAD TO THE HEART OF MAN

THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH THAT A TRUE LATTER DAY SAINT IS TO FEED THE HUNGRY, TO CLOTHE THE NAKED, TO PROVIDE FOR THE WIDOW, TO DRY UP THE TEAR OF THE ORPHAN, TO COVER THE AFFLICTED WHETHER IN THIS CHURCH OR IN ANY OTHER OR IN NO CHURCH AT ALL, WHEREVER HE FINDS THEM WE CANNOT BE CARELESS IN OUR REACH LIVES OF OTHERS DEPEND UPON US THE POWER TO LEAD IS INDEED THE POWER TO MISLEAD AND THE POWER TO MISLEAD IS THE POWER TO DESTROY MANY HAVE COME INTO THE CHURCH OR AT LEAST HAVE COME TO KNOW AND RESPECT THE CHURCH BECAUSE SOMEONE MADE THE EFFORT TO REACH OUTWARD I SHARE WITH YOU A TREASURED FAMILY EXPERIENCE WHICH HAD ITS BEGINNING BACK IN 1959 WHEN I WAS CALLED TO PROVIDED OVER THE CANADIAN MISSION HEADQUARTERED IN TORONTO OUR DAUGHTER ANN, WHO IS IN THE AUDIENCE TODAY, OUR ONLY DAUGHTER, TURNED FIVE SHORTLY AFTER WE ARRIVED IN CANADA SHE SAW THE MISSIONARIES GOING ABOUT THEIR WORK AND SHE, TOO, WANTED TO BE A MISSIONARY MY WIFE DEMONSTRATED UNDERSTANDING BY PERMITTING ANN TO TAKE TO CLASS SHE WAS ONLY FIVE YEARS OLD A FEW COPIES OF THE CHILDREN’S FRIEND THAT WASN’T SUFFICIENT FOR ANN SHE ALSO WANTED TO TAKE WITH HER A COPY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON SO SHE MIGHT TALK TO HER TEACHER, MISS PEPPER, ABOUT THE CHURCH I THINK IT RATHER THRILLING THAT JUST A FEW YEARS AGO, LONG YEARS AFTER OUR RETURN FROM TORONTO, WE CAME HOME FROM THE VACATION AND FOUND IN OUR MAILBOX A NOTE FROM MISS PEPPER WHICH READ, DEAR ANN, THINK BACK MANY YEARS AGO, I WAS YOUR SCHOOL TEACHER IN TORONTO CANADA I WAS IMPRESSED BY THE COPIES OF THE CHILDREN’S FRIEND WHICH YOU BROUGHT TO SCHOOL I WAS IMPRESSED BY YOUR DEDICATION TO A BOOK CALLED THE BOOK OF MORMON I MADE A COMMITMENT ONE DAY I WOULD COME TO SALT LAKE CITY AND SEE WHY YOU TAUGHT AS YOU DID AND WHY YOU BELIEVED IN THE MANNER YOU BELIEVED TODAY, SHE WROTE, I HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF GOING THROUGH YOUR VISITORS’ CENTER ON TEMPLE SQUARE THANKS TO A FIVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL, WHO HAD AN UNDERSTANDING OF THAT WHICH SHE BELIEVED, I NOW HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS MISS PEPPER DIED NOT TOO LONG AFTER THAT VISIT HOW HAPPY OUR DAUGHTER ANN WAS WHEN SHE ATTENDED THE JORDAN RIVER TEMPLE AND PERFORMED THE TEMPLE WORK FOR HER BELOVED TEACHER TO WHOM SHE HAD REACHED OUT SO MANY YEARS AGO AND WHILE WE REACH OUTWARD, WE HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PRESS ONWARD NO ONE HAS DESCRIBED THIS LIFE AS BEING EASY INDEED, IT IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY MORE DIFFICULT THE WORLD SEEMS TO HAVE SLIPPED FROM THE MOORINGS OF SAFETY AND DRIFTED FROM THE HARBOR OF PEACE PERMISSIVENESS, IMMORALITY, PORNOGRAPHY AND THE POWER OF PEER PRESSURE CAUSE MANY TO BE TOSSED ABOUT ON A SEA OF SAND AND CRUSHED ON THE JAGGED REEFS OF LOST OPPORTUNITIES, FORFITTED BLESSINGS AND SHATTERED DREAMS ANXIOUSLY WE ASK, IS THERE A WAY TO SAFETY? CAN SOMEONE GUIDE US? IS THERE AN ESCAPE FROM THREATENED DESTRUCTION? THE ANSWER IS A RESOUNDING YES I COUNSEL YOU, LOOK TO A LIGHTHOUSE OF THE LORD THERE’S NO FOG SO DENSE, NO NIGHT SO DARK, NO GALE SO STRONG, NO MARINER SO LOST, BUT WHAT ITS BEACON LIGHT CAN REST YOU IT CALLS, THIS WAY TO SAFETY THIS WAY TO HOME PRESS ONWARD WE MUST THE APOSTLE PAUL DESCRIBED LIFE AS A RACE HE SAID KNOW YE NOT THAT THEY WHICH RUN IN A RACE RUN ALL, BUT ONE RECEIVETH THE PRIZE SO RUN THAT YE MAY OBTAIN THE WRITER OF THE BOOK ECCLESIASTES WROTE OF THIS SUBJECT, SAYING THE RACE IS NOT FOR THE SWIFT NOR THE BATTLE FOR THE STRONG, ACTUALLY THE PRIZE BELONGS TO HIM OR HER WHO ENDURES TO THE END IN THE PRIVATE SANCTUARY OF ONE’S OWN CONSCIENCE LIES THAT SPIRIT, THAT DETERMINATION TO PRESS ONWARD AND TO MEASURE UP TO THE STATURE OF TRUE POTENTIAL BUT THE WAY IS RUGGED AND THE COURSE IS STRENUOUS

SO DISCOVERED A BOY BY THE NAME OF JOHN HELANDER FROM GOTEBORG, SWEDEN HE WAS A YOUNG ADULT WITH THE SAME YEARNINGS FOR THE BLESSINGS OF SUCCESS AS DO ALL BUT JOHN WAS HANDICAPPED, IN THAT IT IS DIFFICULT FOR HIM TO COORDINATE HIS MOTIONS IN AN ACTIVITY OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN KUNGSBACKA, SWEDEN, JOHN TOOK PART IN AN 800-METER RUNNING RACE HE HAD NO CHANCE TO WIN RATHER, HIS WAS A POSSIBILITY OF BEING HUMILIATED, MOCKED, DERIDED, SCORNED PERHAPS JOHN REMEMBERED ANOTHER WHO LIVED LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY WASN’T HE MOCKED? WASN’T HE DERIDED? WASN’T HE SCORNED? BUT HE PREVAILED HE WON HIS RACE MAYBE JOHN COULD WIN HIS SO WHATEVER RACE IT IS, STRUGGLING, SURGING, PRESSING, THE RUNNERS BOLT FAR BEYOND JOHN THERE’S WONDERMENT AMONG THE SPECTATORS WHO IS THIS RUNNER WHO LAGS SO FAR BEHIND THE PARTICIPANTS ARE ON THEIR SECOND LAP OF THIS TWO-LAP RACE PASS JOHN WHILE HE’S HALFWAY THROUGH THE FIRST LAP TENSION MOUNTS AS THE RUNNERS PRESS TOWARD THE TAPE WHO WILL WIN? WHO WILL BE SECOND? THEN COMES THE FINAL BURST OF SPEED THE TAPE IS BROKEN THE CROWD CHEERS THE WINNER IS PROCLAIMED THE RACE IS OVER OR IS IT? WHO IS THIS CONTESTANT WHO CONTINUES TO RUN WHEN THE RACE HAS ENDED? HE CROSSES THE FINISH LINE ON HIS FIRST LAP DOESN’T HE KNOW HE’S LOST? THE ONLY PARTICIPANT NOW ON THE TRACK THIS IS HIS RACE THIS MUST BE HIS VICTORY NO ONE AMONG THE VAST THRONG OF SPECTATORS LEAVES EVERY EYE IS ON THIS VALIANT RUNNER HE MAKES A FINAL TURN AND MOVES TOWARD THE FINISH LINE THERE’S AWE, THERE’S ADMIRATION EVERY SPECTATOR SEES HIMSELF RUNNING HIS OWN RACE OF LIFE AS JOHN APPROACHED THE FINISH LINE, THE AUDIENCE AS ONE RISES TO ITS FEET, WITH A LOUD APPLAUSE OF ACCLAIM, STUMBLING, FALLING, EXHAUSTED, BUT VICTORIOUS, JOHN HELANDER BREAKS THE NEWLY TIGHTENED TAPE OFFICIALS ARE HUMAN, TOO THE CHEERING ECHOES FOR MILES AND JUST MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, IN THE EAR IS CAREFULLY TUNED OF THAT GREAT SCOREKEEPER, EVEN THE LORD, CAN HE BE HEARD TO SAY, WELL DONE, THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT EACH OF US IS AS A RUNNER IN THE RACE OF LIFE COMFORTING IS THE FACT THAT THERE ARE MANY RUNNERS REASSURING US THE KNOWLEDGE THAT OUR ETERNAL SCOREKEEPER IS UNDERSTANDING CHALLENGING IS THE TRUTH THAT EACH MUST RUN, BUT YOU AND I DO NOT RUN ALONE WE TAKE CONFIDENCE FROM THE HYMN FEAR NOT, I AM WITH THEE OH, BE NOT DISMAYED, FOR I AM THY GOD AND WILL STILL GIVE THEE AID I’LL STRENGTHEN THEE, HELP THEE, AND CAUSE THEE TO STAND, UPHELD, BY MY RIGHTEOUS OMNIPOTENT HAND THE SOUL THAT JESUS HAS LEANED FOR REPOSE, I WILL NOT, I CANNOT DESERT YOU AS FOES THOUGH ALL HELL SHOULD ENDEAVOR TO SHAKE, I’LL NEVER, NO, NEVER, NO, NEVER, FORSAKE LED US SHED ANY THOUGHT OF FAILURE, DISCARD ANY HABIT OR TRAIT THAT MAY HINDER LET US EVER PRESS ONWARD LET US SEEK, LET US OBTAIN THE PRIZE PREPARE FOR ALL, EVEN EXALTATION IN THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM OF GOD YOUR FUTURE IS BRIGHT, CHALLENGING, IT AWAITS YOU DO NOT VENTURE FORTH ALONE LOUISE HASKINS COUNSELED, I SAID TO THE MAN WHO STOOD AT THE GATE OF THE EAR GIVE ME A LIGHT THAT I MAY TREAD SAFELY INTO THE UNKNOWN AND HE REPLIED, GO OUT INTO THE DARKNESS AND PUT YOUR HAND INTO THE HAND OF GOD AS SHALL BE TO YOU BETTER THAN A LIGHT AND SAFER THAN A KNOWN WAY SAFE JOURNEY MY BELOVED FRIENDS AS YOU GLANCE BACKWARD

LOOK HEAVENWARD REACH OUTWARD AND PRESS ONWARD AND FIND YOUR WAY SAFELY HOME AGAIN THIS IS MY PRAYER FOR EACH OF US