General Conference Challenge!

Last year previous to the October 2011 conference, thousands of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) joined in on a challenge to read all of the talks from the April 2011 conference by the first session of the October conference. In preparation for the April 2012 conference, we are once again challenging Latter-day Saints from around the world to study the words from our leaders to prepare themselves for conference. The challenge is to read all 38 talks from the October 2011 conference before the first session of conference on March 31, 2012. We will begin posting a talk a day starting February 21st until March 30th. (This gives you 39 days to read 38 talks. No talk will be posted on March 11th to allow for a catch-up day.)

We encourage you to not only participate in this challenge but to encourage others to join in as well–including those who are not of our faith. We have been given the great privilege and opportunity to have the gospel in our lives, to be led and guided by prophets, seers, and revelators at a time when the world so desperately needs guidance from God.

If you would like to have the talks emailed to you, please click on the button to the right and enter your email address, or send us an email myfavoritetalks@gmail.com !

Here is the schedule for the upcoming General Conference Challenge! Click on the title to go to the talk.

Resolutions| Elder Joe J. Christensen

Resolutions

BY ELDER JOE J. CHRISTENSEN

Of the Presidency of the Seventy


Excerpts from an address given at a Brigham Young University nineteen-stake devotional on 9 January 1994.

Resolutions

Elder Joe J. Christensen

To a degree, we all understand the gospel and know what we should be doing in our lives. Very likely, we know more than we apply. It may be a little like the young county farm agent who wanted to put his college training to use and said to the farmer, “Sam, you know that now we use something called contour plowing.” He went on to also expound on the benefits of hybrid strains of grain and crop rotation. About the time he got to the benefits of milking the cows three times a day rather than two, the old farmer said, “Hey, sonny, just a minute. I’m not farming half as well as I know how already.”

Isn’t that the way life is? We seldom perform to the level of our knowledge. This brings me to the subject of resolutions—resolutions to conform our lives more closely to what we already know about the gospel. While many of us take seriously our New Year’s resolutions, some of us may not have made any because of our prior problems in keeping them. We must not overlook the power that making good resolutions can have in helping make our lives happier and more successful—regardless of our past performance.

In an informal survey that I requested be taken among 150 young adults, they were asked to list three resolutions they felt would help them become happier and more successful during the new year. Almost everyone in the survey (98 percent) included resolutions to increase their spirituality. Two out of three (68 percent) indicated they would like to improve their social skills. Half (49 percent) indicated a desire to improve their physical fitness, and half (48 percent) wanted to grow intellectually. Everyone indicated a desire to improve. After all, self-improvement by coming unto Christ is at the heart of why we are here in mortality.

In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior is recorded as saying, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). In the Joseph Smith Translation, the first part of that sentence is rendered, “Ye are therefore commanded to be perfect” (JST, Matt. 5:50). The translation of the Greek word for perfect means “complete, finished, fully developed.” Some biblical analysts indicate that the suggestion to become perfect is exaggerated idealism or scriptural hyperbole. We as Latter-day Saints believe that the Savior meant what he said and that becoming like our Father in Heaven and the Savior is a commandment, not just a suggestion. We should strive continually to be more like them. After his resurrection, the Savior asked his disciples, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” and then answered, “Even as I am” (3 Ne. 27:27).

Only one verse of scripture in the entire King James Version of the New Testament suggests what the Savior did to develop himself from age twelve until he began his formal ministry at age thirty: “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52; see JST, Matt. 3:24–26). In other words, the Savior developed in the same areas indicated on the poll: intellectually (in wisdom and knowledge), physically (in stature), socially (in favor with man), and spiritually (in favor with God).

I am convinced that if we make and keep resolutions in those four areas, we will have a happier and more successful new year this coming year and every year for the rest of our lives. Let’s consider the nature of such resolutions and the benefits that can be ours if our resolve to improve ourselves is firm.

Resolution number one: I resolve to expand my intellectual horizons, to increase in wisdom. This year, commit to read good books throughout your life. Some people learn to read but don’t read very much. A few years ago, a disturbing poll indicated that 56 percent of college graduates never read a book all the way through after their schooling. We might ask ourselves, Are we reading? Are we growing in wisdom?

The scriptural commandment to us is to “seek … out of the best books words of wisdom” and “become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people” (D&C 88:118D&C 90:15; emphasis added). What we choose to read will make a huge difference in the development of our minds and character.

We cannot justify mentally shifting into neutral and failing to exert our efforts to progress intellectually. In 1838 Sidney Rigdon, a member of the First Presidency, addressed a group of relatively new members of the Church, some of whom apparently thought all they had to do was be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then just sit back and wait to receive the celestial glory. He said: “Vain are the hopes of those who embrace the gospel, and then suppose … they have nothing more to do. … The great God … never thought of … raising up a society of ignoramuses, but of men and women of intelligence … as high as human nature was susceptible” (Elders’ Journal, Aug. 1838, p. 53).

So the challenge is the same for us all—to continue learning throughout our lives, and especially learning more about the gospel.

In the area of continued learning, my father-in-law, Albert, was a real inspiration to me. He was the twelfth of thirteen children of a very poor convert emigrant family from Switzerland. After he had finished the first six years of elementary school, he, like many others in his time, was encouraged to drop out to learn a trade. At the behest of a new schoolteacher, Albert resumed his education, and his future life was dramatically changed for the better. The teacher would write on the chalkboard the titles of books in which students could find answers to questions raised in class.

Albert developed a thirst for learning that was never quenched. He was a hardworking farmer providing for a large family, yet he nearly always had a thick book in his work-worn hands when he was at home. An avid student of history and Church doctrine, he would circle words he didn’t know and write their definitions in the margins. Although he never had the opportunity to go beyond the eighth grade, he read much more than most college graduates. He not only learned to read, but he read widely.

Suppose you were to read an entire book each week for the next seventy years. You would read 3,640 books. That sounds like a lot, but in the Library of Congress are more than 27,000,000 books. Futurist Alvin Toffler said that books are spewing from the world’s presses at the rate of one thousand titles per day. That means that in seventy years there will be an additional 25,000,000 volumes. Even if we read continually, we could not read more than the smallest fraction of the books in print. Therefore, we should not waste time reading anything that is not uplifting and instructive.

It also would be very beneficial if we resolve not to watch even one movie, video, or television show of R-rated quality or worse—from now on. I assure you that much of our future happiness and success depends on that choice.

There is safety in following the prophet. President Ezra Taft Benson said:

“We counsel you … not to pollute your minds with such degrading matter, for the mind through which this filth passes is never the same afterwards. Don’t see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic” (Ensign, May 1986, p. 45).

In our day, immoral entertainment is one of the most effective tools Satan has to pacify and lull us into carnal security, cheat our souls, and lead us carefully down to hell (see 2 Ne. 28:21).

Now for resolution number two: I will be resolute in preserving and strengthening my physical health. It is impressive that more than 160 years ago the Lord revealed a health code, the Word of Wisdom, that can make all the difference in how we feel and perform. With good health, we can be happier and more successful. Without it, we are curtailed in almost every way.

Resolve to get an adequately balanced diet. Getting healthful nutrition is another area where it is hard to perform to the level of our knowledge. Follow the do’s in the Word of Wisdom: eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. Discover that meals need not feature the meat dish every time in order to be enjoyable and that a healthful diet will also benefit your budget. It really is a “win-win” situation.

Also, avoid completely the don’ts—tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and tea, as well as drugs and addictive stimulants in any form—and you will be blessed in a multitude of ways. What an improved society we would live in if the whole world were to make a similar resolution!

Resolve to get adequate physical exercise. Choose a sport or other vigorous physical exercise consistent with your situation and physical condition, and be regular in pursuing it. Get the blood circulating, and give your major muscles a workout. An appropriate amount of time and effort spent in exercising will help you to be more effective in all other areas of your life.

Resolve to get adequate rest. Really follow the counsel of the Lord to “cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated” (D&C 88:124).

Are you getting the rest you need, or are you habituated to going to bed late and sleeping much longer than your system really needs and thus missing out on some of the personal inspiration you could be receiving? Great value can come to you as an early riser. Years ago, President Marion G. Romney, First Counselor in the First Presidency, told me that after receiving his call to be a General Authority in 1941, he went to Elder Harold B. Lee for advice on how to be successful as a General Authority.

“If you are to be successful as a General Authority,” Elder Lee said, “I will give you one piece of advice: Go to bed early and get up early. If you do, your body and mind will become rested, and then, in the quiet of those early morning hours, you will receive more flashes of inspiration and insight than at any other time of the day.”

President Romney said to me, “From that day on, I put that counsel into practice, and I know it works. Whenever I have a serious problem, or some assignment of a creative nature with which I hope to receive the influence of the Spirit, I always receive more assistance in the early morning hours than at any other time of the day. Following that counsel has helped me a great deal through the years.”

You can have a similar experience in your own life. You can change, even if you consider yourself a “night person.” Experts say that you can set a new habit in twenty-one days. When it comes right down to it, it is a matter of strong resolve and “mind over mattress.”

Now to the third major resolution: I resolve to be a truer friend and to become more socially acceptable to people of high standards.Learn to be the kind of person with whom others of high standards enjoy associating. We all would like to have more friends. More than fifty years ago, Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People (rev. ed., New York: Pocket Books, 1981). You should read and reread the entire book. Among his suggestions that are equally valuable today are these time-honored principles for making friends:

  • • 

    Become genuinely interested in other people.

  • • 

    Smile. (Remember, the Lord commands us to “be of good cheer.”)

  • • 

    Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

  • • 

    Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

  • • 

    Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

  • • 

    Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.

Occasionally, look in a full-length mirror. Certainly we should not become obsessed with how we look, but we should work to maintain a pleasant physical appearance. President Spencer W. Kimball said: “How nice and easy would it be if we had a magic wand! But we haven’t. You might take a careful inventory of your habits, your speech, your appearance, your weight, … and your eccentricities. … Take each item and analyze it. … What personality traits please you in others? Are your [clothes] too short, too long, too revealing, too old-fashioned? Does your weight drive off [others]? Do you laugh raucously? … Are you interested only in your own interests … ?” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, pp. 295–96.)

Good advice for those not yet married is rather than working so hard to find Mister or Miss Right, work harder to become Mister or Miss Right. You will more likely have the social life and marriage you desire. You will have good friends, and in the end, hopefully, you can be fortunate enough to marry your best friend.

The Lord expects us to do the best we can with what he has given us. After we have done what we can to improve our appearance, we should forget about ourselves and think of others and their needs.

Let’s turn to the fourth resolve, the one mentioned by nearly everyone in the poll: I will grow spiritually—I will increase in favor with God.

A few items are essential to our spiritual growth. Let’s start with the one that is most difficult and universally applicable. If we are to increase in favor with God, we must resolve to overcome as much as possible the sin of pride. President Benson maintained that pride is the universal sin (Ensign, May 1989, p. 6). That means that every one of us, to one degree or another, suffers from the problem and must do all in our power to overcome its influence. As human beings, we have a remarkable capacity to fall under the influence of pride—even when we think we are in the safest of religious settings.

I remember reading about the Sunday School teacher who taught her class that great scriptural lesson on the proud Pharisee who thanked the Lord that he was not a sinner like the publican, a penitent sinner who prayed for forgiveness. Jesus said the publican was more justified than the Pharisee (see Luke 18:9–14). The Sunday School teacher then suggested to her class that they should all thank God that they were not like that Pharisee! (See Robert J. McCracken, What Is Sin? What Is Virtue? New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 14.)

Another story relates that a Carthusian monk, explaining to an inquirer about the distinctive features of his monastic order, said: “When it comes to good works, we don’t match the Benedictines; as to preaching, we are not in a class with the Dominicans; the Jesuits are away ahead of us in learning; but in the matter of humility, we’re tops” (ibid., p. 14).

Even in Church callings there can be danger. We may fall into the trap of aspiring to position, something akin to praying, “Father, I want to serve. Use me—in an executive position!” Remember that even the greatest of all—our Savior and Redeemer, Creator of worlds without number—set the example of humble service by kneeling and washing his disciples’ feet (see John 13:4–16). Where we serve does not matter. How we serve matters a great deal.

In the scriptures are many indications that pride has risen to destroy individuals, nations, and in some cases even the Church itself. No less than thirty times in the Book of Mormon the cycles of prosperity and peace were destroyed principally by the effects of human pride (see, for example, 3 Ne. 6:4–14).

Some years ago, just after finishing graduate school, I was visiting with an acquaintance much older than I. Earlier in his career, he had gone to a major university and had received some graduate training from some of the then-known scholars in his field.

In the course of our conversation, my friend was critical of Church leaders and some Church policies he felt should have been changed. Then he said words that still ring in my memory: “You see, Joe, I am an intellectual.” In my experience, the genuine intellectual does not have to announce it. Since that time, this man has spent his life on the fringe, speaking, writing, and associating with those who felt they knew more than the designated leaders of the Church. His negative and critical attitudes affected his wife and some of his posterity. He seemed to me to be trapped by the sin of pride and seemed to be an incarnation of the type of individual who disregards Jacob’s warning:

“O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise,and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside,supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

“But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God” (2 Ne. 9:28–29; emphasis added).

An insightful man, Robert J. McCracken, wrote: “If we make a listing of our sins, … [pride] is the one that heads the list, breeds all the rest, and does more to estrange us from our neighbors or from God than any evil we can commit. … [Pride] is not only the worst of the seven deadly sins; it is the parent sin, the one that leads to every other, the sin from which no one is free” (What Is Sin? pp. 11–12).

Resolve now that you will read from the scriptures daily. President Ezra Taft Benson has repeatedly emphasized that we should read from the Book of Mormon daily. It really is another testament that Jesus is the Christ. Scholars have counted within its pages 3,925 references to the Savior. On average, one reads in this book something about Jesus every 1.7 verses. If we started each January first reading just two pages of the Book of Mormon each day (even slow readers can read two pages in ten minutes or less), by each September we will have finished another reading of that book. Then we can start over and continue feasting on Christ’s words, as we are commanded (see 2 Ne. 31:20). Every decision of our lives could be more inspired if we do this.

Next, resolve to really pray and not just say prayers. There is a big difference here. Learn to pour out the real in-depth feelings of your heart to your Heavenly Father, rather than merely saying the same trite words and phrases that you have become accustomed to using. Remember President Brigham Young’s counsel that if we don’t feel like praying, that is the time to pray until we do feel like it (see Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941, p. 44).

For all single young men who have not yet done so, resolve now that you will prepare yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and morally to serve as a full-time missionary. There is no other experience in which you will grow spiritually more effectively and efficiently than you will while serving a full-time mission. If an elder follows the schedule, in two years he will receive seven thousand hours of specialized instruction in the scriptures, on the basic principles of the gospel and how to teach them, and on how to relate to people. By our attending the three-hour block of Church meetings every Sunday, it would take us more than forty-six years to accumulate seven thousand hours of instruction! Young brethren of the Church have the responsibility to serve a mission, and some of the sisters will have that opportunity.

Next, if you are really serious about growing spiritually, then “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8; emphasis added).

After my mission, I enrolled at Brigham Young University and found the study requirements stringent. One advanced course taught by a demanding professor had a detailed examination every Monday morning. The competition was keen, and I was highly motivated to do well.

I started a practice of studying for those exams on Sunday afternoons after church. One such afternoon my roommate, also a returned missionary, observed what I was doing and said, “Say, Joe, do you reallybelieve in keeping the commandments?”

My answer was obvious: “Sure.”

“Then how about ‘Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work’?”

I got the message, and from that time on I changed. I began to do a better job of organizing my study time during the remaining six days of the week, though I sometimes needed to get up very early on Monday mornings to finish an assignment. There was less procrastination, for I couldn’t let myself get behind. I felt better about myself, and my grades improved. I began to look forward to the change of pace that Sunday provided, the time to turn to things more spiritual.

There is some essential work that must be done on the Sabbath, andoccasionally the ox does get in the mire. But usually, through poor organization or procrastination, we may give the ox a little nudge.

Temptations to break the Sabbath are greater now than they used to be. Television is a challenge. I enjoy just about any athletic event, no matter who is playing whom. Some of the best games are televised on Sunday, and the temptation is great. Yet we simply cannot afford to be like those who justify regularly spending hours on Sunday in front of the tube watching sports—the plays, replays, and almost endless postgame commentary—or other shows that are anything but spiritually uplifting.

I have discovered that we can take advantage of technology. You who have VCRs can simply use them to record the Sunday program you don’t want to miss; then in a fraction of the time on another day at your own convenience, you can watch that program or special event, fast-forward through the commercials and time-outs, and not miss a thing.

After attending our meetings and fulfilling other Church duties, we don’t have to sit and fold our hands on Sunday. President Spencer W. Kimball suggested many things we can do to make the Sabbath special: meditate; serve others; read the scriptures, conference reports, Church publications, and uplifting literature; study the prophets’ lives and teachings; prepare Church lessons and family home evenings; visit relatives and friends; write in our journals or to missionaries and others; enjoy uplifting music and sing Church hymns; read with a child; do family history research; develop appreciation for the cultural arts; friendship nonmembers; and visit the sick, the aged, and the lonely (see Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 217).

Make Sundays special, and they will help make you special in the sight of the Lord.

It will take energy and effort to keep the resolutions we have made together. I pray that we will do this so that we can, as Jesus did, increase in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. In so doing, we will become happier, more successful, and more like the Savior every day for the rest of our lives.

“Look to God and Live”| Jeffrey R. Holland

“Look to God and Live”

JEFFREY R. HOLLAND

Of the First Quorum of the Seventy


Jeffrey R. Holland

This morning, I would like to greet and speak not only to the members of the Church but also to those not of our faith who may be participating in the radio or television audience. Thank you for joining with us on this beautiful fall morning.

Life in every era has had its troubles. Surely the Dark Ages were appropriately named, and not one of us is anxious to be transported back even to those later years of, say, the Hundred Years’ War or the Black Plague. No, we’re quite happy to have been born in a century of unprecedented material blessings and abundant living; yet in community after community, in small nations and large, we see individuals and families facing heightened anxiety and fear. It would seem that discouragement, depression, and despair are our contemporary “Black Plague.” Ours is, as Jesus said it would be, a time of distress with perplexity (see Luke 21:25).

We know that some of the world’s most painful suffering is done in silence, in the sorrow of a lonely life. But some of it has more violent expression. Millions around the world are, as one observer put it, “angry, armed and dangerous.” In too many cities, drive-by shootings are becoming as common as drive-through laundries, and too many youngsters are packing a gun to school the way they used to pack a lunch.

There is an increasing feeling that time is out of joint, that no one seems wise enough or strong enough to set it right. In many cases, governments are in office but not in power, community values and neighborhood pride are often superficial or nonexistent, and too frequently the home is an alarming failure.

Furthermore, many of the social and political medicines of our day regularly miss the mark, so those would-be physicians stand by the bedside of “feverish and delirious humanity—outwitted, discredited, dumbfounded … not knowing in which direction to seek delivered” (Charles Edward Jefferson, The Character of Jesus, Salt Lake City: Parliament Publishers, 1968, p. 17).

If I may be so bold this morning, may I suggest “direction for deliverance”? In words of one syllable, we need to turn to God. We need to reaffirm our faith, and we need to reassert our hope. Where necessary we need to repent, and certainly we need to pray. It is the absence of spiritual fidelity that has led us to moral disarray in the twilight of the twentieth century. We have sown the wind of religious skepticism, and we are reaping the whirlwind of existential despair.

Without our religious faith, without recognizing the reality and necessity of spiritual life, the world makes no sense, and a nonsense world is a place of horror. Only if the world has meaning at a spiritual level is it possible for human beings to keep going, to keep trying. As Hamlet so wisely implored, so should we: “Angels and ministers of grace defend us!” (act 1, scene 4, line 39).

My testimony today is of the angels and ministers of grace who will always defend us if, as the prophet Alma commanded us, we “take care of … sacred things,” we “look to God and live” (Alma 37:47). More prayer and humility, more faith and forgiveness, more repentance and revelation and reinforcement from heaven—these are where we seek remedy and deliverance for “feverish and delirious humanity” (The Character of Jesus,p. 17).

I testify this morning of God’s limitless love for his children, of his unquenchable desire to help us heal our wounds, individually and collectively. He is our Father, and Wordsworth wrote more than he knew when he said we came to earth “trailing clouds of glory … from God who is our home” (“Ode: Intimations of Immortality”). But in far too many cases we find no modern belief in a Heavenly Father, and when there is a belief, it is too often an erroneous one. God is not dead, and he is not an absentee landlord. God is not uncaring, or capricious, or cantankerous. Above all, he is not some sort of divine referee trying to tag us off third base.

The first and great commandment on earth is for us to love God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength (see D&C 59:5Matt. 22:37) because surely the first and great promise in heaven is that he will always love us that way.

So much of what so many think about God (if they think about him at all) must make him weep. In fact, we know it makes him weep. Could there be a more tender scene than this exchange recorded by Moses?

“And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; …

“And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity? … [How is it thou canst weep?]

“The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, … and … gave I unto man his agency; …

“And unto [them] have I … given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood; …

“The whole heavens … weep over them … ; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these [who] suffer?” (Moses 7:28, 29, 32–33, 37).

Angels and ministers of grace to defend us? They are all about us, and their holy sovereign, the Father of us all, is divinely anxious to bless us this very moment. Mercy is his mission, and love is his only labor. John Donne said once: “We ask our daily bread, and God never says, ‘You should have come yesterday.’ … [No, he says,] ‘Today if you will hear [my] voice, today I will hear yours.’ … If thou hast been benighted till now, wintered and frozen, clouded and eclipsed, damp and benumbed, smothered and stupefied till now, God yet comes to thee, not as in the dawning of the day, … but as the sun at [full] noon, to banish all shadows” (Collected Sermons).

Alma taught that truth to his son, Helaman, entreating him to put his trust in God. He said that God was “quick to hear the cries of his people, and [quick] to answer their prayers.” Out of very personal experience, Alma testified, “I have been supported [in] trials and troubles [and afflictions] of every kind, … God has delivered me. … I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me” (Alma 9:26Alma 36:27).

My witness this morning is that he will deliver all the rest of us, too, that he will deliver the entire human family, if we will but “take care of sacred things,” if we will “look to God and live.”

The greatest affirmation of that promise ever given in this world was the gift of God’s perfect and precious Firstborn Son, a gift given not in condemnation of the world, but to soothe and save and make the world secure: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16; emphasis added).

Katie Lewis is my neighbor. Her father, Randy, is my bishop; her mother, Melanie, is a saint. And her older brother, Jimmie, is battling leukemia.

Sister Lewis recently recounted for me the unspeakable fear and grief that came to their family when Jimmie’s illness was diagnosed. She spoke of the tears and the waves of sorrow that any mother would experience with a prognosis as grim as Jimmie’s was. But like the faithful Latter-day Saints they are, the Lewises turned to God with urgency and with faith and with hope. They fasted and prayed, prayed and fasted. And they went again and again to the temple.

One day Sister Lewis came home from a temple session weary and worried, feeling the impact of so many days—and nights—of fear being held at bay only by monumental faith.

As she entered her home, four-year-old Katie ran up to her with love in her eyes and a crumpled sheaf of papers in her hand. Holding the papers out to her mother, she said enthusiastically, “Mommy, do you know what these are?”

Sister Lewis said frankly her first impulse was to deflect Katie’s zeal and say she didn’t feel like playing just then. But she thought of her children—all her children—and the possible regret of missed opportunities and little lives that pass too swiftly. So she smiled through her sorrow and said, “No, Katie. I don’t know what they are. Please tell me.”

“They are the scriptures,” Katie beamed back, “and do you know what they say?”

Sister Lewis stopped smiling, gazed deeply at this little child, knelt down to her level, and said, “Tell me, Katie. What do the scriptures say?”

“They say, ‘Trust Jesus.’” And then she was gone.

Sister Lewis said that as she stood back up, holding a fistful of her four-year-old’s scribbling, she felt near-tangible arms of peace encircle her weary soul and a divine stillness calm her troubled heart.

Katie Lewis, “angel and minister of grace,” I’m with you. In a world of some discouragement, sorrow, and overmuch sin, in times when fear and despair seem to prevail, when humanity is feverish with no worldly physicians in sight, I too say, “Trust Jesus.” Let him still the tempest and ride upon the storm. Believe that he can lift mankind from its bed of affliction, in time and in eternity.

Oh, dearly, dearly has he loved!
And we must love him too,
And trust in his redeeming blood,
And try his works to do.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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