I hate to name drop, but for this article I have to.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, President Russell M Nelson, and President James E Faust are just a few of the men that have counseled and encouraged me throughout my life. Definitely three of the most inspirational people I have ever come across.
That is pretty high praise, but accurate. Perhaps just as amazing is that you too and everyone else on this planet have access to these leaders and dozens of others. Their guidance is essentially at your beck and call if you seek it. How can that be?
Well, if you share my religious faith, you probably recognized that of the three names I mentioned, only two of these great men are still living. But even that doesn’t prevent us from continuing to learn from our leaders and enjoy their counsel.
At the beginning of this month, tens of thousands of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered for eight to ten hours (if you participated in the Women’s Session) of instruction and counsel from Church leaders. We learned more about the gospel of Jesus Christ, adopted organizational changes, and heard announcements of 12 new temples to be built at locations all around the world (which brings the total number of temples operating, announced, or under construction to 201). We heard these messages from general leaders of the Church, apostles, and our dear prophet. These semi-annual conferences have been going on for dozens of years (and a yearly general conference has occurred since 1830), and those since 1976 have been recorded and posted on the Internet for our review and benefit.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The figure from those 97 conferences alone is well into the thousands of discourses from an incredible 494 speakers currently covering 303 topics. Many of those that guide and counsel us have spoken multiple times on the issues that are most important to us at the time. Just think of that.
Which speakers do you particularly connect with? Dozens of speakers and hundreds of topics are available. A few speakers I particularly enjoy include Gordon B. Hinckley (232), Boyd K Packer (90), James E Faust (108), and Jeffrey Holland (52), for starters. And new favorite talks are emerging all the time, including those covering today’s hottest issues.
My father once told me of an experience he had while doing some business in Salt Lake City. He found himself hurrying to his appointment on an upper floor in Hotel Utah. As he approached the elevator, he noticed an older man with white hair who was also heading in the direction of the elevator. When my father looked closer, he realized it was President Joseph Fielding Smith. My father slowed his pace appropriately and gestured respectfully to this spiritual giant of a man, saying “After you, President,” allowing him to enter the elevator first.
My father told me about this experience when I was just a small boy, but remembering this incident has stayed with me my whole life. I realize the act itself may seem tiny, almost inconsequential to others. Most would not even remember this occasion, let alone share it. But back in those days, it was less common to see Church leaders frequently. Youth conferences, EFY, Education Week, devotionals and women’s conferences were just getting started in many cases and recordings of these events did not exist; they were not available everywhere like they are now. We didn’t have the Internet, videos, and YouTube where we can watch, listen, and regularly enjoy the messages from notable men and women in and out of the Church and particularly those from our prophet.
But we have all these things today. They are ubiquitous. Are you taking advantage of them?
Sources of this information include lds.org, the Mormon Channel, the gospel library app, Church curriculum, dozens more websites, videos, and streaming. You can listen to these resources on your morning walk, in the car, at the office, or on the go—literally anywhere.
It is easy to take for granted the bounty of valuable gospel resources that we have today, but don’t let that happen to you.
“Why should I care? I already have enough on my plate,” one could say.
When Jesus Christ was on the earth, on one occasion he engaged with ten lepers. Let’s read below what happened next:
“And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
“And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
“And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
“And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
“There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
“And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Luke 17:11–19)
Now I do not mean to judge the lepers. I have never been in their shoes, but I believe that we will be held accountable if we do not recognize and take advantage of these amazing resources if we are able—a literal flood of information that is pervasive, ever-present, and available if we will just take a few minutes to engage.
There is something beyond being healed that made the grateful leper whole. Gratitude had the power to heal him internally. How does that apply to us?
I have seen many instances where gratitude healed people and relationships.
My family has always enjoyed Fall like many others. In good fun, we have celebrated Halloween as a playful and memorable occasion for our children. Occasionally, the older children will indulge in a horror movie to help ignite their passion for fear. I get it. But to me what is really scary is ignoring the bounty that has been specifically prepared to help you and me and our families through life.
When we have been handed this blessing of protection, guidance, and help on a silver platter, would we really just ignore it?
That is a really terrifying consideration. Yet if we choose not to ignore it, our lives will be blessed and we will have greater joy. And who wouldn’t want that?
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.