Brothers and sisters, we welcome you to the Church Educational System Devotional forYoung Adults. We especially want to welcome those who are attending a CES devotional forthe first time. We hope these devotionals will strengthen and bless your lives. This broadcastis originating from the BYU-Idaho Center, on the campus of Brigham Young University-Idahoin Rexburg. This devotional is being translated into many languages for young adultsthroughout the world.
I am Craig W. Simpson, stake president of the Rexburg Idaho Married Student 4th Stake.
We welcome Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and are grateful that Sister Walker hasaccompanied him this evening. Elder Walker will be introduced later in the program as thisevening's speaker.
We are grateful for the attendance of local Area Seventies, stake and ward young adultpriesthood leaders and their wives, and officials from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Inaddition, we are pleased to acknowledge the presence on the stand of our local CES andSeminaries and Institutes of Religion area director.
We remind you that on Sunday, September 8, 2013, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorumof the Twelve Apostles will be the CES devotional speaker.
We will begin this evening with the choir and congregation singing, "Come, Listen to aProphet's Voice," hymn number 21 in the English hymnbook. We appreciate the assistance ofSarah Anderson, who will conduct the music, and Cory Whittier as our accompanist. After thehymn, Sister Tahshena Del Woods will offer the invocation.
Our dear Heavenly Father, we are so thankful for this Sabbath day that we've been given. Weare so thankful to be able to meet here as members of the Church. We are so thankful forElder Walker and his presence here. We are so thankful for his preparation, and please blesshim as he speaks to us this night that he will convey the message that he has prepared.Please help us to listen with open hearts, open minds, and that we will listen with the Spirit.Father, we are so thankful for the temples that we have here on this earth, for the blessingsthat they are to us, and please help us to be able to attend more often and to partake of theblessings there. Father, we are especially thankful for all the missionaries. Please bless them,be with them, give them the spirit that they need. We are so thankful for our prophet. Pleasehelp him and bless him in his efforts. We are so thankful for all that we have been given andfor our Savior and His sacrifice. And we say these things humbly in the name of Thy Son,Jesus Christ, amen.
This evening we are joined by the combined men's and women's choirs of Brigham YoungUniversity-Idaho, who will sing "Behold, the Mountain of the Lord." They are directed bySister Ashby and accompanied by Brother Whittier.
After the musical number we will be pleased to hear from Elder Walker.
At the conclusion of Elder Walker's remarks, the choir will sing "We Thank Thee, O God, for aProphet." They will be directed by Eda Ashby and accompanied by Cory Whittier. Thebenediction will then be offered by Brother Aaron B. Septon.
It is now my privilege to introduce tonight's speaker:
Elder William R. Walker was called as a General Authority of The Church of Jesus Christ ofLatter-day Saints in 2002. He is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. For the pastsix years he has served as the Executive Director of the Temple Department for the Church.As Executive Director, he works closely with the First Presidency in the oversight andadministration of the Church's 141 temples throughout the world.
Born in 1944, Elder Walker was raised in Raymond, Alberta, Canada. He attended Rick'sCollege and graduated from BYU-Provo with a degree in international relations.
While at BYU, he met Vicki Van Wagenen at a BYU 39th Ward social. They were married sixmonths later in the Salt Lake Temple. Sister Walker is also a graduate of BYU.
During his career, Elder Walker held a number of executive positions with major firms in thesecurities and investment banking fields.
Elder Walker has a love for Japan, where he served a mission as a young man. He thenreturned 24 years later to preside over the Japan Tokyo South Mission.
After his call to be a General Authority, Elder Walker again returned to Japan to serve as thePresident of the Asia North Area, headquartered in Tokyo.
Elder and Sister Walker will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary next month. They arethe parents of 5 children and have 18 grandchildren, with two more on the way.
The choir will now sing, "Behold, the Mountain of the Lord."
Thank you for your warm welcome. "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet." This hymn isone of the hallmarks of the Church. We do thank God for a prophet to guide us in theselatter days.
That God has provided a prophet for us is central to the faith and belief of Latter-day Saintseverywhere. We know that God lives and that He loves us. We know that He sent His Son,Jesus Christ, to be our Savior and Redeemer, and we know that He has given us a prophet.
Those who lived in the early days of the Church felt deep gratitude to have lived during thetime of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The messages and testimonies of the Restoration wereoften firsthand experiences for the early Saints.
Marvelous things happened during the years that Brigham Young presided over the Lord'sChurch. The Saints came west and established themselves in the heart of the RockyMountains, where the Church flourished. Those who lived during that time counted it as agreat blessing to have lived during the time of the prophet Brigham Young.
This same pattern continued as the Lord provided great and noble men to direct the affairsof His Church. My parents and grandparents spoke with deep reverence and fondness of theprophet of their day--President Heber J. Grant.
For Sister Walker and me, and many of your parents and grandparents, we loved the greatexample and remarkable teachings of the prophet David O. McKay. He was followed by hissuccessors: Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, andHoward W. Hunter. Each man was wonderfully prepared to lead the Church for a period oftime determined by the Lord Himself. Each of them were loved and sustained by themembers of the Church.
Most of you here this evening will fondly remember the great leadership of PresidentGordon B. Hinckley. What a blessing to have lived during his time as President of the Church.
Five years ago the Lord called President Hinckley home and Thomas S. Monson became thePresident of the Church--the Lord's prophet on the earth today. Oh, what a blessing it is foryou and me to live in this wonderful day when we are led by such a great prophet.
This is the Lord's Church. He plans the lives of these great Apostles, and He places them inthe position to lead His Church. It is a fact that one of the distinguishing characteristics of theLord's Church is that He has apostles and prophets on the earth today.
The Apostle Paul described the Church as having, "apostles and prophets, [with] Jesus Christhimself being the chief corner stone." So it was, and so it is. The Lord's Church isdistinguished by having apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ Himself being the chiefcornerstone. Every President of the Church has testified that Jesus Christ is the head of thisChurch.
There are no coincidences, there are no mistakes, and there are no campaigns. When itcomes to succession in the Presidency of the Lord's Church, the Lord is in charge, and surelyHis will is done.
I testify to you that it is the will of the Lord that we are led today by President Thomas S.Monson, who is the Lord's prophet on the earth today.
As the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah taught us about prophets, we know this to be truewith President Monson. The scripture says, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee aprophet unto the nations."
I want to speak to you today about the life and ministry of President Thomas S. Monson, the16th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
During the last year of President Hinckley's life, he appointed me to be the ExecutiveDirector of the Temple Department, and President Monson has honored me by allowing meto remain in this assignment. Over the last six years, I have had the great and unforgettableblessing of assisting President Thomas S. Monson and his counselors on temple matters. Ihave sat at his side as President Monson has given me much counsel and direction abouttemples and temple matters throughout the world. He has invited me to accompany him totemple dedications, groundbreakings, and visits to prospective temple sites. I have had theblessing of traveling with him around the world, to places as far away as Kyiv, in the Ukraine,and Cebu, in the Philippines, and to other exciting places, like Rome, Italy.
As he has crisscrossed the world, I've been blessed to be there to witness his great love forpeople--not just members of the Church, but all people. I've witnessed his constant warmthand friendliness, his Christlike tenderness and sensitivity, especially for the children, theaged, and the infirm. Many times as I've watched President Monson, I've had the impression:"That is the way the Savior would act. That is the way the Savior would treat people."
I have witnessed his never-ending enthusiasm, his drive and determination, his joy in life,and his deep desire to serve the Lord and do as the Savior would have him do. He nevertires of doing the work of the Lord.
In the Doctrine and Covenants, section 52, verse 14, the Lord said, "I will give . . . you apattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived."
I love this scripture, as it teaches me that the Lord will provide a pattern for me and show mehow to do things, how to act, how to live. But it is not about me. It is about each of us. TheLord does show us the way. He does provide patterns in each of our lives to show us how tolive.
I believe one of the important patterns in our lives is the life of the prophet who guides anddirects the Lord's Church in our day. As I mentioned earlier, for me as a young person, thepattern was President David O. McKay. I loved him and sustained him, prayed for him,studied his words carefully, and I wanted to be as much like him as I could imagine that Icould be.
I suspect that when many of your parents were young, their pattern was President Spencer W. Kimball. Of course, for each of us, our greatest desire is to pattern our life after theSavior--to follow Him, to live His commandments, and to be as much like Him as we can be.
In 3 Nephi, in chapter 27, verse 27, Jesus taught: "What manner of men ought ye to be? VerilyI say unto you, even as I am."
That is our principal goal--to be like Him.
Positioned on the wall of every office President Monson has occupied since being called asbishop has been a familiar print of the Savior painted by Heinrich Hofmann. It is a beautifulportrayal of the Savior.
Speaking about this painting, President Monson said: "I love the painting, which I have hadsince I was a twenty-two-year-old bishop and which I have taken with me wherever I havebeen assigned to labor. I have tried to pattern my life after the Master. Whenever I have hada difficult decision to make, I have always looked at that picture and asked myself, 'Whatwould He do?' Then I try to do it."
I know that President Monson thinks about following the example of Jesus. On one occasionI was with President Monson for an event prior to a temple dedication. He had just flown inthat day, and as the evening meeting was drawing to a close, I thought President Monsonmight be tired, and I wanted to make sure he got some rest prior to the events of the nextday. As the closing hymn was being sung, I leaned over to President Monson and said,"President, after the closing prayer, if we slip out the side door, we can get you back to thehotel quickly and you can get some rest."
With a puzzled look, he said to me, "Elder Walker, if Jesus were here, do you think He wouldslip out the side door when the meeting ended?"
I haven't made that suggestion again. Like the Savior would have done, he wanted to be withthe people. He wasn't thinking about himself at all. He was thinking about the good he coulddo.
I have always felt that I can be a better person when I pattern my life after righteousindividuals that the Lord has placed in my path: my grandparents, my parents, my bishops,my mission president, and of course, the prophet of God who I can see and hear and forwhom I pray each day. I am sure that most of you do the same.
It has been a wonderful blessing in my life to seek to be more like the Lord and to seek to bemore like His prophet--President Thomas S. Monson.
I would like to share with you some of the life and teachings of President Monson, andhopefully, as I do so, you will be able to identify characteristics that you will want to put intoyour life. We would all be blessed to seek to pattern our lives after and learn from the Lord'sprophet.
Like Nephi, and like most of you, Thomas S. Monson was born of goodly parents. He wasborn in Salt Lake City on August 21, 1927. He was raised in humble circumstances. He nevertried to recharacterize where he was from. With his self-effacing sense of humor, combinedwith complete comfort with who he is, President Monson would occasionally say he didn'tneed to worry about which side of the railroad tracks he was from because he grew upbetween the railroad tracks.
I've always been impressed with how he has always spoken so fondly of his youth. I think hewas a lot like Nephi. Laman and Lemuel were good at seeing the problems and looking atthe negative side of everything, it seemed. Nephi, on the other hand, was positive, optimistic,and grateful. He saw the good in everything around him. That is the way Tommy Monsongrew up?and he has been that way all of his life!
He was a good student, and perhaps more importantly, he was a good boy. He showed hisdesire to do well in the service of the Lord when he was called to serve as secretary of thedeacons quorum in his ward. Nearly 70 years later, as President of the Church, he reflectedwith some pride on his desire to make the minutes of his deacons quorum the best theycould be. He had no thought about "Why am I the secretary and not the president of thequorum?" He just wanted to do his job well. He had been called to a position in the Lord'sChurch, and he wanted to do his best. He wanted the minutes to be neat and orderly, and sohe typed the minutes for his deacons quorum. As a 12-year-old boy, he was setting awonderful example for us.
If this sounds remarkable to you, I'm not surprised. It was also remarkable to his stakepresident who, when he heard of young Tommy's excellent work, called on him to speak instake conference--as the secretary of the deacons quorum. Have you ever heard of thesecretary of a deacons quorum speaking in stake conference? What an example for all of us!
He finished high school and joined the United States Navy. He served his country, and whiledoing so, he kept himself clean and virtuous. He returned from his military service andworked hard to get a good education. He was a good student--another great example for allof us! (The example of being a good student may be more important for some of you thanfor others.)
He courted and fell in love with a beautiful Latter-day Saint girl named Frances Johnson, andsoon afterwards asked her to marry him. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple onOctober 7, 1948, at age 21. What an example for all of us! (Again, perhaps more importantfor some of you than for others.)
Although only married for 18 months, and while working to get ahead in a new job, heaccepted the call from the Lord to serve as the bishop of a large inner-city ward. It was theward in which he had grown up. (Think about that!) He didn't say, "The timing is not right" or"I'm too young"; he just accepted the call, trusted in the Lord, and threw himself into theassignment with all the energy and talent that the Lord had given him. He wanted to be thebest he could be in the service of the Lord.
Young Bishop Monson came to love a scripture that can bless each of our lives, as it blessedhis life:
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
To this day, President Monson cites that scripture often and lives his life in accordance withwhat it teaches us. What an example he is for all of us! We would all do well if weremembered that scripture and made it an important part of our philosophy of life--just asPresident Monson has done.
Bishop Monson's ward had over 1,000 members, including 84 widows. We have beenblessed in general conference and other settings to occasionally hear him tell some of thesweet experiences he had as he nurtured these sisters who were blessed to come under hiscare.
For me, every time I hear him speak of one of his experiences as bishop, I realize, and it isvery impressive to me, that his love and concern for the members of his ward did not endwhen he was released as bishop. He was called into the stake presidency at age 27, but evenmany years later (after his call as a mission president and an Apostle), he continued to love,nurture, and look out for the older members of his ward. He was clearly not just loving andcaring for them by assignment. His love and concern for them sank deep into his heart andcould not be taken away by any change of assignment.
In this, President Monson has shown us the way. It is a better way; it is the Lord's way. Heloves others and is concerned for others--just as the Lord taught us that we should be. Whatan example he is for all of us!
At age 31, President Monson was called to be president of the Canadian Mission,headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Just as he had done as bishop, he threw himself into hisassignment, gave it everything he had, and trusted in the Lord with all his heart. Everyonearound him could see his love for the Lord, his love for his wife and children, his love for themissionaries and the members, and his love for Canada, the land where he had been calledto serve. His influence as mission president was profound and to this day cannot bemeasured. His missionaries loved him and sought to live lives that would make their missionpresident proud. We can all learn from that.
Just as he did when he was released as bishop, he continued to hold dear in his heart hisfeelings and affection for his missionaries and the Saints who had been blessed to comeunder his stewardship. I have been a witness to President Monson's never-diminishingaffection and interest in the missionaries that served under him in the Canadian Mission.What an example!
I know the missionaries who were blessed to have Thomas S. Monson as their missionpresident have tried to follow the pattern of righteous service in the Lord's kingdom thatPresident and Sister Monson modeled for them. To illustrate, I share with you theremarkable fact that of the 141 temple presidents currently serving throughout the world,five of them were young missionaries who served under President Monson in the CanadianMission.
Thousands of you who are with us this evening are returned missionaries. I pray that each ofus will follow the example of these five temple presidents and strive to be faithful and walkthe path of righteous service modeled by our mission presidents.
I was touched to recently see a photo in the Church News of President Monson visiting a manin a Toronto hospital. This gentleman had served at President Monson's side 50 yearsearlier. President Monson had not forgotten him. Many years and many miles had notrobbed President Monson of the sweet feelings of love and appreciation that come to thosewho serve the Lord together. I hope each of us will follow his example and not forget thosewho have blessed our lives in earlier years.
In 1963, when he was 36 years old, Thomas S. Monson was invited to the office of PresidentDavid O. McKay, who was the President of the Church at that time. It was at this meeting thatPresident McKay called him to be an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
President Monson is the only Apostle called to the Twelve at such a young age in the last 100years. Surely, the hand of the Lord directed the call of this young Apostle, as the Lord knewThomas S. Monson would lead the Church in our day.
This October general conference will be the 50th anniversary of Thomas S. Monson's call tobe an Apostle. How wonderful is that? (Not since Joseph Fielding Smith have we had anApostle celebrate 50 years in the Twelve.)
For 22 years President Monson served as a counselor to three Presidents of the Church: EzraTaft Benson, Howard W. Hunter, and Gordon B. Hinckley. On February 3, 2008, Thomas S.Monson was ordained and set apart as the President of the Church. He has two noble andgreat counselors who stand at his side: President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F.Uchtdorf. They are the three Presiding High Priests who direct the Lord's Church on theearth today.
President Monson's remarkable ministry has often been characterized by the expression "tothe rescue." Heidi Swinton wrote a marvelous biography on his life, and she fittingly entitledit To the Rescue. The biography was published in 2010. If you haven't read it, I highlyrecommend it to you. It will bless your life.
The message, of course, is the same message that Jesus gave us in Luke: to leave the 90 and 9, and go and rescue the one. This is the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to love ourfellowmen and to do all we can to bless their lives. President Monson has always taughtthese principles, but more importantly, he lives that way. His life has been filled withcountless examples of reaching out to visit, comfort, or assist those most in need: thewidows, the children, the sick, the afflicted, and those who are lonely or broken-hearted. TheApostle James wrote, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visitthe fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
This is the way President Monson has lived his life. The lesson for us is that one does notneed to be an Apostle to live this way. We can live our religion, we can visit the fatherless andthe widows, and we can keep ourselves unspotted from the world. We can look to ourprophet to see how we can do this! We can say to ourselves, "That is the kind of person Iwant to be."
Several years ago, just before general conference, President Monson taught yet anotherwonderful lesson. This time it was to the assembled General Authorities, who had traveled toSalt Lake City, many coming from places around the world where they were serving in AreaPresidencies. It was a very important meeting. We had come together to be instructed by theFirst Presidency and the Twelve.
As the time for the meeting approached, everyone seemed to be in attendance exceptPresident Monson, who had not yet arrived. Several minutes before the meeting was tobegin, we stopped visiting with each other and sat reverently listening to the prelude music--expecting that the prophet would come in at any moment.
We patiently waited as the hour of nine a.m. came and then passed. Someone walked outthe side door--obviously to check and see if some assistance might be needed. On theirreentrance into the room, we were told that "President Monson will join us shortly."
About 15 minutes after the meeting was to have started, President Monson entered theroom. Out of respect, we stood as he entered. We were happy to see him and pleased thathe looked well. It did not appear that there was any obvious reason as to why he would havebeen late.
President Monson went straight to the pulpit and said, "Brethren, I'm sorry to be late, but mywife needed me this morning."
I was deeply impressed and humbled. I couldn't quit thinking about President Monson'swords. This was a very important meeting. The entire senior leadership of the Church wasassembled, but President Monson set the example for us all. His wife needed him, and hetook the time necessary to care for her. It was a great sermon. I don't remember anythingelse that was said that day, but I remember that sermon: "My wife needed me."
This sermon was reinforced on another occasion when President Monson said, "When I hearmen say they love their wives, then I want to say to them, "Then prove it by how you treather and how you serve her."
That is the way President Monson is: He is always looking out for someone else. He is alwaysshowing kindness and care for others.
You don't have to be around President Monson long to sense his deep love and commitmentto his sweetheart, Sister Frances Monson. Whenever he speaks of her, his eyes light up andhe gets a big smile on his face. You know this is a man whose love for his wife is an exampleto every one of us. President and Sister Monson have shown us the example of a man and awoman equally yoked in their love of the Lord and their desire to serve Him inrighteousness.
I want to be more like the Lord, but I also want to be more like His prophet.
If you wonder what President Monson might desire for each of you, maybe the sharing ofthe following experience will help you to know:
Last November the beautiful Boise Idaho Temple was ready for rededication following an 18-month closure to beautify and upgrade the temple. After 30 years of remarkable use by thefaithful Saints in that part of Idaho and surrounding areas, the temple was in much need ofrepair. After it was completed, as has been customary to celebrate the occasion of thetemple rededication, the youth of the temple district were invited to put on a grand culturalcelebration. It was an evening of singing and dancing and expressing their faith andgratitude for the temple.
I was seated next to President Monson as we watched the wonderful presentations by thevarious stakes. One of the dance numbers featured a lovely group of young women. AsPresident Monson was enjoying the performance, he leaned over to me and expressed thefeelings of his heart. He said, "My hope would be for every one of them to have a templemarriage. I so much want each one of them to have that blessing--to be married in thetemple."
I thought: "Isn't this wonderful. The prophet of God is here witnessing this youth celebrationof song and dance, and for him it is very clearly connected to the temple that he woulddedicate the next morning. His hope was for every one of them to have a temple marriage."If that is the prophet's desire for us, and it is, then each one of us should want that forourselves, and it should be a very, very important goal in each of our lives.
I would like to share another experience with you:
President Monson, President Eyring, and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelvetraveled to Laie, Hawaii, for the rededication of that magnificent temple in November of2010. The night before the temple dedication, we were assembled in the Cannon Center onthe BYU-Hawaii campus for the cultural celebration. The program was wonderful. Throughsong, dance, and narrative, the youth of the temple district told the story of the history of theChurch in Hawaii. They told of the early missionaries and the early converts. They told theremarkable story of the future prophet Joseph F. Smith being called to serve a mission inHawaii in 1854, when he was only 15 years of age. Young Joseph F. Smith returned from histhree-year mission just before his 18th birthday. (And you thought the recent age change to 18 was remarkable, didn't you?)
The cultural celebration continued as the youth portrayed the growth of the Church amongthe Polynesian people and told how President Joseph F. Smith returned to Hawaii over 50 years later and as the President of the Church dedicated the site and broke ground for theconstruction of the Laie Hawaii Temple.
The cultural celebration was wonderful, and President Monson loved every bit of it. Heenjoyed a performance that featured the popular World War II dance number "BoogieWoogie Bugle Boy," as it reminded him of his days in the United States Navy. Other numbersfocused on the various dances of the island people.
A number featuring the beautiful hula dance was performed. One of the young womeninvolved in this dance was in a wheelchair. She was very pretty, and even though she didn'thave the use of her legs, she performed the dance beautifully. President Monson pointedher out to me and commented on how lovely she was and how beautifully she was doing thedance.
As the program ended, everyone was happy about the great performances given. As we leftthe stand, all of the dancers were back on the floor, including the hula dancers. PresidentMonson didn't follow the planned exit route but went straight to the floor to express hisappreciation to the youth, and in particular he went straight to the beautiful girl in thewheelchair to commend her and express his love to her.
Even in the midst of the celebration and the large crowd, President Monson again showedthe pure love of the Savior. He went to the one. He bent down and kissed her on theforehead. I thought: "Isn't this wonderful. Once again the prophet of God is showing us howto reach out to those around us, how to be kind and loving, and how to encourage and tolift." I thought: "This is the way Jesus would act. This is the way the Savior would want us totreat others."
I love the Primary song that says, "I'm trying to be like Jesus." And I want to add to that, "AndI'm trying to be like His prophet."
I would like to suggest five ways we can follow the example of President Monson:
First, we can be positive, and we can be happy.
In the Pearl of Great Price, the Prophet Joseph Smith is described as having a cheerycountenance. That also describes President Monson. He really has a cheery countenance.
On one occasion President Monson said: "We can choose to have a positive attitude. Wecan't direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. In other words, we can choose to be happyand positive, regardless of what comes our way."
One day I was waiting outside the First Presidency boardroom. I had been invited there totake part in a meeting to discuss temple matters. I quietly sat outside the room, alone. Ithought the First Presidency was already meeting and that I would be invited to join them ina few minutes. As I sat there I could hear someone walking down the hall whistling. I thoughtto myself: "Someone doesn't understand proper protocol. You don't go walking aroundwhistling outside the office of the President of the Church." A moment later the whistlerwalked around the corner--it was President Monson. He was happy, and he was positive. Hegreeted me warmly and said, "I guess we'll start the meeting in a couple of minutes." Evenwith the weight of the whole Church on his shoulders, he is an example of happiness and healways has a positive attitude. We should be that way.
Second, we can be kind and loving toward children, the way President Monson is.
Jesus spoke often of children. His prophet, President Monson, speaks often of children aswell, and I've particularly seen at the temple dedications how he loves children and, by hisexample, teaches us how to treat them. At every temple dedication he focuses on thechildren. He loves to include them in the cornerstone ceremony and always invites a few ofthem to put some mortar in the cornerstone to participate in the symbolic completion of thetemple. He makes it fun for them. He makes it memorable for them. He always has a bigsmile for them. He encourages and commends them. It is a wonderful thing to see.
His warm greetings occasionally include high fives, wiggling of his ears, and encouragementto serve missions and marry in the temple. He really enjoys life--and shouldn't we all.
A few years ago, President Monson was scheduled to dedicate the Oquirrh Mountain Templeon his birthday. As he arrived at the temple and approached the front door of the temple, agroup of young people had assembled. They obviously knew it was President Monson'sbirthday, as they began to sing "Happy Birthday" to him. He loved it. He stopped and facedthem with a big smile on his face. He even started to wave his arms, as if he was leadingthem in the singing. At the end they added the refrain "And many more." President Monsonloved that too, as he said to me, "That's my favorite part."
The children and the young people of the Church love him, and I think it is because theyhave no doubt that he loves them! Jesus loved the little children, and His prophet loves thelittle children. That is a great example for each of us!
Third, we can follow the promptings of the Spirit, like President Monson.
President Monson's devotion to the Lord and his commitment to following the promptingsof the Spirit were beautifully stated by the prophet himself with these words: "The sweetestexperience I know in life is to feel a prompting and act upon it,