Elder Tad R. Callister: 'Power of Priesthood in the Boy'

Church News

Published: Saturday, April 6 2013 6:45 p.m. MDT

Members of the audience stand prior to the start of the morning session of 183 annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Saturday, April 6, 2013 inside the Conference Center.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

To show that priesthood is just as powerful in a boy as in a man when exercised in righteousness, Elder Tad R. of the Presidency of the Seventy shared an experience from the life of his great-grandfather, George F. Richards.

In his priesthood session address, Elder Callister said Brother Richards was 17 and had already been ordained an elder when his mother, on one occasion, was experiencing intense pain. She received a blessing from the bishop of the ward and several others, but no relief came.

She asked her son George to lay his hands on her head. With tears for his mother's suffering and nervousness at performing this priesthood ordinance for the first time, he retired to a room and prayed. When he had composed himself, he returned and gave his mother a simple blessing. Relief came while his hands were yet on her head.

"He then recorded in his diary this most insightful observation," Elder Callister recounted. "He said he had always felt that the reason his mother did not get relief from the bishop's blessing was not because the Lord had failed to honor the bishop's blessing but because the Lord had reserved this blessing for a boy, to teach him a lesson."

Elder Callister said that while he was a mission president, he observed that there was a dramatic increase in the spirituality and leadership skills of young men during their mission years. He cited three factors that contribute to such dramatic growth: "We trust these young men as never before, we have high but loving expectations of them and we train and re-train them so they can fulfill those expectations with excellence."

He posed the question of whether those same principles could be employed with deacons quorum presidents and thereby accelerate their spiritual and leadership growth.

"We can entrust our deacons quorum presidents with great responsibility," he said. "The Lord certainly does — as evidenced by His willingness to give them keys, meaning the right to preside over and direct the work in their quorums."

The second and third attributes of high expectations and the related training to fulfill them are interconnected, Elder Callister said. "If they are only expected to conduct quorum meetings and attend Bishopric Youth Committee meetings then that is all they will do. But you leaders can give them a greater vision — the Lord's vision. And why is vision so critical? Because with increased vision comes increased motivation."

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