She asked the attendees to think about how they have been influenced by the teachings of President Monson and how his calling has changed their lives and “added to (their) understanding of what the Lord would have (them) do to journey to higher ground.”
She told the story of how she received a phone call from President Monson while she was baking cookies for missionaries in the England London South Mission—where her husband served as mission president from 2006-09.
After taking the time to talk to her about her mission in England, President Monson, who had received a number of suggestions of potential biographers, discussed the matter with his wife, Frances, and prayed about whom to choose and he said that he felt Swinton was the right person to write his biography.
“I carried the weight on my shoulders of writing about the prophet of God,” said Swinton. “I will never be casual about the power of the prophet in our lives today — the significance of having a prophet who can see farther than we can see and who can hear the Lord speaking to all of us.”
She said that in her experience with the prophet, she has noticed that he always has a great concern for the individual, and always follows the promptings of the Spirit to bless the lives of those around him. She told a number of stories from President Monson’s life that highlighted these traits and show us how we can be better at going “to the rescue” of those around us.
“Every story (President Monson tells) is based in a doctrine of Jesus Christ — a doctrine that if we take into our hearts and get just a little bit better at, we will find ourselves closer and closer to our Father in Heaven and fulfilling the charge to do the Lord’s work,” she said. “(President Monson’s) journey has been about coming closer to Jesus Christ by learning of him, believing in him, trusting him and following him.”
Journeying to the house of the Lord
Elder Madsen spoke about the temple saying, like the late Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, that the temple is the higher ground we’re all seeking. He quoted Elder Robert D. Hales, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, who said the temple is “the highest ground we can achieve in mortality.”
“So our journey to higher ground doesn’t have to be to foreign countries, cultures and continents,” Elder Madsen said. “Our journey really has to be to the nearest temple.”
He shared passages from “Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple,” a booklet based on “The Holy Temple” by President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve. He read, that “to endow is to enrich” and to give something of “much worth” to another. He also quoted the late President David O. McKay, who defined the temple endowment as “a step by step ascent into the eternal presence.”
“No work is of a greater protection to this church than temple work and the genealogical research that supports it,” said Elder Madsen. “No work is more spiritually refining. If we enter into our covenants without reservation or apology, the Lord will protect us. We will receive inspiration sufficient for the challenges of life.”
He urged all those present to “claim the blessings of the holy temple” and receive the “gift that will give forever.” He also shared a number of scriptural passages about temples to describe their eternal significance.
“Doctrine and Covenants 36:8 speaks volumes to me: ‘I will suddenly come to my temple,’” he said. “Be temple worthy because the Lord is going to suddenly come to his temple. Be worthy to enter into that holy place to go as often as circumstances allow.”
Hannah Benson Rodriguez is a communications and marketing assistant at Southern Virginia University. She currently resides in Buena Vista, Va.
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