President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, began his priesthood session talk with expressions of gratitude.
First, gratitude for a living prophet.
“We have sustained President Russell M. Nelson as the 17th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said. “As I have had the blessing of working with him each day, I have felt a confirmation of the Spirit that President Nelson is called of God to lead the Lord’s true Church.”
Second, gratitude for Elder Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares, newly called members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “I love and sustain them. They will, by their ministry, bless lives across the world and across generations.”
And finally, gratitude for inspired modifications to ward Melchizedek Priesthood quorums.
“President Nelson has announced an inspired step forward in the Lord’s organized plan for His Church,” he said. “That plan includes a new structure for priesthood quorums in wards and stakes so that we may better fulfill our priesthood responsibilities. Those responsibilities all have to do with our priesthood care of our Father’s children.”
The Lord’s plan for His Saints to provide loving care has taken many forms over the years, he added. In the early days of Nauvoo, the Prophet Joseph Smith organized geographical “wards” to care for the members by geography. Later, Saints moving across the plains were organized in “companies” to care for one another at a time of great difficulty.
“Now he has blessed us with strengthened and unified quorums at the ward and stake levels — quorums that work in coordination with all ward organizations,” he said.
Municipal wards, companies and strengthened quorums, he added, have all required at least two things to be successful.
“They succeed when the Saints feel the love of Christ for each other above their self-interest. …. And they succeed when the Holy Ghost guides the caregiver to know what the Lord knows is best for the person that he is trying to help.”
President Eyring shared two instances of priesthood holders — one, a young man, the other, a Melchizedek Priesthood holder — who seemed to anticipate the Lord’s desire for them as they were serving others.
At a recent sacrament meeting, the young man spoke of being a member of a teachers quorum. He reviewed over the duties of a teacher, found in the 20th section of the Doctrine and Covenants that includes “to watch over the church always,” to “see that there is no iniquity in the church” and “to meet together often.”
The young man, said President Eyring, continued:
“The Lord is telling us it’s our responsibility to not only care for the Church but to also care for the people within the Church the way that Christ would because this is His Church. If we are trying to keep the commandments, be kind to each other, be honest, be good friends, and enjoy being together, then we will be able to have the Spirit with us and know what Heavenly Father wants us to do.
“If we don’t then we can’t fulfill our calling.”
The young man later spoke of home teaching a family in the ward with his father. Home teaching has helped allow him to fulfill his duty of a teacher to greet members at church and to help them feel included. Some service, such as passing the sacrament, is seen by people, while only the Lord sees other forms of service.
“I know we will become better if we choose to follow [Jesus Christ],” the young man concluded.
President Eyring then shared another story of priesthood service that he again heard at a recent sacrament meeting. A seasoned priesthood holder offered the account of home teaching a less-active single sister who had two young children. After many attempts to contact the woman, he received a text from the woman informing him that she was too busy to meet with home teachers.
“Then one day he received an urgent text from her,” he said. “She desperately needed help. She did not know who the bishop was, but did know her home teachers.”
The woman had to leave the state for a month-long military training exercise and desperately needed someone to care for her 12-year old son. She asked the home teacher if he could find a good LDS family to take the boy into their home for 30 days.
Working with the Relief Society, the home teacher made arrangements for the boy, who soon began attending Church and was ordained a deacon. The boy may well become a leader in the Church, he said, — “all because of Saints who worked together in unity under the direction of a bishop out of the charity in their hearts.”
President Eyring concluded by testifying “that we receive the Holy Spirit best when we are focused on serving others. This is why we have the priesthood responsibility to serve for the Savior.”
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