As I said last fall, the Priesthood session is one of my favorite events in the church. You get a nice evening to spend some time with the other Priesthood holders, and then you get a session of Conference specifically for the men. It’s the only session that you cannot watch from home, so we all get together to watch it from the church.
President Uchtdorf was conducting the session, and a Young Single Adult mens choir provided the music. There was a note about the passing of Elder Eldred Smith, great-great grandson of Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith jr’s brother. Eldred Smith was the last man to serve as Patriarch for the Church. He was 106.
Robert D Hales is the first speaker. He asks Church members to be role models for the rest of the world. We need to defend our homes and our families. As a young man in NY, he was on his baseball teams bus coming home from a game. The language around him was inappropriate. He didn’t know what to do. His father recommended that he take on the armor of God. Over the last few decades, the standards of the world have moved further away from the standards of the Church. The standards of the Church can not move to accommodate this. Members must be prepared to stand up to social pressure and ridicule. We should live the rules of the gospel, and have positive experiences. Doing right is not always popular, and holding to our values does not mean we are intolerant of others. Until we have endured to the end, the work is not done.
Tad R Callister of the Seventy is up next. There was a woman who was in need of a blessing, but none of the older men in the Church were available to give it. She called on a Young Man to use his Priesthood, and he felt unworthy of doing this. Young Men of missionary age show rapid spiritual growth. This is due to three things; responsibility, training, and high expectations. If we start this as soon as Young Men reach Priesthood age, they will start their growth even earlier, and will be able to reach even greater heights. Quorum Presidents are entitled to revelation. They need to know they have been chosen by God for this task. We need to train them to be leaders. They must be prepared to receive revelation, they must do their spiritual homework first. Quorum members should be able to rescue the lost, the less active, and be able to lead non members as well.
The Young Mens President, David L Beck starts off his talk with an inspiring story. There was a young girl who was being bullied in school because of her disability. Mom was unable to get the bullying to stop, until she talked to the football teams quarterback. He was just supposed to find out who was doing the bullying, but he befriended the girl, and soon had many of the other football players walking with her in the hallways. They helped inspire many others. Here’s a link to the story. http://www.ksl.com/?sid=24230082&nid=148&title=byu-honors-footballer-who-protected-girl-from-bullies&fm=home_page&s_cid=queue-15 These young Priesthood holders saw an opportunity for service, and they were happy to provide it. But everybody is in need of some service, and some are more obvious than others. Serving others is a good thing, and we should be thankful for the opportunities to do something for someone else. We should care about each other. When we act on a prompting, we can receive blessings, and will receive even more opportunities.
President Uchtdorf is the next speaker. He thanks everyone for their attendance, then talks about how people have titles. Every Priesthood holder has four of these; 1) Son of Heavenly Father 2) Disciple of Christ 3) Healer of Souls and 4) Heirs to all God has. When a child is learning to walk, we praise them for the attempt, and each small improvement. We don’t yell at them for falling, or punish them for not walking perfectly their first time. We are all spiritual toddlers. Heavenly Father celebrates each small progression. We know we are not perfect, but that is not an excuse to lower expectations. We are all different, being different does not make you wrong. No one is any lower in the eyes of our Savior. We all have different talents, and that diversity is good. We are to help others, and to serve God. We suffer with Christ, and we will be redeemed. Pursuit of leisure and entertainment isn’t always appropriate. We sometimes feel unneeded or unappreciated. God loves us, and our Church needs us. No matter what our calling is, we have a role. The possibilities for service are endless. We should read the scriptures and pray daily.
Henry B Eyring is the next to offer his comments. It is our job to take the gospel to the world. He tells the story of a young man who lived in an area where the Church wasn’t. He briefly lived in Utah, and was exposed to the Church, and wanted to join. Before he could, he moved back out of the country. Eventually missionaries came to where he was, and he was baptized. As we was 16, he was able to baptize as well, and soon they had a small branch. He talks about how the Church has grown in areas from just a group, to a branch, to a ward, and finally a stake. He talks about how New England used to be sparsely populated with the Saints, and now has grown to such density that we now have the Boston Temple. Some areas of the church are already strong, others are just now starting to grow. We are all missionaries, and we should work together as one. I don’t remember if it was this talk or a different one, but someone told a good story about how when he was a stake president, he used to get phone calls from families moving to the area. They would usually ask which ward was the best, or the strongest. Wanting to move their families into an already strong ward. But he will never forget the one family that asked which ward could use the help the most.
President Monson is the concluding speaker. He talks about the special spirit that is at priesthood meetings. Within two years, all the missionaries currently in the field will be back home. New ones will take their place. We should search the scriptures with diligence. Make good decisions to prepare for school, a mission, marriage, or whatever service we might provide. Teach the truth with testimony. Always be prepared to testify. When he was a mission president back in Canada, he had two missionaries who were out during a snowstorm. Someone felt bad for them and let them in, but he did not want to hear the gospel, and grew agitated with them. When he threw them out of the house, he told them he did not believe in Joseph Smith, and said the Elders didn’t either. The missionaries left without refuting him, but quickly decided they should return to bear their testimony of Joseph Smith and the church. He was eventually converted. We should serve the Lord with love. The ones we save are often the ones closest to us.
At this point, our satellite cut out and we missed the rest of the session. Someone sitting behind me blamed the north Koreans.