Saturday, March 17, 2012

Come Listen to a Prophet's Voice

Come listen to a prophet's voice,
And hear the word of God,
And in the ways of truth rejoice,
And sing for joy aloud.

Those are the opening lines of a hymn we sing at Church (Hymns #21).  And tonight I had just that opportunity.  M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles is the speaker at our Stake Conference this weekend.  Accompanying him is Gary L. Crittenden of the Quorum of the Seventy.  They both gave some great counsel this evening.

There's only one thing that bothers me when such well-known General Authorities come to Stake Conference.  It seems that some people put much more importance on the 'name' and giving them almost celebrity status than on the message they bring.  Elder Crittenden even pointed it out when he admitted to being a country music fan and told  about attending a concert.  He said he and his wife arrived at the venue and a band was already playing.  That band finished and another group took the stage and performed their set.  Then another while they wondered "When is the main event?"  He went on to point out that was how we must all feel waiting through other speakers for Elder Ballard to step to the pulpit.

I wish we could all take the stars out of eyes and hear what they are trying to tell us.

Elder Ballard started off quoting from a talk President Hinckley gave in the Priesthood Session of General Conference in October 1998.

"Now, brethren, I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order.

So many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes. In fact, some are living on borrowings.

We have witnessed in recent weeks wide and fearsome swings in the markets of the world. The economy is a fragile thing. A stumble in the economy in Jakarta or Moscow can immediately affect the entire world. It can eventually reach down to each of us as individuals. There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed."

He went on to talk about how the prophesied conditions and signs of the last days are escalating and the degraded moral fiber of America and repeated the phrase, "I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order."

He asked each of us to think carefully about what we need to do to prepare ourselves and our family... to get the gospel from our minds and the institution of the church and into our hearts.  So many fall away because they have an intellectual testimony and not a spiritual testimony that only can come from interacting with the Spirit.  He also suggested that we need to keep our eyes on the eternal perspective and realize there comes a time when we must choose to trust God, His will, and His plan more than we want to control the situation ourselves.

New information?  No.  It's the same counsel that has been repeated so many ways by so many people.  But obviously we as members of the church are not getting it. We need to keep hearing the same message until we do get it.

In his talk, Elder Critttenden made that point.  He talked of a family who started every Family Home Evening with the song "Love One Another."  When one of the children reached the early teen years and started to question everything, she asked her father why they always sang the same song since there were so many good hymns in the Hymnal to pick from.  The dad replied, "When you understand the first lesson, we'll move on to the second one."

Now to really truly understand that first lesson...

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