Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Prophets

"Look harder"
I’m cheating a little on this by using a category of men for one of my top 5 favorites.  But really if you “look harder” you can see that all these men are summarily in the same category.  Nevertheless, I will speak of only one of them in this post even though all of them have had a great influence on me.  For the majority of my life I didn’t have a father to guide me. I turned to the prophet and apostles when I got to the point when I realized I really wanted and needed more guidance.  That reaching began when I went to college.  So if you want to know what my problem is, this is a good start:  I was raised a daughter of the prophets and apostles of Jesus Christ.

Elder David A. Bednar

I had first come to love this prophet, seer, and revelator after hearing and studying his talk, “The Tender Mercies of the Lord” in the Spring of 2005.  He had just been called to serve in one of the most visible callings in the Church and he could have gloried in why the Lord chose him.  But instead he thought about us which dispelled any thoughts of pride or envy that we could have been tempted to entertain.  This is what he said:

The word chosen in 1 Nephi 1:20 [1 Ne. 1:20] is central to understanding the concept of the Lord’s tender mercies. The dictionary indicates that chosen suggests one who is selected, taken by preference, or picked out. It also can be used to refer to the elect or chosen of God (Oxford English Dictionary Online, second ed. [1989], “Chosen”).

“Some individuals who hear or read this message erroneously may discount or dismiss in their personal lives the availability of the tender mercies of the Lord, believing that 'I certainly am not one who has been or ever will be chosen.' We may falsely think that such blessings and gifts are reserved for other people who appear to be more righteous or who serve in visible Church callings. I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and that the Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon us.

“To be or to become chosen is not an exclusive status conferred upon us. Rather, you and I ultimately determine if we are chosen. Please now note the use of the word chosen in the following verses from the Doctrine and Covenants:

“'Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
"'Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men' (D&C 121:34–35; emphasis added).

“I believe the implication of these verses is quite straightforward. God does not have a list of favorites to which we must hope our names will someday be added. He does not limit “the chosen” to a restricted few. Rather, it is our hearts and our aspirations and our obedience which definitively determine whether we are counted as one of God’s chosen.”

This is a man who is not interested in self-glory.  He is more interested in the well being of those he has been sent to serve.

Subsequent talks have also endeared me to him.  I especially respect how he opens every one of his talks with, “I pray for and invite the assistance of the Holy Ghost as I now speak with you.”  Humility in it’s true form, unadulterated.  A man without guile.

A few years ago I attended a conference at Brigham Young University for women.  He was one of the speakers.

I guess I should first explain how anti-groupie I am.  I just can’t bring myself to “worship” any person like that.  If I’m going to talk to them, I would like to do so on equal ground.  I’m a child of God and so are they.  We’re good.  When I was a teenager I came close to groupie-ness with the pop band Duran Duran.  I very much preferred the lead singer, Simon LeBon.  But I wrote in my journal that I would like to become a drummer so that one day I could meet him face to face, not as a groupie screaming at his show.  Just couldn’t do the groupie stuff and never have been able to since.

So when Elder Bednar walked into the Marriot Center to speak to thousands of women and I was one of them, I was surprised at my response.  We all stood and the entire auditorium went silent.  As I watched him walk to the stand my heart, which I have come to understand is not completely under my control, responded with wave after wave of powerful energy until I could hardly contain it.  When I sat down I had to bend over in my seat, duck my head, and let my hair hang around my face.  Luckily my friend had a tissue or I would have been in serious trouble.  I have this issue with being seen during sacred moments like that.  You see, I never wanted to be a groupie.  But this was something different.  Something holy and something I have come to realize is my divine heritage as a woman--to bear testimony of men who are like Christ.

Since that time all I have to do is think about him and I begin to experience the same kind of feeling in my heart.  Who needs chocolate cake when there's men like Martin Luther, Alma, and Elder Bednar around?  I’m not into fake.  In fact I loathe fake.  This is real.  My heart testifies of its own volition that these men are of God.  They are living their lives as the Lord would have them.  They are worthy to be my more specific Causes because they are allowing my chosen general Cause to govern them.  The sacrifices they have made and continue to make are patterned after the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  I can trust them.  My heart witnesses that.