Highlights of President Monson’s Inspirational Teachings
Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer
After serving as a General Authority for more than 54 years, beloved prophet President Thomas S. Monson has given hundreds of talks—including 234 addresses in general conference—to people around the world.
Whether speaking during a Church event or funeral, to a high ranking civic leader or a community group, the leader has shared messages of hope and inspiration to Church members and nonmembers alike. His love of literature and musicals often makes an appearance in his sermons, as well as his desire for all to be on the Lord’s errand.
Below are excerpts from a few of the many talks he has given over the years:
“Become acquainted with the lessons the scriptures teach. Learn the background and setting of the Master’s parables and the prophets’ admonitions. Study them as though each were speaking to you, for such is the truth” (“A Time to Choose,” Apr. 1995 general conference).
To the youth of the Church:
“Although there have always been challenges in the world, many of those which you face are unique to this time. But you are some of our Heavenly Father’s strongest children, and He has saved you to come to the earth ‘for such a time as this’ (Ether 4:14). With His help, you will have the courage to face whatever comes. Though the world may at times appear dark, you have the light of the gospel, which will be as a beacon to guide your way” (“May You Have Courage,” Apr. 2009 general conference).
To the sisters in Relief Society:
“Women of Relief Society, you truly are angels of mercy. This is demonstrated on a grand scale through the humanitarian outreach to the cold, the hungry, and to suffering wherever it is found. Your labors are also very much in evidence in our wards and in our stakes and missions. Every bishop in the Church could testify of this truth” (“Be Thou an Example,” Oct. 2001 general conference).
To priesthood holders:
“Holders of the priesthood may not necessarily be eloquent in their speech. They may not hold advanced degrees in difficult fields of study. They may very well be men of humble means. But God is no respecter of persons, and He will sustain His servants in righteousness as they avoid the evils of our day and they live lives of virtue and purity” (“Be Your Best Self,” Apr. 2009 general conference).
“Think to thank. In these three words you have the finest capsule course for a happy marriage, the formula for enduring friendships, and a pattern for personal happiness” (BYU commencement address, Apr. 26, 2001).
“The call to serve has ever characterized the work of the Lord. It rarely comes at a convenient time. It brings humility, it provokes prayer, it inspires commitment. The call came—to Kirtland. Revelations followed. The call came—to Missouri. Persecution prevailed. The call came—to Nauvoo. Prophets died. The call came—to the basin of the Great Salt Lake. Hardship beckoned.
“That long journey, made under such difficult circumstances, was a trial of faith. But faith forged in the furnace of trials and tears is marked by trust and testimony. Only God can count the sacrifice; only God can measure the sorrow; only God can know the hearts of those who serve Him—then and now” (“Tears, Trials, Trust, Testimony,” Apr. 1987 general conference).
“To meet the combined demands of the accumulated past and of the accumulating future, all of us need:
To act—not just react.
To innovate—not just imitate.
To program—not just resolve.
To accelerate—not just vacillate”
(“Spectrum-on-the-Road,” Bountiful, Utah, Mar. 14, 1968).
In his last conference address, President Monson encouraged listeners to read the Book of Mormon:
“We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety. If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so. If you will read it prayerfully and with a sincere desire to know the truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest its truth to you. If it is true—and I solemnly testify that it is—then Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ” (“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Apr. 2017 general conference).
“The happy life is not ushered in at any age to the sound of drums and trumpets. It grows upon us year by year, little by little, until at last we realize that we have it. It is achieved in individuals, not by flights to the Moon or Mars, but by a body of work done so well that we can lift our heads with assurance and look the world in the eye. Of this be sure: You do not find the happy life—you make it” (“Attitudes of Accomplishment,” BYU devotional, May 19, 1970).
“We are the product of all we read, all we view, all we hear and all we think. I join you in a united determination to so think, to so read and to so hear—and I might also add to so feel—that we may evidence that we are on the Lord’s side“ (All-Church Coordinating Council, Nov. 15, 1988).
Follow the prophet
“Follow the prophets of God. When you follow the prophets, you will be in safe territory. I know that the Lord inspires His prophets, His seers, and His revelators” (“Life’s Greatest Decisions” [Church Educational System fireside, Sept. 7, 2003]).
“Should you become discouraged or feel burdened down, remember that others have passed this same way; they have endured and then have achieved. When we have done all that we are able to do, we can then rely on God’s promised help” (“Life’s Greatest Decisions” [Church Educational System fireside, Sept. 7, 2003]).
President Thomas S. Monson greets members of the Washington D.C. chapter of the BYU Management Society after speaking at its annual meeting, March 11, 1989. Photo courtesy of Deseret News Archives.
President Spencer W. Kimball greets Elder Thomas S. Monson as Elder Gordon B. Hinckley (center) and Elder Boyd K. Packer stand near, April 8, 1978. Photo by Don Grayston, Deseret News Archives.
Elder Thomas S. Monson addresses a Friday session at the MIA Conference, June 29, 1968. Photo by J Heslop, Deseret News Archives.