Elder Walker Shares Five Ways to Be Like President Monson
By Marianne Holman, Church News staff writer
By following and emulating the Lord’s prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, individuals will inevitably succeed in becoming more faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, said Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy during the Church Educational System devotional held in the BYU–Idaho Center in Rexburg, Idaho, on May 5, 2013.
“That God has provided a prophet for us is central to the faith and belief of Latter-day Saints everywhere,” said Elder Walker.
Recognizing the pattern established by the Lord of calling noble men to direct the affairs of His Church on the earth, Elder Walker spoke of the important role of a prophet. He said that each man who has been called—whether ancient or modern—was wonderfully prepared to lead the Church for a period of time.
“The Lord’s Church is distinguished by having apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,” Elder Walker taught. “Every President of the Church has testified that Jesus Christ is the head of this Church. There are no coincidences, there are no mistakes, and there are no campaigns. When it comes to succession in the Presidency of the Lord’s Church, the Lord is in charge, and surely His will is done.”
Elder Walker’s current assignment as Executive Director of the Temple Department for the Church has allowed him to accompany President Monson both locally and around the world on many occasions.
“As he has crisscrossed the world, I’ve been blessed to be there to witness his great love for people—not just members of the Church, but all people,” Elder Walker said. “I’ve witnessed his constant warmth and friendliness, his Christlike tenderness and sensitivity—especially for the children, the aged, and the infirm. Many times as I’ve watched President Monson, I’ve had the impression, ‘That is the way the Savior would act. That is the way the Savior would treat people.’ I have witnessed his never-ending enthusiasm, his drive and determination, his joy in life, and his deep desire to serve the Lord and do as the Savior would have him do. He never tires of doing the work of the Lord.”
Elder Walker of the Seventy speaks during the CES devotional held in the BYU-Idaho Center in Rexburg, Idaho, on May 5. Photo by Sara Collier.
The Lord provides patterns for people to follow of how to act, how to live, and how to do things, Elder Walker said. “Of course, for each of us, our greatest desire is to pattern our life after the Savior—to follow Him, to live His commandments, and to be as much like Him as we can be.”
It is also through patterning one’s life after the righteous example of others—like President Monson—that individuals are able to be more like the Lord.
“President Monson has shown us the way,” he said. “It is a better way; it is the Lord’s way. … I love the Primary song that says, ‘I’m trying to be like Jesus.’ And I want to add to that, ‘And I’m trying to be like His prophet.’”
Elder Walker shared five ways individuals can follow the life and teachings of President Monson.
1. We can be positive, and we can be happy.
“On one occasion, President Monson said: ‘We can choose to have a positive attitude. We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. In other words, we can choose to be happy and positive, regardless of what comes our way,’” Elder Walker said.
Remembering a time he was sitting outside the First Presidency’s boardroom waiting for a meeting he was invited to attend, Elder Walker recalled hearing a whistle coming from an unknown source around the corner.
“I thought to myself, ‘Someone doesn’t understand proper protocol. You don’t go walking around whistling outside the office of the President of the Church,’” he recalled.
A moment later, he saw the whistler walk around the corner; it was President Monson.
“He was happy, and he was positive,” he said. “He greeted me warmly. … Even with the weight of the whole Church on his shoulders, he is an example of happiness and he always has a positive attitude. We should be that way.”
2. Like President Monson, we can be kind and loving toward children.
“Jesus spoke often of children,” Elder Walker said. “His prophet, President Monson, speaks often of children as well, and I’ve particularly seen at temple dedications how he loves children and, by his example, teaches us how to treat them.”
Sharing his experiences of traveling with President Monson to different temple dedications, Elder Walker said that the prophet loves to include children in cornerstone ceremonies.
“He makes it fun for them,” he said. “He makes it memorable for them. He always has a big smile for them. He encourages and commends them. … His warm greetings to the children include high fives, wiggling of his ears, and encouragement to serve missions and marry in the temple. He really enjoys life—and shouldn’t we all.”
Christ set the perfect example of loving little children, and President Monson follows that supreme example by loving little children.
“The children and young people of the Church love him, and I think it is because they have no doubt that he loves them!”
3. We can follow the promptings of the Spirit, like President Monson.
President Monson is known for his devotion to the Lord and his commitment to following the promptings of the Spirit, Elder Walker said.
Drawing from President Monson’s words, he said, “‘The sweetest experience I know in life is to feel a prompting and act upon it, and later find out that it was the fulfillment of someone’s prayer or someone’s need. And I always want the Lord to know that if He needs an errand run, Tom Monson will run that errand for Him.’ That is a pattern that each of us should want to follow.”
4. We can love the temple, as President Monson loves the temple.
“President Monson will go down in history as one of the great temple builders in the history of the Church,” Elder Walker said. “Since becoming President of the Church in February 2008, he has continued the great work of building temples. Some of the temples that he has announced have been among the most historic.”
Since he was sustained as prophet, President Monson has announced plans to build 33 new temples. Currently there are 141 temples in the Church and 29 under construction or in the planning stages.
“I’ve heard President Monson tell young people who were too young to enter the temple to go up and touch the wall of the temple and then ‘let the temple touch you,’” Elder Walker said. “President Monson has said, ‘May each of us live worthy lives, with clean hands and pure hearts, so that the temple may touch our lives and our families’” (“Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, Oct. 2010).
President Monson has promised that as Church members love and attend the temple, their lives will reflect their faith and they will be able to bear every trial and overcome each temptation.
“Let us follow the pattern that the prophet has set for us in loving the temple,” Elder Walker said.
5. We can be kind and considerate and love others, as President Monson does.
“President Monson is a wonderful example of loving others,” Elder Walker said. “His entire ministry has been filled with visits to homes, placing his hands on heads and giving blessings, making unexpected phone calls to comfort and encourage, sending letters of commendation and appreciation, visits to hospitals and care centers, and finding the time to go to funerals and viewings despite a very busy schedule.”
Just as the Savior would do, President Monson has gone about doing good, blessing and loving others as if that has been the driving force in his life, Elder Walker said.
“President Monson has taught us the way to live our lives with his wonderful and inspiring messages at general conference,” he said. “He has taught us how to be followers of Jesus Christ by his remarkable and wonderful personal example. Truly, the Lord has given us a pattern in all things, and one of the patterns that we should seek to follow is that of our beloved prophet.”