Viewpoint: Living Prophets and Apostles Are a Testimony of God’s Love for Us

Contributed By the Church News

  • 11 October 2015

The First Presidency of the Church sit on the stand prior to the start of the general priesthood session of general conference on October 3, 2015.  Photo by Tom Smart, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • The earth has enjoyed continuing revelation and an unbroken line of priesthood authority since the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored to the Prophet Joseph Smith.
  • This conference gave us an opportunity to ponder the importance of the continuing revelation so vital to the Lord’s Church.

The earth has enjoyed continuing revelation and an unbroken line of priesthood authority since the day in 1829 when the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by the hands of the ancient and resurrected Apostles Peter, James, and John. That glorious line of apostolic authority was extended again during the 185th Semiannual General Conference, and that is a signal to the world of our Heavenly Father’s love.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, and Elder Dale G. Renlund were sustained as the 98th, 99th, and 100th apostles of the restoration. Each bore powerful testimony of the divine origins of their callings.

Their callings represent a continuous line of inspired special witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ and are an unmistakable message to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of God’s love for His children and His desire to help them through perilous times. For the first time since 1906, the Church faced three vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, this time due to the deaths of President Boyd K. Packer, Elder L. Tom Perry, and Elder Richard G. Scott. But while Church members mourn the loss of those faithful and powerful servants of God, there was no need to worry about Church leadership. President Thomas S. Monson, through divine inspiration, extended callings to those new leaders the Lord had chosen.

From right to left: Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, and Elder Dale G. Renlund, who were sustained as the 98th, 99th, and 100th apostles of the restoration during the Saturday afternoon session of general conference on October 3, 2015. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

This conference gave us an opportunity to ponder the importance of the continual revelation so vital to the Lord’s Church. This was evident not only in the calling of three new qualified leaders as special witnesses but also in the messages imparted by the speakers. Each conference is a special set of revelations from God to the world, geared specifically to the challenges of that time. This one was no exception.

President Monson was crystal clear in delivering messages for our time. Citing the Savior’s admonishment to “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” and the Apostle Paul’s charge to “be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity,” he laid out a clear message from the Lord.

Who has not encountered the destructive effects of negative language on radio, television, and the Internet? Who has not seen the degrading tug of endless criticisms, rumor-mongering, and fault-finding? President Monson said: “The words we use can lift and inspire, or they can harm and demean. In the world today there is a profusion of profanity with which we seem to be surrounded at nearly every turn. It is difficult to avoid hearing the names of deity being used casually and thoughtlessly. Coarse comments seem to have become a staple of television, movies, books, and music. Bandied about are slanderous remarks and angry rhetoric” (“Be an Example and a Light,” Oct. 2015 general conference).

President Monson said we should speak “with love and respect, ever keeping our language clean and avoiding words or comments that would wound or offend. May we follow the example of the Savior, who spoke with tolerance and kindness throughout His ministry.”

What a simple admonition, and yet how powerful in its application to a real-world problem that seems to be spreading like a plague.

President Monson also spoke of the need to be more charitable toward those who are lonely, discouraged, or ill. He talked of the need “to be an example in spirit,” or striving “to have in our lives kindness, gratitude, forgiveness, and good will.” And he talked of the need to be pure, “which means that we are clean in body, mind, and spirit.”

This powerful message, if heeded, would change the world. Hearts would soften. People would feel a greater sense of self-worth and have a greater reverence for the world around them. Problems would be easier to solve in a spirit of cooperation.

In a similar vein, President Monson urged priesthood holders to keep the commandments. Speaking specifically to teenagers, he said, “We read in 1 Corinthians, ‘There are … so many kinds of voices in the world.’ We are surrounded by persuasive voices, beguiling voices, belittling voices, sophisticated voices, and confusing voices. I might add that these are loud voices. I admonish you to turn the volume down and to be influenced instead by that still, small voice which will guide you to safety.”

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of the need to live worthy to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. “The companionship of the Holy Ghost makes what is good more attractive and temptation less compelling,” he said. “That alone should be enough to make us determined to qualify for the Spirit to be with us always” (“The Holy Ghost as Your Companion,” Oct. 2015 general conference).

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of the simplicity of the gospel. “Sometimes, the truth may just seem too straightforward, too plain, and too simple for us to fully appreciate its great value,” he said. “So we set aside what we have experienced and know to be true in pursuit of more mysterious or complicated information. Hopefully, we will learn that when we chase after shadows we are pursuing matters that have little substance and value” (“It Works Wonderfully!” Oct. 2015 general conference).

That inspired advice applies to the simple yet powerful words of the Lord’s servants throughout this conference. A kind Heavenly Father has shown in simplicity the way out of the problems afflicting the world today.

What a blessing it is to have prophets and apostles to lead the way, and what a comfort to know that new leaders, divinely called, have been raised up to continue that course of revelation.