From the Life of President Heber J. Grant


Speaking in Church

Adapted from Preston Nibley, The Presidents of the Church (1974), 224–27.

When Heber J. Grant was nearly 24, he was called as a stake president. He had never spoken to a large group before, so when he gave his first talk, it was only seven minutes long.

The next two Sundays, Heber traveled to different wards. Again he ran out of ideas after speaking for six or seven minutes. So the Sunday after that, he brought two speakers with him.

Heber: Bishop Sharp, it looks like no one is coming to the meeting. Where is everyone? It’s almost time to start.

Bishop Sharp: I’ve encouraged the members to be in their seats on time, President Grant. We’re the last ones to arrive—you’ll see.

Inside the log meetinghouse, every seat was full! Heber thought he would speak for a few minutes, as usual. Instead, he spoke easily for nearly an hour. He felt the Spirit guiding him.

That night Heber prayed with gratitude.

Heber: I thank Thee, Heavenly Father, for blessing me with the Spirit as I spoke today.

The following Sunday he expected to speak just as well, and he did little to prepare. How embarrassed he was when no words came to his mouth! He spoke for only five minutes.

He tearfully left the meeting and went into a field to pray. After that he always remembered to rely on the Spirit whenever he taught.

Heber: Forgive me for not praying or preparing. I know that I can preach only if I first seek Thy Spirit.