One Sunday afternoon when I was in eighth grade, I was playing touch football. We have been counseled by prophets to keep the Sabbath day holy, and I’m sure someone had told me that playing sports was not a good Sunday activity. But I was playing football anyway. Another player elbowed me in the mouth and gashed my lip. I had to get stitches. From that day forward, I committed to never play sports, work, nor do anything else on Sunday that was unholy. I have successfully kept that commitment to this day.
One of the people who helped me make righteous decisions was my Grandma Lee. She was a great-granddaughter of Orrin Porter Rockwell, the bodyguard to the prophets Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Grandma Lee made me feel like I was someone really special! Because of how loved I felt, whenever I was tempted to do something wrong, I’d imagine what Grandma Lee would think if I gave in. She helped me to resist temptation because I wanted to be the best boy I could be—the boy she thought I was.
Later, when I was a young married man, another person who influenced me for good was Elder L. Aldin Porter, formerly a member of the Presidency of the Seventy. I served as his executive secretary for three years. After our meetings each week, we would often talk about the prophets and their lives. President Spencer W. Kimball was the prophet at the time, and a book about his life had just been published. Elder Porter encouraged me to read it. I did. As I read, I came to realize what it means to have a prophet on the earth. My testimony grew. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by living prophets.
The prophets teach us that through keeping temple covenants, our families can be eternal. When our daughter Rachel was married, our family was able to participate in a special temple session beforehand. We greeted our children in the temple, hugged them, kissed them, and told them how much we loved them. We felt great happiness in the Lord’s temple with our children, knowing that we have been sealed as a family for time and all eternity.
As part of my calling, my wife and I were once on an assignment with President and Sister Hinckley and Elder and Sister Ballard. After our meetings were finished, Elder Ballard asked me if I’d like to see the airplane that takes President Hinckley to conferences all over the world. I said, “I would love to!” Elder Ballard escorted me inside, and I saw President and Sister Hinckley seated in the plane. The Spirit of the Lord came over me and I knelt down at President Hinckley’s side. I took his hand in mine and said, “President Hinckley, I love you. With all of my heart, I sustain you as a prophet of the living God.”
I bear my witness to you young people that he is the Lord’s living prophet, that the Lord speaks to him, that the Church is guided by Jesus Christ, and that the Lord’s prophets—from Joseph Smith to Gordon B. Hinckley—represent the Lord as they speak to us. If we will follow their counsel, we will be protected from many problems and challenges in this life.