A Lesson in Respect

Adapted from an April 1999 general conference address.


President Thomas S. Monson

A Lesson in Respect

When President Thomas S. Monson was young, people called him Tommy. As a deacon, Tommy watched the young men who were priests in the Aaronic Priesthood as they blessed the sacrament. One of the priests, Barry, had a very fine voice. Often, members of the ward told Barry how inspiring it was when he said the sacrament prayers.

Another young man named Jack was very hard of hearing. When he spoke, it was difficult for people to understand him, and he wasn’t given the assignment to say a sacrament prayer very often. When he did have a turn, the deacons sometimes snickered about the way he spoke.

One Sunday, Barry and Jack sat at the sacrament table together. After the sacrament song they broke the bread, and then Barry knelt to pray. But nothing happened. Barry’s fine voice was silent. Tommy and the other deacons looked up to see what was causing the delay. Barry was frantically looking for the little white card with the sacrament prayers printed on it. He couldn’t find it, and his face flushed pink and then bright red. He couldn’t say the prayer without reading from the little card.

Jack nudged Barry back to his seat. Then he knelt and began to say the words of the sacrament prayer that he had carefully memorized. After the deacons passed the bread, Jack knelt again and offered the prayer on the water. He was prepared and willing to fulfill his calling in the priesthood.

That day Jack’s example touched the hearts of the ward members. Tommy and the other deacons gained great respect for Jack. Barry and Jack became friends. Jack didn’t have the finest voice, but he was prepared to do his duty because he had faithfully learned the sacred sacrament prayers by heart.

Words from President Monson

“We know that some people are more talented than others. Some are more educated. Regardless of where we fit in the scheme of things, we all have the capacity to be great.”

From “In Quest of the Abundant Life,” a talk given at the Weber State University commencement, April 23, 2010.

Courage to Do the Right Thing

When President Monson was growing up, he sometimes had to go to church by himself. His ward was just two blocks down the street from his house, so Tommy could walk there.

  • When have you needed courage to do the right thing when you had to do it by yourself?

A Sacred Prayer

During the sacrament, the prayer on the bread is always given first. See if you can fill in the blanks. If you need help, use the word bank at the right, or check Doctrine and Covenants 20:77.

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and __________this bread to the souls of all those who ___________of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and ___________ unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his _____________ which he has given them; that they may always have his _________ to be with them. Amen.

Word Bank

Witness—promise

Partake—receive

Commandments—instructions

Spirit—Holy Ghost

Sanctify—make holy

Talk with someone in your family about why the sacrament prayers are important.