Follow the Prophet

A Lesson in Respect

By Heidi S. Swinton

Adapted from an April 1999 general conference address.

President Thomas S. Monson
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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.

Illustrations by Dan Burr