Response to a Call

Neal A. Maxwell

Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles


Brothers and sisters, my verbal moment is not for sermons but for appreciation, not for doctrine but for testimony.

Appreciation for the Lord’s call through President Kimball.

Appreciation for your sustaining vote which was not vindication but an invitation—an invitation for me to be and to do better.

Appreciation for humble parents who both told and showed me that the gospel and Church are true.

Appreciation for a splendid woman, Colleen, a wife for all seasons, who has made our home a haven.

Appreciation for a missionary son in Germany and three daughters and a son-in-law in whose behalf, as a father, I deeply wish to succeed and whose vote to sustain me must count double in the days that lie ahead.

Appreciation to President Kimball for his example not only as a bold prophet but for his and Sister Kimball’s tireless practicing of “pure religion, undefiled.” (James 1:27.) The President’s greatness is the kind which is not conscious of itself. He truly desires not our adulation but our affirmation by how we live.

Appreciation for the tender tutoring of President Harold B. Lee.

Appreciation for Presidents Tanner and Romney and Benson and the Twelve, whom I hope to assist, and each of whose lives reflects divine design that prepared them for their appointed place, for God is never surprised.

Appreciation to all the General Authorities who travel so tirelessly to teach us all, leaving their families without complaint. This reality was summarized well by the wit that was also wisdom of Richard L. Evans; who, one day on the way to another plane and another weekend of conferences, said gently, “Have you ever gotten homesick on the way to the airport?”

Appreciation to the members of the Church who have helped me in the Tremonton, Ogden, and Reno regions, and to my sweet colleagues, the Regional Representatives of the Twelve, especially those whom the Lord has raised up in other nations of the world.

Appreciation to the devoted colleagues and students in the Church Educational System in 50 countries who number one-third million.

Endless appreciation to Jesus Christ for his atonement, realizing that included in the awful arithmetic of that atonement are my sins, and for the eloquence of his example, and for the witness he has given me which I have happily borne in about 35 countries, for when one sees life and people through the lens of His gospel, then one can see forever.

Endless appreciation to my Father in heaven whose blessings depend upon our obedience, but whose ratio of blessings to obedience makes him a generous God!

I know the celestial criteria measure service, not status; the use of our talents, not the relative size of our talent inventories. I know that Church membership is not passive security but continuing opportunity.

Finally I testify that what a wise man wrote is true: “If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.” Having so chosen, may God bless us all to move the kingdom along, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.