“What Went Ye Out … to See?”

Gerald E. Melchin


When you receive a call from the Office of the First Presidency or one of the counselors in the First Presidency, your whole life rolls over. I can’t think of words to express the thoughts that have been in my mind and in my heart since I visited with President Monson on Friday. As I thought about addressing you tonight, I felt so humbled and yet so honored, so privileged to be able to bear my witness of the Savior to the priesthood of the Church throughout the world. What an honor that is.

I owe the Lord so much because he has blessed me so much. I pray that I can sustain the Brethren in the calls that may be given me, that I might perform in a way that I might partially repay the Lord for those choice blessings. He has seen to it that I have had the blessings that are most important in life. I have had a choice companion with whom I’ve had a special association of love. She has sustained me throughout all of my activities, as I have tried to sustain her. I think right now her mind is as muddled as mine as we try to make the adjustments that will be coming into our lives. I have been blessed with a family of whom I am proud and who are serving the Lord. I don’t know what else you can ask of our Father in Heaven that is of so much worth. I know, too, that they will have to make some changes, as we will not be living as close together as we have been, but I know that they will sustain me in the call and will make the adjustments that are necessary.

I think of two missionaries who came to my grandfather in the 1920s in Kitchener, Ontario. There were no LDS people in the city. They’d been discouraged, and as they passed his door, they heard a song playing that had been played at their farewell. They approached the door to listen, and he saw them. They introduced the gospel to his heart. He joined the Church, and so all of my life I’ve been blessed to know that the gospel is true and that we have a prophet who guides and directs us.

I think of the words of the Master to the multitude about the prophetic calling of John the Baptist. He said, “What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? … A man clothed in soft raiment?” Then he declared that John was a prophet “and more than a prophet,” for “all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” (Matt. 11:7–13.)

On another occasion he asked the scribes and Pharisees who had been questioning him, “The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?” (Mark 11:30.) Of course, the works of John, as of all prophets, were of heaven.

As I have read the scriptures, I have watched all of the prophets who have affected my life, and I have seen that they have fulfilled the role that the Master described. I have been privileged to have President Benson in my home as one of us. I have knelt with him as we have called, by prophecy, a stake president. I have felt his divine call as he leads and directs this church through the spirit of revelation. And I bear that testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.