There are three things that I feel personally obligated to communicate with you, my brothers and sisters, this afternoon. First, I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and that only by carefully listening to the words of our Prophet, by reading the scriptures for additional insight, and by living the commandments and suggestions of our Brethren can we find happiness of an eternal nature.
Second, I must communicate to you openly about the reality of my own inadequacies. Accepting a call to serve as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, I pray that the Lord, our Church leaders who sit before us, and you with whom I will be called to work will all exert untiring patience with me.
Lastly, I must communicate to you the awesome level of gratitude that I feel at this time: towards you who have so kindly instructed me through word and deed and action; to a lovely wife and children who have always supported their husband and father both here and in the mission field. To a father and mother who never needed to worry about determining priorities because they understood what was really important as easily as most of us find the act of breathing. I am grateful for a sister and brother and for their families. I am thankful for friends and associates who have been patient in their understanding of my weaknesses, of my lifestyle, and other decisions that have been made, as hopefully I was of theirs. I am so thankful to men like my mission president, A. Lewis Elgren, and to others such as President Harold B. Lee, Elder Richard L. Evans, a great aunt Bertha Irvine, and others who are no longer with us. I am so thankful to many of the Brethren who sit here, whose constant example has served as a motivating force in my life, and for so many others. Most of all I am grateful for a kind and loving Savior, who not only teaches us well but forgives and loves and persists.
Speaking for Anne, my wife; Larry, Annette, Marcus, Jonathan, Nathan, and Andrea, our children, we stand waiting to give all we have to the building of the kingdom, and hopefully make a supportive contribution wherever we might find ourselves.
Henry Van Dyke said a number of years ago: “There is only one way to get ready for immortality, and that is to love this life and live it as bravely and faithfully and cheerfully, as we can.” (In Emerson Roy West, Vital Quotations, Bookcraft, 1968, p. 201.) This I pray we may all do in the name of Jesus Christ, our Master. Amen.
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