Category Archives: Prophets/Apostles studies

President Hinckley on counselors


My friend and newly called counselor shared this talk from President Hinckley in 1990:

(https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1990/10/in-counsellors-there-is-safety?lang=eng)

There are several cardinal principles with reference to counselors. In the first place, the presiding officer selects his own counselors. They are not chosen by others and forced upon him. However, it is necessary in most circumstances that his selections be approved by higher authority. For instance, in the organization of a stake, which occurs under direction of a General Authority, a president is carefully and prayerfully chosen. He is then asked to nominate men to serve as his counselors, and it is expected that the General Authority will approve the selection before the men are interviewed.

It is imperative that the president himself select his counselors because theirs must be a compatible relationship. He must have absolute confidence in them. They must have confidence in him. They must work together in a spirit of mutual trust and respect. The counselors are not the president. In certain circumstances, they may act in his behalf, but this is a delegated authority. What, then, are some of the duties of a counselor?

He is an assistant to his president. Regardless of the organization, the assignment of president is a heavy and burdensome one. Even for the deacons quorum president, if he performs his duty well, there is much of responsibility, for he is accountable for the activity and well-being of the boys of his quorum.

As an assistant, the counselor is not the president. He does not assume responsibility and move out ahead of his president.

In presidency meetings, each counselor is free to speak his mind on all issues that come before the presidency. However, it is the prerogative of the president to make the decision, and it is the duty of the counselors to back him in that decision. His decision then becomes their decision, regardless of their previous ideas.

The president, if he is wise, will assign to these chosen assistants particular duties and then leave them free to perform, requiring from them accountability for what happens.

A counselor is a partner. A presidency can be a wonderful relationship, a friendship where three brethren, working unitedly, have a close and satisfying fellowship. With delegation of responsibility, they move independently only to a limited degree. All three, unitedly, have responsibility for the work of the ward, the quorum, the stake, the auxiliary organization, or whatever.

Such a partnership provides a safety valve. The wise writer of Proverbs tells us that “in … counsellors there is safety.” (Prov. 11:14.) When problems arise, when difficult decisions face us, it is wonderful to have those with whom we can talk with confidence and trust.

I recall that as a boy we had our presidency meetings. Our president would present whatever business was before him. We would talk about it. And then we would go forward, having had our discussion, to work to bring about the desired result.

No president in any organization in the Church is likely to go ahead without the assurance that his counselors feel good about the proposed program. A man or woman thinking alone, working alone, arriving at his or her own conclusions, can take action which might prove to be wrong. But when three kneel together in prayer, discuss every aspect of the problem which is before them, and under the impressions of the Spirit reach a united conclusion, then we may have the assurance that the decision is in harmony with the will of the Lord.

I can assure all members of this church that in the First Presidency we follow such a procedure. Even the President of the Church, who is Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and whose right and responsibility it is to make judgment and direct the course of the Church, invariably consults with his counselors to determine their feelings. If there is a lack of unity, there follows an absence of action. Two counselors, working with a president, preserve a wonderful system of checks and balances. They become a safeguard that is seldom, if ever, in error and affords great strength of leadership.

A counselor is a friend. Presidencies should do more than counsel together. Occasionally, but not to excess, they and their spouses should socialize together. They should be good friends, trusted friends, in a very real sense. The counselors should be concerned for the health and well-being of their president. He should feel free to discuss with them his personal problems, if he has any, with the full assurance that they will hold in the strictest confidence all that is told them.

A counselor is a judge. He is a lesser judge than the president, but he is nonetheless a judge.

In times of disciplinary councils, the three brethren of the bishopric, or the three brethren of the stake presidency, or the three brethren of the presidency of the Church, sit together, discuss matters together, pray together, in the process of reaching a decision. I wish to assure you, my brethren, that I think there is never a judgment rendered until after prayer has been had. Action against a member is too serious a matter to result from the judgment of men alone, and particularly of one man alone. There must be the guidance of the Spirit, earnestly sought for and then followed, if there is to be justice.

In some circumstances, a counselor may serve as a proxy for his president. The power of proxy must be granted by the president, and it must never be abused by the counselor. The work must go forward notwithstanding absences of the president for reasons of illness, employment, or other factors beyond his control. In these circumstances, and in the interest of the work, the president should give his counselors authority to act with full confidence, he having trained them as they have served together as a bishopric or presidency.

It may not be easy to be a counselor. President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., who, as a counselor, had responsibility for the operation of the Church while President Heber J. Grant was ill, said to me on one occasion, “It is difficult to have responsibility without authority.”

He was saying, in effect, that he had to move forward in handling those duties which ordinarily devolve upon the President, but while doing so, he did not have the authority of the President.

I came to understand that situation in a very real way. If I may share with you some personal feelings: During the time that President Kimball was ill, President Tanner’s health failed and he passed away. President Romney was called as First Counselor, and I as Second Counselor to President Kimball. Then President Romney became ill, thus leaving to me an almost overwhelming burden of responsibility. I counseled frequently with my Brethren of the Twelve, and I cannot say enough of appreciation to them for their understanding and for the wisdom of their judgment. In matters where there was a well-established policy, we moved forward. But no new policy was announced or implemented, and no significant practice was altered without sitting down with President Kimball and laying the matter before him and receiving his full consent and full approval.

In such circumstances when I would go to visit him, I always took a secretary who kept a detailed record of the conversation. I can assure you, my beloved brethren, that I never knowingly moved ahead of my file leader, that I never had any desire to move out ahead of him in Church policy or instruction. I knew that he was the appointed Prophet of the Lord in that day. Even though I, too, had been sustained as a prophet, seer, and revelator, along with my Brethren of the Twelve, I knew also that none of us was the President of the Church. I knew that the Lord prolonged the life of President Kimball for purposes known to the Lord, and I had perfect faith that this prolonging of life was for a reason under the wisdom of Him who has greater wisdom than any man.

Advertisements

Sunday work


On the fourth Sundays of next year, the topic for RS & Priesthood meetings will be given by the 1st Presidency/Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I thought that this was going to mean a different topic each 4th Sunday, but instead, it means the same topic every 4th Sunday until the next General Conference! The topic in January-April will be The Sabbath Day.

I’ve been to several meetings over the past few years and/or heard several conference talks over the past few years that were dedicated to recommitting us to keep the Sabbath day holy. Apparently, we’re not catching on very well as a people! 🙂

I wonder how I am doing, and how our family is doing. I have already thought of one thing that I would like to change. Sometimes Sunday night we decide to have people from the ward over to have hot chocolate or other treat. I think that’s a great thing to do on a Sunday. But the house isn’t always cleaned-up and ready, so we spend some time cleaning. Like, more than we did on other days during the week. That doesn’t seem quite right, so yesterday morning I made it a goal to have the kitchen all cleaned up and ready as if someone was coming over. It was nice to get that done. I hope to make that a regular plan.

But other than that, I don’t have anything I’ve identified. I want to, though. I think the Sabbath could be a much more rich experience than it is currently. I also think there’s something about a community honoring the Sabbath day collectively that will bring other richness and blessings than can be felt by just one person keeping the Sabbath day holy. I suppose having a family collectively doing this would be one example of a community, but I’d also love to feel a larger group collectively growing and striving.

One odd or interesting thing, to add a the end here, is that on the Sabbath day I often find myself wanting to do work that I otherwise avoid or trudge through. I don’t like doing dishes that much, but on Sunday it almost sounds fun. I have been stressing about getting the remodeling details in order, but this morning it sounds like so much fun to sit and look at pictures of 1930’s bathrooms. Is there something about removing the need or obligation to work that allows the enjoyable side to shine through?

 


Community


For our pioneer ancestors, independence and self-reliance were vital, but their sense of community was just as important. They worked together and helped one another overcome the physical and emotional challenges of their time. For the men, there was the priesthood quorum, and the women were served by the Relief Society. These outcomes have not changed in our day. (Elder Ballard)

The priesthood quorum is the Lord’s organization for men of the Church, just as the Relief Society is the Lord’s organization for women of the Church. Each has among its responsibilities, basic to its reason for being, the assisting of those in need….

It will be a marvelous day … when our priesthood quorums become an anchor of strength to every man belonging thereto, when each such man may appropriately be able to say, “I am a member of a priesthood quorum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I stand ready to assist my brethren in all of their needs, as I am confident they stand ready to assist me in mine. Working together, we shall grow spiritually as covenant sons of God. Working together, we can stand, without embarrassment and without fear, against every wind of adversity that might blow, be it economic, social, or spiritual.” (President Hinckley)


John Taylor – quote from his talk on wisdom. Have trust, and be willing to sacrifice


We have to conduct ourselves properly, and seek the assistance of the Almighty to direct us in all our affairs, and the Lord has promised if we would do that, he would show us that the wisdom of God is greater than the cunning of the devil. Well, he does keep showing that from time to time, and if we do right he will keep on doing it. But to ensure this there is something devolving upon us.
Says one, “If I could have so much money, such a farm, or this, that, and the other, I would feel satisfied.” I say, get the Spirit of God in your hearts! Let the light of revelation burn in your bosoms like living fire, then you will know something about God, something about the blessings of salvation, something about the benefits that will accrue to Zion.
“But, sometimes, I have to make a little sacrifice if I carry out the counsel given.” Well, make it then. If it is a sacrifice, it ought to be a pleasure to help build up the kingdom of God, establish righteousness, plant the standard of truth, and to be on the side of God, angels and eternal realities, to be saviors of men. To be thus situated is the most honorable position in this world or the world to come.
Now, God could not get the world to do anything towards building up his kingdom, they would not do it, they could not see it, and he had to get you baptized before you could see it; and seeing it now, will you barter it away for the follies of this world, for the smiles and promises of the ungodly? Or are you going to cleave to the truth, live by it, and, if necessary, die by it? What are you going to do?

Notes from Elder Hales’s talk from Oct. 2016 — teaching, watching, serving


From his talk, “Come, Follow Me” by Practicing Christian Love and Service

We should not worry that we are not professionally trained gospel teachers. No training class or manual is as helpful as personally studying our scriptures, praying, pondering, and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will lead you along. I promise you: the calling to be a parent includes the gift to teach in the ways that are right for you and for your children. Remember, God’s power to influence us righteously is His love. “We love him, because he first loved us.”

The scriptures tell us that when some of Heavenly Father’s spirit children chose not to follow His plan, the heavens wept. Some parents who have loved and taught their children also weep when their grown children choose not to follow the Lord’s plan. What can parents do? We cannot pray away another’s agency. Remember the father of the prodigal son, who patiently waited for his son to “[come] to himself,” all the while watching for him. And “when he was yet a great way off,” he ran to him. We can pray for guidance about when to speak, what to say, and yes, on some occasions, when to be still. Remember, our children and family members already chose to follow the Savior in their premortal realm. Sometimes it is only by their own life’s experiences that those sacred feelings are awakened again. Ultimately, the choice to love and follow the Lord has to be their own.

There is another special way disciples show their love for the Savior. Today I pay tribute to all who serve the Lord as caregivers. How the Lord loves you! In your quiet, unheralded service, you are following Him who promised, “Thy Father who seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.”


Just saving Sister Beck’s talk, in case it’s ever archived and removed from the web!


BYU Women’s Conference 2011

Julie B. Beck

Continue reading


Sister Beck’s story about educated women sitting in a park with children


Something in one of Sister Beck’s talks stuck me years ago, and I’m realizing I’m in a ward where it applies very well. She describes sitting in a park with some women who were very well educated, but who had also decided to become mothers. But these weren’t two separate parts of their lives: they were using their gifts and bright minds to think through mothering. She doesn’t say whether or not these women also worked for some portion of their time; that isn’t the point of her comment, I think. The point is that they saw that their work in the home deserved much thinking just as their advanced education did.

Here’s the part of the talk “A Mother Heart” that includes this story:

Female roles did not begin on earth, and they do not end here. A woman who treasures motherhood on earth will treasure motherhood in the world to come, and “where [her] treasure is, there will [her] heart be also” (Matt. 6:21). By developing a mother heart, each girl and woman prepares for her divine, eternal mission of motherhood. “Whatever principle of intelligence [she] attain[s] unto in this life, it will rise with [her] in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through [her] diligence and obedience than another, [she] will have so much the advantage in the world to come” (D&C 130:18–19).

I was recently at a park where I met a group of women with mother hearts. They were young, covenant-keeping women. They were bright and had obtained advanced degrees from respected universities. Now they were devoting their considerable gifts to planning dinner that evening and sharing housekeeping ideas. They were teaching two-year-olds to be kind to one another. They were soothing babies, kissing bruised knees, and wiping tears. I asked one of those mothers how it came about that she could transfer her talents so cheerfully into the role of motherhood. She replied, “I know who I am, and I know what I am supposed to do. The rest just follows.” That young mother will build faith and character in the next generation one family prayer at a time, one scripture study session, one book read aloud, one song, one family meal after another. She is involved in a great work. She knows that “children are an heritage of the Lord” and “happy is the [woman] that hath [a] quiver full of them” (Ps. 127:3, 5). She knows that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily mothering is far more lasting, far more powerful, far more influential than any earthly position or institution invented by man. She has the vision that, if worthy, she has the potential to be blessed as Rebekah of old to be “the mother of thousands of millions” (Gen. 24:60).

Every girl and woman who makes and keeps sacred covenants can have a mother heart. There is no limit to what a woman with a mother heart can accomplish. Righteous women have changed the course of history and will continue to do so, and their influence will spread and grow exponentially throughout the eternities. How grateful I am to the Lord for trusting women with the divine mission of motherhood. Like Mother Eve I am “glad” (see Moses 5:11) to know these things. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.