Saturday, March 12, 2011

My husbad, the Speaker

Evan was asked to speak in the priesthood leadership session of our stake conference. It is a pretty big deal, well at least to us, the only draw back is that me and the boys won't be able to hear him address those in leadership in our stake.

Because I am so proud of Evan and I think what he wrote/spoke is beautiful. I want to share it but also so the boys will know when they are older.

Holding Priesthood Keys:
Why Do We Do It

And if men come unto me I will show
unto them their weakness that they may
be humble; and my grace is sufficient
for all men that humble themselves
before me; for if they humble
themselves before me, and have faith in
me, then will I make weak things become
strong unto them.

Ether 12:27

What are priesthood keys? What are my responsibilities as a
key holder? How can I effectively magnify my calling? As my
wife and I drove from the stake center to our home these
were the questions that flooded my mind. We had just met
with President Jewkes and he had extended a calling to me
to be the elders quorum president for the Taylorsville 3rd

As a full time student that works full time with one child
and a baby six weeks away the decision to accept a call as
intense as being the elders quorum president was not an
easy one; especially not for my wife. She was already
widowed by my pursuit of an education and my endeavor to
put food on the table. To accept this calling would mean
that Sunday, her only day to spend with me, would be taken
so that I could attend early morning meetings, presidency
meetings, plan lessons, organize home teaching and visit
active and inactive families. God bless that woman.

We expressed these concerns to President Jewkes who thought
about and said to us, “I know that every thing says I
shouldn’t extend this calling but I just feel like you
need to have experience holding priesthood keys.” With
some encouraging words and an assurance to Holly that she
could meet with President Jewkes should any concerns arise.

In my experience, being in an elders quorum presidency
means that you reorganize home teaching, accept assignments
from the bishop and, of course, moving people. In fact
these aspects of the quorum business are so enveloping and
consuming that it is hard to not just focus on these things.
But, is that what holding priesthood keys is about? Not

In Doctrine and Covenants 107:89 it reads:
“Again, the duty of the president over the office of elders
is to preside over ninety-six elders, and to sit in council
with them, and to teach them according to the covenants.”

As an elders quorum president I was to preside over, sit in
council with, and teach the elders in our ward. I wish that
I could tell you that for much of my presidency I wasn’t
mired in the logistical aspects of this calling. I have
been the elders quorum president for a little under a year
and have had three sets of councilors and two secretaries.
We have reorganized home teaching companionships countless
times, moved dozens of people, and filled numerous
assignments for the bishop. However, as important and
ultimately necessary – and they are necessary – as those
things are they are not the reason the Lord calls elders
quorum presidents and their councilors. The Lord calls the
elders quorum presidency minister unto their quorum.

What I have cherished the most are the times when I have had the
opportunity to lay hands on one of my elders and give them
a blessing or when I have gone into their homes and given
them council or when I have the privilege of standing in
front of them in quorum meeting and giving the lesson.

There have been moments of frustration, moments where I
have questioned myself, moments when I questioned if
someone else should have been called to this position. I
know that someone else could have performed this calling
better, however I was called to this calling. When you are
called, brethren, it is immaterial whether there is someone
better suited for the calling because the calling comes
from inspired leaders. I know that our stake presidency is
called of God and that they issue calls as directed by the

These feelings are not only limited to having priesthood
keys. We have all felt the feelings of despair as you have
strived to magnify your calling. Why can’t this be easier?
In an article in the March 2001 Ensign, Elder Holland
talked about these feelings with respect to missionary work
but I think it applies to every aspect of church membership.
He said:

“For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever
been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is,
nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is
supposed to require some effort, something from the depths
of our soul.

If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on
His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father
(Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” then little
wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for
us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should
remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a
lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if
there wasn’t an easier way.

The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more
importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you
struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and
cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing
with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure
and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall
and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows
all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to
salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only
way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the

This work is not easy, brethren. But I testify that the
Lord will bless you as you strive diligently to magnify your
callings the Lord will bless you. In a selfish way I strive
to magnify my callings for the blessings; not just for me
but mostly for my family.

If you will indulge me, brethren, I would like to give a
personal testimony of why I seek to magnify my calling. I
want to magnify my calling so that my sons don’t ever have
to question where my allegiance is. To quote Elder Holland
he said:
“Might we ask ourselves what our children know?
From us? Personally? Do our children know that we love the
scriptures? Do they see us reading them and marking them
and clinging to them in daily life? Have our children ever
unexpectedly opened a closed door and found us on our knees
in prayer? Have they heard us not only pray with them but
also pray for them out of nothing more than sheer parental
love? Do our children know we believe in fasting as
something more than an obligatory first‐Sunday‐of‐the‐month
hardship? Do they know that we have fasted for them and for
their future on days about which they knew nothing? Do they
know we love being in the temple, not least because it
provides a bond to them that neither death nor the legions                      

of hell can break? Do they know we love and sustain local
and general leaders, imperfect as they are, for their
willingness to accept callings they did not seek in order
to preserve a standard of righteousness they did not
create? Do those children know that we love God with all
our heart and that we long to see the face—and fall at the
feet—of His Only Begotten Son? I pray that they know this.”

I want them to know what I believe in. I want them to know
that I believe in inspired leadership. I need them to know
that I honor my priesthood. It is not enough for us to say
that we believe in the restored gospel but if we are not
living the restored gospel then we have no claim on our
children’s future. If we aren’t following the gospel we
have no right to expect or even ask that our children are
spared from the vile wickedness of our day. More than
anything I want my sons to know that I love God. I want
them to know that I love God more than money and
possessions and that the only way to show our love for God
is to do His work.

1 comment:

Merry said...

What a great talk! Thanks for that message this morning.