Sunday, November 28, 2010
The second speaker we heard at Time Out for Women was Heidi Swinton.
I should preface my notes by saying that I already had a testimony that Thomas S. Monson was the prophet, but by the end of her talk, I was doubly, triply convinced. It was powerful.
She and her husband were serving as a mission president and mother overseas when President Monson called, asking her to write his biography. He wanted her to start the next day, and said, "You're not too busy, are you?" Well, she felt plenty busy, but she wasn't about to contradict the prophet!
When we follow the prophet, our lives change.
When she asked President Packer to summarize President Monson's character, he said, "He's more Christlike than the rest of us."
President Monson came from humble beginnings. He came from a place where people had nothing – but they had each other. He learned from his earliest boyhood that people were more important than things.
What are our connections to each other? Do we make room in our lives and hearts for those who need to be rescued?
He once came upon his Primary teacher, sitting in the chapel, completely at the end of her rope with her rowdy class, just crying. He felt so badly for her, and asked what he could do to help. She responded that if he could just be reverent and set an example, she thought it might make a big difference (apparently, he was one of the offenders). He replied that he could, and once he fell into line, everyone else followed.
When he was a deacon, the members of his quorum found a dummy somewhere that they named Charlie. They entertained themselves by throwing Charlie in front of people, in front of cars, etc. to surprise and scare them. When the bishop found out about Charlie, he confiscated him. The deacons then sat in the back of the chapel, refusing to pass the sacrament until Charlie was returned! Finally, Tommy went forward, "because you don't put your own feelings ahead of what the Lord wants you to do." The others then followed.
Do we follow him?
After he was ordained an Apostle, he spent 20 years building relationships in Germany, trying to pave the way for missionary work there. He became good friends with one man and his wife. Once he felt impressed to call this friend and inquire about his wife, only to discover that she was in the hospital, gravely ill. It just so happened that he had a rare free weekend, so he flew to Germany to bless the woman in the hospital. Yet some of us have problems doing our visiting teaching. He puts people first.
Do we reach out and make a difference to someone who simply has a downcast face?
At one point, Heidi was overwhelmed by her task and didn't know how she could carry on. But when Pres. Monson asked how she was doing, she put on a brave face and said everything was fine. He persisted, asking several times how she was really doing, and she finally broke down and confessed her doubts. He said, "Here's what I can do to bear you up. I will pray for you every morning. Do you have the faith that your prayers combined with my prayers can make the difference?" Obviously, she did, and it did make the difference. Sometimes all we can do is join our prayers with another's, but it can definitely make a difference.
Somebody's hurting not too far from here. Do we have the faith and the selflessness to seek them out?
I am not doing this talk justice at all. All I can say is that I felt so strongly that President Monson was prepared from his boyhood to be a prophet of the Lord and I can't wait to read his biography.