This April during general conference, the news and social media tended to fixate on one aspect of President Thomas S. Monson's general conference talks: their length.
While this led some to speculate and guess at the reasons, I became amazed that most of these posts missed one remarkable aspect of these talks. It's something I've seen yet again this October.
President Thomas S. Monson stood at the pulpit as a prophet of God and delivered messages we so desperately needed to hear. I can't imagine how taxing it must be for the leaders of our Church to fly around the world attending meetings and temple dedications even while they receive new revelation and implement inspired programs in our Church, such as the new teaching curriculum.
Despite all this, President Monson and the rest of our apostles sacrifice so much of themselves to guide us and be there for the members of the Church.
It doesn't matter the length of President Monson's messages—he said words that I needed to hear. He shared truths that every member of the Church needs to know—ones that apply so pointedly and poignantly to what we need most today, right now in our lives.
For just a moment, don't worry about length or anything else and just listen to these inspired words of a prophet, from this and last conference:
"We read in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 121, verse 36, “The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven.” What a wonderful gift we have been given. Ours is the responsibility to guard and protect that priesthood and to be worthy of all the glorious blessings our Father in Heaven has in store for us—and for others through us.
"Wherever you go, your priesthood goes with you. . . . Remember who you are and what God expects you to become. You are a child of promise. You are a man of might. You are a son of God," ("A Sacred Trust," April 2016).
"May we maintain the courage to defy the consensus. May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.
"As we contemplate the decisions we make in our lives each day—whether to make this choice or that choice—if we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice" ("Choices," April 2016).
"In 1833 the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith a plan for healthy living. That plan is found in the 89th section of the Doctrine and Covenants and is known as the Word of Wisdom. It gives specific direction regarding the food we eat, and it prohibits the use of substances which are harmful to our bodies.
"Those who are obedient to the Lord’s commandments and who faithfully observe the Word of Wisdom are promised particular blessings, among which are good health and added physical stamina [see D&C 89:18–20]. …
"May we care for our bodies and our minds by observing the principles set forth in the Word of Wisdom, a divinely provided plan. With all my heart and soul, I testify of the glorious blessings which await us as we do" (October 2016 Priesthood Session).
"Essential to the plan is our Savior, Jesus Christ. Without His sacrifice, all would be lost. It's not enough, however, merely to believe in Him and His mission. We need to work and learn, serve and pray, repent and improve. We need to know God's laws and live them. We need to receive His saving ordinances. Only by so doing will we find true, eternal happiness. We are blessed to have the truth and have a mandate to share the truth. Let us live the truth that we might merit all that the Father has for us. He does nothing save for our benefit . . .
"From the depths of my soul and in all humility I testify of the great gift which is our Father's plan for us. It is the one perfect plan to peace and happiness, both here and in the world to come" (October 2016 Sunday Morning Session).