While President Thomas S. Monson has been physically absent at this October general conference, in no way has our beloved prophet been truly absent.
From President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's first talk in the Saturday morning session to prayers and hymns about "Our Prophet Dear," President Monson has been present as Church leaders have quoted our beloved prophet; shared his guidance, direction, and counsel; and sustained him as God's chosen leader on the earth today.
I've been struck this conference by how our Heavenly Father does not allow illness or age to stunt the progress of His work or to keep His servants from sharing the messages He would have us hear.
This conference, I've come to see these insights from Elder David A. Bednar in action: "The limitations that are the natural consequence of advancing age can, in fact, become remarkable sources of spiritual learning and insight. The very factors many may believe limit the effectiveness of these servants can become some of their greatest strengths. Physical restrictions can expand vision. Limited stamina can clarify priorities. Inability to do many things can direct focus to a few things of greatest importance."
This conference, I've been filled with counsel from our prophet. From the mouth of Elder Dallin H. Oaks, I've heard our prophet tell me, "We must be vigilant in a world which has moved so far from that which is spiritual. It is essential that we reject anything that does not conform to our standards, refusing in the process to surrender that which we desire the most: eternal life in the Kingdom of God."
From the mouth of Elder Gary E. Stevenson, I was reminded of President Monson's selfless 90th birthday wish, "Do something for someone else on that day to make his or her life better. Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely and do something for them. That’s all I would ask."
From the mouth of President Russell M. Nelson, I heard our prophet tell me, "As we follow the example of the Savior, ours will be the opportunity to be a light in the lives of others."
From the mouths of Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, President Henry B. Eyring, and Elder David R. Evans, I heard our prophet speak of the importance of service, the sacrament, God's guiding hand in our lives, reading the Book of Mormon, strengthening our testimony now, and so many other vital messages, ones that are refined, needed, and focus on what matters most.
Though President Monson was not sitting up on the stand of the conference center this weekend, not for one minute has he been absent this conference. I love our prophet. I am so grateful for the words he has spoken to me. I sustain him and I am grateful that despite any limitations or difficulties he may be experiencing due to his 90 years of life, he has not allowed that to stop him from sharing messages from our Heavenly Father that I needed to hear.