Editor's note: "This week from the pulpit" highlights recent messages by General Authorities, General Officers, and leaders of the Church.
The world is full of adventure novels, and it is no wonder why. Reading about loveable characters, thrilling plot twists, and surprise endings can add excitement to our lives. But perhaps there is another reason we love adventure novels: they add hope to our lives—hope that we, too, can find guidance and power to succeed on our journey and live a meaningful life.
Church leaders this week reminded us that receiving guidance in life is not a unique experience granted only to fictional characters in a novel.
In a BYU-Pathway Worldwide Devotional, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of several characters in popular adventure stories and how they all had someone to mentor them: Harry Potter had his professors at Hogwarts, and Luke Skywalker was tutored by Obi Wan Kenobi. Everyone on earth, however, is promised an even greater guide through life.
“You are a child of God. He is your Heavenly Father. He loves you and He is only a prayer away,” said Elder Uchtdorf.
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified on a Facebook post of another source of guidance. He said that “the Book of Mormon is inspiration from heaven that can guide us in our lives today.”
Sister Michelle D. Craig shared a humorous story on Facebook of a friend who, because she wasn’t paying attention, got off an airplane before it had reached her desired destination. When this friend realized her mistake and sheepishly returned to the plane, the pilot told her, “I can get you to your destination, but you need to stay the course.”
Sister Craig said the story reminded her of the truth taught in Doctrine and Covenants 122:9: “Therefore, hold on thy way . . . . Fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.”
We may never attend a wizarding school for magic or fly through space at lightspeed, but may the messages from Church leaders this week remind us that our lives are a grand adventure with an unfailing guide—our Heavenly Father—in the lead.
Elder Uchtdorf—BYU-Pathway Devotional, “A Call for Heroes!”
If you sat up straighter and smiled wider at Elder Uchtdorf’s reference to Bilbo Baggins in his 2019 October general conference talk, you are in for a treat once again. In a recent BYU-Pathway Worldwide Devotional, Elder Uchtdorf again spoke about the adventure of life—mentioning not just Bilbo but Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, and Luke Skywalker.
Elder Uchtdorf pointed out that in each of these stories, the characters are faced with problems they cannot solve on their own and each is given a trusted source of wisdom to help them. Once they have the proper knowledge and insight, the characters are able to overcome the difficulties that face them. Elder Uchtdorf reminded listeners that they, too, have trustworthy sources who are eager to help them succeed.
“You are a child of God. He is your Heavenly Father. He loves you and He is only a prayer away. You have Jesus Christ. The effects of His Atonement or sacrifice are always available to you to take away the pain and loneliness of mistakes. You have caring bishops and other Church leaders. You have your ward family who will guide and help you,” said Elder Uchtdorf.
Even with trusted guides, there will always be bumps along life’s path, but the key is to keep moving.
“No matter how far away your destination feels or how high your goals may appear, know this: you may not get to where you want to go in a day or a week or even a year. But if you continue to place one foot in front of the other and strive each day to follow your plan, things will work out and you will reach your goals,” said Elder Uchtdorf.
Elder Uchtdorf ended his message by encouraging listeners to step up with faith and be the hero of their own story.
“Do not be discouraged. Do not give up. The future is bright!” he said.
During the devotional, Elder Uchtdorf also discussed overcoming challenges in his childhood as a refugee. Watch the video below or read the full transcript here.
Sister Ulrich—The priesthood is so much more
In continuation of the Church News series “Women of Covenant,” Relief Society general board member Sister Wendy Ulrich wrote of an important distinction between how Latter-day Saints and other faiths view the priesthood.
“Outside of the Church, priesthood is simply defined as the office or calling of a priest. And a priest is someone authorized to perform religious rituals,” wrote Sister Ulrich.
While Latter-day Saints may also define a priest as someone who is authorized to perform rituals or ordinances, the priesthood means so much more.
“In the largest sense, priesthood is the authority and power of God to not only create, redeem, and govern the universe but to empower others to join in His work and assist Him. No other Christian church understands God in this way. God delegates a portion of this all-encompassing priesthood authority and power to ordinary men and women, allowing us to participate and officiate in His holy work,” wrote Sister Ulrich.
Read Sister Ulrich’s full remarks, including a touching story of using priesthood power from her own life, at Church News.
You can also hear from Sister Ulrich on women and priesthood power in this episode of the All In podcast.