Powerful Stories of Military Service from the First Presidency

President Dallin H. Oaks

Shortly after graduating high school, President Dallin H. Oaks found himself thrust into an unexpected situation. In Life Lessons Learned, he explains:

"When I was a young man I thought I would serve a mission," Elder Oaks said. "I graduated from high school in June 1950. Thousands of miles away, one week after that high school graduation, a North Korean army crossed the 38th parallel, and our country was at war. I was 17 years old, but as a member of the Utah National Guard I was soon under orders to prepare for mobilization and active service. Suddenly, for me and for many other young men of my generation, the full-time mission we had planned or assumed was not to be."

While President Oaks's unit was never activated, he explained in a 1993 general conference talk the powerful lessons he learned from his time in the military:Image title

"When I was 17, I joined the Utah National Guard. There I learned that a soldier must use certain words in speaking to an officer. I saw this as another mark of respect for authority. I also observed that this special language served as a way of reminding both the soldier and the officer of the responsibilities of their positions. I later understood that same reasoning as explaining why full-time missionaries should always be called by the dignified titles of elder or sister, or the equivalent in other languages.
"The words we use in speaking to someone can identify the nature of our relationship to that person. They can also remind speaker and listener of the responsibilities they owe one another in that relationship. The form of address can also serve as a mark of respect or affection.
"So it is with the language of prayer. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches its members to use special language in addressing prayers to our Father in Heaven."
Image from President Oaks's Facebook page
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