Sheri Dew: Lessons Learned From (Literally) Following the Prophet

Wed Apr 24 10:00:11 EDT 2019
Episode 26

Sheri Dew has written books about three presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this week’s episode, she shares stories and observations from a lifetime of documenting and witnessing the lives of living prophets.


Morgan Jones: In her new book insights from a prophet's life Sheri Dew writes that one night years ago, she awoke suddenly sat straight up in bed and had one of the clear impressions of her life, "Russell M. Nelson is going to be the president of the Church." Looking back Sheri writes that "because of that nighttime message I had a witness long before President Monson died. Not only that Russell M. Nelson was a prophet, seer and revelator but that he would become the senior apostle and thus president of the Church." Even still it has become even more clear, she says, while writing a book about his life that "the Lord has had him in His tutelage from day one." Today, we sit down with Sheri Dew to discuss her testimony and witness of President Russell M. Nelson as a prophet of God. Sheri Dew has previously written the official biographies of Presidents Gordon B. Hinckley and Ezra Taft Benson. She served from 1997 to 2002 as second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency and is Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer of Deseret Management Corporation. Her bestselling books include, most recently, "Women and the Priesthood," Amazed By Grace," and "Worth the Wrestle."

This is "All In," an LDS Living podcast, where we ask the question, "What does it really mean to be 'all in' the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" I'm Morgan Jones and I'm so grateful to have Sheri Dew in studio with us today.

Sheri, thank you so much for being with us today.

Sheri Dew: My pleasure.

MJ: First of all, in addition to your many responsibilities and the things that you've done over the years you have spent a great deal of your adult life literally following prophets. Specifically you've written the biographies of President Benson and President Gordon B. Hinckley and now you've written this book about President Russell M. Nelson. Writing about their lives, how has that experience shaped and changed your l

SD: Wow, how long do you have? I need to think about how to answer that in a way that's really concise and to the point. It's had tremendous influence on me. Number one, who would have thought it, that a little kid from the farm would have this kind of a privilege. And it has been a privilege. It's been a heavy responsibility at different times. I was only in my early 30s when I was asked to write the biography of Ezra Taft Benson and what a remarkable man. Number one, I graduated in history from BYU but I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm... I'm certainly not a professional historian. I have an appreciation for the trade. I probably know a little bit more than the average guy about how you do that. But I, I was young and here I am suddenly interviewing a prophet and trying to figure out how to write about someone who had been secretary of agriculture to Dwight Eisenhower in his cabinet, somebody who'd had a very interesting background in farming and farm leadership for an agricultural management and so forth and then he becomes an apostle and has had, from that point on, some really stunningly significant experiences so from my thirties, and I'm now in my sixties (it sounds so weird to say that, I can't believe I'm that old) but for 30 years now, give or take, I have had repeated association with presence of the Church and in the case of three of the presidents, as you mentioned, President Benson, President Hinckley and President Nelson, I've had enough I've done enough study of their lives to actually do some writing about them and it changes you. It changes you because you see the hand of the Lord preparing these men. These are very different men, different backgrounds, different talents, different lives, different families and so forth but they're alike in certain ways and that's what's fascinating is to see the faith and the way that it's like the Lord puts them through a tutorial that allows them to develop faith.

There's a fundamental obedient nature, they have believing blood, there are just things that you start to see that are in common and to me that's what's way more interesting about these men than what's different about them. It's what's the same, what's the same about three very different men that the Lord prepared to be presidents of the church and when you see that, it has reinforced my belief that we all have missions on this earth. Only a very few have a mission to be the senior apostle but we all have missions. The Lord will tutor us all and have us in his tutelage if we're willing, and that's part of the thing you see with these men they're willing, and then you can't study their lives and not have a reinforced conviction that apostles really walk the earth, that the Lord really does have servants on this earth to whom He gives Priesthood keys and those keys are the way that His power is then authorized and distributed throughout the church. So when you have a testimony of prophets, even when other questions come up that you might be unsettled about or can't figure out with respect to the Gospel or some the doctrine or even some of the policies of the Church, I keep going back and saying, "Yeah, but I know I know we have a prophet and I know Joseph was a prophet." If you know Joseph Smith was a prophet and if you know President Russell M. Nelson's a prophet, then you have a testimony.

And even if you have questions, that enables you to address those questions in an attitude and in a spirit of faith.

MJ: You've already touched on what was going to be my next question and I love that you did that because you talked about why it benefits us as members of the Church to study the lives of the prophets, why that's important and I love thinking about seeing patterns, that while they may all be very different in their lives, that there are these patterns of seeing how the Lord has tutored them. Is there anything else that you would add in regard to why it's important for us as members of the Church to study the lives of the prophets?

SD: Maybe one other thing and that is we learn from a prophet two ways it seems to me and one of them is by what they say; they teach, they declare doctrine, they bear witness of Christ, that's by definition what a prophet does, he testifies of Christ.

So we learn from them declaring doctrine and testifying of what is true including that Jesus is the Christ and we then have the privilege of having a manifestation of the Spirit if what they're telling us is true and we can then go seek for ourselves to know if these things are true but we also learn by what they do. Think of all the time ancient prophets spent, I mean I can't imagine what that was like to try and engrave, I mean how in the world did they even make the records they made? But think about how much time just think of the "Book of Mormon," how much time that those who were taking down their history or declaring doctrine how often they told us stories it's Abinadi in the court of King Noah, it's Nephi being tied to the mast of the ship it's Nephi and he and his brothers being sent back. I mean really really seriously that Lehi couldn't just have known when they left Jerusalem, "Hey, you need to take the records with you and by the way, get everybody a wif," but no they're sending him back.

So we hear these stories and in the relating of the stories we also see how God works in the life and the lives of His children and so we learn from our prophet by what he says but we learn by what he does. So we can take any of these three brothers that I have had the privilege of writing about and you can see how they handled victory and how they handled defeat, how they handled, in the case of President Nelson, the death of a wife and the death of a daughter and now just recently a second daughter, you can see how they've handled, in the case of all of them and especially President Nelson, a world acclaim. So how do you handle acclaim, how do you handle defeat, how do you handle deep sadness, what do you do when you face different choices in your life and it's between not bad and good or wrong and right, it's between three goods so that goes to President Oak's talk about good, better, best.

How do you figure out what's better and best as opposed to just good? And you see that played out in the life of prophets, you see how they recover from mistakes. And I think we all need patterns to follow. And what better pattern of follow than the pattern of a prophet. You say "OK show me how he did it and maybe I'll get some better ideas about how I can do things differently as well.}

I think that's why you study the life of a prophet.

MJ: Absolutely, I think that's a perfect answer to that question. In the book Sheri, you write, "each prophet's mortal schooling is singular. In studying a prophet's life, we see how the Lord molds, prepares, and tutors a man so at the appointed hour he is able, worthy, and ready to be his mouthpiece and to lead his people. How would you say the Lord has uniquely prepared President Russell M. Nelson to lead the Church at this time?

SD: In so many ways that you can see. One of the things that fascinated me though as I heard heard and discovered different kinds of stories. Some from being in an operating room where he's opened up somebody's heart and he's working on their heart and some after he's been called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and he's in Eastern Europe and trying to open up Europe, some of the Eastern European countries, to get recognition for the Church so the Church could operate there. So there there's a wide range of stories.

But one of the themes for me that popped out was you could see, it seems to me, you could see the Lord tutoring him in how to hear the Lord's voice. So more than once he went into an operating room to do a procedure not knowing what he was going to do. I mean one of my favorite stories I had never heard before is the story of a man who is a patriarch in Utah, somewhere in southern Utah. I believe I'm remembering correctly and he came to President Nelson, he was in heart failure. He came to Dr. Nelson and asked him to look at his case and Dr. Nelson looked and he said, "Listen, you have basically two problems and I can solve one of them but the other one we don't know how to fix. So I will not operate on you because I cannot save your life. You're going to die anyway basically. So it's not right for me to operate." He sends this man away, the man comes back some time later and just begs him to operate. And he says again, "No, I don't know how to fix this one problem. We've never had any experience fixing this problem," which is called a tricuspid regurgitation, I think I'm remembering that right. And the man comes back a third time and said, "Listen, I and my family have been praying and fasting about this and I keep being directed to you and I'm begging you to perform surgery," and this time Dr. Nelson relents. As they open him up in the operating room, his resident assistant says, "How are you going to fix that tricuspid valve?" And Dr. Nelson says, "I have no idea how I'm going to fix the tricuspid valve." So he goes about and fixes the first problem. And now he's looking at this tricuspid valve and he has come into his mind the words, "Reduce the circumference of the ring." Now if I understand it, in very layman's terms, what was wrong in this case was that the tissue around the tricuspid valve had stretched and it's kind of like if you lost a bunch of weight and suddenly you need to cinch up your pants with a belt to keep your pants on. And he said it's like the tissue around the tricuspid valve needed to be cinched. But how do you do that? And nobody had ever done it at least not that he knew of and so when he heard "Reduce the circumference of the ring," shortly after that came into his mind a diagram on how he should stitch and tuck some of this tissue so that he could, in essence, reduce the circumference of the ring. And he performs this procedure and saves the man's life. He later found out that somebody, I think it was at USC, but a colleague of his that he knew and at one of the medical schools in California had actually performed something similar just a month or so earlier but this was long enough ago that there wasn't social media, there wasn't an easy exchange of information, nobody had heard about it. So I think to the best of everybody's knowledge, those are the first two surgeons to perform that process, that procedure, and they basically still do it very similar today. I think they've improved the process.

But imagine what was happening, he was learning how to receive revelation on the spot so what he came to believe was, "I can recognize revelation, I can recognize when God talks to me," and you see that happening many times when he's later called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and he's in Eastern Europe going to Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia and Romania and so forth, Hungary and Poland and all these countries that hadn't yet allowed the church to be recognized and therefore accepted the church officially. Over and over again, he's having experiences where he runs into brick walls into dead ends into one government official after another who will not cooperate. But little by little things happen. Sometimes they happen as facilitated by someone else, sometimes it's direction he receives directly himself as a matter of revelation, "Well go to this person," or "Say this," or "Offer that," and little by little the doors start to open. So one of the things that I think is just beautiful is to watch "his training." I'm not talking about his spiritual training. The Lord taught him in an operating room. He taught him on planes to Bucharest and everything in between about how to recognize revelation when it comes. And I just think that is powerful because again, I think that what we have in the model of prophets is we see how the Lord tutors His children. And certainly it's true for prophets, seers and revelators but it's true for us, it's true for us. There's that great passage in Numbers where they're coming to Moses and saying, "Hey the people are all trying to get revelation," and he said, "Would that all the people were prophets." I wish that all people could receive revelation for themselves.

MJ: Absolutely and I think, as you were talking I couldn't help but think, we are all as members of the church beneficiaries now of his having cultivated that skill of receiving revelation and and now we're being taught by him that we have to receive revelation for our lives so that maybe later we can benefit others in the way that that trait has benefited him.

SD: It's not a surprise to me that he would say to us, "I plead with you to increase your capacity (your spiritual capacity) to receive revelation." That's that's a pretty strong plea coming from a prophet.

MJ: Yeah. One of my favorite parts or stories in the book is where you talk about how he attributes his success in the medical field to curiosity. And I wonder, I couldn't help but think, I feel like we're seeing that in his service as the prophet. We're seeing how that curiosity is playing out. How have you seen that?

SD: Yeah, he's totally open to new ideas. Cracks me up, right after he became president of the Church and was ordained and his ordination was announced, like within a day or two, there was a big article that was an Associated Press article if I'm remembering correctly and the assessment of the writer was, "Well this is an old man. We don't see much changing in the Church. It'll just keep going along." And I remember reading and thinking, "I wouldn't be so sure about that. This man is was on the first team to build the first heart-lung machine in the world." And he is curious, he wants to know the truth. He wants people to tell him, here are opportunities, here are problems and some possible solutions to those problems. And he has an innovative bent to him that I just think is wired into him. I think it's been there his whole life. So he's open to ideas and open to considering them, which is really nice.

MJ: Yeah. Do you Sheri have a favorite story or a story that provides insight into a unique aspect of President Nelson's life in the book?

SD: I mean if something was included in this particular book, which is a collection of major episodes in his life, if it's in there I included it because for me it was insightful. That's the subjective nature of the book is to say, when we say "Insights From a Prophet's Life," well somebody had to select things and say, "Oh I think that's insightful, that's insightful." And so if it's in there, then for me it was meaningful in some regard. But it's interesting to me how he handled everything from a large family... I loved learning more about his first wife, Dantzel, who passed away in 2005 and her enormous influence on him. One of the stories I do truly love is the story of him operating on a couple of little girls in a certain family and one little girl had died of...This was more than a congestive heart situation, she had, I think a malformed heart and then her little sister, a year or so later, the parents pleaded with him to operate on this little girl and she too had serious problems and he couldn't save either one of them. And this was still kind of in the early days of heart surgery where they were learning.

I asked him one day, "Today, would surgeons be able to save those girls?" and he said, "Probably one of them but probably not the other." Two little girls had died on his operating table and he comes home and he's just distraught and he's weeping and pretty much through the night. And Dantzel stays with him and he's bemoaning, "I can't do this to another family. I just can't take this, I can't do this anymore." And so she stays with him all night as he is just beside himself and weeping much of the night and so forth and when dawn comes she says to him basically, "Well are you done crying yet? Go back to the lab, get dressed and go back to the lab. Because if you stop now, somebody else will have to spend the time to get to where you are. And you just need to get better, you need to learn more, you need to learn more procedures. And don't have lives lost because somebody else is trying to catch up to where you already are. I have a friend who's spent a lot of time as a marriage and family therapist who says that you can tell the best marriages when a husband is willing to be influenced by his wife. And here he (President Nelson) is, already a pretty famous heart surgeon, willing to be influenced by his wife who kind of said "Are you done crying yet? Go back to the lab." And I love that story because I think there are just layers of meaning in it.

MJ: That's one theme that I saw in the book is that over and over again, we kind of see his respect and his love and admiration for women, whether it was Dantzel or Sister Nelson. And I think that is such a powerful principle and something that's so valuable for our Church right now. I think there are so many women in particular that want to feel respected and I think we see how President Nelson is a respecter of women. How have you seen that, especially being such a good friend of Sister Nelson, how have you seen his respect for women?

SD: I mean I think it speaks for itself. Again, I certainly had met Sister Dantzel Nelson but I didn't know her well. I remember going to her funeral and in fact I remember calling Wendy, Wendy Nelson then Wendy Watson, I remember calling Wendy afterwards and said "Boy, she must be a remarkable woman because just from sitting through the funeral, you just knew this is a dynamic and a strong and a wise and a loving woman." And then I do know Sister Wendy Nelson very very well.

And I think she speaks for herself, when you listen to her speak, when you just hear her intellect to her ability to express her testimony but also she's very skilled as a marriage and family therapist, very skilled in her own right, had a very important career before she married then Elder Nelson.

I think what you see is that he married two very dynamic women so that's probably enough said on that. Now, I do know his daughters and his daughters are just great. And I know so many of his granddaughters. And I think he has profound respect and absolutely knows how vital women are to making just about everything go and I think you see it over and over again. But the best way you see it is looking at the two women he chose to marry. They're both amazing in their own rights.

MJ: I love that. I had never heard until reading this book the story of Dantzel's passing and I loved his prompting that he received right after her passing where he said that the Lord referred to him as "my boy." And I think that that shows his relationship with God, that God communicates with him and that they are so tightly knit that he would refer to him in that way.

SD: I don't know the exact words but something to the effect that "this was a gift to her and I thought you could take it my boy," wasn't it something like that? ... But he absolutely adored his wife Dantzel, they had a beautiful, and I think, a very synergistic marriage.

One picked up where the other left off and vice versa. I love this story, in fact, listen, this was a busy man. I mean he's helping pioneer open heart surgery and then he's called as the stake president and then he's the General Sunday School president and then he's a regional representative. This is a busy man and and they've got all these children, a houseful of children — 10, and you look at that and you say, "How much can he have been home?" But the interesting thing is you never hear that from the kids. I've never sensed any of that. They all feel very very close to their father and I think yes, you would have to give him some kudos for how he handled it because they all say, "When Daddy was home, he was home. We weren't sharing him with the hospital when he was home he was with us." But you've got to say a big part of that is because of Dantzel . And I love the story where one of the daughters said, "Well, if we hadn't seen daddy for a while, Mother would load us up into the car and say we're going to go have lunch with Daddy or dinner with Daddy at the hospital."

And she had done it in such a way that the kids said, "Yippee, we get to have hospital food." Who thinks that? Nobody thinks that.

But you just see this wonderful teamwork between Dr. Nelson, the young doctor Nelson, and his wife, Dantzel. I think that's absolutely beautiful. And you see that today with President Nelson and Sister Nelson. They are a wonderful team. And I have seen him many times in just where they are having conversations about whatever and there is just such, not only love between them, but mutual respect. And I think he leans on her as you would hope that any great marriage, that a husband or wife lean on each other. I mean she's not, you know, he's not asking her how to run the Church but in terms of their personal life and their family and just they're sharing back and forth, they've become a team. So he's had the privilege now of having great teamwork with his spouse in two separate settings. And I think that says what he thinks about women. And then if you have any question about how he feels about how important the women of the church are you go read, "A Plea To My Sisters," the message he delivered in October of 2015. And I think that was a landmark message.

MJ: That's one of my favorite talks. I love that talk.

SD: It's pretty great huh?

MJ: Sheri, you were there or you were involved in the meeting of President Nelson and Sister Nelson, is that right? What role did you play in that?

SD: Very tangential. The story, trying to make it fast, is that again Wendy, Wendy Watson, and I were in Europe. We were actually in Florence. We had allowed a bunch of time to be in Florence and we actually got done in Florence before our calendar said it was time for us to leave. So we decided, "Hey we've kind of got an extra day where we think we're done here, we loved it but we think we're done here," and our next stop was supposed to be Zurich and so we said, "Hey, well let's see if we can find seats on one of those trains that go up over the Alps to Zurich. We've never done that, that'll be fun." So yes we did. We hurried and packed, we ran down to the train station, we buy tickets and we're out in the train yard. You know there are all these tracks and all these trains, which is so typical in a European train station. And I'm looking up at the big board trying to figure out which track our train is on and it's in Italian and I'm standing there and I hear from behind me somebody say, "Sister Dew, can I help you?" Well, Wendy is somewhere. I don't know where she is. I don't know if she'd gone to the ladies room. To this day, I don't know where she was but I'm standing there by myself. I turn around and there's a young woman about your age. Well probably a little younger, but young and a returned missionary sister who had served in Florence. And she recognized me. I said, "Yes, you sure can." She was showing me a track I was on and I said, "Tell me what you're doing here," and she said "Oh, I'm headed to Rome because Elder Nelson is in Rome. He's going to create the first stake of the Church in Rome." I said, "Oh I wish we'd known, that would've been so cool! That's historic!" And she's getting ready to leave. And then it dawned on me that Elder Nelson was probably traveling with Elder Harold Hillam who was the area President the time and I had worked with him when I was in the Relief Society general presidency and I said, "Would you have the courage to take a note up to Elder Hillam if I just write him a note?" She said sure. So I pull a little paper out of my bag and write a little note to Elder and Sister Hillam and hand it to her. She starts to walk away again and then I said, "Oh you know, maybe I should send one to Elder Nelson too. I didn't know Elder Nelson as well but I thought that might be odd if she hands a note just to him (Elder Hillam) so I pull another thing out, more paper out and I'm writing a note to Elder Nelson and at this point Wendy reappears: "What are you doing?" "Oh I'm just writing a little note to the Elder Nelson. He's going to be creating the first stake in Rome and she says, "Sign my name too." She swears to this day she doesn't remember saying that. I said, "Well of course you said it . Why would I put your name on it?" So I said, "OK so I sign it and handed it to her and off this girl goes, us not knowing: "Do you think she'll actually hand these notes to these brethren at this district conference turned into a state conference in Rome?"

But we did find out. And the way we found out is we weren't home from Europe a while but Elder Nelson made contact with Wendy. He reached out to her. And the reason he reached out is that before he left, now at this point Dantzel Nelson had passed away and been gone for a while and before he left for Europe he had said to his secretary, "Go to Deseret Book and get me a couple of books to read on the trip. I'm going to be traveling alone." And one of the books she got was a book called "Rock Solid Relationships," by Wendy Watson and he had read it on the flight over. I mean really, what are the odds?

MJ: Amazing.

SD: And when he got that note and saw that it was signed by Sheri Dew, he didn't care about that. And Wendy Watson, he had a profound spiritual impression that he should meet this woman, that when it was time to consider remarrying, he should meet this woman and so he's got that note framed. It's on his desk. And the thing that cracks me up is Wendy's name is even in my handwriting. It's crazy.

MJ: Well I think maybe you should just take credit when she says that she didn't ask you to sign her name just be like, "Yeah I signed your name. I did this."

SD: Okay good. I should do that. Yeah, it was totally inspired on my part.

MJ: Exactly.

SD: No, yeah so tangentially that was that was what lit the spark.

MJ: Such an incredible story. I actually heard someone, someone that I know had heard you speak and you had shared that story and I was like, "This is mind- blowing, this is crazy."

SD: Well and think about the lesson we get from that that we all have divine orbits right. I mean you couldn't have set that up, if you'd planned it, it wouldn't have worked and there it happened.

MJ: The Lord works in mysterious ways. Sheri, what has writing these books and biographies, whether it be about President Nelson or President Hinckley or President Benson, taught you about being a witness to the prophetic call?

SD: I think what it has taught me is that if you want to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Lord will tell you. If you want to know if the living prophet is a prophet, that's a prayer the Lord will answer, He'll tell you. It may not happen the first time you get down. You may have to work at it a little bit. I'm not, I don't want to make it sound like it's easy, but the Father and the Son will bear witness that they do truly have a prophet and prophet, seers and revelators on the earth. So I think what it's taught me is if you want to know, you can know. You don't have to take anybody else's word for it. You can know for yourself.

MJ: That's beautiful. You ask a question in the book that I love you and you say, "Will you go with the prophet?" What does that mean to you and how do we as Latter-Day Saints do it?

SD: I think it means for me, it means falling on some words from second Nephi, "Will you go with him?" Going with the prophet for me means will you heed his counsel? Will you listen to what he says and pray about it, get a confirmation yourself and then will you take action? When he says I plead with you to increase your capacity to receive revelation, will we try? When he says will you read the Book of Mormon, will you try to be a little more careful about your social media time, will you do it? Will you spend more time in the temple, will you do it? To me, that's what it means today in the 21st century to go with the prophet. When he declares truth, even if the truth is hard to hear, will you ponder it, think about it, weigh it, receive your own confirmation of it, rather than just lash out and say, "Well I don't I don't like what he said and I don't like this and I don't like that," will you seriously ponder his words as though he is a prophet and then figure out, "What will I do with it?"

MJ: Thank you. One quote that I love about President Nelson was given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in the Deseret News when President Nelson became the prophet and one of the things that he said was he said that he was going to lead the Church the way that he had led the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and then he said, "Gentle, kind, bright, insightful and striking a perfect pitch. It's going to be an exciting time." Sheri, why is it an exciting time to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints right now.

SD: I think it's so exciting precisely because of what President Nelson has said repeatedly in different settings and that is there is no work more important, nothing going on in this whole earth more important than the gathering of Israel. And if you want to be part of the gathering, you can be part of it.

And so the thing is do you want to be a big part of something big? I think that's the invitation he's making to us. And we don't know. I presume he doesn't know, even the angels in heaven don't know, the time the precise time of the Lord's return. But clearly it's getting closer and the last days are getting laster and so I think the prophet is saying, "Do you want to be part of the most important work on Earth? And if you do, sign up and join up," and that's why it's exciting because it's like it's getting close enough, whatever that means, that you can tell that your efforts really could make a difference. And I love the thought of thinking that you spend your life here doing things and building something that makes truly a difference.

MJ: That's going to matter.

SD: Yeah that's why I think it's exciting.

MJ: I was actually just thinking last night about how all the different prophets of this dispensation have had things that they are remembered for and that with President Nelson no doubt it will be the gathering of Israel.

SD: Surely it's got to be at least part of it for sure.

MJ: And when we understand that Sheri, how does it change the way that we live our lives? What do you think it is that God expects from this generation that he's emphasizing and pounding that into us through His prophet?

SD: OK. So from the time that Adam and Eve walked out of the Garden of Eden prophets have been prophesying about two things, all of them, they all testify of Christ, either that he would come or that he has, and then most of them are prophesying about what? The last days, the Second Coming. Isaiah, Jeremiah, the apostle Paul, Moroni, Nephi, I mean on and on and on. So this has been the last days have been in the Lord's plan the whole time.

So do you think that God would have sent men and women in the last days that he couldn't count on? No.

We're here now because we're supposed to be here now and probably because of some foreordination. But foreordination is not a guarantee. We each get to choose while here what we're going to spend our lives doing and for me one of the great things to contemplate is just the difference we can each make as we figure out what it is Heavenly Father wants us to do and where each of us can spend our time and energy and our resources that will make the most difference and it feels to me like that's what we're be invited into, that we're being invited to the party, like the best party, and to say, "We want you to come and bring everything you've got and give it everything you've got." And I think that's what's exciting about all of this and invigorating.

MJ: Well Sheri, I have to tell you... you mentioned in the beginning being a farm girl from Kansas, and I think it's clear that Heavenly Father had a plan for you and for your life just like he has a plan for all of us. For me, even just sitting here today with you is a sign of that because I grew up in North Carolina in a little small town and listened to your audio books growing up.

SD: You deserved better. You should have gotten better.

MJ: No. They were wonderful and I think that this message from President Nelson to you to anyone listening is just that the Lord has a plan for our lives and that He is shaping us and giving us opportunities to be what He needs us to be.

And I love that in this book you show that over and over and over again with President Nelson. In conclusion I just want to close with our last question that remains consistent on this podcast always which is what does it mean to you to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

SD: Boy, there's so many ways you could answer that but I think I would say it means to put the Lord first and I think what that really means is seeking and serving, seeking to know more, to understand more, to learn how to hear the voice of the spirit. We've got a prophet that's asking us, begging us to do it. He wouldn't be asking that if he didn't know that we could so it's seeking to understand what's really happening in the temple, seeking to really understand what our leaders are telling us in General Conference. It's seeking to know what the ministering of angels means and what it has to do with us. It's seeking and then serving, it's trying to help others as we're trying to find our way along the path, the covenant path to exaltation, it's trying to help whoever else we can along the same path because we need each other to do it, we all need encouragement. We all need inspiration. We all need a helping hand we all need love and friendship. So I think it's seeking and serving.

MJ: Thank you so much. We appreciate so much you being here and taking time out of your busy schedule. Thank you.

SD: Thanks Morgan.

MJ: Thank you so much. We are so appreciative to Sheri Dew for joining us on this week's episode.

You can find "Insights From A Prophet's Life" at Deseret Book stores now.

And for more episodes of "All In," you can find us on iTunes, Spotify, Deseret Bookshelf or by visiting LDSLiving.com/allin. And, as always, we value your time and so appreciate you spending it with us.

If you enjoy the podcast, please don't forget to leave us a rating or a review on iTunes. We hope that you have a wonderful week.

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