Sunday, April 5, 2009

Reflections on Priesthood Session

As is so often the case, priesthood session seemed especially concentrated with powerful discourses. Again, I offer a few purely personal reactions, which I will focus on the last three talks, given by the members of the First Presidency.

Do Not Be Distracted by the Inessential

President Uchtdorf used the example of an horrific airplane disaster, the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 crash of 1972. In this incident, the crew became so obsessed with one flight indicator--basically, a single light bulb, which had burned out--that they did not pay attention to the larger issue: they were flying lower and lower, ultimately headed directly into the Everglades. Pres. Uchtdorf used this as a metaphor for the need for us not to be distracted from what matters most, as we approach our priesthood responsibilities. I was particularly moved by his call to action, which my notes record thus: "Think what could happen in our personal lives, our professional lives, our families, and our wards and branches, if we rose up, committed to building the Kingdom of God without distraction."

Society would focus us on the inessential: that's where the money is, for advertisers. I found Pres. Uchtdorf's remarks to be very timely and a propos. (Incidentally, I did not consider his remark about blogging as implying that all blogging is inessential, but rather to imply that blogging certainly can be a distraction.)

"No Man Left Behind"

Pres. Eyring related the real-life 'Black Hawk down' incident in Somalia as a metaphor for the devotion that priesthood holders should have for such work as home teaching. As my notes put it: "When you accepted the priesthood, you accepted the responsibility for whatever you did or failed to do for the salvation of others."

Since my baptism as a convert, I have been deeply moved by the devotion that many priesthood holders have shown to their priesthood duty. On the other hand, I have always been stunned by the casual way in which some priesthood holders approach these same duties. I found Pres. Eyring's remarks to be moving and important, and personally relevant. Family responsibilities have called me out of town for most of the last three months; I look forward to doing my fair share and more in terms of my priesthood responsibilities.

A Three-Fold Formula for Life

President Kimball's statement of the three-fold mission of the Church has been quoted now for something like 30 years; it is a succinct formula that continues to serve us well. President Monson delivered a discourse in which he mentioned a three-fold set of suggestions to help Church members deal with temptation and gain spiritual strength, suggestions that deserve to be as widely quoted as President Kimball's statement, in regard to the topic that President Monson took up. His suggestions:

  1. Study diligently.
  2. Pray fervently.
  3. Live righteously.


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