- My purpose is to explain why indeed it is wonderful to have older men of great spiritual maturity and judgment serving in the senior leadership positions of the restored Church of Jesus Christ—and why we should “hear” and “hearken” to the teachings of these men whom the Lord has “chosen to bear testimony of [His] name … among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people”
He shares an experience that he had speaking to Elder Hales and what he learned from this great man.
A Lesson of a Lifetime
- Several years ago I spent a Sunday afternoon with Elder Hales in his home as he was recovering from a serious illness. We discussed our families, our quorum responsibilities, and important experiences. At one point I asked Elder Hales, “You have been a successful husband, father, athlete, pilot, business executive, and Church leader. What lessons have you learned as you have grown older and been constrained by decreased physical capacity?” Elder Hales paused for a moment and responded, “When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most.” I was struck by the simplicity and comprehensiveness of his answer. My beloved apostolic associate shared with me a lesson of a lifetime—a lesson learned through the crucible of physical suffering and spiritual searching.
These men may be old in age but they are great in wisdom and experience. Their physical limitations should not cause us to question the wisdom they have.
Human Limitations and Frailties
- 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.
The Lord has prepared these men to lead His people at this time. These are men who have a desire to serve God and are bless by the Holy Ghost to lead them in the decisions that will effect all of Heavenly Father's children.
A Pattern of Preparation
- Serving with these representatives of the Lord, I have come to know their greatest desire is to discern and do the will of our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son. As we counsel together, inspiration has been received and decisions have been made that reflect a degree of light and truth far beyond human intelligence, reasoning, and experience. As we work together in unity on perplexing problems, our collective understanding of an issue has been enlarged in marvelous ways by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Elder Bednar goes on to review some of the final comments that Elder Wirthlin, Elder Perry, and President Packer shared from the pulpit before they passed away. Their final messages are what we needed to her at that time from great men who were called of God to represent Him on earth.
Promise and Testimony
Elder Bednar concludes with this promise.
- May we hear and heed the eternal truths taught by the Lord’s authorized representatives. As we do so, I promise our faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will be fortified, and we will receive spiritual guidance and protection for our specific circumstances and needs.
I grew up learning from Elder Wirthlin, Elder Perry, and President Packer. These men I respected and have tried to follow their counsel. I have tried to learn about their lives and how they found the ability to follow the Savior through their trials and challenges. How grateful I am to have men leading this church that are not perfect, that understand the need for the atonement in their lives, and can teach us by wisdom and experience and not just by words. We are blessed to have prophets and apostles on the earth today to lead us and guide us. Elder Bednar is one of those men called of God and truly desires to help us find the path back to our Heavenly Father.