I mentioned earlier that our stake was going through a leadership change. President Lynn Payne has been a wonderful servant to the Lord and our stake for the past 15 years (6 ½ as a counselor and 8 ½ as the president). His counselors were John Campbell and Bill VanWagoner and they also have been very faithful in their service. But as with all callings, the time has come for someone else to take the reins of the stake so Elders Bruce C. Hafen and Patrick Price were sent to make the requested changes. Early Saturday morning Elders Hafen and Price began interviewing the priesthood leaders (30+) of the stake to determine who the Lord would call to serve as the new stake presidency. The interview process took nearly five hours and then the brethren pondered and prayed about who should fill the position. Sunday morning we were called on to sustain the new presidency consisting of Dave Barker as president, Michael Jackson as 1st counselor and Steve Jensen as 2nd counselor. What an amazing process this is as we receive new leaders. There is not politicking, no campaigning and no climbing for position. Men who hold the authority of God pray and receive revelation that guides them to who should be the next leaders of the stake. And then the members of the stake are asked to sustain and support these new leaders for the next decade or so. This process would never work in the business world but it works very well in the Kingdom of God. I am so glad to be part of a church that can remain faithful to the precepts and doctrines of Christ without any wrangling or haggling for leadership positions.
As part of our conference, we were blessed to hear from the authorities assigned. One message I took from our training was a thought from Elder Hafen. He was talking about some of the things he has learned in his service in the Quorum of the Seventy. In one of their meetings, Pres. Faust was asked to make a few comments to close the meeting. He said to the brethren present, "your most important duty is to raise up a righteous posterity." Imagine that, instead of worrying about duties in their callings and administrative responsibilities, one of God's prophets advised these men to make sure their children and grand-children were raised in an environment of learning in the Gospel. Nothing is more important in our Church than the family and its protection. No wonder we respond so quickly to attacks on the sacred institution. It's one of the many eternal things we are privileged to participate in during mortality.
Last week there was a piece on the news show 'Nightline' that highlighted the opening of the new Draper Temple http://tinyurl.com/8xrp93
. I understand why the Church leaders want to take our message out in their own words because even with Elders Ballard and Cook trying to make things clear, the reporters still seem to have missed that the FLDS people are not part of our Church. And some of their comments seem to distort the truth about other parts of the doctrine of the Kingdom. Misunderstandings are rampant about what we believe and what we are trying to do in the world but I believe we will eventually be successful in our efforts. This is a sign of the power the adversary has over many of the souls of this world. He has the ability to cloud the truth and make that which seems good to be evil and that which is evil to be good. Nephi was right when he informed us of these things. Surely the Book of Mormon is inspired of God and serves as a guidebook through the challenges offered to the Church in the latter-days. Without a doubt, God has His hands in the workings of this organization and has prepared things so that we can work our way through the trials this life brings.
Sunday I am speaking in our ward and I haven't yet zeroed in on what my topic will be. There are so many things that I would like to share but I'm not sure which subject the Lord wants me to approach as I address the members. I suppose I can't go wrong if I choose one of the topics used in our last general conference but I'm not sure which would be best for our congregation. I hope I can come to some resolution of this dilemma before Sunday at 11:00 am so the folks in the benches don't hurt their heads as they sleep. Report later!!