Follow the Prophet

The other day, I ran across this amazing quote, “If God loves us enough to send us prophets, then we need to love Him enough to follow them.”1 What a great reminder as we get ready for general conference. This weekend, it will be our great privilege to listen to prophets of God. But we need to do more than just listen, we need to follow! Ronald A. Rasband reminds us, “We are distinguished as a Church to be led by prophets, seers, and revelators called of God for this time. I promise that as you listen and follow their counsel, you will never be led astray. Never!”2

What a great promise! And there are many more promises we have been given for following the prophet. I will list just a few.

Several promises come from our prophet, Russell M. Nelson, “What will happen as you more intentionally hear, hearken, and heed what the Savior has said and what He is saying now through His prophets? I promise that you will be blessed with additional power to deal with temptation, struggles, and weakness. I promise miracles in your marriage, family relationships, and daily work. And I promise that your capacity to feel joy will increase even if turbulence increases in your life.”3

Neil L. Andersen gives these two promises, “Don’t be alarmed when the prophet’s warning voice counters popular opinions of the day. The mocking fireballs of annoyed disbelievers are always hurled the moment the prophet begins to speak. As you are humble in following the counsel of the Lord’s prophet, I promise you an added blessing of safety and peace.”4 And, “I promise you that as you remain resolute in following the prophet, your faith in the Savior will increase.”4

Ulisses Soares teaches us, “By following [the prophets], our lives are happier and less complicated, our difficulties and problems are easier to bear, and we create a spiritual armor around us that will protect us from the attacks of the enemy in our day.”5

Similar to Elder Rasband’s promise, M. Russell Ballard declares, “Today I make you a promise. It’s a simple one, but it is true. If you will listen to the living prophet and the apostles and heed our counsel, you will not go astray.”6

Dean M. Davies said, “Listening to and hearkening to living prophets will have profound, even life-changing effects in our lives. We are strengthened. We are more assured and confident in the Lord. We hear the word of the Lord. We feel God’s love. We will know how to conduct our lives with purpose.”7

Of course there will be some who criticize and mock what the prophets say. There always are. Carol F. McConkie gives us this great reminder, “We heed prophetic word even when it may seem unreasonable, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. According to the world’s standards, following the prophet may be unpopular, politically incorrect, or socially unacceptable. But following the prophet is always right.”8 And, more than forty years ago, Ezra Taft Benson said, “As we come closer to the Lord’s second coming, you can expect that as the people of the world become more wicked, the prophet will be less popular with them.”9 But one truth remains: if we will follow the prophet, we will never be led astray!

I agree whole-heartedly with Elder Andersen when he says, “In a future day, … we will rejoice that we walked the earth at the time of a living prophet. At that day, I pray that we will be able to say:

We listened to him.

We believed him.

We studied his words with patience and faith.

We prayed for him.

We stood by him.

We were humble enough to follow him.

We loved him.”4

“If God loves us enough to send us prophets, then we need to love Him enough to follow them.”1


1.  A Sure Foundatoion – Sheldon F. Child

2.  The Things of My Soul – Ronald A. Rasband

3.  Hear Him – Russell M. Nelson

4.  The Prophet of God – Neil L. Andersen

5.  Prophets Speak by the Power of the Holy Spirit – Ulisses Soares

6.  His Word Ye Shall Receive – M. Russell Ballard

7.  Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice – Dean M. Davies

8.  Live According to the Words of the Prophets – Carol F. McConkie

9.  Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet – Ezra Taft Benson

neither can infuence us unless

Which One Do I Allow to Influence My Life?

It is undeniable that the power of Satan is all around us. We don’t have to look very far to see his evil influence. But so is the power of God. And that is an even greater power! The question I get to ask myself is, “Which one do I allow to influence my life?” Sheri Dew reminds us, “There is only one thing that the power of God and the power of Satan have in common: Neither can influence us unless we allow them to.”1 What a great reminder to us that this choice is ours and ours alone to make.

President David O. McKay stated, “Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct our lives is God’s greatest gift to man. Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give.”2 Because He loves us so much, Heavenly Father has given us our agency – even though He knew we would, at times, use it to our own detriment. And because He loves us so much, He sent His Son to atone for our sins and give us access to godly power. Then, using that same God-given agency, we can choose to repent and make the changes necessary for His power to be the guiding influence in our lives.

Although life was never meant to be easy, but it doesn’t need to be nearly as hard as we sometimes make it. When we better understand and know how to access godly power, Russell M. Nelson teaches us that that power will be “sufficient to deal with the burdens, obstacles, and temptations of our day.”3

Not long ago, the prophet said, “Satan is no longer even trying to hide his attacks on God’s plan. Emboldened evil abounds. Therefore, the only way to survive spiritually is to be determined to let God prevail in our lives.”4 He posed these questions:

  • Are you willing to let God be the most important influence in your life?
  • Will you allow His words, His commandments, and His covenants to influence what you do each day?
  • Will you allow His voice to take priority over any other?
  • Are you willing to let whatever He needs you to do take precedence over every other ambition?
  • Are you willing to have your will swallowed up in His?

Am I really willing to let God prevail in my life? He is willing and waiting! The choice is up to me.

Who will I allow to influence my life?


1. You Were Born to Lead, You Were Born for Glory – Sheri Dew

2. Agency and Responsibility – David O. McKay

3. Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives – Russell M. Nelson

4. Let God Prevail – Russell M. Nelson

The Gifts We Give

The other day, I was thinking about the presents I still needed to buy and all the things I still needed to do to get ready for Christmas. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Then I remembered a very important lesson my dad taught me. I learned a lot from him! I miss his wisdom and his gentle spirit so much. Dad was born during the Great Depression and grew up on a farm. So, from a very young age, my grandparents taught him about hard work and sacrifice. Since he was an only child, that meant there was a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice. They learned to make due with what they had or do without. Christmases were meager, sometimes only one small gift. They definitely didn’t have much, but that didn’t matter. They focused on what they had. They had each other. They had the gospel. And they had a lot of love. They really did have what mattered most.

Most of us will never know a Christmas where only one small gift is all we receive. One small gift. Isn’t that exactly how Christmas began? With the birth of the Savior, the ultimate gift was given to each of us.

Russell M. Nelson has said, “Through all of our various Christmas traditions, I hope that we are focused first upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Wise men still adore Him.”1 And “our adoration of Jesus,” he reminds us, “is best expressed by our emulation of Jesus.”2

This Christmas, may we be wise enough to emulate Jesus. May we give to others the same gifts He has given to us.

This Christmas, let’s give our time, our love, our kindness, our compassion, our forgiveness, our hearts, ourselves.

This Christmas, let the gifts we give be evidence of our adoration of Jesus.


1.  Christ the Savior is Born – Russell M. Nelson

2.  Perfection Pending – Russell M. Nelson

The Warning Voice of the Spirit

After almost twenty years, an older man who lives near me got a new car. It has, he smilingly told us, all the bells and whistles. Imagine just how much has changed in twenty years! One of the features his car now has is a lane departure warning. This man has always considered himself a very good driver. He thought he always stayed in his lane very well. However, his car was telling him otherwise. After a few days of what felt like constant beeping, he turned off the lane departure notification.

Hearing him tell his story was quite amusing! But the more I thought about what he said, the more I began to relate it to the gospel. We may consider ourselves very good at living the gospel. But if we had a covenant path departure warning, how often would it beep? Have we become a little lax in the routine but important things that keep our lives centered on Christ? What if an unkind word caused a beep? Or a forgotten prayer? Or missing an occasional church meeting? Or being too busy to attend the temple? Or a hundred other things?

We actually do have something that warns us if we are drifting off course, even if it is ever so slightly! When we are confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost—the promise of the constant companionship of a member of the Godhead—our own spiritual lane departure warning system. However, this warning will not be a loud, annoying beeping sound, but a still, small voice.

 Last year, President Russell M. Nelson reminded us, “It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now. In the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is the messenger. He will bring thoughts to your mind which the Father and Son want you to receive. … I renew my plea for you to do whatever it takes to increase your spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation. Doing so will help you know how to move ahead with your life, what to do during times of crisis, and how to discern and avoid the temptations and the deceptions of the adversary.”1

There may be times when we might not like what the Spirit is telling us. Correction is seldom easy to receive. But the whisperings of the Spirit telling us we may be drifting a little off course are protective warnings. Ignoring spiritual promptings is, in essence, turning off our spiritual lane departure notification. May we never be tempted to turn off the warning voice of the Spirit!


1.  Hear Him – Russell M. Nelson

Our Journey Home

Several years ago, my son was taking a long road trip alone. His destination was about twelve hours away, more than half of that time with nothing but wide open space. Before he left, we made sure he had enough food and money for his journey. Definitely one of the most important preparations was figuring out how many miles the car could go on a tank of gas, where gas stations were, and their hours of operation. And, of course, the mother in me asked him to call and check in every few hours—both on his way there and on his way home.

Let’s liken that experience to our earthly journey. We are all children of God. We should never forget that Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation is so very personal. It is His plan for me. I am His child. He loves me, watches over me, and wants me back home. If we can truly comprehend that, we can know for certain that a loving Heavenly Father would not send us on a long road trip alone without a plan. He would make sure that we had the information and resources necessary for our journey. He would want us to be safe and check in to let Him know where we are and how we are doing. And He would be anxiously awaiting our return home.

There are certain words and phrases we hear so often in the Church that, if we are not careful, they can seem ordinary. I believe the plan of salvation would fit in that category. Yet far from ordinary, God’s plan is extraordinary! Whether it is referred to as the plan of happiness, the plan of salvation, the plan of redemption, or simply the plan, it is what a loving Father in Heaven designed to enable us to return home to Him.

When was the last time you stopped to think about what the plan of salvation actually means—and more particularly what it means to you?

David A. Bednar gives us this beautiful definition, “Our Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness includes the doctrine, the ordinances, the covenants, and the exceeding great and precious promises whereby we can become partakers of the divine nature. His plan defines our eternal identity and the pathway we must follow to learn, change, grow, and ultimately dwell with Him forever.”1

Let’s go back to my son’s road trip. Most of the time, he could choose for himself where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do. However, there was one thing that he could not neglect—gas stations! There were limitations as to how far he could go on a tank of gas. Knowing where and when to stop for gas was vital. Before he left, a plan was made. Because he understood that plan and accepted it, his trip was not only safe and successful, but also peaceful and enjoyable. We too accepted our Heavenly Father’s plan before we left His presence. The vital checkpoints on our mortal journey are the ordinances and covenants we make with Him. Like my son’s gas stops, these are not optional if we want to return home to our Heavenly Father. Covenants made and kept keep us safe in this life. D. Todd Christofferson recently reminded us, “The covenants God offers to His children do more than guide us. They bind us to Him, and, bound to Him, we can overcome all things.”2

Gratefully we did not come on this road trip of life unprepared. That doesn’t mean there won’t be ups and downs, twists and turns. There will be! At times, it will be downright hard! So, “in times of distress,” Elder Christofferson teaches, “let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact. Then you can ask in faith, nothing, wavering, according to your need, and God will answer.”3 He is there, anxiously waiting to help us on our journey home to Him.


1.  Exceeding Great and Precious Promises – David A. Bednar

2.  Why the Covenant Path – D. Todd Christofferson

3.  The Power of Covenants – D. Todd Christofferson

Preserving the Legacy

Sacrifice. Service. Perseverance. Loyalty. Courage. Those words could easily be used to describe both our Founding Fathers and our forefathers. The month of July is always packed full of fun and festivities, but it should also be a time when we reflect on what we have because of the sacrifices of those who have gone before us. Those who founded this country have left a legacy that has shaped the world. And so did our early pioneers! For me, and perhaps for you, some of those pioneers were my family. Their legacy has had a profound impact on me. Now it is up to each of us to preserve those legacies.

D. Todd Christofferson once said, “Let us not be content with where we are, but neither let us be discouraged.”1 That seems to perfectly describe those who fought so long ago for our freedom and for our faith. The desire for a better life guided those who came before us. Their efforts and actions not only affected them but forever blessed the generations to follow. I absolutely believe they knew and understood that and that is what gave them a determined strength to keep going, especially when it was the most difficult. We are the beneficiaries of their sacrifice, service, perseverance, loyalty, and courage.

Whether patriots or pioneers, they certainly wanted things to be better. And thankfully they were wise enough not to let discouragement halt their progress or their dreams. May we, like them, not be content with where we are. May we, like them, keep the faith and not get discouraged when the going gets tough. May we, like them, give our all for our freedom and our faith.


1.  The Living Bread Which Came Down From Heaven – D. Todd Christofferson

Feel At Home

Living in Utah, being able to attend the temple had always been easy. Maybe too easy! There wasn’t just one temple nearby but several! When the pandemic made it necessary for the temples to close, it was the first time in my life I couldn’t go any time I wanted to. Naively I thought surely the temples wouldn’t stay closed for long, maybe a month or two. At the time, I had been serving as a temple worker for nearly two years. Going weekly was part of a routine that I not only enjoyed but also very much needed. As the months passed, oh how I yearned to be in the temple!

A while ago, I read this quote by Neal A. Maxwell, “We cannot reenter His house until our behavior would let us feel at home.”1 Until now, I doubt the word reenter would have caught my attention. After months of being away, I was asked to come help with an early morning session for a limited time. It is impossible to describe my feelings as I walked into the temple that first day. I was overcome with emotion and profoundly grateful to be there! It really did feel like home!

Although not quite back to their pre-pandemic schedules, many temples have recently opened or are soon opening for more patrons to attend. There is so much excitement and anticipation. We have been away so long. So much time has passed. Are we ready to reenter? Will we feel at home? That was my initial thought when I first read Elder Maxwell’s words. But the more I have thought about it, the more I have come to realize that it doesn’t really matter if it has been a year, a month, a week, or even just a day. What has my behavior been like since the last time I was in the temple? Has it been such that I will feel at home when I go back?

Do you remember when President Russell M. Nelson reminded us that “every time [we] worthily serve and worship in the temple, [we] leave armed with God’s power and with His angels having ‘charge over’ [us].”2 That is an amazing blessing! One that we should never take for granted. And one we should not assume comes without effort on our part.

Elder Maxwell teaches us, “We cannot share in [God’s] power without sharing in His attributes.”1 How do we share in God’s attributes? We become like His Son. Because of our Savior’s perfect example, we can know God’s attributes. And by following Him, we can acquire those attributes. Becoming like the Savior is a lifelong pursuit. Some days will be more successful than others. But because of Him, we can try again when we don’t quite get it right. With His help, we can always do better and become better. As our behavior becomes aligned with His, we will feel at home in His house.

L. Whitney Clayton has taught, “As we become more like Him, we will feel at home in His house, and He will feel at home in ours.”3  Isn’t that a beautiful thought!


1.  God Will Yet Reveal – Neal A. Maxwell

2.  Spiritual Treasures – Russell M. Nelson

3.  The Finest Homes – L. Whitney Clayton

The Small Details

“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.”1

On a Monday two weeks ago, my friend’s father passed away. Within a day or two, her mother’s health unexpectedly declined, so rapidly that she was unable to attend her husband’s funeral on Saturday. Early Sunday morning she passed away. A whirlwind of a week, to say the least! Physically and emotionally exhausted, my friend turned on the TV to watch Music and the Spoken Word. The choir was singing “Come, Thou Font of Every Blessing”—her favorite song. The Tabernacle Choir has nearly a thousand songs in their repertoire, yet this was the song that they were singing at this moment on this Sunday morning. To her, it was a very personal message from a loving Heavenly Father that He knew her and He knew just what would comfort her aching heart.

Last weekend, our stake sponsored a service project for refugees and others in need. We had gathered clothing, furniture, household appliances, cookware, toys, and other household items which were available for them to take at no cost. The outpouring of love was incredible. Our bowery property was filled to overflowing! We had so much clothing! We tried to hang all the dresses, suits, jackets, and dress shirts on make-shift clothing racks and along the fence. The entire grassy area was covered with men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, stacked on blankets, sorted by size and separated in tops and pants.  One sweet woman came up to me and asked if we had any temple dresses. I pointed her over to where the dresses were hung but told her that I had not seen any temple dresses. She said she had already looked there and hadn’t seen one either. I told her to check with the people who were still putting some things out. A few minutes later, I saw her walking toward me with something white draped over her arm. Stunned, I asked her if she had found a temple dress. With the biggest smile on her face, she said, “Yes, and it’s even my size!” I couldn’t contain my tears, and neither could she. She then told me that before she had left her home that morning, she had made a list of four things she really needed and said a prayer that she could find them. Three of the things were easy to find. The dress, however, would seem very unlikely. Now with the temple dress in hand, she had found everything she had prayed for. Out of literally thousands of articles of clothing, there was only one temple dress, and it was her exact size.

These two experiences are beautiful reminders that, as Ronald A. Rasband once taught, “The Lord is in the small details of our lives.”2 A song and a temple dress can certainly be described as small details, yet they came at the exact moments they were needed. They were heaven-sent miracles.

I hope we never overlook, underestimate or underappreciate the small and simple things that the Lord does for us. What often are called coincidences are, in fact, evidence that the Lord truly is in the small details of our lives.  


1.  Alma 37:6

2.  By Divine Design – Ronald A. Rasband

What Kind Of Student Am I?

President Russell M. Nelson recently said, “Adversity is a great teacher.”1 I love how absolute that statement is. I think it is important to note that he didn’t say that adversity can be or might be a great teacher. So, the important question to ask myself is, “What kind of student am I?”

That turned out to be quite a soul-searching question for me. As I began to think of some of the adversities I have faced, my first thoughts were those things that rocked my world—the really big, really hard things. But then I began to think a little deeper, about times that probably shouldn’t have rocked my world but did—like the time I let something someone said offend me so much that it was hard to feel comfortable at church. That lasted longer than I care to admit! Adversity comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes even small, seemingly insignificant things can have very significant consequences when we refuse to recognize them and learn from them. For me, it seems I am a much better student when my classes are hard! During those times, there is no doubt that I need to study more and have more help from the Master Teacher!

The reality is none of us will escape adversity. It is a vital and ongoing part of our schooling here in mortality. As I have reflected on some of my greatest adversities, while I would definitely not want to repeat them, they truly have been great teachers. I have learned things I could have learned in no other way. I now see life through a completely different lens. I hope I am more compassionate, more loving, and more forgiving. I hope I am more aware of others who are experiencing heartache and sorrow. I most assuredly trust in God and in His promises! And even as I look back on my weakest adversities, I can see that they, too, have been great teachers. I can acknowledge that I am still learning and still growing and still trying. And so is everyone else!

I should probably ask myself more often what kind of student I am. And to that, I’ll add a few more questions too! “What am I learning from adversity?” “Am I trying to be a better student?” Am I relying on the Master Teacher to help me?”


1.  What We Are Learning and Will Never Forget – Russell M. Nelson

be role models

Remember This: Kindness Begins With Me

The other day I took my almost two-year old grandson to the aquarium. Since there were hardly any people around, he happily ran from one exhibit to the next. When we got to the penguin exhibit, there was an even younger boy with his mother. Immediately, these two little boys connected. They climbed up and down the stairs together, giggling and watching each other’s every move. Although it didn’t last long, for them playing was just the natural thing to do.

Of course, their heartwarming interaction was nothing unusual. You can see the same thing happen at almost any playground. When little children see other little children, they see new friends. Is it any wonder the Savior taught, “Except ye … become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”?1

Earlier this month, Gary E. Stevenson spoke to young and old alike, reminding us of “our heavenly duty”2 to be kind and loving to each other. He counseled the adults to “be role models of kindness, inclusion, and civility—to teach Christlike behavior to the rising generation in what we say and how we act.”2

Too often what we hear and see cannot, in any way, be considered Christlike. Sadly, there are times those words and actions are our own. While we cannot change others, we can change what we say and do, how we act and react.

I am reminded of the Primary song I sang as a girl:

I want to be kind to everyone,
For that is right, you see.
So I say to myself, “Remember this:
Kindness begins with me.”3

Such wise words! Even one Christlike action can make a difference! Think about the light a small candle gives to a dark room. In the very same way, each small act of kindness will add much-needed light to an ever-darkening world.

That day at the aquarium, the role models of kindness, inclusion, and civility were two innocent little boys. As often happens in life, I was being taught by a child.


1.  Matthew 18:3

2.  Hearts Knit Together – Gary E. Stevenson

3.  Kindness Begins With Me – Children’s Songbook