Monday, September 18, 2017

President Harold B. Lee on light shining in darkness

President Harold B. Lee (1899-1973) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1941. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1970-1972, then as Church president from July 1972 until his passing less than 18 months later in December 1973.
"I was at Manti, Utah, some years ago. As we came out of the Saturday night leadership meeting, there was a heavy snowstorm. As we drove to the home of the stake president, he stopped his car and turned back to the temple hill. There the lighted temple was standing majestically. We sat there in silence for a few moments, inspired by the sight of that beautiful, sacred place. He said, 'You know, Brother Lee, that temple is never more beautiful than in times of a dense fog or in times of a heavy, severe storm.'
"Just so, never is the gospel of Jesus Christ more beautiful than in times of intense need, or in times of a severe storm within us as individuals, or in times of confusion and turmoil."
- Harold B. Lee, "A Blessing for the Saints," General Conference, October 1972
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

I love lessons taught with powerful analogies and imagery. President Lee's story of seeing the Manti temple shining through a snowstorm is a great example. The temple is the perfect focus for this analogy, since it's the source of so much that we find meaningful and important. Storms that would attempt to obscure it or hide its beauty only emphasize the inherent power of the structure, and all that it represents.

The extension of the analogy to the rest of the gospel provides food for thought. When we feel those times of need or challenge, especially the "intense" ones, and are surrounded by "confusion and turmoil" by the circumstances of mortality, we know we have somewhere to turn that will give us light and hope. Having a solid foundation of understanding before the "severe storm" comes makes all the difference in how we are able to draw on the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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