Sunday, July 29, 2018

Elder Bruce R. McConkie on the responsibilities of speakers and listeners in meetings

Elder Bruce R. McConkie (July 29, 1915–April 19, 1985) served as a Seventy from 1946-1972 when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve.  He served in that assignment until his death from cancer at age 69.
"We come into these congregations, and sometimes a speaker brings a jug of living water that has in it many gallons. And when he pours it out on the congregation, all the members have brought is a single cup and so that’s all they take away. Or maybe they have their hands over the cups, and they don’t get anything to speak of.
"On other occasions we have meetings where the speaker comes and all he brings is a little cup of eternal truth, and the members of the congregation come with a large jug, and all they get in their jugs is the little dribble that came from a man who should have known better and who should have prepared himself and talked from the revelations and spoken by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are obligated in the Church to speak by the power of the Spirit. We are commanded to treasure up the words of light and truth and then give forth the portion that is appropriate and needful on every occasion."
- Bruce R. McConkie, "The Seven Deadly Heresies," BYU Devotional, June 1, 1980
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

This thought from Elder McConkie illustrates the situation that we encounter each time we attend a sacrament meeting, conference session, or class of any kind in Church meetings. How prepared are we to receive the messages that will be shared? Do we come with minds, hearts, and spirits open and eager? Or are we distracted, unprepared, or uninvolved?

So much depends on how we prepare ourselves. Are we eager to learn, acknowledging that we can learn from any speaker or teacher, and are we open to direct personal inspiration that may come as speakers share their messages?

The Lord taught Joseph Smith this critical message too. When the one teaching is prepared and worthy to "preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth," and the listener is equally prepared to "receive it by the Spirit of truth," then the power of spiritual communication occurs, and "he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." (See D&C 50:17-22)

Of course, Elder McConkie also emphasizes how critical it is that the speaker or teacher comes, having "prepared himself and talked from the revelations and spoken by the power of the Holy Spirit." The burden of preparation rests heavily on his shoulders first!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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