Friday, October 1, 2021

Elder Neil L. Andersen on learning to love and follow our leaders

Elder Neil L. Andersen (1951- ) served as a Seventy beginning in 1993, and was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2009.
"For most of us, our contact with [the prophets, seers, and revelators] comes through general conference twice each year.... it is when children are young that parents must be innovative in helping them develop good habits regarding conference participation. As our children are given opportunities to observe and learn the role of these special witnesses, they will receive a spiritual confirmation of the sacred calling of their Church leaders, and they will feel a deeper love for and interest in these leaders and their message.
"Viewing the general conference sessions with our family is not sufficient to bring a love for the prophets. On one occasion some years before my call as a General Authority, I conducted a meeting presided over by one of the Apostles. After the meeting, I asked him about his stake conference talks. 'Do you prepare something specific for each stake conference?' I asked. He replied that he generally did not, but relied upon the promptings received just prior to and during the conference. But then he added, 'But my general conference talk is very different. I will normally go through twelve to fifteen drafts to be certain that it is what the Lord would have me say.' Many times since then I have asked myself, 'If an Apostle will go through twelve to fifteen drafts, is it pleasing to the Lord if I listen to or read his message one or two times? I don't think so.'"
- Neil L. Andersen, "Teaching Our Children to Love the Prophets," Ensign, April 1996, pp. 44-47
Click here to read the full talk

Elder Andersen gives every parent of young children something to ponder. They "must be innovative in helping them develop good habits regarding conference participation." A love for Church leaders and interest in their message can be set in childhood. As parents, we should seek inspiration to find the way to do that!

Elder Andersen then instructs that it's not sufficient to just sit together and watch conference. Our effort to draw inspiration from the talks should match the spiritual efforts put into preparing the talks. That is a particularly challenging invitation!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
September 30, 2015

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