What a privilege it was to watch the events unfolding on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, during the First Presidency worldwide broadcast. As Elder D. Todd Christofferson announced President Russell M. Nelson as the 17th President of the Church, as well as the names of his first and second counselor, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, I could not stop smiling from ear to ear. The spirit was strong and confirmed to me that what was taking place was indeed the will of the Lord.
President Nelson’s vital message about the importance of making and keeping sacred covenants was a great reminder of the many blessings and privileges we can attain. “Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to women, men, and children everywhere.”
As I watched each member of the First Presidency speak, my heart and soul was filled with joy. These special men and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve, including M. Russell Ballard as Acting President, were called by God to serve in the positions they hold. I feel a profound sense of gratitude for each of them, their wives and their families. Though not infallible, as President Oaks stated in the news conference that day, these men do the work they were called to do to the best of their ability.
President Eyring’s encouraging words cannot be overstated. “The growth in the number of members and their spread across nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples are visible miracles, but the greater miracle—and the one which will accelerate—is the growth in faith in Jesus Christ. This is a great time in the history of the Church. And yes, the best is still to come.”
One aspect of the broadcast that touched me deeply was the sense of love and respect the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have for one another. As President Nelson spoke highly about the great service rendered by our former prophet, Thomas S. Monson and his counselors including Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland reached over to Elder Uchtdorf and squeezed his hand as if to say, “I wholeheartedly agree with what the prophet is saying about you and I love you”. Tears welled up in my eyes to see this touching exchange.
Later during the news conference President Nelson and his counselors acknowledged some concerns members have on various issues and answered each question with respect, love and great optimism. A question was asked, “What about women?”, referring to their place in the Church. President Nelson responded, “I have a special place in my heart about the women.” He spoke about the importance of mothers and grandmothers and the role they have in raising righteous children. Speaking of his own grandchildren he said, “They emulate the work of their wonderful mothers and their grandmother”. He talked about the various roles women have in the church as leaders and counselors. “We depend on their voices,” he said. “We need their voices, we need their input and we love their participation with us.” President Eyering added, “We need their influence.” He explained he often gets praise for how wonderful his children are. With emotion he attributed this to his wife. “…there is no question in my mind if you speak of the notion of the place of women, they are the source of most of the strength we see.” He continued, “….in terms of influence the Lord has already given them, I think, no greater influence exists in the kingdom than the women of the Church.” As a woman of the church I can think of no greater responsibility and recognition.
I appreciate sincere questions that are asked by both members and non-members of the church. I believe that open, honest and respectful dialogue is important. I am thankful to the prophet and his counselors for taking the time to receive and answer questions. Perhaps more news conferences like this will take place from time to time to acknowledge concerns and to give us the opportunity to receive ongoing counsel, clarificaiton and encouragement from the leadership of the church.
What a time to be alive! Though evil forces continue to tempt and fight against us on all sides, we are on the Lord’s side! Light is stronger than darkness. Jesus Christ has already overcome the world. As we strive to make and keep covenants we will be blessed in various ways. We will find strength we didn’t know we had, because with God, all things are possible.
An amateur writer, photographer and genealogist, Valerie has enjoyed writing since the age of nine. She and her husband are proud parents of three adult children. She is the administrator for MormonDoctorsTestify.org and MormonConvertsTestify.org including corresponding Facebook pages. Her other Facebook pages include Mormon Missionaries Testify, Be Prepared - Info. for Prospective & Current LDS Missionaries and Strong Family Ties. She has a strong desire to share the gospel with others. She enjoys learning about many things such as emergency preparation, public health, alternative / functional medicine, psychology, world and space science, quantum physics and more. She obtained an Associates Degree in Office Education at Ricks College (BYU-Idaho). She has studied at Sam Houston State University and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her goal is to go back to school to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Public Health. Valerie works with her husband, a private investigator, as an administrative assistant. She feels privileged to be a part of a visiting teaching group, accompanying her husband during Home Teaching visits and being an Activity Days leader in her ward. Scott and Valerie's oldest child participated in a service mission in Texas and Utah. Their middle child is a full-time missionary in Oklahoma. Their youngest child was a service missionary in Utah.