Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mantle of the Prophet - Amended

This is more by way of a journal entry. I need to keep this one in mind over time to remind myself that miraculous things can and do still happen in these cynical days of earth's history. Doubtless many others will write about this experience, probably more eloquently that I possibly could. This, then, is for my family and posterity.

Today was an amazing day. This has been the weekend of our annual General Conference of the Church. Since we have satellite we have the privilege of watching the proceedings from the comfort of our home. My sister has been visiting us so she, too, could watch from relative comfort. (She may also have enjoyed spending time with her nieces, but she came to watch Conference.)

I was already excited about this Conference. I have particularly enjoyed those Conferences where we sustain a new President of the Church. Also, with the re-organization of the First Presidency, we fully expected a new Apostle to be called yesterday. We were not disappointed. Although I know very little about Elder Christofferson, I was able to sense his spirit and testimony when he appeared in the press conference shortly after the morning session of Conference.

The first session of Conference was given over to a declared Solemn Assembly for the purpose of sustaining our new prophet, the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve. This was the first time that both Woodyettes have been old enough as baptized members of the Church to stand and raise their hands in a sustaining vote. I am happy to report that the members of the Church residing (or visiting) at Hacienda Woody voted unanimously in the affirmative.

But it is of this morning's session that I wish to speak. All of the sessions (I missed the Priesthood session, as I was helping Mrs. Woody in hosting our guest) were wonderful, but this morning was very special to me. All of the talks had hit home with me, but President Monson's talk has completely overshadowed me and I can't for the life of me remember a single other talk.

It was about halfway through his talk. He was talking about our fight with evil and, quite boldly, declared that we as a Church have all the tools necessary given to us by our Father to win this war. It was at that moment of his talk that I perceived the prophetic mantle resting upon his shoulders. Not visually, by any means. It was a spiritual perception, but a powerful one. It had the effect of bearing direct testimony to my own spirit that here was the anointed prophet of God on the earth. Here was the man holding all the keys of the Church who will guide us in the Lord's name for the foreseeable future.

I'm not a weeper, but I nearly wept. Mrs. Woody has no such compunction and was clearly moist of eye.

Mrs. Woody and I both felt it and agreed that we had seen something significant. What I did not expect was that others had felt it as well. Not, that is, until Elder Holland voiced it himself as the first speaker of the afternoon session. He had perceived it, too! That means this event was probably witnessed, or at least felt, by others. This must be true because I am not the most spiritually sensitive of souls. I have been guided throughout my life in numerous ways, but each event was more or less subtle to me. Only a few events stand out as strongly and firmly as today's. Foremost among those was the realization that Mrs. Woody would be my eternal companion. Today's testimony of President Monson hit me every bit as strongly as did that wonderful realization over a dozen years ago.

[Amended: As if to prove why I needed to write this down, I had originally said that I had not initially voiced my opinion that we had just witnessed the mantle of the prophet descend upon President Monson. Mrs. Woody corrected me and reminded me that I had actually voiced what we both had felt. Hence my rewrite of the paragraph above. If a man can't trust his memory after a mere few hours...]

For me this experience was on par with experiences I have read about over the years. I envied the Saints living at the time of the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, for example. What a tremendous thing to see angels while celebrating the construction of a House of the Lord in modern times. Likewise the saints who witnessed the transfiguration of Brigham Young after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. What a blessing to be given such a confirmation of the man who would carry on the work of the Restoration! My own wife has had experiences in her life of which I can only dream. Powerful witnesses of various aspects of the Gospel plan.

Thomas S. Monson stands 16th in the unbroken line of men who have held and exercised the keys of the Priesthood on our behalf. He is the Lord's chosen mouthpiece in all matters pertaining to our salvation. The Spirit made that abundantly clear to me this morning. I fully expect time and experience to bear that out.

God bless our new prophet, seer, and revelator.

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