Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Follow Thou Me

Of late, a flurry of articles and media discussions hovers about the matter of vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Speculation abounds over who might be called and how newer members of the Quorum might help direct the future of the Church. Journalists seek out experts from the fields of history, anthropology, and what-not, to weigh in.

The wise look to the past. They will remember stories about men and women who were called to service by prophets. They will remember reading about the simple yet moving pledge of a young Thomas S. Monson to President David O. McKay to put "my very life on the line if necessary." They will remember the simplicity of the call to Boyd K. Packer. Brother Packer had been invited to join President Joseph Fielding Smith and his counselors in greeting a delegation from Japan. After the meeting, as Brother Packer readied to leave, President N. Eldon Tanner said to him: "I think the President wants you to stay" (Heidi S. Swinton, To The Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson, 215-217; Lucille C. Tate, Boyd K. Packer: A Watchman on the Tower, 170).

Catch the humility in that statement: "I think the President wants you to stay."

N. Eldon Tanner knew what pertained to him as a counselor in the First Presidency--and he knew what did not pertain to him. 

We recall the visit of President Spencer W. Kimball to the hospital bed of Neal A. Maxwell. The invitation to serve came quietly.

Latter-day Saints may someday learn of the serene manner in which prophets will call any future members to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles or to the Quorums of the Seventy. A serene sky may still produce a bolt out of the blue! As quiet as such stories often seem, they will become a matter of record, of the History of the Church, for angels and children to look upon. What shall we say then of articles, experts, interviews, political and ecclesiastical surmises? Will not these all descend into the footnotes or step aside to the marginalia?

The apostolic calling is "not of men, neither of man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead" (Galatians 1:5).

The "plain humility" of the Lord Jesus Christ stands far removed from the flurry of speculation (Ether 12:39). We do not know what Peter said to Joseph and Oliver when Peter, James, and John conferred the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood and then ordained them to the holy apostleship; we do know the words of Jesus when He first called Peter and Andrew to discipleship: "Follow me, and I shall make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:18-19). "He called them"--even Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip, Nathanael, and the rest (Matthew 4:21; John 1:43). "And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles" (Luke 6:12-13; Mark 3:13-14).

So it was with Moses on "the mountain of God," for "God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses" (Exodus 3:1, 4). Pharaoh, when he first faced meek Moses, sensed nothing of the power attending Moses' prophetic calling. Power came by demonstration; yet a continuing darkness and ignorance enshrouded the divine king all the way to the Sea. I would love to know the name of that Pharaoh. I've consulted an expert or two, but his name, though appearing in its turn in the king lists--carved into stone--remains out of reach. Yet even should we come to know the Pharaoh of the Exodus; given the power and glory of the divine triumph of Israel, the name would slip into the footnotes of God in History. Don't be part of a footnote.

The invitation to prepare for the future comes to all. Speculation may hover; the invitation stands. "And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me" (2 Nephi 31:10). The "beloved of God" are all "called to be saints" (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2). The calling of beloved saints "into the grace of Christ" surely also comes "by his grace" (Galatians 1:6, 15).

Prepare for new scripture by reading and observing the scriptures we now have. Prepare for new apostolic messages at General Conference--all 19 or so new apostolic messages--by reading and applying those shared in April or October by apostles and prophets, seventies, bishops, and the other chosen leaders. Each message carries an imprimatur, the prophetic imprimatur of President Thomas S. Monson and of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ.

The simple stories of the special callings will take care of themselves. Slipping under the media radar, they will join the historical record of the joy of the saints (see Enos 1:3).


I solely am responsible for what I post; nothing, here, represents the official viewpoint of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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