This week’s Relief Society and Elder’s Quorum lesson is #23, entitled “Shepherds of the Flock,” which I find particularly suited to this time of year, as we picture Christ as the Good Shepherd and we prepare to celebrate His birth with images of shepherds welcoming the angelic hosts on that first Christmas night. The lesson, however, doesn’t speak of those shepherds, but instead of supporting and sustaining our Church leaders as they shepherd us back to the fold.
We are taught, in the words of President Spencer W. Kimball, that the Lord Himself sits at the head of this church, aided by those He has chosen to direct his affairs as apostles and prophets. God set them on the earth at this time for that very purpose. No leader ever chosen has been perfect, but they preside in the best ways they know how, and we should sustain them as they strive to fulfill their callings.
Some wonder why the conference messages are sometimes so similar. President Kimball explains that the messages are similar because the problems are the same, and until those problems are resolved, it would be foolhardy to cease warning against them. He also says that the way back to our Heavenly Father is simple, and the route remains the same. There is no need for a new and glamorous conference speech every single time – we are being given the formula, in its simplicity, and that is all we need. He says that if the Lord Himself were to come down and address us personally, His message would be much the same. The prophet’s words are the Lord’s words.
When we do not follow the teachings of the prophets, we have stagnated. When we follow the prophets, we have progress. Let us not make the same mistake made in times of old, when the people would worship idols of dead prophets and yet stone the living ones among them. Let us listen to our living prophets and understand that they were sent for our day.
We should pray for our leaders in our homes, and teach our children to pray for them as well. This will show our children how much we respect our leaders, and make it all the easier for us to set an example of obedience to our leaders.
How blessed we are in this day to have leaders who will set us on the right paths and keep us marching toward our Heavenly Father’s kingdom.