On June 23rd the current LDS Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, celebrated his 96th birthday. One element of the festivities included breaking ground for a new building on the campus of Brigham Young University; a building to be named in honor of President Hinckley.
Several people spoke at the groundbreaking, including Thomas S. Monson. President Monson serves as a Latter-day Saint Apostle and First Counselor to President Hinckley, and is next in line to become LDS Church president.
As reported in Church News,
President Monson said he was honored to use the occasion to pay tribute to President Hinckley for his work ethic, optimism and dedication to the [restored] gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Amidst the turbulence of our times, we reach out for one who will guide us to safety. That one is President Hinckley,” he said. “He is our prophet, seer and revelator. He is an island of calm in a sea of storm. He is a lighthouse to the mariner who is lost. He is your friend and my friend.” (Church News, 7/1/06, page 3)
It’s really nice to have someone in our lives we trust to lead and guide us. We all have people we seek out when we need wisdom or comfort. For some it’s a father. Others, a mother. For others it may be a pastor, a spouse, or a friend. For Mormons, it’s the man they call prophet. We treasure these people, these relationships; many of us give thanks for them.
Yet each of these examples have one thing in common. The giver and guide is human; just a man or a woman. As such, though he may be trustworthy, he is not infallible or inerrant. He does the best he can; we take his advice — or leave it.
But there is One near to each of us who is infallible and inerrant. Almighty God is not only perfectly trustworthy, but He loves His people with a perfect love. He has pledged to watch over us, lead us, guide us, listen to us, support us, protect us…and in all things, whatever happens, He has promised to order our lives in the perfect way that He, in His infinite wisdom, knows is absolutely best.
When I visited Israel in 2001 I spent time at the Western Wall (Wailing Wall) of the temple. As I sat in the Women’s Court I wrote:
Women line the short section of wall rocking, swaying, crying as they pray…They are mourning the loss of the presence of God from Israel. Once a temple stood here which housed the Ark of the Covenant. The glory of God filled the temple. God was here. But now the temple is gone — God is no longer here. The people grieve — they long for the presence of God… My heart breaks for these people. They do not know that Emmanuel has come — God with us. They do not know that God dwells within the hearts of His people. They do not know that Jesus promised, “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you. I am with you always.”
In reading President Monson’s remarks about Gordon B. Hinckley, a similar sadness came over me as what I experienced at the Western Wall. God has given the world the greatest gift of all — Emmanuel; God with us. But instead of reaching out for Him, the Mormon people choose a man to be their guide to safety, their island of calm, their lighthouse to the lost. They could have comfort and guidance from the King of kings, but they choose another.
God’s Word says:
- For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death. (Psalm 48:14)
- For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat… (Isaiah 25:4)
- The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; but the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. (Isaiah 60:19)
Dear ones, you can have the real thing. You don’t need a man to stand between you and your God. Choose well. Choose Him.
if you turn to the LORD your God
with all your heart and with all your soul.
This is excellent. Very well said.
Since Monson is next in line to be “prophet”, I couldn’t help but wonder if he is setting the stage for himself as prophet – promoting members love and devotion for the man in this highly esteemed and powerful position… the position Monson himself will soon hold. Interesting.