Last night, in the General Priesthood Session for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon Conference), President Thomas S. Monson gave the concluding address – in my memory, his best.
His talk was powerful, with a strong thread of personality elegantly woven throughout as he communicated those things that he felt mattered most for Mormon Priesthood holders to hear.
President Monson always has had an incredible knack for using stories from his life, and humor to bring life to his sermons – it’s an attribute for which he’s become so loved, and for which I think he’ll be so well known as a Prophet.
In his Priesthood address, he told a story of sitting up on the stand, some time ago, in a Sacrament meeting somewhere. He said that as he sat there, he noticed a little boy in the audience, who was sitting exactly the way he was sitting.
He said that s he’d cross his legs, the boy would cross his legs too. When he switched legs, the boy would imitate his very position.
He then said that he tried putting his chin in his hand (which he reenacted tonight) and true to form, the boy did the same. Then, right before he was about to get up to address the congregation, he said he thought he’d really put the boy to the test. So he looked the boy squarely in the eyes, so he knew he was focused only on him, and wiggled his ears! (As he said this, he paused, and with amazing dexterity, wiggled his ears). Of course, we all laughed, and heartily.
Once we’d stopped laughing, he commented “My wife told me not to do that”. We all laughed again.
He then continued, saying that at this point, the boy looked dumbfounded, turned and got his fathers attention, whispered something in his ear, then pointed to his own ears, and pointed back to President Monson. He said that when the father looked up at him, he just looked back, completely solemn faced, as if nothing had happened.
Listening, and watching him reenact this in front of the largest Priesthood assembly ever in the history of the world, was simply inspiring. The message of course was there, which he elaborated on after the story, but it was wonderfully accented by humor and personality.
Every prophet leaves behind their own legacy. I think the legacy we’ll find from President Monson is that of his profoundly personal touch. A wonderful trait for a prophet of God.
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