Sunday, June 7, 2015

My Farewell Talk (May 31, 2015)

Thanks to all my family and friends who came to hear me talk in Sacrament meeting. I so appreciate all of you! Here's a copy of my farewell talk.

Taylor’s Farewell Talk: Come Listen to the Prophet’s Voice
 In our time we are blessed with a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson who gives us revelation from God that is specific for us.  He along with the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 Apostles are called and ordained as prophets, seers, and revelators.  They are called by God and are just as much prophets as Moses, or Isaiah.  The Lord says in D&C 1:38, “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. “  In other words the prophet is the Lord’s mouthpiece on the Earth and when he gives us counsel it is as if God is speaking directly to us.
From the time of Adam, the Lord has given counsel to His children on the earth through prophets.  Prophets receive revelation from God for the entire world.  There are countless examples of Holy prophets in the scriptures.  Abraham for example received the Abrahamic Covenant, which promised that he would have numerous seed and that if they would accept the gospel they would “be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11).  As descendants of Abraham today these promises are still given to us, and because I can receive those blessings, I am so grateful that Abraham was a true prophet of God and able to obtain this covenant through revelation. 
In Amos 3:7 we read “surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants, the prophets.”  This scripture was reiterated in the Book of Mormon in 1 Nephi 22:2 which states “By the Spirit are all things made known unto the prophets, which shall come upon the children of men according to the flesh.” Since the beginning of the Earth, God has proven again and again that these scriptures are completely true.  For instance in Genesis chapter 6 we read that “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” and so he “said unto Noah, the end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.  Make thee an ark” (Genesis 6:5;13).   Because God reveals all things to his prophets, Noah was able to build the ark, and mankind and all the animals were preserved from the flood.  The Lord would never have flooded the Earth without first telling his servant Noah.
The Lord revealed warnings to His prophets’ in the Book of Mormon as well.  Abinadi foresaw the destruction of the wicked people of King Noah if they would not repent, and tried to reconcile the people with God (Mosiah 12:8).  Alma believed Abinadi’s words and was able to convert about “four hundred and fifty souls” and bring them safely from the Land of Nephi (Mosiah 18:34-35).  However the wicked King and his priests would not repent and the kingdom was taken over by the Lamanites and King Noah suffered death by fire (Mosiah 19).  From these stories we can learn that God would never strike His children without first warning the people and giving them the opportunity to repent.
            Amos 3:7 still stands in these Latter-days.  Regarding the counsel Jesus Christ gave in Matthew 24:36 that no man would know the day or hour of the Second Coming, the Prophet Joseph Smith said “Did Christ speak this as a general principle throughout all generations? Oh, no, He spoke in the present tense.  No man that was then living upon the footstool of God knew the day or the hour.  But he did not say that there was no man throughout all generations that should not know the day or the hour.  No, for this would be in flat contradiction with other scripture.  For the prophet says that God will do nothing but what He will reveal unto His servants the prophets.  Consequently, if it is not made known unto the prophets, it will not come to pass.”  From this counsel, we learn that even the date of the Second Coming will eventually be revealed to the living prophet at that time.  This fact gives me such comfort; because I have always struggled when the answers to my Gospel questions have been “We don’t know.”  However because we have a living and ordained prophet on the Earth today there are no “We don’t know”’s in the Gospel—there are only “We don’t know yet”’s.  All answers to questions will be revealed in their due time.
            Prophets don’t only reveal God’s future actions but also those that will be done by mankind.  For instance Isaiah prophesied the crucifixion of the Savior by saying that “he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).  In the Book of Mormon Nephi prophesied of the colonization of the Americas, and the establishment of the United States as a free nation.  For instance in 1 Nephi 13:12 he describes Columbus coming across the Atlantic as “a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.”  The prophet Joseph Smith also made many prophesies in the Latter-days, for example he foresaw the American Civil War in 1832; we can see this prophesy in D&C section 87, which reads “thus saith the Lord…beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls…for behold the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain…in order to defend themselves” (D&C 87:1;3).
            Because our living prophets are just as much God’s servants as those in times of old, we must study their words.  We should take time to read the Ensign, and watch General Conference, because these contain counsel that is specifically tailored for our day.  We can learn just as much from these modern day counsels as from the scriptures of old.  This is not just a good suggestion; the Lord has instructed us to follow the prophets’ counsel.  In D&C 21:4-5, the Lord tells us “thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; for his word ye shall receive as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.”  Because the Lord’s words and the prophet’s words are one in the same if we disobey the prophet we are disobeying our Father in Heaven.  We should not worry about following the prophet’s voice because a prophet will never lead us astray.  The Lord has promised that if we follow the prophet’s counsel “the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory” (D&C 21:6).
            As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are unique in our belief that Heavenly Father has modern prophets on the Earth today.  While this is a unique view, it is in no ways strange, because Heavenly Father has been giving instructions to his people through his holy prophets since the beginning.  While there have been periods of apostasy, the gospel has always been restored to the Earth and the people once again have had a prophet of God.  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency has said, “Because Heavenly Father loves His children, He has not left them to walk through this mortal life without direction and guidance.”  Life without a prophet would certainly be dark, and confusing.  Our day is full of turmoil with wars and contentions occurring all over the world, and it is great to know that President Monson and the Apostles have the ability to give us true light and guidance in a time of such terror.  We can also take great comfort knowing that the Lord will never leave us without a prophet again.  We live in the fullness of times and as the last and great dispensation we have been promised that there will never be another great apostasy again.  It brings me such joy to know that through my entire life I will never be without the counsel of a living prophet.
            Everyone must gain a testimony of living prophets for himself or herself.  My belief in modern prophets came very simply: it came from a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  In Moroni 10:4 we learn that “when ye receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true, and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”  In other words after we have read and studied the Book of Mormon, we must pray and ask Heavenly Father if it is true.  I have read the Book of Mormon and have asked Heavenly Father and I have received the answer that it is a true record of ancient peoples in the Americas.  Because I know that the Book of Mormon is true, I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, seer, and revelator.  President Ezra Taft Benson said that the Book of Mormon is “the most singular evidence in support of Joseph Smith’s claim to being a spokesmen for Almighty God.”  Joseph Smith brought the Book of Mormon into the Latter-days by revelation and I know that he must have been a true prophet of God, because the Book of Mormon is true.  Because Joseph Smith was a true prophet, the Church is true, and because the Church is true, President Thomas S. Monson is God’s prophet living on the Earth today.

            Because I have this knowledge of the Gospel, I look forward to being able to share it with my brothers and sisters in the Philippines.  The Gospel brings such joy to my life and I hope that I can be a tool in God’s hand to bring that joy to others on my mission as well as throughout the rest of life.  I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the path to happiness and I want to share it with as many people as possible.  One of the reasons that I have such a desire to serve a mission is because of the love and sacrifice of my Savior.  He paid the ultimate price for my sins, and because of Him I can return to live with my Heavenly Father and my family forever.  While I know I have covenanted to always follow Him, I felt that the least I could do was dedicate 18 months of my life to serving Him and to bringing others to Him.  When you put that into perspective it seems miniscule.  If I live the average life expectancy for women in the United States at 81, 18 months is only 1.8% of my life.  This gift is nothing compared to what He gave me, but I know that the Lord will be pleased with me for going.
Huguely Sisters
All the family!
Taylor with her grandparents.
Huguely and Rolapp Cousins!

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