Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Teachings of George Albert Smith Lesson 6

Sustaining Those Whom the Lord Sustains

What a great lesson topic for the week before General Conference and the day we sustain a new Bishop and his counselors!

In this lesson, President Smith emphasized the importance of sustaining leaders (this would be a great quote to share with your family prior to the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference!):

In 1946, while conducting a session of general conference, President Smith introduced the sustaining of Church officers by explaining that it is more than just a passive act: “We now have one order of business that is customary with these Conferences; that is, the presentation of the Authorities of the Church to be sustained by the vote of the people. I hope that you will realize, all of you, that this is a sacred privilege. … It will not be just a symbol but it will be an indication that, with the help of the Lord, you will carry your part of the work.”

In fact, President Smith said that when we raise our hand to sustain someone, we are making a covenant:

It must be a source of strength to the President of this Church to look into the faces of thousands of honest men and women and observe them raise their hand in covenant with our Father in heaven, and sustain him in the office to which he has been called as president of this great Church. The obligation that we make when we raise our hands under such circumstances, is a most sacred one. It does not mean that we will go quietly on our way and be willing that the prophet of the Lord shall direct this work, but it means,—if I understand the obligation I assumed when I raised my hand—that we will stand behind him; we will pray for him; we will defend his good name, and we will strive to carry out his instructions as the Lord shall direct him to offer them to us while he remains in that position.

This is Moses being sustained by Aaron and Hur
Exodus 17:8-13

We talked about how our loyalty and faithfulness can help ease the burdens of our leaders.  And, we talked about how the Lord chooses our leaders vs. the way the World chooses its leaders (violence, blood line, committee, vote, etc.).  The Lord prepares whom he will put into leadership positions and no one aspires to leadership.
Hebrews 5:4
 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God.
President Smith:
How grateful we ought to be to know that this work is not the work of man, but it is the work of the Lord; that this Church, that bears the name of Jesus Christ, is directed by him, and he will permit no man or group of men to destroy it. He will not permit the men who preside over his Church to lead the people into error, but he will sustain them with his almighty power. He will magnify them in the eyes of good and great men and women. He will bless their ministry and it will be fraught with success. Those who oppose and find fault will not find joy in their opposition. Those who criticize and seek to destroy the influence of the leaders of the Church will suffer the result of their wrong-doing.

We also talked about how following our leaders will lead us to safety:

I know of nothing of great importance that has happened in the world that the Lord through his prophets has not advised the people of beforehand, so that they have not been left in ignorance of what was to develop, but could plan their lives, if they would, to their advantage. …

Safety :)

And how the surest way to allow the adversary to lead us away from safety is to criticize our leaders (notice the strong verb that President Smith uses in this passage):

I stand here to plead with you, my brethren and sisters, not to permit words of criticism or of unkindness to pass your lips about those whom the Lord has called to lead us. Do not be found in the companionship of those who would belittle them or weaken their influence among the children of men. If you do, I can say to you that you will find yourselves in the power of the adversary.

As a final thought, let's remind ourselves to pray for and help our leaders:

Let us sustain these men whom God has raised up to preside over us. Let us bless them, not only by our lips, but by assisting in every possible way to carry this burden that rests so heavily upon their shoulders. … Pray for and bless them and help them.

As we look forward to General Conference and serving with our new Bishop, let us pray to know how to sustain our leaders and to never succomb to the temptation of criticizing our leaders.

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