Brother Stephen W. Owen: The Greatest Leaders Are the Greatest Followers


Brother Stephen W. Owen, of the Young Men General Presidency, addressed men worldwide during the priesthood session of the 186th Annual General Conference for the LDS Church. He encouraged them to lead and follow as Jesus Christ did.

Brother Stephen W. Owen (LDS Church)

Brother Owen described his early experiences hunting in the mountains with his father. Following his father closely gave Brother Owen greater courage as they traveled along hazardous trails. He likened the experience to the process of following Jesus Christ. He remarked that Jesus was both a powerful leader as well as a loyal follower.

“He is the greatest leader because he is the greatest follower — he follows his father perfectly, in all things,” he said.

Brother Owens then recounted two experiences from the youth of the church. He described being unexpectedly asked by a group of young deacons to help pass the sacrament. He expressed slight hesitation because he hadn’t done so in years and was unsure of his route in passing the sacrament. A deacon comforted him and said, “‘That’s okay. You’ll be fine. I felt the same way when I started.'”

Brother Owens was similarly impressed by the sense of camaraderie and leadership that existed in the quorums. Members of the quorums congratulated and supported each other after giving talks.

“Your ability to lead does not come from an outgoing personality, motivational skills or even a talent for public speaking,” Brother Owens said. “It comes from your commitment to follow Jesus Christ.”

He shared another account of encouraging a newly ordained Melchizedek Priesthood holder in New Zealand to give his first priesthood blessing to his mother. President Owens later received an email from the young man, who revealed that in spite of feelings of weakness, the young man gave his mother a powerful blessing and felt the Spirit.

“Isn’t it inspiring to see how a seemingly ordinary young man can accomplish great things through priesthood service, even when he feels inadequate?” Brother Owens asked.

He closed by charging priesthood holders to seek after Jesus Christ and follow his example in all things. He then quoted President Thomas S. Monson: “‘As we follow that man of Galilee — even the Lord Jesus Christ — our personal influence will be felt for good wherever we are, whatever our callings.'”

See a summary of The Daily Universe’s coverage of the April 2016 LDS General Conference.

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