Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints addressed Education Week attendees on giving special attention to the words of the prophets.
During his Aug. 16 devotional, Elder Cook examined some doctrines and initiatives presidents of the Church over the last 100 years have provided to members.
Elder Cook acknowledged that convincing people to adhere to the commandments has always remained a challenge.
“The major difference for our day is that the ‘great-and-spacious-building’ skeptics are louder, more contentious and less tolerant than at any time during my life,” Elder Cook said. “The skeptics have abandoned the doctrinal foundations of apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone.”
Elder Cook mentioned how there was a time when people would understand and acknowledge they would be judged by obedience to God’s commandments and not to the dominant philosophies of the day. However, he explained how in today’s social media-fueled world many are more worried about being mocked than about being judged by God.
“Many people mistakenly conclude that there is not a moral, righteous standard to which all people should adhere,” Elder Cook said.
He counseled attendees to give heed to the words of the prophets. He then proceeded to discuss one characteristic point of doctrine taught by six of the eleven prophets who served during the 100 years Education Week has been in existence.
Elder Cook talked about how President Heber J. Grant emphasized the Word of Wisdom at a time when the use of cigarettes and alcohol increased and was glamorized by the movie industry.
As a result of President Grant’s inspired teaching, Elder Cook said many members overcame long term bad habits. Several decades after his strong prophetic support for the Word of Wisdom, in 1964, the surgeon general of the United States concluded that cigarette smoking is a health hazard .
“Avoiding cigarettes and alcohol is an excellent example of prophetic guidance preceding education and scientific understanding of the significant detrimental impacts of smoking and alcohol consumption,” Elder Cook said.
He then talked about President David O. McKay’s teachings on missionary service and opportunities.
“He reinstituted Family Home Evening and encouraged families to carve out time for religious observance at home,” Elder Cook said. “His pronouncements were significant at the time but have also provided protection against the deterioration of the family unit.”
Elder Cook talked about how President McKay taught the need to strengthen families and not to seek status and wealth at the expense of righteous family cohesion, at a time when married couples with children decreased in the United States.
According to Elder Cook, President Spencer W. Kimball is remembered for various things including his emphasis on repentance and his revelation on the priesthood.
“In describing that revelation, he said, ‘We had the glorious experience of having the Lord indicate that the time had come when all worthy men and women everywhere can be fellow heirs and partners of the full blessings of the gospel,'” Elder Cook said quoting President Kimball.
He continued to talk about how President Gordon B. Hinckley constantly emphasized family and the sanctity of marriage among other teachings.
“He was also known for reaching out to new converts, building temples, constructing the Conference Center, empathizing with those suffering trials and encouraging those losing hope,” Elder Cook said. “His testimony of Jesus Christ was powerful.”
Elder Cook then proceeded to talk about President Thomas S. Monson and his time serving the Lord.
“President Monson is one of the most unique men I have had the privilege of knowing,” Elder Cook said. “During his service, he was a powerful advocate for Jesus Christ and for Hist restored Church.”
Elder Cook explained how he believed that thanks to President Monson’s teachings enhancing the spiritual concept of ministering and going to the rescue, the transition from home and visiting teaching to ministering was made possible.
“His ministering example was important for our day, but I believe it will be more important in years to come as ministering expands and blesses the members of the Church,” Elder Cook said.
He then concluded his address by talking about President Russell M. Nelson’s current presidency in the Church.
Elder Cook highlighted President Nelson’s revelation to make homes sanctuaries of faith and fully implementing home-centered, Church-supported religious observance.
“I believe future generations will be blessed by this revelation and that it will be a seminal instrument in helping to build faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.
Elder Cook reminded Education Week attendees of the importance of giving heed to the words of the prophets even when they may not understand it at first.
“These prophetic declarations that I have addressed have provided and will provide immunity and protection in the future to allow members to be in the world, but not of the world and prepare them for the Second Coming of the Savior,” Elder Cook said.