An Open Letter To An Apostle

Author’s Note: Although I have written an occasional letter to a general leader of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I know they are busy and have many responsibilities. In this age of  skepticism and criticism, I wonder if they know the positive impact they make on individuals. Today I write an open letter to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in my church. He spoke on Sunday, September 7 in a satellite broadcast to young adults (ages 18-30) across the world. His message answered this question: “Have I seen the Hand of God Reaching Out To Touch Us Today?” for those we invited to our home to watch him speak.  You may watch or listen to his talk here.

Dear Elder Holland,

My husband and I invited several people to our home to watch the broadcast of the Church Educational System Fireside on Sunday.  Five young adults and two missionaries came. Two of the women were not members of our church. Another woman, was baptized only a few months ago.

The week before, this woman called me discouraged about some of her personal challenges.  I didn’t know what support I could give that would answer her worries.  I encouraged her with what helps me—to think about what’s positive and not dwell on the negative. In reality, it seemed simplistic even when I said it, but I challenged her to look up a scripture, “let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; . . .and . . . the Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion.” I told her she could find it in the Doctrine and Covenants in Section 121, verses 45 and 46.

Later, she looked it up on her own, but mistakenly, she begin reading in verse six and discovered these words in verse seven, “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.”

She showed it to me in church on Sunday, hours before you gave your talk. I told her a brief history of the circumstances of why that verse is so significant, that this is the Prophet Joseph Smith’s prayer to God when he is imprisoned in Liberty Jail and God’s answer to his plight.  She said she remembers visiting the site of that jail in Missouri when she was a Baptist teenager many years ago.

When she came to our house that night, you said you were speaking to everyone across the globe who was listening, as if you were right there and could shake our hands. And then you spoke of those very scriptures that we had just studied together. You showed us how the lessons of Liberty that the prophet had learned could transform our own personal prisons into sacred places of spiritual understanding.

I caught her eye during the talk. She felt a hint of what I knew. The Spirit had prepared us both to listen, as if the Lord was speaking directly to her. He does know us one by one, doesn’t he?

Thank you,

Sister Hirst

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