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President Thomas S. Monson Presides at Regional Conference

By Richard Dilworth Rust
(RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA) -- September 17, 2002
A regional conference was held in Raleigh, North Carolina, on September 14 and 15 featuring President Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency and Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. The Saturday priesthood leadership session was conducted by area authority Elder John C. Taggart and the Sunday session by Elder Dale E. Miller, president of the North America East Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In the Saturday session, Elder Miller shared his experiences in helping top-level executives through using gospel principles. Emphasizing the role of the Holy Ghost in missionary work, Elder Miller told of the sister missionary teaching in his home who told her investigator, "During this lesson, we’ll feel the Holy Ghost. I’ll tell you when it comes." After relating the story of Joseph Smith’s first vision, the sister missionary stopped and identified the spirit the investigator was feeling. Receptive to that spirit, the young woman later was baptized. In the Sunday session, Elder Miller focused on the sacrament as the main event of sacrament meeting and spelled out the elements of the sacramental covenants. His wife, Sister Miller, told of being directed to join her husband in going to England. There, the spirit of Elijah worked with her as she was led to one place and another in finding her ancestors—for whom she later did temple work.

Elder Scott taught the priesthood leaders how Satan works with good people: He gives them so many good things to do that they can’t possibly do the essential things. Elder Scott’s challenge was to study the use of our discretionary time and focus on using it to accomplish our highest priorities. He also challenged leaders to ask themselves: "Is there anything in my life I would be ashamed of someone else knowing?" If so, get rid of it. Do a thorough spiritual housecleaning—and then help others do the same. Conversion, Elder Scott emphasized, is not the same as testimony. Testimony can build the faith that leads to conversion—which involves action. A converted person has allegiance to God in thoughts and conduct. Any desire for things contrary to the gospel has died; substituted for it is a love of God and a fixed and controlling determination to keep God’s commandments. In his talk on Sunday, Elder Scott spoke lovingly to the children and shared experiences of faith in action. Center your life on the Savior, he said.

President Monson shared many personal experiences that revealed this remarkable leader’s great love and caring. Telling of challenges in his life, he affirmed the truth of the saying, "Man’s extremity is but God’s opportunity." Learn your office and do your duty, he said; be not weary in well doing. He told of encountering the motto later adopted by President Kimball: "Do it. Do it right. Do it right now." President Monson’s personal anecdotes especially verified his commitment: "When I feel a prompting and follow it, and see that I provide help to someone’s need or prayer, I have the sweetest feeling I know in mortality." Lift someone, he urged; bring them to the truth. President Monson advised the bishops to follow the same counsel he received from his stake president when he was a twenty-two year old bishop. President Child advised Bishop Monson: "Take care of the poor; have no favorites; tolerate no iniquity." To the leaders generally, he shared stories to illustrate the importance of being pure, caring for the individual, and being united. On Sunday, President Monson shared passages from his journal pertaining to previous visits to North Carolina. He emphasized the power of prayer, and applied to our lives the elements in the Lord’s plan for building a house (D&C 88:119). He related how the Lord worked through him to bless the lives of others.