Thomas Monson Talks About Reverence
Mormon beliefs include reverence for God, Jesus Christ, and the gospel, as well as for life and everything God has given us. Children are taught that reverence is not just sitting still with their hands in their laps during church. They learn that reverence is love for Jesus Christ. Reverence isn’t just for church. It’s a part of everyday life as we show respect and gratitude for the Savior and His gospel. Following are quotes from Thomas S. Monson, the Mormon prophet, about living a life of reverence and love.
Helping Children to be Reverent
Note: Primary is an auxiliary for children ages 18 months to twelve years of age.
Everything wasn’t bliss in our ward Primary, for boys will be boys. The laughter of the boys and the chatter of the girls at times must have been most disconcerting to our Primary leaders.
One day as we left the chapel for our classrooms, I noted that our Primary president remained behind. I paused and observed her. She sat all alone on the front row of the benches, took out her handkerchief, and began to weep. I walked up to her and said, “Sister Georgell, don’t cry.”
She said, “I’m sad.”
I responded, “What’s the matter?”
She said, “I can’t control the Trail Builders. Will you help me?”
Of course I answered, “Yes.”
She said, “Oh, that would be wonderful, Tommy, if you would.”
What I didn’t know then is that I was the source of her tears. She had effectively enlisted me to aid in achieving reverence in our Primary. And we did.
The years flew by. When Melissa Georgell was in her nineties, she lived in a nursing facility in the northwest part of Salt Lake City. One year just before Christmas, I determined to visit my beloved Primary president. Over the car radio I heard the music of familiar Christmas carols: “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and many others. I reflected on the visit made by wise men those long years ago and the visit made by us boys when we portrayed the wise men in the pageant. The wise men brought precious gifts to the Christ child. I brought to Melissa only the gift of love and a desire to say “Thank you.”
I found her in the lunch room. She was staring at her plate of food, teasing it with the fork she held in her aged hand. Not a bite did she eat. As I spoke to her, my words were met by a benign but blank stare. I gently took her fork from her and began to feed her, talking all the time I did so about her service to boys and girls as a Primary worker and the joy which was mine to have later served as her bishop. You know, there wasn’t even a glimmer of recognition, far less a spoken word. Two other residents of the nursing home gazed at me with puzzled expressions. At last they spoke, saying, “She doesn’t know anyone—even her own family. She hasn’t said a word for a long, long time.”
Luncheon ended. My one-sided conversation wound down. I stood to leave. I held her frail hand in mine and gazed into her wrinkled but beautiful countenance and said, “God bless you, Melissa, and merry Christmas.”
Without warning, she spoke the words, “I know you. You’re Tommy Monson, my Primary boy. How I love you.”
She pressed my hand to her lips and bestowed on it the kiss of love. Tears coursed down her cheeks and bathed our clasped hands. Those hands, that day, were hallowed by heaven and graced by God. The herald angels did sing, for I heard them in my heart.
The words of the Master seemed to have a personal meaning never before fully felt: “Woman, behold thy son!” And to his disciple, “Behold thy mother!”
Thomas S. Monson, “Primary Days,” Ensign, Apr 1994, 65–68
Reverence in the Home
“The first and foremost opportunity for teaching in the Church lies in the home,” 17 observed President David O. McKay. “A true Mormon home is one in which if Christ should chance to enter, he would be pleased to linger and to rest.”
What are we doing to ensure that our homes meet this description? It isn’t enough for parents alone to have strong testimonies. Children can ride only so long on the coattails of a parent’s conviction.
A love for the Savior, a reverence for His name, and genuine respect one for another will provide a fertile seedbed for a testimony to grow.
Learning the gospel, bearing a testimony, leading a family are rarely if ever simple processes. Life’s journey is characterized by bumps in the road, swells in the sea—even the turbulence of our times.
Thomas S. Monson, “Hallmarks of a Happy Home,” Liahona, Oct 2001, 3
Reverence Through Service to God
We demonstrate our love by how well we serve our God. Remember when the Prophet Joseph Smith went to John E. Page and said to him, “Brother Page, you have been called on a mission to Canada.”
Brother Page, struggling for an excuse, said, “Brother Joseph, I can’t go to Canada. I don’t have a coat to wear.”
The Prophet took off his own coat, handed it to John Page, and said, “Wear this,and the Lord will bless you.”
John Page went on his mission to Canada. In two years he walked something like 8,000 kilometers and baptized 600 converts. He was successful because he responded to an opportunity to serve his God.
Thomas S. Monson, “How Do We Show Our Love?,” Liahona, Feb 1998, 3
Reverence Through Testimony of Jesus Christ
I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me and the love Jesus offers you. I think of the love he provided in Gethsemane. I think of the love he provided in the wilderness. I think of the love he provided at the tomb of Lazarus; of the love he demonstrated on Golgotha’s hill, at the open tomb, and, yes, when he appeared in that sacred grove with his Father and spoke those memorable words to Joseph Smith. I thank God for his love in sharing his Only Begotten Son in the flesh, even Jesus Christ, for you and me. I thank the Lord for the love he demonstrated by providing his life, that we might have life eternal.
Jesus is more than a teacher. Jesus is the Savior of the world. He is the Redeemer of all mankind. He is the Son of God. He showed the way. You may recall that Jesus filled his mind with truth; Jesus filled his life with service; Jesus filled his heart with love. When we follow that example, we shall never hear those words of rebuke that came from the parables. We shall never find that we have empty lamps. We shall never be considered unprofitable servants. We shall never determine that we have been found unfruitful in the kingdom of God. Rather, when you and I follow carefully the parts of this formula and literally fill our minds with truth, fill our lives with service, and fill our hearts with love, we may qualify to hear one day that statement of our Savior, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 25:21).
Thomas S. Monson, “Formula for Success,” Liahona, Aug 1995, 3