Exclamation Marks not Question Marks

Although I don’t suspect that these posts will always go in order, I wanted to start with President Nelson’s first talk as an Apostle called appropriately enough Call to the Holy Apostleship

President Nelson apparently did not know about his call until the Saturday of General Conference. This must have been a major shock for him. But he had been prepared for his call through a lifetime of service.

His first talk as an Apostle was brief, but two themes stood out to me. The first is at the heart of Sister Nelson’s invitation and the origin for this project:

“I have implicit faith in the Lord and in His prophets. I have learned not to put question marks but to use exclamation points when calls are issued through inspired channels of priesthood government.”

For President Nelson these were not idle words. Anyone who has studied his life would be aware of countless instances where he followed the advice and counsel of the Lord’s Prophet and Apostles, from choosing to stay in Utah rather than to pursue a lucrative and prestigious position at the University of Chicago, to learning Mandarin based on a prompting that he received from a talk by President Kimball about the need for members to learn more about the Chinese people and language. President Nelson has throughout his life truly exemplified his invitation to put exclamation marks rather than question marks after what a prophet teaches.

How often do I put question marks up rather than exclamation marks? How often do I look for excuses not to do what I am taught? How often do I think that I am the exception to the rule? How often do I put off or forget about a prompting I have received while listening to the Prophet or one of the Apostles. Looking at the life of President Nelson makes me want to recommit myself to not just listening but to hearkening and doing.

On a related note, I love what President Nelson declared: “Today, I reaffirm that promise, to give all I have to the building of the kingdom of God on the earth. In accepting this call, knowing that challenges, charges, and keys will be conferred and that buffetings will likewise come, I commit my effort, my energy, and my all.”

Watching him still serving the Lord decades later as his Prophet inspires me to want to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. How often do I withold “my effort, my energy, and my all?” How often do I go through the motions on preparing a lesson or in ministering or in parenting? I want to be whole souled dedicated to building the Kingdom of God in myself, my family, my Ward, and my community.

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