January 23, 2018
Writer: Matthew Christensen
For this week's BYU-Idaho devotional, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to campus. He addressed the students with energy, love, and encouragement and shared some of his apostolic experiences. He addressed the recent passing of President Thomas S. Monson and shared his testimony about the process of selecting a new president of the church.
He began his devotional address by expressing his love and admiration for BYU-Idaho's President Henry J. Eyring and his wife. He encouraged the students to look to and learn from their examples, as he has had the occasion to do many times. Elder Stevenson and President Eyring both served as mission presidents in Japan and have shared numerous faith-building interactions before and since.
"You should observe these traits closely and model what you learn from both him and Sister Eyring," Elder Stevenson said. "I am confident that it will be of great benefit for you throughout your life."
He went on to explain that with the recent passing of President Thomas S. Monson, it is a tender time and an opportunity to seek inspiration and confirmation in what he called the divinely appointed process of selecting a new president of the church. Concerning that process, Elder Stevenson said, "We have recently observed again a divine, sacred, solemn, and orderly transfer of authority to exercise all priesthood keys from one prophet to another - a clear and continual legacy of succession."
Concerning President Monson's legacy, Elder Stevenson took the time to reflect on meaningful experiences and lessons he learned from President Monson, including his unique capacity to serve the individual, care for the needy and follow spiritual promptings with exactness.
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, he recalled a time when the prophet gave his suit coat and shoes to a local German church leader when he noticed the man didn't have the means to dress himself properly for the calling.
"He could see a man who didn't have what he may have wanted to have in his leadership role in the church and President Monson was kind enough to leave his clothes with the man to enjoy them, " Stevenson said. "He walked through the airport with slippers and was overnight in New York City in a hotel without shoes because of this."
He also spoke about the reunion President Monson must have had with his wife after he went from this mortal world to the immortal world.
"Many have speculated on the joyful heavenly reunion of President Monson and his dear wife, Sister Frances Monson," Stevenson said. "Let's reflect on other heavenly reunions which likely followed theirs - for example, the 85 widows of the Sixth-Seventh Ward in Salt Lake City over which President Monson presided as bishop so many years ago at the young age of twenty-two, just eighteen months after he married!"
In closing, Elder Stevenson shared his love for President Russell M. Nelson and his testimony in the authenticity of his calling.
"I have been blessed not only to participate in this, but to have received a special witness that Russell Marion Nelson is our Prophet and the Lord's mouthpiece for His children today."
You can listen Elder Stevenson's devotional talk below.