With the release of “To The Rescue,’ I will be interested in whether the following story is included in the bio and what version is used. Here are two versions of a story. One found in the Ensign and the other recited in a meeting. Can you spot some of the differences between the two versions? Are they significant in your opinion? It certainly isn’t to the level of a Dunn’ism but where is the line?

The Lighthouse of the Lord by President Thomas S. Monson, February, 2001 Ensign

September 9, 2000 Regional Conference, Priesthood Session, Sandy, Utah

Many years ago, on my first visit to the fabled village of Sauniatu in Samoa, so loved by President David O. McKay, my wife and I met with a large gathering of small children – nearly 200 in number. At the conclusion of our messages to these shy yet beautiful youngsters, I suggested to the native Samoan teacher that we go forward with the closing exercises. As he announced the final hymn, I suddenly felt compelled to greet personally each of these children. My watch revealed that the time was too short for such a privilege, for we were scheduled on a flight out of the country, so I discounted the impression. Before the benediction was to be spoken, I again felt that I should shake the hand of each child. I made the desire known to the instructor, who displayed a broad and beautiful Samoan smile. In Samoan, he announced this to the children. They beamed their approval.

The instructor then revealed to me the reason for his and their joy. He said, “When we learned that a member of the Council of the Twelve was to visit us here in Samoa, so far away from Church headquarters, I told the children if they would earnestly and sincerely pray and exert faith like the Bible accounts of old, that the Apostle would visit our tiny village at Sauniatu and through their faith he would be impressed to greet each child with a personal handclasp.” Tear could not be constrained as the precious boys and girls walked shyly by an whispered softly to us the sweet Samoan greeting “talofa lava.”

We had an opportunity to go up to the little village of Sauniatu where President McKay spoke and lifted their sights on what they could do once they embraced the gospel. There is a little monument to President McKay’s visit…

(story about Bro. Longdon eating a dessert with ants in it)

I attended a little school there, little tiny children. They are handsome children. They like to sing, they can sing in four parts. And as they were singing, I remember the school teacher had a great big smile. And they introduced me and I stood at the pulpit, you know, I couldn’t say a word. I said, “First, I would like to shake hands with each boy and girl here today. And then they all had a smile and I turned to the teacher and said, “Why are they all smiling? He said, “I told them that an apostle was coming to Samoa and while they usually stay at Papias(?) that if they prayed, this one would come up to Sauniatu, the little village. And if they really prayed, if they really prayed, he would shake the hands of each boy and each girl. I had no knowledge of that. It was a beautiful experience for me to speak to them. I remember the old piano in the corner of the room and the teacher who played as the little children sang and marched up to shake my hand or me to shake theirs. And the song they played was one you all know, In the shade of the old apple tree. It was hot in Samoa, an apple tree would be nice, so would the shade. They sang with gusto. None of them, they had never seen an apple tree, but they knew it must be a very fine tree to give the shade.

I have been in several meetings where President Monson spoke, each time, at the conclusion of the meeting, he quickly departed out a side door and did not linger to greet members or shake hands. I guess you need to be Samoan to deserve that level of attention.

The blog Weeping for Zion has a clip from KSL news regarding the new Monson biography being released and a clear message of similar  concern. Please swing by there if you get a chance.

There is a display of Monson’s life from his earliest years recounting the decades of service at Deseret Book. As I listened to the news clip, I had a mental image of a similar panorama I recall in the visitors center of the life of Christ. I wonder how many of those who call themselves saints have shifted their adoration to this man and away from Him who is the true head of the church

What think ye?

7 Responses to “Who Is He Rescuing?”

  • Thomas Parkin:

    I think that the ‘follow the prophet’ mantra has probably gone far, for many reasons that you’d be quite right on. However, I think you are wrong on ‘this man’ and ‘these men.’ Those who receive His servants receive Him (D&C 84). They are mortals, and we may do much better do think of them as like us, only in a different and much more difficult calling. I think you’ve gotten carried away in what is basically a good thing, and that you have greatly limited the potential scope of your insights by doing so. I think it’s too bad.

    Best to you!~

  • If these men are truly the Lord’s anointed and i have spoken evil of them, then I stand to be corrected. If they only pretend to be such, I have an obligation to speak up. The Lord has warned us that He intends direct his vengeance upon those “who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house.” Who do you think the Lord has targeted in these verses from D&C 112?

    I believe that these men are promoting a different gospel than what we originally received in the restoration. Paul told the Galatians that if anyone “preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Should we stand by, like sheep, if this is indeed happening?

    Am I getting carried away? I do not believe that the corporate church is on a path that will allow us to fulfill the commandments of God relative to Zion. If speaking against the crass materialism and reliance on the works of men as a measure of the success of the church, can be construed as getting carried away, then I am guilty as charged.

  • Dan:

    Spek, great article! And yes I see some major differences here.

    I found it odd that in the written version the whole discussion was about prophet worship. He felt that prompting a few times till he gave in, and then His presence blessed the lives of the children.

    In the conference version however, it was merely a cute story. In fact, the FIRST thing that he did was to shake the hands of all the children. This version of the story entirely negates the ‘inspired’ version.

    It seems the story changes to fit the need.

    But hey, this man leaves ‘warm fuzzy feelings’ in the hearts of the children! That is a good thing, right? Shouldn’t they WANT to be falling at the feet of a president of the church? To be dying just to shake his hand?

    Thanks for the post spek.

  • Thomas Parkin:

    “You have to do what you feel is right, of course.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

  • Dan:

    Thomas are we then implying that what we are being taught, that manner of life that we observe, etc… isn’t babylonian? Is it not Priestcraft for a man to use his position in the church to make a buck? Of course it is, 2 Nephi 26 is plain on that fact. And then on top of this, to encourage and illicit a worhsipful response from those so willing. Is any man worthy of such trust, such worship and adoration? Who is he rescuing, and from what?

  • Dan:

    Thanks Thomas, in hindsight it looks like an attack, not meant that way though. I apologize for that!

  • Dan, your comment “Is it not Priestcraft for a man to use his position in the church to make a buck” reminded me of a dream I had over a year ago. Here’s the relevant excerpt:

    “The scene then moved into the future. I was talking with my current boss and she was telling me about a discovery that she had made in new world economics. She was going to reveal it to the world I suppose and was about to duck into a human-sized rabbit hole (Dick Tracy style). Before she went, she told me about how things today (in the future) are so much different from the old school economics of the 20th century. As an example of an old school economics principle, she painted the picture of a man who used the prestige he got from being the CEO of a fairly large sized church to boost his effectiveness in another unrelated company. This “halo effect” made that company much more successful than it would have been otherwise, in fact much more profitable than the church.”
    (Halloween Dream or … Hallodream! http://www.pself.com/wordpress/?p=27)

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