Words of Counsel Given at 2013 World Conference

by President Steve Veazey
Re-blogged from: Connect-Engage-Inspire

veazey-sPeople often ask me what it is like to receive and share words of counsel to the church. Like most aspects of divine encounter, it is difficult to describe in everyday terms.

In my experience, words of counsel begin to emerge as persistent themes or concepts accompanied with a sense of growing significance and spiritual affirmation. As I prayerfully consider the basic themes and concepts, key phrases begin to emerge and find their place in a certain sequence. Then, after further prayer and reflection, there is often additional unfolding of the concepts that brings needed clarity and understanding for application in the church’s life.

Publicly presenting words of counsel is daunting. As a human, one feels humble, inadequate, and vulnerable. At the same time, one is acutely aware of God’s spiritual presence, which brings calm, resoluteness, and focus of mind.

Afterward, the physical self feels spent, but one’s spiritual self feels enlivened. There is also relief the words are now in the church’s hands, and others will be involved in further discernment.

Regarding the words of counsel shared at the recent World Conference, I have stated the church will benefit from plenty of time to study and discuss them before determining their final status. I have learned over the last eight years that what seems clear, achievable, and even urgent through the prophetic experience often takes years for the church to absorb, embrace, and begin to apply. Also, sometimes certain aspects of words of counsel may be presented now so they are available in the future to address situations not now apparent.

The church will provide material in various languages to support individual and group study of the words of counsel to help spiritual discernment of their meaning. The Presidency will work with the apostles and other church leaders, such as the presiding bishop and presiding evangelist, to interpret the counsel’s principles for the worldwide church’s array of cultural, social, and economic contexts.

This growing body of insight and guidance will provide the foundation for increased understanding and response. All are not only invited, but urged to share in this journey of spiritual discovery as God continues to shape the church for divine purposes.

My experience with the recent words of counsel has again strengthened my testimony of God’s active desire to bless and lead the church while patiently waiting for us to respond. We again are given the opportunity to grasp the big picture, set our priorities, and align our lives with God’s vision. Counsel in Doctrine and Covenants 164:9e is particularly relevant:
The challenges and opportunities are momentous. Will you remain hesitant in the shadows of your fears, insecurities, and competing loyalties? Or will you move forward in the light of your divinely instilled call and vision?

How we personally and corporately answer these questions will prove to be a pivotal point in the church’s history.

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