Called to Be an Apostle

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(This is an excerpt from the chapter "A Special Witness" in the book To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson.)

His remarks that day were titled, “I Stand at the Door and Knock.” The Church membership was introduced to his thoughtful style, his bold presence, and his penchant to teach the gospel through examples from his own life, characteristics that would distinguish his messages in the years to come.

“President McKay, President Brown, President Tanner, my brethren, and brothers and sisters,” he said, “from the depths of humility, and with an overwhelming sense of inadequacy, I stand before you and pray earnestly for your prayers in my behalf.

“All of us are saddened by the loss of President Henry D. Moyle. I also miss the presence of President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and President Stephen L Richards who served in the First Presidency.

“Some years ago I stood at a pulpit and noticed a little sign that only the speaker could see, and the words on that sign were these: ‘Who stands at this pulpit, let him be humble.’ How I pray to my Heavenly Father that I might never forget the lesson I learned that day!

“I feel to thank my Heavenly Father for his many blessings to me. I am grateful to have been born of goodly parents, whose parents were gathered out of the lands of Sweden and Scotland and England by humble missionaries, who through the bearing of their testimonies touched the spirits of these wonderful people.

“I am so grateful for my teachers and leaders in my boyhood and young manhood in a humble, pioneer ward in a humble, pioneer stake. I am grateful for my sweet companion and for the influence for good which she has had upon my life, and to her dear mother who had the courage in far-off Sweden to accept the gospel and to come to this country. I am so happy that the Lord has blessed us with three fine children, our youngest born to us in the mission field in Canada. I am grateful for these blessings. I am grateful for my friends and for O. Preston Robinson and my associates at the Deseret News with whom I have so closely worked these past fifteen years. . . .

“I think of a little sister, a French-Canadian sister, whose life was changed by the missionaries as her spirit was touched as she said good-bye to me and my wife two years ago in Quebec. She said, ‘President Monson, I may never see the prophet. I may never hear the prophet. But President, far better, now that I am a member of this Church, I can obey the prophet.’

“My sincere prayer today, President McKay, is that I might always obey you and these, my brethren. I pledge my life, all that I may have. I will strive to the utmost of my ability to be what you would want me to be. I am grateful for the words of Jesus Christ, our Savior, when he said:

“‘I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him. . . . ’ (Rev. 3:20.)

“I earnestly pray, my brothers and sisters, that my life might merit this promise from our Savior. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

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