As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, I serve on a number of general Church councils and committees. It is one of the great blessings of my life to work and serve with dedicated men and women whose greatest wish is to do their Heavenly Father’s will. We have had some marvelous experiences as we have counseled together, sometimes for hours at a time, formulating plans, programs, and policies to bless and strengthen the entire membership of the Church during these difficult and challenging times.
Although I consider such service a rare and wonderful opportunity, I don’t mind telling you that our task isn’t always as easy as it may sound. With the rich diversity of languages, cultures, and environments that currently exists within the Church, all of our planning and preparation on a general level has to be both broad and narrow: broad enough to meet the varying needs of millions of members in dozens of different nations, and narrow enough to reach the one. To this end priesthood and auxiliary leaders regularly seek the Lord on bended knee and plead for His guidance and direction. And we have been edified and uplifted by the spirit of inspiration—and yes, revelation—as it has come.
In many ways, our general Church councils function much the same as local Church and family councils should function. Under the direction of the priesthood and the influence of the Holy Spirit, these councils should feature free and open discussion and clear, concise communication. Our mutual goals and objectives should always be clearly understood. Everything we do, everything we teach, every plan we make should be focused on helping God’s children enjoy the full blessings of the gospel in this life and prepare to return to their heavenly home in the next. In this effort, councils should support families, striving never to be in competition with them.
Therefore, our council meetings are about duties and responsibilities, not turf. They provide an opportunity for the priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations of the Church to come together in a spirit of loving cooperation to assist Heavenly Father in accomplishing His very work and glory: “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). The same is true of our family councils, only here it is a matter of parents and children joining forces in an energetic and dynamic way to ensure that there are no empty places at our eternal family tables.
And if ever there was a time when such cooperative effort between family members and the men and women leaders in the Church was needed in behalf of Heavenly Father’s children, this is the time. These are perilous days, and they require absolute vigilance on the part of all who have been entrusted with watch care in the kingdom. Our individual responsibilities are great, but just as important is the responsibility we share with others at home and in the Church to come together in a united effort to bless the lives of our family members and all of our eternal brothers and sisters.