Sustaining the Brethren

February 10, 2008 | 15 comments

On the sweetness of Mormon life.

A grandfather leaned on his son all the way to the stand for a baby blessing. The other men walked slow to keep pace with him. He could not stand for the blessing–Bishop and a son got tangled trying to get him a chair–so the men leaned to make him part of the circle. Dark slanted suits and a white baby dress.

Ward Conference meant the choir sat on the stand. My four-year old kept smiling and nodding up at me. When the priests blessed the sacrament, she peeked to see if I would give her the gimlet eye like I do in the pew. I did. She folded arms and bowed head quick.

We sustained President Monson. We sustained everyone else on down. Our Stake President told us that decades ago President Monson had come to a stake conference and his wife had got a testimony that he would be a prophet of God someday.

I sang a solo. My throat got tight in front of all those people. I sounded better when I sang it alone. My testimony sounds better before I share it too. But the Spirit said the testimony I sing or say is no testimony at all without Saints to hear it.

Bishop said he’d been worrying. The scriptures promise angels but he hadn’t seen any that he knew. He went to a leadership broadcast with a question, “Jeff Holland answered it, and the Spirit told me he was one of my angels.”

Our Stake President challenged us to read the Book of Mormon. He said he’d thought to call for a sustaining vote on the matter but we’d made it unnecessary by voting to sustain him.

At home I told my sick wife everything that happened. She told me about the talk she saw on BYU-TV about a missionary’s trip back to abandoned Nauvoo to rebury his dead daughter. She remembered a stake president we’d had who got up one morning, heard the voice, and drove 150 miles to visit us and our sick daughter in a hospital room.

We sustain and are sustained, upwards, downwards, sideways, and in circles.


15 Responses to Sustaining the Brethren

  1. Gilgamesh on February 10, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Deacons blessed the sacrament? What church do you go to?

  2. Adam Greenwood on February 10, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    The church of muddleheaded. Fixed.

  3. Ray on February 10, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    I had one of those sweet moments toady in our Stake Conference when we sustained the Church leadership. It’s been 13 years since I sustained a new President. I’m very glad it’s been that long, but I realized again today what a wonderful opportunity it is to do so.

  4. m&m on February 11, 2008 at 2:30 am

    I love these posts, Adam. Thank you.

  5. lamonte on February 11, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Adam – your post reminded me that just two weeks prior to your ward conference we had ours and for the last time in my life I sustained Gordon B. Hinkley as prophet, seer and revelator. He died later that evening. Last week in priesthood meeting the instructor took a week off from the regular curriculum and we discussed the process of selecting a new prophet. I learned that after the passing of our first three apostles there were long spans of time (years in the case of Joseph Smith to Brigham Young) before a new prophet was called and set apart. And yet the church survived. Today it is an almost seamless process but our hands still raise high as we gratefully sustain to prophet chosen to lead us for a season of time – and we give thanks.

  6. lamonte on February 11, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Make that “…after the passing of our first three prophets…”

  7. Nate Oman on February 11, 2008 at 11:14 am


  8. Seth R. on February 11, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    What about the part with getting tangled up by the chair? Seems you revised a bit…

  9. Adam Greenwood on February 11, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    I’ll try to work that back in, Seth R.

  10. jjohnsen on February 11, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Great post Adam, very calming.

  11. roughrider1901 on February 11, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Nice post, Adam. How come you give your daughter a small tool for boring holes (i.e. gimlet) every Sunday? I had to ask, I love new vocabulary!

  12. Ben Pratt (aka mistaben) on February 11, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks, Adam.

    Yesterday in a ward conference (not my own), the bishop\’s counselor conducting the sustaining of officers began sustaining President Thomas S. Monson and choked up. It was 30-45 seconds before he could continue. After I\’d manifested that *I* was in favor of Pres. Monson, the Quorum of the 12, and that they are all prophets, seers, and revelators, I heaved a large sigh.

    Physically, it a was a relief to publicly sustain the Lord\’s annointed! When I approached the good counselor later, someone else was relating a similar experience.


  13. ddb on February 11, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Years ago I sat in a General Conference priesthood session and for the first time in my young life experienced the warm enveloping witness of the Spirit that Harold B. Lee was indeed the Lord’s prophet. Yesterday, at a spanish-language branch conference I raised my hand to sustain President Monson and his counselors in the First Presidency. And I too felt the same overpowering witness.

    Since I had recently watched President Monson at the Press Conference and then on the worldwide training broadcast, the surge of the Spirit on this sabbath morning somewhat caught me by surprise. But quickly my feelings turned to gratitude and humility for the blessings of the Spirit. It’s wonderful to know that many others were likewised moved.

  14. Jiim Cobabe on February 11, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    We sustain and are sustained, upwards, downwards, sideways, and in circles.

    Long as I can remember, I have felt that the “sustaining” process is one of the most significant acts of consecration, far more meaningful than simply participating in a democratic procedure. It affords us a unique opportunity to receive spiritual confirmation, by which mere voting becomes one of the steps toward sanctification.

  15. manaen on February 11, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    My convo yesterday with my SP about being refellowshipped combined with comments in this thread caused me to realize that Pres. Hinckley was set apart as President/Prophet shortly after I was disfellowshipped: I never was able to formally sustained him in that office.
    Please allow me to say here that I did sustain him in my heart as I so sustain Pres. Monson now.
    I, in turn, have been/am sustained by kind and caring bishops, SPs, and others throughout the vineyard.


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