I attended priesthood session at my local chapel. About sixty men and boys in attendance. One woman. It was snowing when I left home. I decided to reward my choosing the right with good consequences, so I stopped by my local Wendy’s and bought a small vanilla Frosty. On the way I listened to a few minutes of my current audio CD, Neptune’s Inferno, about the US Navy at Guadalcanal. Right now (in the CD) the US heavy cruiser San Francisco (which survived the fight) is trading fire with the Japanese battleship Hiei (which didn’t) in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. There were a dozen ships on each side in a wild, confusing night melee. A lot of good young men on both sides died that night, November 12, 1942.
We live in better times — our young men serve missions and go to priesthood meeting instead of going off to battle. Well, that’s not completely true. Our neighbors have a son who is a crew chief with the 10th Mountain Division. There are thousands of LDS soldiers, sailors, and airmen presently serving, and families who pray for their safe return. Our current generation of older GAs are the last of the WWII generation. President Monson served in the Navy toward the end of the war. Elder Packer flew B-17 Flying Fortresses in the Pacific and was stationed in postwar Japan, where he baptized the first Japanese family to join the LDS Church after the war.
Okay, back to priesthood. All the excitement was outside, but I hear it was fairly quiet and orderly. LDS women came, didn’t get tickets, and left. President Uchtdorf is conducting. He flew jets.
Elder Oaks says priesthood power blesses all of us, both men and women. He expressly notes that priesthood talks are published so both men and women can receive the counsel given. Keys are given to direct priesthood work. Authority is the power of God delegated to man. How does this apply to women? They don’t have the priesthood, but they do have priesthood authority (example: work done in the temple). They have authority to serve under the direction of bishops of the wards. Relief Society is an appendage to the priesthood, not just a meeting. As a missionary, a sister is given priesthood authority to preach the gospel. Forget about rights, focus on your responsibilities. Only men will be ordained to offices in the priesthood. But men are not “the priesthood.” Quotes J. Reuben Clark: Women have the complement of priesthood powers. Marriage is a full partnership (women shouldn’t be limited partners). Blessings of the priesthood available to men and women on the same terms. The temple is an example of this: endowment of priesthood power to both men and women. [Wow, quite a talk, and surprisingly conciliatory. An olive branch, perhaps.]
Donald L. Hallstrom of the Seventy grew up in Hawaii. [That's where Pearl Harbor happened. Early Sunday morning, Japanese carrier planes zoomed in from the north and flew low right over the island, with some planes peeling off to hit a couple of airfields, but most of them hitting the ships berthed at Pearl Harbor. And they really hit them. But no US carriers were at Pearl — they were all at sea. That story you might have heard about a Japanese plane that tried to bomb the Laie temple (on the north side of the Oahu, about thirty miles from Pearl)? An urban legend. Didn't happen. And now there is a temple in Tokyo, too. A lot changes in 70 years.] The talk: We need to be priesthood men. Don’t be selfish. Don’t do porn. Just be perfect.
Randall L. Ridd, a counselor in the Young Mens Presidency. The Internet: the best and worst of what the world has to offer. What does your heart desire? Each click has meaning.
President Uchtdorf: Don’t sleep through the restoration! [He flew jets for the German Air Force, but he did his fighter training in Texas. He was the best pilot in his class. It takes time to train a good pilot. At the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, near Guadalcanal, a month before the surface battle recounted earlier, three Japanese carriers squared off against two US carriers. The Japanese won tactically (sunk the Hornet and damaged the Enterprise) but their two healthy carriers had to return to Japan because they lost so many pilots. Planes aren't much good without good pilots, and the Japanese couldn't train them very quickly. The Church, on the other hand, has a deep bench. Maybe we can't afford any more temples, but we have plenty of potential temple presidents. And mission presidents. Tens of thousands of local leaders. Almost a hundred thousand missionaries. We have a lot of human capital. We will never run short of pilots.] The talk: Alcohol, porn, sex, and gambling, are all addictive behaviors. Avoid them. President Uchtdorf sat in the pilot’s seat of Air Force One. He still feels the need for speed.
President Eyring on Joe DiMaggio, his baseball hero when growing up. [Joltin' Joe joined the Air Force in 1943. He was assigned to be a stateside physical education instructor and he played in exhibition baseball games. He sort of loafed around with the other players a lot. But Joe was embarrassed by the easy life he was being given and demanded combat duty. His request was denied.] The talk: Be a model priesthood man. Three things: prayer, service, honesty.
President Monson, looking and sounding very sharp. We face opportunities and challenges in the world around us. Have courage to do the right thing as the world moves away from our moral values. Courage is not just on the battlefield. Navy story: the quiet courage of a young sailor who, in crowded quarters, was not afraid to pray. Jabari Parker story: His father told him to be the same person in the dark that he is in the light. We will all face fear, opposition, and ridicule. Courage, not compromise, brings God’s approval. Remember the words of Paul: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Be a good example in word, in charity, in spirit, in faith.