Sunday, October 4, 2009

38o - Thomas S. Monson, Prophet, Seer and Revelator!

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Beginning with the third paragraph below the photograph of Thomas S. Monson, the present Prophet, Seer and Revelator of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I will share with you a reminiscence of several related experiences I, Neil Birch, was privileged to share with him when he was still serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the church.

Doctrine and Covenants, section 107: 91 And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—
92 Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.
President Thomas S. Monson

In the Opening session of the 179th Semi-annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (October 3, 2009), once again, Thomas S. Monson was sustained by the Church as Prophet, Seer and Revelator.

Much evidence of his key role was shown throughout this general conference which concluded October 4, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. (USA, Mountain Time)

In one of the early months of 1984 not long after being assigned as the adoption worker for the Midvale, UT Office (soon to become the Sandy, UT Agency), of LDS Family Services, I was assigned to help bring about an adoption with a certain LDS Family who lived in the Salt Lake Valley (Utah, U.S.A.).

The wife and mother of that family served professionally as a secretary for Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

At the LDS Family Services office where I worked on the scheduled day and time for the adoption I was told by the adoptive parents that the adoptive placement should not start until her employer, had arrived. I had learned from the Church News that Elder Monson had been heavily involved in negotiations with the Communist East Germany to secure authorization to build a temple in Freiberg there. I told them I'd be happy to wait to start the placement meeting until he arrived.

I assumed that with all the usual heavy work-load he must already have had, his having the responsibility of being personally involved in seeking the authorization for the building of the proposed East German Temple made his work-load even heavier and perhaps was part of the reason he had to be late for this event. * (That temple authorization was soon granted!)

Freiberg Germany Temple (Dedicated: 29 June 1985, Re-dedicated: 07 September 2002)

While waiting for him to arrive I realized that being at that adoption had to be a high priority for Elder Monson. With all that he had to do in his assignment as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve; he came as he had promised the adoptive parents previously.

One of the things I remember him saying to me and the birth-mother worker soon after he arrived, was, after calling each of us by name (reading from the name badges we wore) "This is the time when you receive your real salaries by participating in such a special event!"

The adoption went very well. I noticed that Elder Monson clearly enjoyed every minute of that adoption. The adoptive family later told us that he had been present at the adoption of their first child too. It became very obvious to me that here was an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ who valued families very highly. That wasn't surprising to me, but it allowed me to see, first hand, that such surely was the case with this apostle.

After several routine visits to the adoptive family's home I was able to report for the record that the adoption was doing very well.

But then, one evening, the adoptive father telephoned and gave me the very sad news that their two month old adoptive daughter had just been pronounced dead by her doctor. She had died of Sids the much feared (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) malady which wasn't yet fully understood, if it even is today!

They had already made arrangements for the viewing at a mortuary in their part of the Salt Lake Valley. The adoptive father invited me to attend. He told me that Elder Monson had been notified and would be the speaker at the viewing. The viewing arrangements were being made by them with the assistance of their LDS Ward bishop.

Several days before the viewing, the birth parent worker told our office manager and me that she felt that the baby's birth mother should be invited to attend the viewing. I think the birth parent worker had already told the birth mother about the baby's death. Involving the birth mother in the viewing would cause us to do something that was not at that time done under any circumstances: having the adoptive parents and the birth mother, meet.

After clearing the matter through channels, our office manager gave us official permission to go ahead with having the birth mother attend the viewing, thus allowing her to meet the adoptive parents. The birth mother worker was given the responsibility of inviting that birth mother to the viewing. I don't remember if it was I or she who informed the adoptive parents of this.

With heartfelt sorrow I arrived at the mortuary and went through the line that had been formed that ran in front of the dear baby's casket. I hugged the adoptive parents. There were many tears. The birth mother had already met the adoptive parents by the time I arrived. She wasn't in the line with them, but it appeared she was talking to family and/or friends of her own.

The Mortuary chapel was filled with many relatives and friends of the adoptive family. Their bishop, whom I had come to know because I had contacted him prior to the adoption to clear the adoptive family for adopting through our Church Agency, conducted the services in a very caring and capable manner. Elder Monson and his wife arrived just as the services were about to begin. He was the only speaker. I wrote in my personal journal that evening:
Elder Monson spoke about the situation and wove in beautifully the truths of the Savior's love and the resurrection and announced that he had received written permission from President Gordon B. Hinckley to seal the baby, vicariously, to her adoptive parents the coming Tuesday.
I was touched by his talk. However, as the services were drawing to an end I began to feel strongly that the birth mother would greatly benefit from some special individual attention from Elder Monson.

I had a plan! There wasn't sufficient time to consult with my co-workers. A silent prayer sufficed.

Quickly, as soon as the closing prayer was said and those in attendance had begun gathering around the adoptive family and the birth family members, to console them, I walked up to where Elder Monson was still by himself at the front of the chapel. I asked him if he would be willing to speak with the birth mother if I were to bring her up to speak with him. I made it clear there would just be the three of us. Elder Monson quickly agreed to my request.

Again, quickly, I went to the birth mother and introduced myself as the adoptive family's caseworker and asked her if she would like to speak personally with Elder Monson. I explained to her that I would remain with her during that time. The adoptive parents were still very occupied while being consoled by friends and family. With tears in her eyes that were flowing down her cheeks, the dear birth mother nodded in the affirmative.

I led her over to the left to the part of the chapel where Elder Monson was still by himself waiting for us.

After being introduced, he hugged the birth mother and began to speak from his heart. He began by telling her:
You have a very bright future and you are a wonderful young lady!
I felt such strong emotions during this very tender time and felt the presence of the Spirit of the Lord in a very special way.

The birth mother listened intently to what this Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ was telling her. I was so overwhelmed by the spirituality of what was being said that afterwards I couldn't remember any more of the specifics of that which was actually said.

However, whenever I tell others about that (well-remembered by me) incident, I always tell them, that instead of just hearing the words of Elder Thomas S. Monson, I knew I was hearing the words and even the voice of our Savior Jesus Christ whom Elder Monson represents.

I never deviate from that observation during those appropriate occasions when I share that experience. In so doing I never divulge the names of the birth mother nor of the adoptive parents and not even the date of the viewing. I tell others, such as our Ward High Priest Group members when teaching a group lesson where that account fits in properly, in words such as these:

I heard our Savior Jesus Christ, or rather, one of His personal representatives, an apostle, speaking to that broken hearted beautiful young lady who was filled with grief because of the death of the dear baby to whom she had given life and whom she had willingly placed for adoption.

The Salt Lake Temple

As promised by Elder Thomas S. Monson the adoptive parent's deceased baby was vicariously sealed to them by him in the Salt Lake Temple that following Tuesday.
I was told sometime later by the adoptive parents that the birth mother's life was, at that time, going forward very well and that her speaking with Elder Monson had been a very positive experience for her. That experience she had with a personal representative of our Lord was surely something that gave her the needed strength to press forward at that time in her life, courageously! For that I am so grateful!

On a later more joyous occasion, I was present at another adoption with that same family. Elder Monson, once again, was a enthusiastic participant. Not long before, he had invited the birth mother worker and me to meet with him in his office at Church Headquarters. There he gave it as his opinion that the adoptive family was emotionally ready for another adoption.

He mentioned that he respected the fact that our LDS Family Services Office had the responsibility of determining if the adoptive parents were still meeting our official requirements. He explained to the two of us that he just felt he wanted to share his personal and intimate observations of the adoptive family's readiness to adopt again. He was showing great respect for our responsibilities. I greatly appreciated him for that. After studying the matter professionally and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I suggested to our Agency Director a particular baby whose mother was placing for adoption, through us, who I was spiritually impressed was a good "fit" in that same family whose previously placed baby daughter who several months before had died of Sids.

Over the years in my responsibility as an Agency worker, both as an adoption worker and then later, as a birth mother worker, I continued to have great respect for Elder Thomas S. Monson, this true servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He appeared to me to be a man who didn't make hasty decisions, he just waited until he knew what was the right thing to be done under the circumstances! I am convinced that people in general and their families, are very important to him!

It was a privilege this morning while in our living room with my dear wife, Melva, watching General Conference on our Television Set, to raise my hand to the square, once again, to sustain Thomas Spencer Monson as the President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

I now provide you the opportunity to view a video. It was produced soon after this most recent General Conference. The speaker is: President Thomas S. Monson.

What Matters Most

I'm sure that you readers of this particular blog post of mine will have realized, after viewing that video, that President Monson shows us by the way he lives that he knows that "most often the people around us should matter the most to us!"

If you would like to read the conference talks given by President Monson, I encourage each of you readers of this blog post, wherever you may live in the world and whatever language you may prefer, to log into The LDS Church

You will need then to click on the Classic

Under the topic of Gospel Library, you may choose the column to the right under the topic of: General Conference. If you so choose please scroll down to the October Conference of 2009 or if you have been reading the post after that date, please feel free to view whichever General Conference you choose to view.

After scrolling down just a little bit you will be given a wide variety of languages from which to choose. You most likely already understand English to some extent to be reading this blog post, but nonetheless you may prefer to read or even listen in the language you most often use, whichever of President Thomas S. Monson's Conference addresses you choose to learn from. The various languages are easy to locate. There may be other General Authorities' addresses which may interest you too.


This website is not owned by or affiliated with the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church.


TO ACCESS NEIL BIRCH'S BLOG INDEX: To Either Read the Full Index Item Which Refers To This Blog Post, (Or To Search The Index For Any Other Blog Post You Desire To Access), After You Have Read All of This Paragraph, Please Scroll Back Up And Click on the Following: Thomas S. Monson, Prophet, Seer and Revelator -Post 38o. When The Picture of Our Savior, Jesus Christ Sitting Next To a Little Boy Comes Onto Your Screen, Please Scroll Down In The Index To Your Target Item Or Use the Alphabetical Scrolling Device (When It Has Been Installed).


"Have You Really Read the Book of Mormon?" Legal /Statement. Thank you for visiting. The author retains intellectual property and creative licensing rights. Permission to use or reprint must be given in writing. © Est.2008 Neil Birch Legal /Statement.

I deeply appreciate your readership and hope you found very beneficial, that which was presented to you in this blog post.

If you have any questions about what you have read or viewed in this post or in any previous posts of mine, or if you even have a curiosity about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and or its teachings, please e-mail me. I'm Neil and my e-mail address is: If you contact me I'll get back to you just as soon as possible.
I invite you to let your friends and relatives know about this blog if you think they would be interested. Please be advised that I also have an additional blog. It is in Spanish:  Its content is translated from the English in this blog.

Neil Birch

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