Practice English Speaking&Listening with: "I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee"

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In my journal tonight I shall write, "This has been one of

the most inspiring sessions of any general conference I've

attended." Everything has been of the greatest and most

spiritual nature.

Brothers and sisters, six months ago as we met together

in our general conference, my sweet wife, Frances, lay in

the hospital, having suffered a devastating fall just a few

days earlier.

In May, after weeks of valiantly struggling to

recover from her injuries, she slipped into eternity.

Her loss has been profound.

She and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple

on October 7, 1948.

Tomorrow would've been our 65th wedding anniversary.

She was the love of my life, my trusted confidante, and my

closest friend.

To say that I miss her does not begin to convey the depth

of my feelings.

This conference marks 50 years since I was called to the

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles by President David O. McKay.

And through all these years I have felt nothing but the full

and complete support of my sweet companion.

Countless are the sacrifices she made so that I could

fulfill my calling.

Never did I hear a word of complaint from her as I was

often required to spend days and sometimes weeks away from

her, away from our children.

She was an angel indeed.

I wish to express my thanks as well as those of my family for

the tremendous outpouring of love which has come to us

since Frances's passing.

Hundreds of cards and letters were sent from around the

world expressing admiration for her and

condolences to our family.

We received a dozen beautiful floral

arrangements, many of them.

We're grateful for the numerous contributions which

have been offered in her name to the General Missionary Fund

of the Church.

On behalf of those of us whom she left behind, I express

deep gratitude for your kind and heartfelt expressions.

Of most comfort to me during this tender time of parting

has been my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the

knowledge I have that my dear Frances lives still.

I know that our separation is temporary.

We were sealed in the house of God by one having authority to

bind on earth and in heaven.

I know that we will be reunited one day and will

never again be separated.

This is knowledge that sustains me.

Brothers and sisters, it may be safely assumed that no

person has ever lived entirely free of suffering and sorrow,

nor has there ever been a period in human history that

did not have its full share of turmoil and misery.

When the pathway of life takes a cruel turn, there's a

temptation to ask the question, "Why me?" At times,

there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel, no

sunrise to end the night's darkness.

We feel encompassed by the disappointment of shattered

dreams and the despair of vanished hopes.

We join in uttering the biblical plea, "Is there no

balm in Gilead?"

We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone.

We're inclined to view our own personal misfortunes through a

distorted prism of pessimism.

We become impatient for a solution to our problems,

forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue

of patience is required.

The difficulties which come to us present us with the real

test of our ability to endure.

A fundamental question remains to be answered by each of us:

"Shall I falter or shall I finish?" Some do falter as

they find themselves unable to rise above their challenges.

To finish involves enduring to the very end of life itself.

As we ponder the events that can befall all of us, we can

say with Job of old, "Man is born unto trouble."

Job was a "perfect and upright" man who "feared God,

and eschewed evil." Pious in his conduct, prosperous in his

fortune, Job was to face a test which could have

destroyed anyone.

Shorn of his possessions, scorned by his friends,

afflicted by his suffering, shattered by the loss of his

family, he was urged to "curse God, and die" (close quote).

He resisted this temptation and declared from the depths

of his noble soul (and I quote): "Behold, my witness is

in heaven, and my record is on high." "I know that my

redeemer liveth." Job kept the faith.

Will we do likewise as we face those challenges

which will be ours?

Whenever we're inclined to feel burdened down with the

blows of life, let us remember that others have passed the

same way, have endured, and then have overcome.

The history of the Church in this, the dispensation of the

fulness of times, is replete with the experiences of those

who've struggled, yet who have remained

steadfast and of good cheer.

The reason?

They have made the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of

their lives.

This is what will pull us through

whatever comes our way.

We will still experience difficult challenges, but we

will be able to face them, to meet them head-on, and to

emerge victorious.

From the bed of pain, from the pillow wet with tears, we are

lifted heavenward by that divine assurance and precious

promise (and I quote): "I will not fail thee, nor foresake

thee" (close quote).

Such comfort is priceless.

As I've traveled far and wide through the world, fulfilling

the responsibilities of my calling, I've come to know

many things, not the least of which is that sadness and

suffering are universal.

I cannot begin to measure all of the heartache and sorrow

I've witnessed as I visit with those who are dealing with

grief, experiencing illness, facing divorce, struggling

with a wayward son or daughter, or suffering the

consequences of sin.

The list could go on and on, for there are countless

problems which can befall us.

To single out one example is difficult.

And yet whenever I think of challenges, my thoughts turn

to Brother Brems, one of my boyhood

Sunday School teachers.

He was a faithful member of the Church, a man

with a heart of gold.

He and his wife, Sadie, had eight children, many of whom

were the same ages as those in our family.

After Frances and I were married and moved from the

ward, we saw Brother and Sister Brems and members of

their family at weddings and funerals as

well as at ward reunions.

In 1968 Brother Brems lost his wife, Sadie.

Two of his eight children also passed away as

the years went by.

One day nearly 13 years ago, Brother Brems's oldest

granddaughter telephoned me.

She explained that her grandfather had reached his

105th birthday.

She said, "He lives in a small care center but meets with his

entire family each Sunday, where he delivers a gospel

lesson." She continued, "This past Sunday Grandpa announced

to us, 'My dears, I am going to die this week.

Will you please call Tommy Monson?

He will know what to do'" (close quote).

I visited Brother Brems the very next evening.

I'd not seen him for a while.

I could not speak to him, for he'd lost his hearing.

I could not write a message for him to read because he'd

lost his sight.

I was told that the family communicated with him by

taking the finger of his right hand and then tracing on the

palm of his left hand the name of the person visiting.

Any message had to be conveyed the same way.

I followed the procedure by taking his finger and spelling

T-O-M-M-Y M-O-N-S-O-N, the name by which he had

always known me.

Brother Brems became excited and, taking my hands, placed

them on his head.

I knew his desire was to receive a priesthood blessing.

The driver who had taken me to the care center joined me as

we placed our hands on the head of Brother Brems and

provided the desired blessing.

Afterward, tears streamed from his sightless eyes.

He grasped our hands in gratitude.

Although he had not heard the blessing we'd given him, the

Spirit was strong.

I believe he was inspired to know we had provided the

blessing which he needed.

This sweet man could no longer see.

He could no longer hear.

He was confined night and day to a small

room in a care center.

And yet the smile on his face and the words which he spoke

touched my heart.

"Thank you," he said.

"Heavenly Father has been so good to me" (close quote).

Within a week, just as Brother Brems had

predicted, he passed away.

Never did he dwell on that which was lacking.

Rather, he was always deeply grateful

for his many blessings.

Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also

knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face

and survive the trials through which we must pass.

We know that there are times when we will experience

heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may

be tested to our limits.

However, such difficulties allow us to change for the

better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father

teaches us, and to become something different from what

we were, better than what we were, more understanding than

what we were, more empathetic than what we were, with

stronger testimonies than we had before.

This should be our purpose--to persevere and endure, yes, but

also to become more spiritually refined as we make

our way through sunshine and sorrow.

Were it not for challenges to overcome and problems to

solve, we would remain much as we are, with little or no

progress toward our goal of eternal life.

The poet expressed much the same thought in these words:

"Good timber does not grow with ease, the stronger [the]

wind, the stronger [the]

trees.

The further sky, the greater length, the more the storm,

the more the strength.

By sun and cold, by rain and snow, in trees and men, good

timbers grow."

Only the Master knows the depth of our trials, our pain,

and our suffering.

He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity.

He alone touches our tortured souls with His comforting

words: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy

laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and

lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is

light" (close quote).

Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times,

He is with us.

He has promised that this will never change.

My brothers and sisters, may we have a commitment to our

Heavenly Father that does not ebb and flow with the years or

the crises of our lives.

We should not need to experience difficulties for us

to remember Him, and we should not be driven to humility

before giving Him our faith and trust.

May we ever strive to be close to our Heavenly Father.

To do so, we must pray to Him and listen to Him every day.

We truly need Him every hour, whether they be hours of

sunshine or of rain.

May His promise ever be our watchword (quote): "I will not

fail thee, nor forsake thee" (close quote).

With all the strength of my soul, I testify that God lives

and loves us, that His Only Begotten Son lived and died

for us, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is that

penetrating light which shines through the

darkness of our lives.

May it ever be so, I pray in the sacred name of Jesus

Christ, amen.

The Description of "I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee"