The light will be there

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This week covers the Welfare Session of the October 1982 Conference.

Now that we've all started "Home Church" and the Come Follow Me curriculum, our stake and ward has been talking a lot about it in our meetings. There are lots of people (especially those with young children, it seems like?) that have shared how well it's working for them, and it's good to hear those stories and get ideas for our own family.

When the changes were first announced last October, I thought to myself, "I hope that by next October when we've had time to settle into this, I will be able to say that I've seen some of the blessings they are promising." I thought of that when I read this quote in Elder Victor L. Brown's talk. Elder Brown was quoting a story told by President David O. McKay when the Welfare program had just been introduced in the church:
[An] engineer pulled his train into a station one dark night, and a timid passenger inquired of the engineer if he wasn’t frightened to pull his train out in the dark with 400 or 500 passengers’ lives at stake. The engineer said, pointing up to the bright headlight, ‘I want to tell you one thing: when I pull out of this station I won’t be running in darkness one foot of the way. You see that light a thousand yards ahead? I run my engine just to the edge of the light, and when I get there it will still be on a thousand yards ahead.’ Having said that, President McKay added: ‘I want to tell you something. Through all this dark night of uncertainty, I want to tell you that this Welfare Program will not be running in the dark one foot of the way. You remember it. We can only see the next October as the first circle of light. We have told you what to do six months from now. By the time we get there the light will be on ahead of us, but every step of the way that light will be there. You teach your people to follow the light and they will be safe on Zion’s hill when the destructive forces come in the world.’
I love President McKay's reminder that we don't always have to see "the distant scene!" I like to plan ahead. I like to know how things are going to work, and when I make changes to something, I like to be able to envision what those changes will lead to. So living this principle is quite hard for me. But it is also relieving in a way! It's a reassurance that I don't have to constantly be worrying or trying to anticipate what will come next: "This is working okay now, but what about when THIS happens? We probably can't keep ____ up forever! And how will we keep doing it when THIS changes? And so far we're getting away with ___, but what if the kids do THIS?"

But that is unnecessary. I just have to follow the prophets as completely as I can for the next six months (or whatever time period)—until the next little bit of light and guidance comes—and then I can live and follow that the best I can until the next step is given. I love the idea of using General Conferences as those guideposts or markers. It seems doable to work on pretty much anything for six months, and then when the next Conference comes I can either change my focus or re-commit or make adjustments, as inspired by the counsel the prophets give. And I can trust that even though the future often seems very uncertain, once I get to "the next six months," the light will be on ahead of me again, and I will be able to see what to do next.

Other posts in this series:

1 comment

  1. What a great perspective! I just love that analogy, thanks for sharing.


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