“The Spirit’s Voice,” Ensign, Feb. 1974, 27
I have had many rich religious experiences in my life, but the single event that did the most to build my faith and make me want to shun all evil was an afternoon with a member of the Council of the Twelve who was visibly inspired to perform his duties. That man was Elder Harold B. Lee.
Our stake had just been divided, and Elder Lee, then one of the Twelve, conducted a special Sunday afternoon meeting to set apart the high councilors, bishoprics, and other officers.
I knew these men well. I had worked for years with most of them as a member of the stake presidency, as a high councilor, and as stake Sunday School superintendent. I had visited in their homes. I had seen them perform various callings. I had been with them on outings and at parties and was familiar with their strengths and weaknesses.
However, our visiting apostle knew none of them personally. His contact with most of them amounted to little more than a handshake. Moreover, he was tired; he’d addressed both sessions of conference and was under the heavy strain of his great responsibilities.
As a member of the older stake presidency I was invited to join in the laying on of hands as each of these men received his commission and blessing from the apostle. After the first two or three blessings, I found myself thinking, “He surely has read these men correctly—almost seems to know them.”
As the blessings continued I began listening intently to every word, tears welling in my eyes, as I began to realize that the pronouncements had not been by chance but by prophetic inspiration.
Here was a new bishop’s counselor who would need to “always be on guard” to “honor his priesthood and calling.” How well I knew it. Then followed one who had been having a tithing and coffee problem. His blessing contained specific warnings against those weaknesses. Next was a plodder type, level-headed, honest, and dependable, but not given much to reading. His blessing was a challenge to devote himself to scripture study, the one thing most needed by this fine man.
By this time, my tears flowed freely and I personally did some intense soul-searching about my worthiness to participate in that humbling hour. My hands tingled where they touched his on the heads of my brethren.
The blessings continued. A returned missionary, whose business often interfered with proper Sabbath observance, was told, “The Lord will bless and prosper you if you put his work first.” Then followed a college professor who was a bit given to lightmindedness—an occasional vulgar story. “Your potentialities for good are limitless if you keep your thoughts and actions spotlessly clean.”
I bear witness that not in one instance did that servant of the Lord fail to strike home. Several of the men who received blessings that day have since borne witness, in my hearing, of the prophetic utterances of our inspired visitor. They were from God.