“Reverence,” Friend, Sept. 1996, inside front cover


(Adapted from an October 1990 general conference address. See Ensign, November 1990, pages 70–72.)

We may serve God acceptably with reverence (Heb. 12:28).

Elder L. Tom Perry

Several years ago, I had the opportunity of traveling with the President of the Church to attend a series of area conferences. I will never forget the contrast between two conferences that were held just a few days apart.

The first area conference was held in a large arena, and as we sat on the stand, we noticed continuous movement by the people. We saw individuals throughout the arena leaning over and whispering to family members and friends seated next to them. Giving the members the benefit of the doubt, we thought that maybe the large building helped cause the lack of reverence.

A few days later, we were in another country attending another area conference in an arena much like the first. When we entered the building, however, an immediate hush came over the congregation. As we sat through the two-hour general session, there was very little movement among the people. Everyone listened intently. Great attention and respect was shown all the speakers, and when the prophet spoke, you could hear a pin drop.

After the meeting was over, I asked the priesthood leaders about what they had done to prepare the people for the conference. They told me their preparation had been simple. They had asked priesthood holders to explain to the members of their families, and also the families they home taught, that at an area conference they would have the privilege of hearing the words of the prophet and the Apostles. The priesthood leaders explained that the reverence their people felt for God and His servants was the basis for their reverent behavior at the conference.

Reverence is an attitude toward Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. It is a private feeling. It is something we feel inside our hearts no matter what is going on around us.

Painting by Harry Anderson