In reviewing the teachings of our dear prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, I found a word that he has frequently used in many talks. This word is power.
In the first general conference after he was sustained as an Apostle, President Nelson talked about power.1 He has continued teaching about power over the years. Since we have sustained President Nelson as our prophet, he has taught about the principle of power—specifically, God’s power—and how we can access it. He has taught how we can draw upon God’s power as we minister to others,2 how repentance invites the power of Jesus Christ and His Atonement into our lives,3 and how priesthood—the power and authority of God—blesses all who make and keep covenants with Him.4 President Nelson has testified that God’s power flows to all who are endowed in the temple as they keep their covenants.5
I was particularly moved by a challenge President Nelson gave in the April 2020 general conference. He instructed us to “study and pray to learn more about the power and knowledge with which you have been endowed—or with which you will yet be endowed.”6
In response to this challenge, I have studied and prayed and have learned some beneficial things about the power and knowledge with which I have been endowed—or with which I will yet be endowed.
Understanding what we must do to access God’s power in our lives is not easy, but I have found it is doable by studying it out in our minds and praying for the Holy Ghost to enlighten us.7 Elder Richard G. Scott offered a clear definition of what the power of God is: it is the “power to do more than we can do by ourselves.”8
Filling our heart and even our soul with the word of God and the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ is crucial to drawing upon the power of God to help us in these challenging times. Without getting the word of God and faith in Jesus Christ deep into our hearts, our testimonies and faith may fail, and we may lose access to the power God wants to give us. Superficial faith is insufficient. Only faith and the word of God that fill our inner soul are sufficient to sustain us—and to allow us to access His power.
As Sister Johnson and I were raising our children, we encouraged each of them to learn to play a musical instrument. But we would allow our children to take music lessons only if they did their part and practiced their instrument each day. One Saturday, our daughter Jalynn was excited to go play with friends, but she had not yet practiced the piano. Knowing she had committed to practice for 30 minutes, she intended to set a timer because she did not want to practice even one minute longer than was required.
As she walked by the microwave oven on her way to the piano, she paused and pushed some buttons. But instead of setting the timer, she set the microwave to cook for 30 minutes and pushed start. After about 20 minutes of practice, she walked back to the kitchen to check how much time was remaining and found the microwave oven on fire.
She then ran into the backyard where I was doing yard work, yelling that the house was on fire. I quickly ran into the house, and indeed, I found the microwave oven in flames.
In an effort to save our home from burning, I reached behind the microwave, unplugged it, and used the power cord to lift the burning microwave off of the counter. Hoping to be the hero and to save the day as well as our home, I swung the flaming microwave in circles with the power cord to keep it away from my body, got to the backyard, and with another swinging motion flung the microwave out onto the lawn. There we were able to extinguish the fiery flames with a hose.
What had gone wrong? A microwave oven needs something to absorb its energy, and when nothing is on the inside to absorb the energy, the oven itself absorbs the energy, becomes hot, and may catch on fire, destroying itself in a pile of flames and ashes.9 Our entire microwave went up in flames and burned because there was nothing on the inside.
Likewise, those who have faith and the word of God deep in their hearts will be able to absorb and overcome the fiery darts that the adversary will surely send to destroy us.10 Otherwise, our faith, hope, and conviction may not endure, and like the empty microwave oven, we could become a casualty.
I have learned that having the word of God deep in my soul, coupled with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, allows me to draw upon the power of God to overcome the adversary and anything he may throw at me. As we face challenges, we can rely upon the promise of the Lord taught by Paul: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”11
We know that as a child the Savior “grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.”12 We know that as He grew older, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”13 And we know that by the time His ministry commenced, those who heard Him “were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.”14
Through preparation, the Savior grew in power and was able to resist all of Satan’s temptations.15 As we follow the Savior’s example and prepare through studying the word of God and deepening our faith, we also can draw upon the power of God to resist temptations.
During this time of restricted gathering that makes regular temple attendance impossible, I have actually made a point to continue to study and learn more about the power of God that comes to us as we make and keep temple covenants. As promised in the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, we leave the temple armed with God’s power.16 There is no expiration date associated with the power God bestows upon those who make and keep temple covenants, nor is there a restriction from accessing that power during a pandemic. His power diminishes in our lives only if we fail to keep our covenants and do not live in a way that allows us to continually qualify to receive His power.
While my dear wife and I were serving as mission leaders in Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, we witnessed firsthand the power of God that comes to those who make and keep sacred covenants in the temple. The Temple Patron Assistance Fund made it possible for many Saints in these three countries to attend the temple after doing all they could through personal sacrifice and preparation. I recall meeting a group of 20 faithful Saints from Laos at an airport in Bangkok, Thailand, to help them transfer to another airport in Bangkok to catch their flight to Hong Kong. These members were brimming with excitement to finally be traveling to the house of the Lord.
When we met these good Saints upon their return, the added gospel maturity and associated power resulting from receiving their temple endowment and entering into covenants with God were evident. These Saints clearly went forth from the temple “armed with [His] power.”17 This power to do more than they could do themselves gave them strength to endure the challenges of Church membership in their home country and to go forth bearing “exceedingly great and glorious tidings, in truth,”18 as they continue building the Lord’s kingdom in Laos.
During the time we have not been able to attend the temple, have we each relied upon the covenants we made in the temple to set a clear, unchanging course of direction in our lives? These covenants, if kept, give us vision and expectations regarding the future and a clear determination to qualify to receive all that the Lord has promised through our faithfulness.
I invite you to seek the power God wants to give you. I testify that as we seek for this power, we will be blessed with a greater understanding of the love our Heavenly Father has for us.
I testify that because Heavenly Father loves you and me, He sent His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior and Redeemer. I testify of Jesus Christ, He who has all power,19 and do so in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.