“How to Receive God’s Word,” New Era, Mar. 2013, 48
Nephi promised us that “whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, … would never perish; neither could the temptations … of the adversary overpower them … , to lead them away to destruction” (1 Nephi 15:24).
The iron rod is the word of God. I like to think of it in this way: The word of God contains three very strong elements that intertwine and sustain one another to form an immovable rod:
The scriptures, or the words of the ancient prophets. You will remember Elder David A. Bednar’s piercing question: “Are you and I daily reading, studying, and searching the scriptures in a way that enables us to hold fast to the rod of iron?”1
Personal revelation and inspiration that comes to us through the Holy Ghost. President Boyd K. Packer said it this way: “If you hold to the rod, you can feel your way forward with the gift of the Holy Ghost. … Grasp the iron rod, and do not let go. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, you can feel your way through life. (See 3 Nephi 18:25; D&C 9:8.)”2
The words of the living prophets. We must also hold fast to the word of God as delivered by the living prophets. My prayer is that we will increase our attentiveness to what the living prophets are teaching, accelerate our response to what we are learning, and deepen our understanding of what it means to hold fast to their words.
In one month we will have the opportunity to participate in a general conference of the Church and hear the messages of living prophets. General conference is a time to pause from what we are doing, to listen to the Lord’s servants, and to prayerfully set our course for the months ahead. Please consider these questions:
Have I clearly marked general conference on my calendar so that I will be able to listen to each of the sessions available to me?
How will I prepare myself during this coming month so that I will be spiritually ready to receive the messages?
And, as general conference concludes, we might ask:
What specific impressions came to me during the conference?
What necessary changes will I make in my life?
The iron rod is the word of God. The scriptures, the words of the living prophets, and the gift of the Holy Ghost are powerful in their ability to keep us safe. Let us hold fast to the words of the prophets. Let us hold fast to the iron rod.