Elder Carl Cook: It is better to look up

Elder Carl B. Cook of the Seventy began his conference address Saturday afternoon by relating an experience he had during his first week as a General Authority. Feeling overwhelmed, he had descended the elevator of the Church Administration Building with his head down, staring at the floor.

Eventually the doors of the elevator opened and President Monson entered, smiled and, while pointing heavenward, said, "It is better to look up!"

Since then, Elder Cook has pondered the experience and the role of prophets. "I was burdened and my head was down," he said. "As the prophet spoke and I looked to him, he redirected my focus to look up to God where I could be healed and strengthened through Christ's Atonement. That is what prophets do for us. They lead us to God."

Elder Cook said that if members exercise their faith and look to God for help they will not feel incapable of doing what they are called to do, or need to do. "We will be strengthened, and our lives will be filled with peace and joy."

President Monson's encouragement to look up is a metaphor for remembering Christ, Elder Cook explained. "As we remember Him and trust in His power, we receive strength through His Atonement. It is the means whereby we can be relieved of our anxieties, our burdens and our suffering. It is the means whereby we can be forgiven and healed from the pain of our sins. It is the means whereby we can receive the faith and strength to endure all things."

Citing the example of the children of Israel who looked to the Lord each day for direction as they wandered in the wilderness, Elder Cook promised that the Lord can do the same for people today.

"So how will He lead us?" Elder Cook asked. "Through prophets, apostles and priesthood leaders, and through the feelings that come after we pour out our hearts and souls to Heavenly Father in prayer. He leads us as we forsake the things of the world, repent and change. He leads us as we keep His commandments and try to be more like Him. And He leads us through the Holy Ghost."

Elder Cook concluded by bearing his testimony that sins are forgiven and burdens lightened as people look to Christ. " 'Let us remember Him, … and not hang down our heads,' for, as President Monson said, 'It is better to look up.' "

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