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Teaching moment

President Thomas S. Monson shared an experience during his April 1985 general conference address, “The Spirit Giveth Life,” that illustrates the importance of speaking and teaching with the Spirit.

He was in Star Valley, Wyoming, to release a stake president — the late E. Francis Winters.

“He had served faithfully for the lengthy term of twenty-three years,” explained President Monson. “Though modest by nature and circumstance, he had been a perpetual pillar of strength to everyone in the valley. On the day of the stake conference, the building was filled to overflowing. Each heart seemed to be saying a silent thank-you to this noble leader who had given so unselfishly of his life for the benefit of others.

“As I stood to speak following the reorganization of the stake presidency, I was prompted to do something I had not done before, nor have I done so since. I stated how long Francis Winters had presided in the stake; then I asked all whom he had blessed or confirmed as children to stand and remain standing.

“Then I asked all those persons whom President Winters had ordained, set apart, personally counseled, or blessed to please stand. The outcome was electrifying. Every person in the audience rose to his feet. Tears flowed freely — tears which communicated better than could words the gratitude of tender hearts.

“I turned to President and Sister Winters and said, ‘We are witnesses today of the prompting of the Spirit. This vast throng reflects not only individual feelings but also the gratitude of God for a life well lived.’ No person who was in the congregation that day will forget how he felt when he witnessed the language of the Spirit of the Lord.”

President Monson said at times, the answers to our questions and daily prayers come to us through silent promptings of the Spirit.

Earlier in his conference address, President Monson spoke of the efforts of missionaries to learn new languages. “There is one language, however, that is understood by each missionary: the language of the Spirit. It is not learned from textbooks written by men of letters, nor is it acquired through reading and memorization. The language of the Spirit comes to him who seeks with all his heart to know God and to keep His divine commandments. Proficiency in this language permits one to breach barriers, overcome obstacles, and touch the human heart.”

President Monson concluded his address, saying, “We watch. We wait. We listen for that still, small voice. When it speaks, wise men and women obey. We do not postpone following promptings of the Spirit.”

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