President Thomas S. Monson expressed in his priesthood session talk the fervent hope that every young man who receives the priesthood will honor it and "be true to the trust which is conveyed when it is conferred."
"May each of us who holds the priesthood of God know what he believes," said President Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency. He added, "There will be occasions in each of our lives when we will be called upon to explain or defend our beliefs. When the time for performance arrives, the time for preparation is past."
He recounted one such opportunity he had, 21 years ago in East Germany prior to the time it was freed from communist rule. He said he was conversing with the State Secretary, Minister Gysi, who asked, "Why is your church so wealthy that you can afford to build buildings in our country and throughout the world? How do you get your money?"
President Monson said he answered that the Church is not wealthy "but that we follow the ancient biblical principle of tithing, which principle is re-emphasized in our modern scripture. I explained also that our Church has no paid ministry and indicated that these were two reasons why we were able to build the buildings then underway, including the beautiful temple at Freiberg."
"Minister Gysi was most impressed with the information I presented, and I was very grateful I was able to answer his questions," he said.
Quoting President David O. McKay as saying the Church is differentiated by belief in divine authority by direct revelation, President Monson cited the First Vision of Joseph Smith and the conferral of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods upon him and Oliver Cowdery as examples.
President Monson said: "The oath and covenant of the priesthood pertains to all of us. To those who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, it is a declaration of our requirement to be faithful and obedient to the laws of God and to magnify the callings which come to us. To those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood, it is a pronouncement concerning future duty and responsibility, that they may prepare themselves here and now."
He told of an incident two years ago in his ward in which a priest at the sacrament table tried twice to bless the bread but stumbled each time, before one of the other priests took over for him. President Monson felt inspired to lean over and say to the priest closest to him, "Let him bless the water; it's a shorter prayer."
When it was time to bless the water, the young man knelt again and gave the prayer, haltingly perhaps, but not missing a word. Afterward, President Monson gave "thumbs-up" signs to the young man and later to his parents, with whom the boy sat after the sacrament.
"I could see the mother and father wiping tears from their eyes," he said. "I felt impressed that this young man would do just fine in the future."
President Monson advised, "Should there be anyone who feels he is too weak to do better because of that greatest of fears, the fear of failure, there is no more comforting assurance to be had than the words of the Lord: "My grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them' " (Ether 12:27).
Concluding his address, President Monson said, "Miracles are everywhere to be found when priesthood callings are magnified. When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes. Whom God calls, God qualifies."