President Monson’s 90th birthday: Looking back on the teachings of the prophet

Since being called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at age 36, President Thomas S. Monson has offered words of comfort, direction, wisdom and testimony while ministering to members throughout the world.

In conjunction with his 90th birthday, following are a sampling of quotes from his more than 50 years of service:

“One might ask, concerning those who assist in the welfare program, What prompts such devotion on the part of every worker? The answer can be stated simply: An individual testimony of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, even a heartfelt desire to love the Lord with all one's heart, mind, and soul, and one's neighbor as oneself.”

— “The Way of the Lord,” Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance, p. 13

“We are all teachers. We should ever remember that we not only teach with words; we teach also by who we are and how we live our lives. As we teach others, may we follow the example of the perfect teacher, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He left His footprints in the sands of the seashore, but left His teaching principles in the hearts and in the lives of all whom He taught. He instructed His disciples of that day, and to us He speaks the same words, ‘Follow thou me.’ May we go forward in the spirit of obedient response, that it may be said of each of us as it was spoken of the Redeemer, ‘Thou art a teacher come from God.’ ”

— Worldwide Priesthood Leadership Satellite Broadcast, Feb. 10, 2007

“Is the voice of the Lord heard today? How does it come to man? Can your search for truth be guided by His voice? Can mine? Today, as always when the true Church of Christ is on the earth, there stands at its head a prophet. And just as the voice of the Lord came to Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah, it has likewise come to latter-day prophets.”

— “In Search of Truth,” Conference Report, October 1964, p. 18

“One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of car you drove, what kind of a house you lived in, how much you had in the bank account, nor what your clothes looked like. But the world may be a little better because you were important in the life of a boy or a girl.”

— “In Quest of the Abundant Life,” Utah State University Baccalaureate, June 2, 1967

“May the laughter of children gladden our hearts. May the faith of children soothe our souls. May the love of children prompt our deeds. ‘Children are an heritage of the Lord’ (Psalms 127:3). May our Heavenly Father ever bless these sweet souls, these special friends of the Master.”

— “Precious Children — A Gift from God,” Ensign, November 1991, p. 70

“Our most cherished friend is our partner in marriage. This old world would be so much better off today if kindness and deference were daily a reflection of our gratitude for wife, for husband.”

— “An Attitude of Gratitude,” Ensign, May 1992, p. 60

"As we look heavenward, we inevitably learn of our responsibility to reach outward. To find real happiness, we must seek for it in a focus outside ourselves. No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellow man. Service to others is akin to duty, the fulfillment of which brings true joy. We do not live alone — in our city, our nation or our world. There is no dividing line between our prosperity and our neighbor’s wretchedness. ‘Love thy neighbor’ is more than a divine truth. It is a pattern for perfection. This truth inspires the familiar charge, ‘Go forth to serve.’ Try as some of us may, we cannot escape the influence our lives have upon the lives of others. Ours is the opportunity to build, to lift, to inspire and indeed to lead. …

"The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that a true Latter-day Saint ‘is to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to provide for the widow, to dry up the tear of the orphan, to comfort the afflicted, whether in this church or in any other, or in no church at all, wherever he finds them’ (Times and Seasons, Mar. 15, 1842, 732).”

— “The Joy of Service,” New Era, October 2009, p. 4

“Why are so many willing to give so much in order to receive the blessings of the temple? Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort.”

— “The Holy Temple — A Beacon to the World,” Ensign, May 2011, p. 92

“Time passes. Circumstances change. Conditions vary. Unaltered is the divine command to succor the weak and lift up the hands which hang down and strengthen the feeble knees. Each of us has the charge to be not a doubter, but a doer; not a leaner, but a lifter.”

— “With Hand and Heart,” Ensign, December 1971

“I know that God lives, my brothers and sisters. There is no question in my mind. I know that this is His work, and I know that the sweetest experience in all this life is to feel His promptings as He directs us in the furtherance of His work. I have felt these promptings as a young bishop, guided to the homes where there was spiritual, or perhaps temporal, want. I felt it again in the mission field as I worked with your sons and your daughters — the missionaries of this great Church who are a living witness and testimony to the world that this work is divine and that we are led by a prophet.”

— “I Stand at the Door and Knock,” Conference Report, October 1963, p. 14