Elder Gary E. Stevenson: ‘Your Priesthood Playbook’

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Notable quotes:

“You know what temptations you are most vulnerable to, and you can predict how the adversary will try to derail and dishearten you.”
“You are bearers of the holy priesthood of God. Your commitment to hold firmly the iron rod will transform you into the eternal being that you were created to become.”
“If you fail, repent, learn from it and practice so you will do better next time.”

Summary points:

  1. Priesthood holders have a team — a quorum — and a playbook — the scriptures and words of modern prophets.
  2. Prepare offensive plays to strengthen testimonies and increase resolve to stay on the strait and narrow path, and defensive plays in order to respond to temptation.
  3. Repent and learn from failure, and practice in order to do better next time.

Talk summary:

In team sports, plays are developed for certain situations and compiled into a playbook.

“In a similar way, we holders of the priesthood also have a team — a quorum — and a playbook — the holy scriptures and the words of modern prophets.”

Priesthood holders can create a playbook by identifying what temptations they are most vulnerable to and planning out how to respond to those temptations.

“Offensive strategies help strengthen testimonies and increase resolve to stay on the strait and narrow path. Examples include regular prayer, scripture study, Church and temple attendance, paying tithing and following the counsel found in the 'For the Strength of Youth' pamphlet.”

Defensive strategies include planning ahead for how to face temptation. “Know in advance the plays you will employ to strengthen your spirit and avoid the snares of the adversary.”

Recommended plays include praying every day, avoiding pornography and immoral social media content, remembering covenants, studying scriptures, serving others, researching family history and serving and strengthening others.

Every player will have times of weakness and failure. “You are not perfect; falling is part of the qualifying process that refines your character to serve in a more compassionate way. The Savior and His infinite Atonement provide the way to overcome our mistakes through sincere repentance.”

Do not sit out the game. “Trust in the Lord. Put on the whole armor of God and get in the game.”

In the news:

  • While visiting Southeast Africa, Elder Stevenson presented a donation from the Church to the genocide memorial in Rwanda. He also spoke about the spirit of forgiveness that he felt in the area.
  • In January 2019, Elder Stevenson spoke about the miracle of the Book of Mormon and how it has the power to bring “faith, happiness and joy” to those who read it.
  • Elder Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, accompanied President Russell M. Nelson for the dedication of the Concepcion Chile Temple. See 37 of the best photos from the event.
  • Last conference, Elder Stevenson spoke in the Sunday afternoon session on reaching out and ministering to others.

About the speaker:

  • Elder Stevenson was sustained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Oct. 3, 2015.
  • As a young man, Elder Stevenson served in the Japan Fukuoka Mission; he was president of the Japajn Nagoyua Mission, 2004-2007. In August 2018, he took part in a Face to Face event in which he spoke to the youth in Japanese.
  • He and his wife, Sister Lesa Jean Higley, married in 1979. They have four sons.

Recently on social:

  • For an Instagram post, Elder Stevenson shared a picture of him and his wife as a young couple and said how the restoration of the gospel was brought about by what the same age group of what is called “millennials” today. He also reminded young adults of the Lord’s trust in them.
  • Elder Stevenson shared on social media his thoughts about his visit to the genocide memorial in Rwanda, and Rwandans' “universal spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation.
  • On Twitter, Elder Stevenson spoke about his unique opportunity to talk about temple sealings while giving a tour of the Rome Italy Temple.