Elder Gary E. Stevenson: ‘Highly Favored of the Lord’

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Notable quotes:

“I believe that one day, each of you will look back at the canceled events, the sadness, disappointments and loneliness attendant to the challenging times we are passing through to see it overshadowed by choice blessings and increased faith and testimonies.”
“The temple ordinances we have missed over several months seem sweeter than previously imagined as temples around the world reopen in phases.”
“The pandemic has introduced numerous opportunities to hone our ministering skills.”

Summary points:

  • Follow the examples of ancient and latter-day prophets and recognize the Lord’s favor in one’s life even during times of affliction and disappointment.
  • Decide to retain home-centered patterns of gospel study and learning long after the pandemic is resolved.
  • Find heightened joy in the return of temple ordinances.

Talk summary: 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Latter-day Saints around the globe have had their lives upended. Missions, temple work and traditional Sabbath-day worship were disrupted. Some have lost loved ones. Many have dealt with heartbreaking disappointment, sorrow and discouragement.

“So how do we heal, endure and move forward when things seemed broken?”

Nephi from the Book of Mormon provides a timeless answer. He knew many afflictions during his lifetime. Yet his gospel perspective allowed him to see that he had been “highly favored of the Lord.”

“Times of affliction and disappointment do not change the watchful eye of the Lord as He favorably looks upon us, blessing us.”

Latter-day Saints have endured the challenges of the past several months because adjustments were made by a living prophet before there was any hint of a pandemic. Each adjustment is an example of being “highly favored of the Lord.”

First, becoming more home-centered and Church-supported.  

“Even as the world begins to normalize and we return to chapels, we will want to retain our home-centered patterns of gospel study and learning developed during the pandemic.”

Second, ministering in a higher and holier way.

“Ministering brothers and sisters, young women and young men, and others have reached out to provide contact, conversation, yard care, meals, messages via technology, and the sacrament ordinance to bless those in need. 

“The Church itself has also been ministering to others during the pandemic with an unprecedented distribution of commodities to food banks, homeless shelters and immigrant support centers and with projects directed to the world’s most serious hunger situations.”

And third, finding heightened joy in the return of temple ordinances.

“The temple ordinances we have missed over several months seem sweeter than previously  imagined as temples around the world reopen in phases.”

One day, the pandemic-caused disruptions and disappointments will be overshadowed by the “choice blessings and increased faith and testimonies.” They are evidence of the Lord’s favor.

In the news:

  • Elder Gary E. Stevenson spoke to Church News about viewing discouragement during COVID-19 through the lens of faith as part of a series of articles highlighting the teachings of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In a video released as part of the Church’s 2020 #HearHim initiative, Elder Stevenson shared a story of how he learned to listen to the Holy Ghost.

About the speaker:

  • Elder Gary E. 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 Japan Nagoya Mission, 2004-2007. 
  • He and Lesa Jean Higley married in 1979. They have four sons.

Recently on Social:

  • Elder Gary E. Stevenson posted on Facebook following the publication of his article about the restoration of the priesthood. 

I recently wrote an article in the “Ensign” focused on how the return of the priesthood to the earth made possible the…

Posted by Gary E. Stevenson on Sunday, July 5, 2020
  • On Father’s Day, Elder Stevenson shared his #HearHim video, in which he tells a story about learning to hear the Lord’s voice from his own father.
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