In a BYU–Idaho devotional Tuesday, April 27, Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong, a General Authority Seventy, shared three scriptural accounts centered on rocks and stones that have taught him principles of planning, preparation and endurance.
The brother of Jared
In the Book of Mormon, the brother of Jared built barges according to instruction from the Lord in order for his people to cross the ocean. In the process, he encountered two major challenges: access to air and access to light.
Upon asking God for guidance, the Lord answered one of the questions, but after the brother of Jared asked the second question, the Lord tried to “help the brother of Jared to be more self-reliant in identifying a solution” and asked him in return: “What will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?” (Ether 2:25).
Once he melted 16 transparent stones out of rock, the brother of Jared “cried again unto the Lord” and asked God to touch the stones with his finger and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness.
Elder Wong compared the story to the experience of planning and plotting the course for the future.
“Whether that is in your educational pursuits, or career decisions, the Lord can provide you with guidance. He is especially interested in the course you are taking to the promised land,” Elder Wong taught. “As the brother of Jared asked for the Lord’s help in lighting the stones, can He not also provide you with the light to shine in the darkness of doubts?”
David and Goliath
To prepare for the battle against Goliath, David found five smooth stones and put them in his shepherd’s bag.
“It was not a long battle as David was able to kill Goliath with just one stone,” Elder Wong recounted. “If David knew God was on his side and only one stone was needed, why did he go through the trouble to choose five smooth stones?”
Elder Wong explained the importance of preparing for the future.
“We may not be able to change all of what is coming, but we can choose how we prepare for what is coming. … You are seeking your education to learn, to better equip yourself for your uncertain future career and uncharted future life,” he said.
‘The rock of our Redeemer’
The final stone that Elder Wong referred to was “the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall” (Doctrine & Covenants 50:44).
In the New Testament, the Savior teaches His disciples using the story of “the wise man and the foolish man” (Matthew 7:24-27). The only difference between these men and their situations was the foundation upon which they built their houses.
“Where our foundation is really matters, and this has a decisive effect on the outcome ultimately and eternally,” Elder Wong said.
Elder Wong encouraged listeners to “consider these 22 stones” while charting the future: “Sixteen stones of planning, like the brother of Jared. Five stones of preparation as evidenced by David. The most important stone, our foundation stone, our rock, our Savior Jesus Christ.”
During her remarks, Sister Carol Wong testified of the power of general conference. “Do you realize that all the teachings delivered in those five meetings are the best we could have for our time, especially for the next six months of our lives?” she asked.
Just sitting through the sessions is not enough, nor is “liking those beautifully decorated quotes from the talks posted on social media.”
“You need to have a plan to learn the talks for yourselves and intentionally incorporate what you have learned into your life,” she said.
She then shared her own general conference study plan. Sister Wong begins by spending the first month after conference reading through each talk. Then, during the subsequent five months, she studies one session each month.
“I do a combination of reading and listening in both Chinese and English to understand better,” she explained.
She expressed her gratitude for the Christlike love of Church leaders and her testimony that they are “truly called of God to be our guides on our path going back to our dear Heavenly Father and His only begotten son, our Savior Jesus Christ.”