"As Ye Have Loved Us"
Genesis Presidency 1st Counselor Orin Howell
Protected by The Holy Spirit
When I was about eight or nine years of age, my mother, my siblings and I stayed with my grandmother (a widow) while my father was on a military assignment. My mother’s brother would come home from New York University on weekends and spend time with us. One Saturday, my grandmother said she needed to go to the bank to obtain a cashier’s check. She looked at me and asked if I could go to the bank for her. She said she would call ahead and tell the bank her grandson would be handling the transaction on her behalf. I just looked at her; I did not know what a cashier’s check was and, I did not know how to get there. My mother and uncle were in disagreement about having me walk a few blocks into town and cross busy streets to get to the bank. They were not worried about my age, but the fact that I had lived my entire life in locations that did not have any busy intersections. A number of places I lived did not even have traffic signals. For the most part, the mode of transportation consisted of a few buses, bicycles and pedicabs.
After some more conversation, I was informed I would be going to the bank for my grandmother. She gave me the money and directions to the bank. Yes, I was worried and concerned about being in an unfamiliar environment, traversing streets with traffic and traffic lights. However, I wanted to help and please my grandmother. I looked up to her, admired her, and greatly loved this women I called, “Grandmum,” the mother of my mother, aunts, and uncle. With my hand in my pocket clenching the money, I followed the instructions my grandmother gave me; “Be safe” and, “Watch for traffic”.
I made it to the bank and back home. I entered the house and gave my grandmother the cashier’s check. She hugged and kissed me saying, “I knew you could do it! You are such a wonderful grandson.” My mother and uncle also congratulated me for a job well done. The topic of me going to the bank came up many years later at a family gathering. It was then I found out my grandmum, Margret Mays Reeves, had my uncle follow me to the bank and back home. Not once did I see him, yet I remember him being in the house when I arrived home. I thought of how wise my grandmother was to help me grow and build my confidence. Much more though was that she loved me so much that she sent someone to watch over and protect me in case I encountered trouble.
Brothers and Sisters, this is what our Heavenly Father does for us. He loves us so much that He provides a protector and comforter, The Holy Spirit. There are two types of protection; one is physical and the other is spiritual. We are provided with both. We may think many times that we are alone and no one is watching or protecting us, but we are wrong. In today’s world, one needs greater vision and protection and thus The Holy Spirit can always be with us. We must learn the importance of The Holy Spirit, and how we are guided and protected by the Spirit of the Lord. Jesus has told us, “... the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
We are warned of dangers as we travel this earth. For this reason, we have been given commandments and Holy Scriptures which will protect us if we will only listen, learn and obey. As we travel the road of this life, we will encounter Satan in many forms as he tries to entangle us in his web of deceit by using temptation and implanting false beliefs that we are not sinning. He preys on those who are weak in their conviction and faith. [1 Peter 5:8]. Make no mistake, we are all vulnerable to his (Satan’s) tactics if we are not vigilant and fail to ask the Holy Spirit to be with us and protect us.
We will be protected when we follow the commandants, words spoken by General Authorities and our Lord and Savior. If a course change is needed, the Lord has provided a way for us to return home based upon our individual circumstances. The counsel to be “anxiously engaged” is wise counsel indeed (D&C 58:27). The Lord will provide us protection as he did in the times of Abraham and Mormon if we keep the commandants, pray often, and build our testimony from a small burning ember into a testimony like a bonfire which we can cherish and nurture. The Apostle Paul and others have warned us about the trials we would face in our times and the times to come. Yet, with all the turmoil around us, we each can have peace if we but turn to Christ and the scriptures which unlock the promises of protection and redemption.
We desire you to open your hearts to the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ and to his teachings in the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Within these Holy Scriptures, you will find and gain further understanding of the protection and guidance the Holy Spirit provides us. I bear witness to the same in the name of our Heavenly Father and his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen
President Orin Howell,