We live in a world where not much is considered sacred nor holy. Diversity and tolerance are proclaimed, yet we find religious freedom under attack. Churches are working hard to “entertain” their members, in an attempt to keep them actively involved. That was not the case recently in Cypress, where nearly 1,000 people turned out to hear words of counsel and encouragement from a visiting general authority of their church.
Elder Quentin L. Cook is an Apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He serves alongside 11 other men, under the direction of the First Presidency which consists of a President Russell M. Nelson, and his two counselors. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the second-highest presiding body in the government of the world-wide Church. As an Apostle, Elder Cook’s main mission is to be a special witness for Jesus Christ.
Elder Cook was in the North Orange County area to facilitate a leadership conference, where he also spoke during a devotional for young married couples. On Sunday he addressed local members of the Church in Cypress in a special Cypress Stake Conference. Elder Cook explained, “Our purpose is to build up and strengthen the church. This is one of the responsibilities of an Apostle; we do this by teaching prophetic priorities and today I wish to say that we need to follow the prophet.”
Addressing those in attendance, he spoke of recently accompanying the president of the Church President Russell M. Nelson on a tour of South America where they visited six cities in five different countries, speaking to thousands of members in attendance at organized devotionals. Speaking of President Nelson, Elder Cook said that, “At the age of 95, he is very, very capable. He is a most decisive person; which, without, you cannot be an open-heart surgeon, able to make quick decisions. He is also decisive in wanting to follow the Lord and the inspiration he receives.”
Two of the prophet’s areas of counsel are in emphasizing the name of the Church, and the need to teach about the Savior and His atonement. Elder Cook continued by addressing the push for families within the Church to make their homes ‘Sanctuaries of faith.’ This is being accomplished, in part, through changes made last year to move gospel studies to a ‘home centered – Church supported’ structure. This allows for the bulk of gospel learning to be done in the home, while supported in Sunday services and through other Church activities. “This is important now, in our day, but may be even more important for the future,” he said.
Elder Cook continued, “I, as an Apostle of the Savior, testify to you of His atonement. I testify to you that the atonement is the greatest event of the Father’s plan. The greatest event in history. The atonement did three things. It overcame death for everyone that has ever lived. It overcame sin for all of those who will repent and lastly, it overcame those things that are unfair about this life. If you talk to your neighbors, most have had their faith dampened because they don’t think a loving Father in Heaven would have allowed so many bad things to happen. We know that we lived in a premortal existence, and we know that agency was essential. We knew that with this agency, there would be things that would happen that were unfair – but the atonement overcomes everything that is unfair.”
In closing, Elder Cook offered an apostolic blessing for those in attendance.
“You are living in a time where there are a lot of challenges in society. Those who have small children are concerned about some curriculum changes the State is going through. There are a lot of challenges but I invoke a special blessing upon you, that if you will follow the prophet, and if you will make your homes sanctuaries of faith, and if you will strive to live the commandments, you can keep your families together. I bless you that you can prepare yourselves, regardless of when the second coming of the Savior is, that you will be ready for His return… as you keep the commandments, and as you do these things, you will have peace in your hearts in a world where there is very little peace. That you’ll find joy in your daily living and worship of the Savior. That your families will be protected, and that you will have the blessings of living the commandments. Mosiah said, everlasting happiness would come to those who live the commandments. I invoke that blessing upon you in accordance with that doctrine. I leave you my witness of the Savior, and invoke a blessing upon you in your individual lives, and with your families, and I do so in the sacred name of name of Jesus Christ.”
The last time an Apostle from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited local members in the Cypress Stake was in 1999.
A Stake is a geographical area comprising five-six wards, or congregations. The Cypress California Stake is comprised of members from North Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, West Garden Grove, La Palma and Stanton.
For information visit ChurchofJesusChrist.org
This article was written by Vicki Wagstaff.