The Very Greatest
– President Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, Oct. 1977.
I was born the year this was proclaimed. I remember hearing it when I was around eight years old. Even to this day, that sentence brings me to halt and I can feel the overwhelming power of the spirit. It is one of the greatest lines I have ever heard. I went through my baptism, teenage years, twenties and now marriage and parenthood with it constantly in the back of my mind.
When I was young, this simple sentence was the Holy Ghosts’ right hand man. When the promptings of the spirit weren’t enough, this sentence rattling around my little head was. It made me feel greater, stronger, more capable. It had a purpose to it. I was here for a reason. I need to make sure I am ready. Not since ‘May the force be with you’ had words affected me and created a vision in me that was so relentlessly pursued.
Through my teenage years and twenties, it was still there. At random parties or situations it would always peak its little head up and whisper you are a choice spirit. And still it would affect me. I would look at the situation I was in and instantly notice wasted opportunities or choices. 6,000 years you were in reserve and why are you doing this right now? It is a very powerful and sobering statement.
Now that I am older and have children of my own, I see this sentence more clearly. It is the ultimate motto for my generation. When I was young, it made me think past the present, envision my future and purpose. See everyone around me and their full potential. Every decade or so I re-identify myself with this simple line and find even more power in it and meaning. Now, I see it as I am the reserved generation to raise this generation. My children.
I have lived long enough to have learned from my grand parents. I have lived and learned from my parents and from my own life. I know what worked in the past. I know what worked in the 50’s through the 90’s and this last decade. I have seen where people failed, and where others have triumphed. I have the greatest temptations, responsibilities and opportunities; more than any generation before me. And having survived my first third of life, I am taking the responsibility to raise my children in the gospel. I am taking the opportunity to share it with others. I have seen and know the temptations and am ready to prepare my children.
When I look at my kids and watch them, I see the little stripling warriors in them. I see their earnestness, innocence, pure love and desire to do good. Now, in my children, I see the greatest generation being brought forth at this day, at this time, again. Because I was strong enough to be here for them. I was great enough to avoid my temptations. I was wise enough to take the opportunities presented to me. I was ready to take the responsibility. I feel this way about every one of you. I know we are about to release the greatest generation ever seen on Earth, and they will be great because we were ready at this time when we needed to be.
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