Author’s Note: These are some of my thoughts and a summary from a recent visit from Elder Gerrit W. Gong, who addressed my stake at a recent special conference. This is Part One of a Two-Part Series. Read Part Two here.
I had the opportunity last weekend to hear from Elder Gerrit W Gong, one of the 15 men in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who we sustain as prophet, seer, revelator and a special witness of Jesus Christ, similar to Peter, James, and John during the time of Christ.
It was a great meeting and I wish to share a few of his thoughts and some of the impressions that I had during the meeting.
We were seated approximately 30 minutes before the meeting started and at about 9:45 a.m. Elder Gong entered the meeting in the very back of the gym, walking up the left side along with our Stake President. He greeted and shook hands with numerous people and was incredibly cordial and jovial with all whom he crossed paths with on his way through the gym and up to the stand.
We heard from the various other speakers and as is customary, Elder Gong concluded as the keynote speaker. He began his message by warmly greeting all who were present. He specifically welcomed those who “hadn’t been in a while” and warmly welcomed them home. He was happy that they were there and hoped it would continue. It was a beautiful sentiment.
Elder Gong then emphasized that the restoration is continuing, that revelation is continuing, and he wished to share some of that with us through his message. He asked the children in the congregation to stand up if they loved animals and, of course, almost all of them stood. He told us how much we can learn from animals as human beings and wished to share two stories of animals.
Elder Gong proceeded to have the children guess what animal the first story was about by imitating the noise and walk of a penguin. I was doubled over laughing at him impersonation. Unforgettable. Not many people can say that they have seen an apostle of God imitate a penguin, but I can. He did it no less than 5 times during his story and I was belly laughing every time. It was so great.
Elder Gong told us about recently seeing 50,000 penguins together at once recently during his travels. Penguins are very social animals and do almost everything “together.” One of the things he noticed was penguins jump into the water together, not one at a time. When he quizzed his tour guide on this, the guide explained that under the water (invisible to all of us, including the penguins, are leopard seals. When they jump together, it makes a huge splash and the seals become disoriented and can get scared away. Jumping one at a time puts them at risk of losing their lives.
Elder Gong then spoke about cheetahs. They are incredibly fast but can only maintain their speed over a short distance, so they move slowly and stop then move slowly and stop over and over when stalking prey. By doing this, they are, by and large, undetected by the animals being hunted. This allows them to be close enough so their prey will have no chance to escape when the cheetah begins the attack.
Elder Gong warned us that Satan works on us in a similar manner. He moves the line continuously and then is satisfied waiting until we let our guard down so he can move the line again. He can slip into our lives largely undetected until it’s too late.
I found these two teachings simple yet profound. I encourage you to ponder how Christ’s Church protects us from the danger of losing our lives and our souls.
- “Acting for Ourselves and Not Being Acted Upon” – President James E. Faust, October 1995.
- “Are You a Saint?” -Elder Quentin L. Cook, October 2003.
- “Witnesses of Christ” -Elder Dallin H. Oaks, October 1990.
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