What message did you receive from our living prophets when they spoke to us during the satellite broadcast to the Africa Southeast Area on November 23, 2014? Did it change what you think or the things you do? What blessings have you received as a result?
Prophets speak the mind and will of the Lord. It is as if they shine a bright light on the path that leads back to our Father in Heaven. They guide us through perilous times and help us find peace, happiness, and success.
Sometimes the words of prophets challenge our ideas and desires, and even test our faith. We may listen to and accept some of their messages more easily than others. Each of us chooses how we respond, but whenever we follow their counsel, we are blessed. When we disregard their messages and follow our own wisdom or the wisdom of the world, we forego the opportunity to benefit from the Lord's direction in our lives.
In General Conference, our prophets often speak on wide-ranging topics applicable to all members of the Church. However, during our recent satellite broadcast, we received words from our prophets specifically for the people of Africa and the neighboring islands. As I listened to them speak, the spirit of truth rested upon my mind and penetrated my heart. I know that their messages were inspired of God for us in our area.
I was particularly stirred by the teachings regarding adopting the gospel culture, specifically concerning bride price. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Elder David A. Bednar both addressed the subject in their messages. Elder Dallin H. Oaks has spoken previously on the subject.
The counsel is very clear regarding bride price. President Uchtdorf stated, “We urge our young people, our fathers and mothers, all our leaders and members of the Church to discontinue this practice. Our young people should follow the Lord's pattern of marriage as practiced in the holy temple and not follow traditions that undermine God's sacred plan. By following the Lord's way, families will move close together for time and for all eternity and not be limited by unnecessary worldly traditions of our fathers. The Lord's way is the real path to bring families together forever' (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 'Into a Bright Future,' Africa Satellite Broadcast, November 23, 2014, 13).
I have pondered and prayed about these teachings from our prophets. I know that they are true. I also know that each of us can receive a spiritual confirmation of the truthfulness of their words if we humbly and prayerfully seek it.
I was inspired by the faith of one of our young single adult sisters who commented on the prophets’ teachings on lobola (bride price). She said, “Today it is lobola we are trying to overcome. Tomorrow it will be something else. There will always be changes we need to make. We just need to follow the prophets and do what they say. It is more about obedience than about any specific cultural practice.”
I invite each of us to prayerfully consider what the Lord would have us do related to our personal or family traditions, including bride price. I know that the Lord can guide us and strengthen us to do whatever is necessary to draw nearer to Him by abandoning false traditions. I know that through that process we can also eventually draw nearer to our family and loved ones, for that is God's plan for us.
*David A. Bednar, “Our Whole Souls As An Offering Unto Him,” Africa Satellite Broadcast, November 23, 2014
Dallin H. Oaks, “The Gospel Culture,” Ensign, March 2012.