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Saturday, June 4, 2011


As I mentioned a few days ago, I've been reviewing some of my old Sunday School manuals. I love to read the inspired words of the prophets and see how well they carry over as times and seasons change. I am currently reading from the Harold B. Lee manual. It has been great to learn "at his feet", since he is one of the prophets I know the least about. One thing: he is a fabulous speaker! In Chapter One, he tells a parable using the story of the near tragedy of Apollo 13:

"Some months ago, millions of watchers and listeners over the world waited breathlessly and anxiously the precarious flight of Apollo 13. The whole world, it seemed, prayed for one significant result: the safe return to earth of the three brave men.

When one of them with restrained anxiety announced the startling information, 'We have had an explosion!' the mission control in Houston immediately mobilized all the technically trained scientists who had, over the years, planned every conceivable detailed pertaining to the flight.

The safety of those three now depended on two vital qualifications: on the reliability of the skills and the knowledge of the technicians in the mission control center at Houston, and upon the implicit obedience of the men in the Aquarius to every instruction from the technicians, tho, because of their understanding of the problems of the astronauts, were better qualified to find the essential solutions. The decisions of the technicians had to be perfect or the Aquarius could have missed the earth by thousands of miles.

This dramatic event is somewhat analogous to these [troubled] times in which we live. . . . Many are frightened when they see and hear of unbelievable happenings the world over--political intrigues, wars and contention everywhere, frustrations of parents endeavoring to cope with social problems that threaten to break down the sanctity of the home, the frustrations of children and youth as they face challenges to their faith and their morals.

Only if you are willing to listen to and obey, as did the astronauts on the Aquarius, can you and all your household be guided to ultimate safety in the Lord's own way" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, p. 1-2).

I love this analogy. We must trust our Heavenly Father and our Savior (the technicians), knowing that they see the whole picture, and know how to bring us back to safety. And we must do, with exactness and precise and prompt obedience, what they ask us. They are the experts and without their help, guidance, and wisdom, we will not make it back. And as much of a tragedy the loss of the men of Apollo 13 would have been, the loss of souls due to apathy, disobedience, or half-hearted obedience, would prove even more devastating. Another interesting parallel is that the astronauts, before receiving help, needed to make the distress call: "Houston, we have a problem. . . " Otherwise, mission control would never have known that they were in danger. Help for us, in our time of need, is just a prayer away. "Dear Father, I have a problem!" Exactness. Promptness. Trust. Faith. Obedience. Good stuff!