Jeffrey R Holland is one of my favorite general authorities to listen to at general conference. He was set apart in 1994, so I don't really remember a time when he wasn't a GA. He spoke at a stake conference of ours around this time, and Mom broke the rules and took us up to meet him after. He gave Michael a kiss on the cheek!
Interestingly enough, he got a BA in English before started teaching Institute. He also has two Masters and a Ph.D. I think he's absolutely amazing.
My favorite talk of his is The Other Prodigal. He really speaks to me, and it was nice to hear things from a different perspective. Here's a lovely snippit or two:
"He forgets for a moment that his faithfulness has been and always will be rewarded."
"But the older brother lives in some confinement, too. He has, as yet, been unable to break out of the prison of himself. He is haunted by the green-eyed monster of jealousy. He feels taken for granted by his father and disenfranchised by his brother, when neither is the case."And best of all:
"How can we overcome such a tendency so common in almost everyone? For one thing, we can do as these two sons did and start making our way back to the Father. We should do so with as much haste and humility as we can summon. Along the way we can count our many blessings and we can applaud the accomplishments of others. Best of all, we can serve others, the finest exercise for the heart ever prescribed. But finally these will not be enough. When we are lost, we can “come to ourselves,” but we may not always be able to “find ourselves,” and, worlds without end, we cannot “save ourselves.” Only the Father and His Only Begotten Son can do that. Salvation is in Them only. So we pray that They will help us, that They will “come out” to meet and embrace us and bring us into the feast They have prepared."
In my life, especially growing up, it was so easy to align myself with The Prodigal Son's Brother, to find myself jealous of others and the attention they get. I always thought of this poor brother, this hard worker, who was continuously ignored, and I wondered when he would get his party, his fattened calf. But he already gets it all. Those who remain righteous get their reward, and those who return get theirs. Elder Holland ends by telling us that God loves each of us, regardless of the baggage we carry, and I have come to learn this for myself. Being happy for others does not diminish me or my work. And who are we to deny others the blessings of heaven? Should we all not want all to succeed?
And this is why it is my favorite talk. It came at a point in my life when I really needed to hear it, and it is still valuable today. It is a good reminder to not place myself above others, nor judge them. I hope you all can give this talk a look and enjoy it as I have.
What do you think? How does this apply to you? Does this apply to you?