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They Stayed Up His Hands

One of the most inspired principles in the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the idea of presidencies. One man or woman is called to lead. It is up to them to make the difficult decision and move the work forward. It is their right to receive revelation over their stewardship. However, each president is part of a presidency. A president is given two counselors for support, insight, and help. I have two of the best.

The idea is not new in the Church of Jesus Christ. Peter, James and John were a presidency of leadership.

Even Moses had the help of two capable men. 

A few years ago, my cousin Paige made a painting depicting a beautiful scene from the Old Testament. As shared with me by my aunt Lisa, this was a gift for an outgoing Bishop of their ward. It was a painting of Moses, his heavy burden of leadership, and how he had two helpers to push him along. 

And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

Exodus 17:11-12 

I really love this painting and what it represents. 

When I was first called, I was asked to select counselors to be called that together we might establish a new stake. Here is the instruction given in the Handbook on who you should be considered for counselors:

A stake president is a faithful disciple and witness of Jesus Christ. He is true to his covenants. He is loyal to his wife and considerate of her. He sets an example of righteousness for his children, the stake, and the community. His counselors are men of the same character.

Handbook of instructions

I am thankful for my counselors who have served with me consistently with full heart. In our years of service, they have been reliable and ready at all times. They have strength where I still need refining.

President Johnson has a natural love for people. He befriends all members of the stake and remembers the detail of their lives. He is approachable when members are in need. He is eager to work and yet remains patient when I’m still seeking the right path forward. He enjoys the work of God.

President Reese was a stranger the night I called him. I’m glad it will never be that way again. He has become a steady influence for good in my life. He is giving, capable and energetic. He takes time to complement me when I do well. He is intelligent and wise and yet humble.

Sitting with these two counselors has made me a better person. Sometimes it has made me a bigger person. Presidency Meetings often start with a food report from the week and which restaurants and desserts I should be trying. 

I am also thankful for their wives. Like Candace, they are an incredible support. I think of them as counselors, once removed. 

Jen has an appreciation for both the big picture and the finer details of life. I appreciate her ability to observe.

Cathy remembers that this is a plan of happiness. She is uplifting and grows joy for and with others. 

I am thankful that God asks us to serve in His church. 

I am thankful we have others to share the experience with as we all just do our best. 

This post inspired by a video I watched from Russell M Nelson. Many decades as both a heart surgeon and a ministerial leader, he can uniquely offer “a prescription for healing.”

I plan to more purposefully #GiveThanks. Join me.

“Counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems”