Seeking for a Beautiful Day
Thomas B. Morgan, Zion's Bank executive vice president of retail, business banking and omni channel banking, spoke at Devotional on May 1, 2018.
Seeking for a Beautiful Day
Brothers and sisters, I’m not sure there is anything more soothing than beautiful music, and that was beautiful. One of the things that attracted me to Debbie, from the very beginning, was that she could play the piano—and still does, beautifully. I was more attracted to her eyes than her piano, but piano was important, too.
Brothers and sisters, this is a real honor for me to have the privilege of spending a few minutes sharing some thoughts with you today. Debbie and I know a number of you, and some of you we don’t know. Hopefully, as we spend a few minutes together, we’ll get to know each other, all of us. I ask that your prayers and your faith would include me, at least for the next 24 minutes today. President Kusch, thank you for the opportunity to speak here, and I pray the Holy Ghost will teach us and enlighten us today, together, as we consider a few gospel truths.
Every one of us had to walk into the building; we couldn’t park right next to it, so we had to walk a little bit today, and what we noticed—at least what I noticed as I walked in—was how beautiful this day is. There are a few clouds, but not right over us. It’s a beautiful blue sky. Beautiful flowers across Temple Square, and just a feeling of beauty, loveliness. You can’t help but just be impressed by that and feel the significance of a beautiful day like today.
On this beautiful day, I’d like to talk with you about a few things that make beautiful days for disciples of Jesus Christ, and I would consider all of us to be disciples of Jesus Christ. I’ll use several scriptures to make the points, because the scriptures and prophets and apostles are a lot better at making important points like this. We will use Moses 5:4-9. We’ll use 2 Kings 6:15-17; Matthew 11:28-29; Alma 34:31-32—don’t you just love Alma? All of it—and Doctrine and Covenants 50:24.
Beginning with Moses (verses 4 and 5): “And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.
“And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.”
Brothers and sisters, on a day—maybe just as beautiful as this very day—our first parents, Adam and Eve, prepared an offering to the Lord, just as they had done for quite some time. But on this particular day, the scriptures record:
“And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
“And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
“Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore (verses 6-8).”
At the beginning of verse 9, the scriptures record: “And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam” (Moses 5:4-9).
I have thought about this. In that day—which day? What day was it that the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam? We know that Adam received commandments, and he was faithful to those commandments. In fact, an angel appeared and said, “Why are you doing this thing?” And Adam said, “I know not.” Maybe today we would say, “I don’t know. I don’t know why I’m doing this. What I do know is that Heavenly Father asked me to, and so I keep the commandment.”
Immediately—immediately upon this declaration from his heart, “I do this because I love God more”—that’s my interpretation—immediately upon that declaration, the Holy Ghost began to teach Adam and Eve. The Holy Ghost taught them of the significance of this specific commandment and what they were doing as a way of sacrifice. And then the scripture goes on to tell us that the Holy Ghost taught them even more. Which day was it that the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam and Eve? It was on the day that they declared, “Whatever it is Heavenly Father asks us to do, we will do it. Even if we don’t understand exactly why, or just exactly what, but if Heavenly Father asks us to, we will do it.”
There have been a lot of times in my life that I have had questions, and wondered about things. Sometimes we—especially in today’s world—we want to know answers before we are willing to do things. We want to understand completely before we say, “I will.” Interestingly, Heavenly Father’s plan for us is to exercise faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement first, and as we faithfully exercise faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, the blessing is we then receive further light and knowledge related to what we have been asked to do. In that day. Which day? The day that we say, “Whatever Heavenly Father asks, I will do it. I’ll do it faithfully. I’ll do it with all my heart. I’ll do it without question.”
As a result of Adam and Eve’s humble obedience, they were given the Holy Ghost to teach and comfort them. Brothers and sisters, just like this beautiful day today, it’s a beautiful day when we show our love to the Lord with our unqualified obedience.
Let’s move to 2 Kings, chapter 6. I will use verses 15 and 16 to help demonstrate the point. On another day in the history of the world, the Syrian armies were coming against
Israel. Israel was in camp. The Syrians found out, by spies and others, where they were at, and the Syrians came all around them. The scriptures record this exchange between the prophet Elisha, who was with Israel’s camp. But in the moment, it seemed pretty hopeless. Here’s the exchange that took place between the prophet and his young, single adult servant. I made that part up. The scriptures say he was young. I don’t know if he was single. I hope he was an adult.
“And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him [unto Elisha], Alas, my master! how shall we do?” Or in other words—my interpretation— “This looks really bad! Our camp is surrounded, and there are a lot of armies, and they look pretty mean. And I’m pretty sure they are here, not to have a party. So what are we going to do? This looks pretty bad. What are we going to do?”
And Elisha answered this way: “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”
It’s a wonderful story, and it’s a marvelous image, if you think about this, because an incredible experience took place when this young servant said to the prophet, “This looks really bad. What are we going to do?”
And Elisha, as he said, “Don’t be afraid. They that be with us are more than they that be with them.”
And then this took place. Elisha prayed and said, “LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha (verse 17).”
So, this young servant was given the opportunity to see things the way that Heavenly Father sees them, not just the way he saw them. On this beautiful day in the history of the world, as a result of a living prophet and the blessings of the Lord, a young man was able to see the world and the situation that they were in in the way that God sees it.
When we see things the way that Heavenly Father sees them, it’s a beautiful day. This is a very good day.
Sometimes we can only see the world around us through our perspective. But if we ask, and if we seek the opportunity, if we follow a living prophet, our perspective can be enlarged. Our perspective can be widened, and we can begin to see things the way that Heavenly Father sees them, not just the way that we see them.
Because we have a living prophet today, and because Heavenly Father loves us, and as we qualify for the Holy Ghost to assist and help us, and to mentor and teach us, and
to give us impressions and revelations, we too can see things the way that Heavenly Father sees them.
We have had recent experience with this. In our general conference that was held here only a few weeks ago, the eyes of our understanding and our ability to see things the way Heavenly Father sees them were enhanced. Think about it. In general conference, we were given the opportunity to see kindness and caring for and looking after each other through ministering the way that Heavenly Father sees it. We were introduced, our eyes were opened, to a new level, a different perspective, on caring for each other, and loving each other, and looking after each other, and ministering to each other. At general conference, we were able to more clearly see this principle the way Heavenly Father sees it. We were introduced to a new way of looking at Melchizedek priesthood quorum leadership, and we were introduced to a new perspective—God’s perspective. And because of a living prophet, and because Heavenly Father loves us, we see more, now, the way that Heavenly Father sees.
We were given an expanded view, in conference, of the significance and importance of temples, because we were told there would be more of them. And so it is, brothers and sisters. If we seek this, Heavenly Father will help us see things His way. Maybe the most important thing for us to know is that there is more for us to see in God’s glorious plan. And if we will follow the prophet, and if we will make ourselves qualified for the gift of the Holy Ghost, we will see more the way that Heavenly Father sees.
Matthew 11, verses 28 and 29. President Kusch indicated that Debbie and I had the privilege of serving a mission several years ago. We had actually served in the mission as mission president and wife the very same time that the Kusch’s served, and it was a great blessing. After you get home from serving as a mission president, people like to ask you things. One of the questions I’ve been asked the most is, “What was the best day on your mission? What was the very best day on your mission?” Or, in other words, “What was the greatest thing about serving that way?”
I could answer with a lot of things that would be familiar to you. We could talk about the number of missionaries that came out during the time that we served our mission—it went from 140 missionaries to 285 missionaries in about six months. We could talk about the number of baptisms that we had. In our mission—my guess is that the Kusch’s had more baptisms than we did—in our mission, we literally baptized, not on the same day, but we literally baptized one person a day per year. Three hundred sixty-five baptisms we had in our mission almost every year—a difference of one each year is all. We could talk about the wonderful, wonderful people that we came to know and love, and who are now our friends—our dear, dear friends.
But here is how I will answer the question. What was the very best day as a mission president? The best day as a mission president was the day that one of our missionaries
determined that they would believe with all their hearts what they were teaching to other people. The very best day as a mission president is the day that a missionary decides to love God more than to yield to his or her own fears. The very best day in the mission field is the day that a missionary trusts God and loves the Lord and has faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The very best day for a mission president is that day when missionaries believe it. That’s the best day. It’s a beautiful day. And that, my brothers and sisters, is a beautiful day for all of us—for all of us. It’s a beautiful day when we accept the invitation to “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Repentance, my brothers and sisters, is the foundation of a beautiful day. Repentance is a true expression of love for our Heavenly Father and faith in His Son Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
Alma 34, verses 31 and 32. A question for us, as we consider what makes a beautiful day, is what will this day be for us, today, this very day? Will it be a good day? Will it be a beautiful day? Will it be something else?
Amulek pleaded: “Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.
“For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.”
Brothers and sisters, as we obediently offer our hearts to Heavenly Father today, and as we humbly ask in the name of Jesus Christ for the opportunity to see things the way that Heavenly Father sees them, and as we humbly repent and improve, today, Heavenly Father will bless us with a beautiful day. A beautiful day is the day that we take another step closer to Heavenly Father and to His Son Jesus Christ. A beautiful day is when we are more proximate to them.
A beautiful day is the kind of day that the Prophet Joseph Smith described as he said: “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24).”
Thanks be to God for the hope of a beautiful, even a perfect, day. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
President Thomas B. Morgan was sustained as the stake president of the Salt Lake Pioneer Young Single Adult Stake in April 2016. Before this call, he served as the president of the New York New York North Mission with his wife, Debbie Morgan, from June 2012 to 2015.
President Morgan’s professional career in banking and finance has spanned more than 35 years. He currently serves as executive vice president at Zions Bank and director of Retail, Small Business and Omni-Channel Banking. He studied business administration and banking and finance at Fresno State University and The Pacific Coast Banking School.
Active in the community, President Morgan has served on many corporate and government boards including, Select Health, Intermountain Healthcare, The United Way of Utah County, the Utah State Charter School Board, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah and the Glen L. Rudd Foundation Community Advisory Council.
President Morgan has served in many Church callings including stake presidency counselor, high councilor, bishop, elder’s quorum president, stake mission president and scoutmaster. The Morgans have been married for 36 years, have five children and five grandchildren.