We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet
Sister Nadauld was reared in Manti, Utah as she says, “in the shadow of the temple.” She attended Snow College and graduated from Brigham Young University – Provo where she was active in dramatic productions and student government. Following graduation, she taught high school English in Salt Lake and Boston.
In 1968 she married her college sweetheart, Stephen D. Nadauld, in the Manti Temple. The couple have lived and served on the east coast and west coast and eventually settled in Utah to raise their seven sons. She enjoyed serving as the first lady of Weber State University and Dixie State University when her husband was president of those institutions. Always active in civic service, she has been President of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge in Utah and Utah’s Vice President of American Mothers, Inc. In the church she has served in ward Relief Society and Young Women presidencies, and ward and stake Primary presidencies.
Prior to Sister Nadauld’s call to serve as a general officer of the church, Elder Nadauld served as a General Authority Seventy while their children were teenagers. One year after his release, President Gordon B. Hinckley called Sister Nadauld to serve as Young Women General President. In that capacity she travelled on assignment to 55 countries, teaching gospel principles and strengthening young women and church leaders. Her assignments included service on the Church Board of Education, participation in planning the Heber Valley Girls Camp, and other many other church-wide committees. Following her service in Young Women the couple were called to lead the Switzerland Geneva Mission. She recently completed serving as ward Relief Society President again and is currently an ordinance worker in the Provo Temple.
She is grandmother of 32 and great grandmother to 4 – all of whom bring her great joy.
We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet
It is wonderful to be here with you, you great students and faculty of Ensign College. It’s great to be in this beautiful, historic setting, the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. This special place speaks of the remarkable days and noble saints of the past. If those noble saints who met here in days of long ago could speak to you young saints who are gathered here today, what do you suppose they might say? Can you perhaps hear their voices echo down through the years saying:
“How blessed you are to be led by a prophet of God in the latter days in which you live. The prophet of our day guided us by his prophetic counsel and you too will be blessed as you follow the prophet of your day. Follow him, prepare well, for you are the hope of the future!” Can you imagine those saints of long ago saying that to you?
Perhaps right now the future looks uncertain to you. Please know that it has always been that way. How blessed we are that there is one to whom we can look who will guide us through uncertainty and help us stand steady in the face of the challenges life offers – that one is the prophet of God on the earth today. We sustain President Russell M. Nelson as a Prophet, seer and revelator who is blessed of God to see the road ahead.
I had an experience many years ago that is a kind of metaphor for being guided through life’s experiences and trials.
I remember being caught in a blinding blizzard of unrelenting, heavy snow and wind as we were driving down an unfamiliar highway in the dead of night on the plains of Nebraska. It was just a few days before Christmas, and we were newlyweds traveling home for the Holidays. We had another couple with us and we took turns driving, determined to go straight through without stopping except for food and gas. It was a 42 hour drive from Boston to Salt Lake by car, but that didn’t discourage us at all because we were so excited to get home and be with our families again! We had been on the road all day and most of the night when we came upon this terrible snowstorm. The snow was growing deeper and deeper on the highway with each passing moment. We were blinded by the storm and black of night and because of the deep snow we couldn’t see the lines on the road. It was a very frightening experience! Cars had slid off the road in both directions. Suddenly, in front of us we began to see a large semitruck, moving slowly and steadily ahead. We could barely make out his red taillights, but seeing a glimmer of them gave us hope. My husband, who was driving, fixed his eyes on the lights from the truck, and we drove along in the tracks it made through the deepening, drifting snow. Our panic subsided somewhat with that guide up ahead. He knew the route; he sat up higher than we and could surely have a better view; and we were certain he had communication equipment if it was needed. (Of course, this was in the days before cell phones!)
With prayers on our lips, and white-knuckled hands holding on, we followed that light through the storm. Before long, we sensed that the truck was slowing down and pulling off the highway. In an act of faith, we followed it and soon found ourselves, to our great relief, in a place of safety.
My young brothers and sisters, as it was with the lights of that truck ahead of us, so it is with prophets. They’ve gone down this road before us. They are seers. They can see the road ahead, they know the route, they sit up higher than we do – they have a better view. Just as we trusted the light from the vehicle ahead of us on the road in the blinding blizzard, so can we safely trust in the direction given by the living prophet of God to guide us in these latter days.
I just want to say, I thank thee, O God, for a prophet!
This most recent Thanksgiving Day we were all gathered around a bounteous table with loved ones and, perhaps like some of you, we went around the table taking turns sharing what we were thankful for. Everyone was thankful: thankful for parents, home, pets, and the 13 year old said he was thankful for his wheelchair. That was tender.
When it became my turn, I completely surprised myself by my response. What I said wasn’t planned, but it was heartfelt. I told my loved ones that I was thankful for a prophet of God on the earth today, President Russell M. Nelson and then spontaneously I said, “Now I’d like you to join me in singing “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet” and I started singing, right there at the table! Everyone looked at each other, kind of smiled and then they joined me in the song of gratitude for a prophet, joyfully singing, “We thank thee O God for a prophet to guide us in these latter-days.” I was happily surprised that young and old knew all the words!
Several years ago we served as mission leaders in a mission in Europe. One of the faithful missionaries reported to us one day that he had taught an investigator that our church was led by a prophet of God living on the earth today. The investigator was surprised to learn that! He exclaimed, “You mean I’ve lived on the earth for 21 years and this is the first time I ever knew that there was a prophet alive on the earth just like in the days of Moses?!” I declare today, with that young missionary that, yes! There is actually a prophet on the earth today – God’s spokesman is again on the earth as part of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Our Father in Heaven loves us as much as he loved people anciently when prophets walked the earth and as he restored his truth, his gospel to the earth again, he did it through a prophet, the prophet Joseph Smith. And ever since the beginnings of the restored church 192 years ago, there has always been a prophet on the earth to guide and direct God’s children. I love this truth found in the Old Testament, Amos, one of God’s bible prophets taught in Amos 3:7: “Surely God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
I am so grateful to have a sure knowledge which that 21-year-old man in Europe didn’t have. You and I know something remarkable that much of the world doesn’t know. There is a living prophet on the earth today – a spokesman for God.
When I was about the same age as that young man – about the age of some of you here -- I had the unusual opportunity to go with a group of young adults to meet with our prophet in those days, President David O. McKay. I remember how thrilling it was to drive from Provo to Salt Lake for the meeting with the prophet. I an effort to be in tune with the spirit for such a meeting, I read my scriptures for that hour long drive. (Like cramming for an exam the way college kids do!) My prayers were heartfelt that President McKay would say something to me that would be just for me, some guidance that a prophet could give a young college student. As we entered his apartment which was on the top floor of the Hotel Utah, we now know it as the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, we were greeted by several General Authorities just leaving. We entered his home and were greeted by President McKay himself. He sat down on the couch and patted the seat next to him and invited me to come and sit by him. Then he took my young college-girl hand in his big warm prophet hand and held it for the duration of the meeting. I still remember looking deep into his brown eyes and being filled with love. We had a short visit. A memorable visit. It was a time never to be forgotten.
As we left President McKay’s home that day, I realized that he hadn’t given me any personal direction during that time together, but the thought came to me, surely it was inspiration, “Margaret, when the prophet speaks, he is speaking to each one of us individually, as if we were sitting right next to him, awaiting his counsel.” Since that experience, I’ve always listened very closely to what the prophet teaches and then do my best to follow it, because I know that when the prophet speaks, he is speaking to me individually. And I’m grateful for his guidance! It has helped me in decisions I’ve had to make during my life – and there have been many.
Oh, I want to say, I thank thee O God for a prophet!
I well remember going through a bitter trial in our lives and clinging to a statement from President Gordon B. Hinckley, our prophet at the time. He said: “It isn’t as bad as you think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry – it will all work out. Put your trust in God and move forward with faith and confidence in the future.” And so it is. It all worked out.
Another latter-day prophet, Howard W. Hunter, made this comforting statement:
“I want you to know that there have always been some difficulties in mortal life, and there always will be. But knowing what we know, and living as we are supposed to live, there really is no place, no excuse, for pessimism and despair….
“…I hope you won’t believe all the world’s difficulties have been wedged into your decade, or that things have never been worse than they are now for you personally, or that they will never get better. I reassure you that things have been worse and they will always get better. They always do – especially when we live and love the gospel of Jesus Christ and give it a chance to flourish in our lives.” Thank you, President Hunter, for those words of encouragement. (Oct. 1993 Ensign, p.70. An Anchor to the souls of men)
Wonderful President Hunter. He was visiting a children’s exhibit in the church Museum of Art on one occasion just across the street here. At this time in his life, he was in a wheelchair and he stopped to look at one exhibit and then moved on to another exhibit. As was moving from one exhibit to another, a child observed that he was moving and called out to everyone, “Follow the Prophet! Follow the Prophet!” And to you today I would say, Follow the Prophet – In this there is safety, in this there is peace, as the Primary children sing.
When I was called to serve as the Young Women General President, I met with President Gordon B. Hinckley who called me to that assignment. This was some thirty years after my meeting with President McKay. This time there were just my husband and me in the meeting with the prophet. After we had visited and he had called me to be 11th Young Women President for the church, I answered that I would serve with my whole soul, withholding nothing. Then I paused and said, “But President Hinckley, I’m just an ordinary woman. Do you really think I can do this?” His reply was classic. “Sister Nadauld, in this church we’re all just ordinary people, but when we are called by priesthood authority, the Lord helps us do what He calls us to do.”
When given various assignments, I’ve taken comfort from the counsel from our Prophet who followed President Hinckley and you can too. President Thomas S. Monson taught, “Whom God calls, God qualifies.” Words of a prophet.
Today, we are blessed by our beloved prophet, President Russell M. Nelson. I have found it very comforting and reassuring that the prophet called by God to guide us through a trial we had never experienced before, a worldwide pandemic, the man God raised up to be our prophet for this time, is a venerated man of science, and a gifted, world renown medical doctor, in addition to being a devoted man of God.
Today we see how President Nelson has emphasized trusting and empowering women in the church. This is a man who is the father of nine daughters (and one son), and the husband of a very accomplished woman by all worldly and heavenly standards. This is a man who reveres womanhood. He is well acquainted with and schooled in women’s strengths and abilities. I know of no greater ally of women and believer in the God-given abilities of women. One of President Nelson’s most meaningful changes as prophet has been the invitation for women to be witnesses for baptisms and temple sealings. Sister Jean Bingham, Relief Society General President has said:
“Oh, I have absolutely loved [his inviting women to be witnesses], and it really makes women feel that they are interdependent, we can really work together, that it’s not women doing one thing, and men doing another. But we truly are united in this work of the Lord.” She continues, “This is an ongoing revelation in this church and we’ve seen it over and over, in temple language, in policies. He has been prepared for this particular time.”
During the time when the world calls us and distracts us and fragments us in so many directions, our prophet calls us to become part of the Lord’s battalion and place our focus on saving souls on both sides of the veil. He calls us to center our hearts on the Temple. He then continues to authorize the building of temples to dot the earth, making our access to the blessings and strength and peace found in the temple easier than ever before in the history of the world.
Our prophet encourages us to “Hear Him,” and follow heaven’s promptings. Please rest assured that promptings from our Heavenly Father, through the Holy Ghost, will never contradict the teachings of God’s prophet on the earth this day. How blessed we are!
O how I feel to say again, We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet!
When the prophet speaks, if we have ears to hear, hearts to understand, eyes to see clearly the path to which he directs us, we will be blessed. Oh, how we need faith in the living prophet on the earth today. Our faith will grow stronger as we do all in our power to nourish our faith, feed our faith, cultivate our faith, encourage and exercise our faith. Faith is a living thing, and we have a responsibility to keep our faith alive and strong in our lives. I can promise that you will be blessed when you exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in his prophet on the earth today, and faith in our loving Heavenly Father in whose plan we trust.
It is my testimony that there is a way to find the correct direction in your life. That way is by following the prophet of God on the earth today. There are 15 men whom we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators. They will never lead us astray. By following them we will be led on the covenant path toward God, our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The whole goal of a prophet is to bring us to Christ who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
It has been my privilege to know the prophets I have spoken of today. They are magnificent men!
Now, brothers and sister, in a few days, it will be General Conference time. It will be our privilege to be taught by our Prophet, Russell M. Nelson and the other 14 men whom we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators. It is my hope that you will prepare to hear their messages, “just for you.” Then when you hear their messages, let’s take notes, and then go and do the things they have counseled you to do, without delay! And as you do, sing in your heart, “We thank Thee O God for a prophet! And the guidance he gives us for these latter days.” This message is my testimony and I bear it to you today, in the holy and sacred name of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.