The passing of President Thomas S. Monson has been the cause of both mourning and happiness. Mourning for those who will miss him and happiness for those who have been reunited. With obituaries and memoirs about him and his life circulating all over the interwebs, I wanted to jump on board and pay my tribute to the man. This is a list of 8 awesome things President Thomas S. Monson did while he was President of the Church (in no particular order).
#8. Varsity and Venture Scouting
In May 2017, the Church announced that it was ending all Varsity and Venture Scouting programs in the United States and Canada starting January 2018. Rather than earning merit badges or learning how to tie knots, President Monson decided that it was time for the young men between the ages of 14-18 to stop being weenies and raise the bar. The purpose of the new program is for the young men to build “strong testimonies in the Lord Jesus Christ” and to “[help] them magnify their priesthood duties and [prepare] to fulfill their divine roles.” I’ll accept that over any scouting program any day.
#7. Council of Fifty Minutes
The minutes of the Council of Fifty meetings were published by the Church Historian’s Press in the Joseph Smith Papers in 2016. The minutes had never been open to research and study until Tommy gave the go-ahead. Historians and anybody with any knowledge of how awesome the Council of Fifty was and is will forever be thankful to William Clayton for keeping the minutes. However, we will always be thankful to President Monson for allowing them to be published. A copy of the Constitution of the Council of Fifty is available in our store.
#6. “Political Machinations”
President Monson gave his first talk as President of the Church during the Priesthood Session of the 2008 April General Conference. In his talk, he warned that “political machinations ruin the stability of nations, despots grasp for power, and segments of society seem forever downtrodden, deprived of opportunity, and left with a feeling of failure.”
What most people don’t know is that he gave this same warning 4 different times (that I’m aware of) during his lifetime. And each warning occurred during the Priesthood Session of General Conference (1988, 2000, 2008, and 2014). Here’s a thought. If he has been warning us of something for the past 20 years, we should probably figure out what it is that he is warning us about. This article is a good start.
#5. Same-Sex Marriages
Gay marriage became legal nationwide during the tenure of President Monson. The LGBTQ+ABCDEFG movement has grown drastically within the last 10 years. Tons of pressure has been put on religious leaders of all types to accept this family-destroying lifestyle. What happens? President Monson receives a revelation from the Lord (yes, President Nelson says it was a revelation) instructing him to label them as apostates. What does Tommy do? He labels them as apostates. That’s bold. That’s awesome. It’s like he stuck a middle finger to the Devil… only in a Thomas S. Monson kind of way. So, maybe he just wiggled his ears.
#4. Last General Conference Address
When you are 90 years old, losing your strength, and possibly know that you will be giving your last General Conference talk, what would you talk about? Well, President Monson gave a short, but powerful, speech about something that has drawn the attacks and criticisms of the world since before it was even published: the Book of Mormon. What was one point he made? “It is essential for you to have your own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far.”
#3. Ordain Women
Along with the homosexual movement, the feminist movement grew at an alarming rate during the time Thomas S. Monson served as President of the Church. Groups like Ordain Women and feminist blogs came out of nowhere and started to gain a huge following. Pressure grew from inside and outside the church to “change” the roles of men and women by destroying the differences God has created us with thus classifying each of us into one big unisex where we each have the Priesthood conferred upon us and give birth to babies. Not cool.
How did President Monson react to this pressure? He was like, “Yeah… no thanks.” Not only did he not ordain women to the Priesthood, but he took it a step further, which leads to the next item.
#2. Kate Kelly
After Ordain Women founder, Kate Kelly, was excommunicated in June of 2014, she appealed her excommunication all the way to the top of the echelons, the First Presidency. What was the result? Nothing. Yes, nothing. Which makes it so cool. Under the direction of President Monson, the First Presidency chose to do nothing about Kate Kelly’s excommunication, meaning they upheld the decision. This just makes me want to give Tommy a standing ovation. Learn more about the dangers of this whole movement on the Mormon Counter Narrative Youtube channel.
#1. Religious Freedom
Religious freedom has always been a big teaching in the church, obviously. However, it has never had its own dedicated page on lds.org… until now. Thank you, Tommy. The religious freedom page does a lot more than just telling people to vote in harmony with correct principles. It tells people to know your rights, learn the issues, and get involved. It even quotes the First Amendment. That’s pretty sweet. A great way to follow the counsel of President Monson and get started in this freedom fight is to check out our friends at Latter-day Conservative and Defending Utah.
Thank you for all the good you did, President Monson!!