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Counsels

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(C) Copyright 2000 by Massimo Franceschini

God has many titles, and one of them is "Man of counsel" (Moses 7:35 Isaiah 9:5) The scriptures also teach us that "in multitude of counsellers there is safety" (Proverbs 24:5-6). And, indeed, in the church we have a multitude of different counsels. The first presidency is an high counsel. The Quorum of the Twelve is a high counsel. There is the counsel of the First and Second Quorum of the Seventies. There are Stake counsels and counsels on the ward level. It seems that our Father in heaven is not only a "Man of counsel" Himself, but He has designed that men should govern their affairs by the use of counsels.

The Lord taught that everything in the church should be done by common consent. And it is in counsels that we achieve this common consent. But this will only work if each person is allowed to exercise his right of free agency. In counsels we learn to develop respect for each person's free agency, and as we do, we learn to become united in love with our fellow men. If all of mankind could employ this simple principle in their life there would be greater friendship in the world, stronger brethrenship in the church and, above all, more love in the family.

The greatest counsel in the church is the family's counsel. Very often there are differing viewpoints among the members of a family. This is normal. But if respect and love for each person is present, these differences can be resolved in a beneficial way. By this I don't mean that we find a solution by giving something in order to get something in return. What I am referring to is finding the right solution where everyone comes to a common agreement. If both people are sincere in their heart they will understand and agree to do what is right even if one has to abandon their own idea.

I know from personal experience that if we do all our part the Lord will do the rest. I have seen miracles in my life by following this simple principle. I had two wonderful experiences regarding this.

The first happened one evening many years ago. I had a long discussion with my wife regarding an important decision that we needed to make in our life. After discussing it together for about three hours, we still couldn't find a solution. Although I remained calm and focused on the topic, my wife still couldn't accept my opinion. Instead, she fought to defend her own opinion. Fortunately, I remained tender and loving during our the conversation, which is something I am not always prone to do. But, for some reason, that night I did everything I could to follow the promptings of the Spirit. Yet, no matter how hard I tried, at the end of our discussion we still couldn't reach a common solution. I felt frustrated. Finally, we knelt in prayer before going to sleep, but even that didn't seem to help the situation. Our last kiss before falling asleep was a cold kiss.

I fell asleep with great sadness in my heart. Despite all I had done to bring unity between my wife and me, we were still at odds with one another. My last thought was, "Lord I did everything I could. I didn't loose my temper. I was kind and tender as I explained my idea. I felt your Spirit speaking to her. We had two prayers and yet nothing changed. I don't know what more I can do. Please help me in this situation."

During the night I felt my wife's hand around my neck and I woke up. I wondered what was going on and then she said to me, "Massimo, please forgive me!" When I asked her why, she explained, "I had a dream in which the Lord Himself told me: You promised me to listen to your husband just like he is suppose to listen to Me. He is doing that. Be careful, because if you don't keep your promise you are inviting Satan into your house." She was so scared of this dream that she no longer cared about proving she was right. The next day we resolved our problem and after that our relationship was better than it had ever been.

The second story happened when I was a branch president. During one particular meeting with my counselors, I felt impressed that it was time to call a new Relief Society president. I presented to my counselors the name of a sister in the ward whom I felt the Lord wanted. However, both of them had a different name in mind. Therefore, we had a difference of opinion on this matter. I suggested that we should asked the Lord whose name was the right one. I asked each of them to go into a separate room to pray and I remained in the presidency room to pray by myself. After 15 or 20 minutes I went to the door and I saw that both of my counselors were still praying on their knees, and I was touched by their effort and humility. Then, surprisingly, while I was watching them, they both got up at the same time, even though they couldn't see each other. They both came in and told me they had changed their mind and now they felt that the name I had suggested was right.

God is a Man of counsel and we can become more like Him through the use of counseling together as well as counseling with Him.

 

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