Dr. Cox, Mary Ellen and Dr. Jack McConnell
President Monson is known for helping others at every possible opportunity, from the dozens of widows he helped as a bishop to members everywhere whom he helps with his kind words of love and encouragement.
In the video about his life, On the Lord’s Errand, President Monson says, “The sweetest experience I know in life is to feel a prompting and act upon it, and later find out that it was the fulfillment of someone’s prayer or someone’s need. And I always want the Lord to know that if He needs an errand run, Tom Monson will run that errand for Him.”
President Monson often preaches what he practices, encouraging members to help those around them. Teaching Scouts to live the Slogan, “Do a Good Turn Daily,” is easier through stories, and President Monson often shares stories of people helping others. In October 2009, he posed this question: “
A few years ago I read an article written by Jack McConnell, MD. He grew up in the hills of southwest Virginia in the United States as one of seven children of a Methodist minister and a stay-at-home mother. Their circumstances were very humble. He recounted that during his childhood, every day as the family sat around the dinner table, his father would ask each one in turn, “And what did you do for someone today?”1 The children were determined to do a good turn every day so they could report to their father that they had helped someone. Dr. McConnell calls this exercise his father’s most valuable legacy, for that expectation and those words inspired him and his siblings to help others throughout their lives. As they grew and matured, their motivation for providing service changed to an inner desire to help others.
Besides Dr. McConnell’s distinguished medical career—where he directed the development of the tuberculosis tine test, participated in the early development of the polio vaccine, supervised the development of Tylenol, and was instrumental in developing the magnetic resonance imaging procedure, or MRI—he created an organization he calls Volunteers in Medicine, which gives retired medical personnel a chance to volunteer at free clinics serving the working uninsured. Dr. McConnell said his leisure time since he retired has “evaporated into 60-hour weeks of unpaid work, but [his] energy level has increased and there is a satisfaction in [his] life that wasn’t there before.” He made this statement: “In one of those paradoxes of life, I have benefited more from Volunteers in Medicine than my patients have.”2 There are now over 70 such clinics across the United States.
Of course, we can’t all be Dr. McConnells, establishing medical clinics to help the poor; however, the needs of others are ever present, and each of us can do something to help someone.
The Apostle Paul admonished, “By love serve one another.”3Recall with me the familiar words of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”4
Because of President Monson’s attitude of service, he has helped hundreds of thousands of people personally and millions through his teaching and leadership. How can you follow his example and be more helpful?
Thomas S. Monson | LDS Church President (Taken from his remarks in October 2009 general conference, “What Have I Done for Someone Today?” )