Friday, September 25, 2009

A Man of God

May You Have Courage

If a BYU student stood up one day in the Wilkinson Center and began preaching against the doctrine of the Church, people would be astounded. First of all, nobody would listen, because what credibility does this person have? They are just an ordinary student with no particular significance. Also, they are preaching to the wrong audience. They are trying to convince to members of the Church, who made the conscious decision to attend Brigham Young University, a private-LDS college, that the Church is proclaiming false doctrine. Obviously, they do not understand who they are addressing. Along with this, they are not credible. Therefore, this person’s proclamation would not be effective because their ethos, or credibility, is not sufficient.

In order to gain the respect of others, one must act how they want to be treated. If one wants to be trusted, they must prove they are trustworthy. If somebody else wants to stand as a faithful Latter-day Saint, they must prove through their actions that they live the standards and stand up for what they believe. Their credibility and honor stand out to others and they become believable. One such man with a great ethos is the Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Thomas S. Monson.

Whenever President Monson addresses a group of people, they listen attentively as if what he has to say will change their lives forever. Why does he have such power? In his recent address in April 2009, President Monson spoke to the young women of the church. He begins, “My dear young sisters, what a glorious sight you are” (par. 1). He addresses the women in a respectful and dignified manner. He talks with elegance and poise, truly speaking as the servant of the Lord. In our day, manners become rarer with each encounter. People degrade each other and speak negatively about others. President Monson expresses his love for the young women of the church, and they recognize his honesty and sincerity.

Other powerful attributes which enhance President Monson’s ethos is his intelligence and humility. He relies on the Savior’s teaching and life to portray the only perfect example. He quotes him to support his claim that we should love everybody; “’By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another’” (par. 12). President Monson turns to the Savior because he recognizes that he is only a man, and in order to become perfected in Christ, we must turn to him and his teachings in all things. Therefore, his credibility increases as he admits he must rely on the Savior, just as all of us must.

President Monson does not falter or justify the Church’s teachings. He boldly states, “The commandments of our Heavenly Father are not negotiable” (par. 24)! He sticks up for the truth and presents his authority as the spokesperson of our Heavenly Father. This power of inspiration truly comes as he addresses what the daughters of God on the earth need to hear. Our world is full of hatred, viciousness, technological and virtuous problems. The purpose of his address was to show to women that they need to stand for courage in this day. He uses great examples, modern and scriptural, to appeal to women of how to be faithful and courageous. You know he loves you as he says, “My earnest prayer is that you will have courage…as you do so,…your life will be filled with love and peace and joy” (par. 55). He clearly demonstrates his concern for all the young women of the church through his love for the Savior and our Heavenly Father.

President Monson is a miraculous man. There is no question of his authority as he addresses and presents himself. His credibility, kindness, generosity, humility, and love for the Savior stand out and all people recognize the person he is.

1 comment:

  1. Good job identifying the way his more formal diction creates a sense of ethos by communicating a sense of good manners and accompanying respect and dignity.

    You might want to also touch on the way he presents himself in terms of age. Speakers usually establish ethos early in their text, and he spends much of the beginning of this talk discussing generational difference. Is that a good move? Why or why not?