How do our church leaders get so much done? It seems like they do not sleep.
Let’s think about their job for a minute. Virtually non stop travel, speeches, pastoral counseling, media relations, dealing with finances, callings for missionaries, patriarchs, bishops, stake presidents-and that only scratches the surface. There is much more they do that the average LDS like you or I can’t see or understand. The time demands on their job would exhaust a man in his thirties, much less in his sixties, seventies, eighties or nineties.
Peter to be honest, I love your question because I’ve had the same one multiple times. Given their age and demands on their time, when do the prophets, apostles, and leaders of our Church have time to be grandfathers, great grandfathers, fathers, uncles, husbands, brothers-much less have time to sleep? These men have the stamina of men thirty years younger, sometimes more.
The practical answer to your question is that yes, these men do find time to sleep. Even those blessed with good health and a strong constitution are still mortal, and all mortal humans need things like food, water, and rest. Leading a worldwide church of 16 million members requires great demands on their time, and if they didn’t get proper rest and nutrition, then their job would be much harder than what it already is. I can also tell you that they get a lot of help from Heavenly Father as well!
Do you know what they need as much as food and water? Our prayers. Like you, I sustained these men at our recent general conference, like I have for many years before. While I also sustain them, I pray for their health and the health of their family frequently.
Let me also add a scripture that is part of the oath and covenant of the priesthood:
For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. D&C 84:33
Elder David R. Bednar shared that the First Presidency prioritize and focus on the most impactful activities because they are well aware of their own mortality.
I asked Elder Hales, “You have been a successful husband, father, athlete, pilot, business executive, and Church leader. What lessons have you learned as you have grown older and been constrained by decreased physical capacity?”
Elder Hales paused for a moment and responded, “When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most.”
The limitations that are the natural consequence of advancing age can in fact become remarkable sources of spiritual learning and insight. The very factors many may believe limit the effectiveness of these servants can become some of their greatest strengths. Physical restrictions can expand vision. Limited stamina can clarify priorities. Inability to do many things can direct focus to a few things of greatest importance.
Peter, it’s obvious that you care for these men and I can guarantee you that they deeply value your thoughts about their health and well being, and your prayers as well.
God bless you Peter,