This is a General Conference Odyssey post.
Jesus Christ came to earth with a message of hope and salvation. The Church is here to share that message. As members of the Church, we must be the people to match our message.
During the Saturday afternoon session, of the April 1975 General Conference, there were three talks that reminded me where I desire to stand. And I am compelled to make that stand. I want my life to reflect that message.
Hartman Rector, Jr. said, “The power or vitality is not in the programs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is in the theology.”
My husband’s uncle used to always say, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a game, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Along with that same idea: The Church is not a club; Young Women activities will not save us; the bishop is fallible; placing demands on the leaders of the Church may, or may not, get you your way; Church History has some inaccuracies; we do not know all things; hurt feelings abound. None of these carry the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The theology, or doctrine, of the Church “talk[s] of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Ne. 25:26). The gospel of Jesus Christ is the message, and it is only Jesus Christ who will save us.
The Book of Mormon is the Word of God
Ezra Taft Benson gave one of his great speeches on the Book of Mormon in this conference. He said, “The Book of Mormon brings men to Christ through two basic means.”
- First, it testifies of Jesus Christ. That He is the Son of God and the Savior of us all.
- Second, it confounds false doctrine and exposes enemies that would deceive us.
By emphasizing the Book of Mormon in our homes, in church, and through our examples; Pres. Benson hoped that we would have “missionaries to match our message.” I believe we all need to study the doctrines found in the Book of Mormon so we will be the people to match our message. All of us must step forward with power, strength, and testimony.
Bruce R. McConkie talked about what sacrifice and consecration really mean.
- Sacrifice means that “we are willing to sacrifice all that we have for the truth’s sake.” This concept is not taught in the world anymore.
- Consecration is to share our time, our talents, our money, anything the Lord needs to build up His kingdom on the earth. Do we realize that whatever we give to the Lord comes back to us ten-fold? The Lord is obligated to take care of us when we put Him first. There is no other guarantee like it in all of eternity.
Elder McConkie also said, “We are under covenant to live the law of obedience. We are under covenant to live the law of sacrifice. We are under covenant to live the law of consecration.” This is by our choice, yet sometimes we forget these covenants and go after our own selfish desires, or get caught up in worldly causes that distract us from the true work of the Lord.
If sacrifice and consecration are so important, why then is it even more important to obey? As the scripture teaches, “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam. 15:22.) We must be the people the Lord needs. We must be dependable, trustworthy, loyal, and above all, completely obedient to Him. This is the message of His gospel and this is how we need to be as His people.
My aunt died this past week. During her funeral, stories of the many miracles my grandmother and her two daughters experienced were shared. These stories have become legendary amongst our two families. The faith these three women exhibited, through their obedience, sacrifice, and consecration shows us how they were people to match the message of Jesus Christ. My cousin talked about our grandmother who, once she accepted the gospel, was “100% in.” She taught her daughters to be “100% in” the gospel. As a result, they maintained their testimonies throughout a lifetime of trials. This powerful example of righteous obedience has trickled down through our generations.
Along with my cousin, I would like my posterity to know: I am “100% in” the gospel of Jesus Christ. Members of the Church are human. Our Church history is not a perfect record. We are all imperfect beings. All of us have gotten off track at one time or another. Bishops will give poor advice. Hurt feelings will abound. Etc. Etc. Etc. But the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Heavenly Father is our adoring father. Jesus Christ has overcome the world and will help each one of us overcome it as well. The Holy Ghost will be with us and guide us through our difficult times if we will let Him. None of that changes because of human flaw. It is the doctrine that we hold to and we must be the people to match this message.
Note: My grandmother’s experiences will be included in an upcoming book, Women of Faith in the Latter-days, Vol. 4, to be published by Deseret Book some time this year.
Additional General Conference Odyssey posts:
The greatest satisfaction Marilyn Nielson