A General Conference Odyssey post for the October 1975 Priesthood session of General Conference.
I have a friend who at one time felt very weak in the gospel. Her parents, her husband, and her children weren’t active. She alone came to church, mostly because she had friends there. We had many conversations together and one topic that came up time and time again was that she didn’t want to be too active in the church, and she absolutely didn’t want to go to the temple without her family. She thought that by doing these two things, she would leave her family behind and risk not being with them for the eternities.
This week, I read N. Eldon Tanner’s words; words that I have often said to her. “My observation is that the Lord keeps his promises to all those who seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” This is the single thing we need to worry about on this earth. And as we seek first, we can help others to seek first as well. This party is inclusive. Isn’t it everyone’s goal that we ALL win the prize?
In my friend’s case, I believe that not only will she gain salvation, her righteousness will gain her family’s salvation too. We don’t know to what degree, but her faith will be a blessing to her family and she will become their “Savior” all because of the promises the Lord has made with her.
Pres. Tanner goes on to say that often men will be lost because they seek the praise of men more than the praise of God. So many of us fall into this trap, daily. It is an ongoing battle. Sis. Bonnie H. Cordon just addressed this in our recent Women’s session of General Conference,
“When we physically lean toward one side or another, we move off center, we are off balance, and we tip,” Sister Cordon said. “When we spiritually lean to our own understanding, we lean away from our Savior. If we lean, we are not centered, we are not balanced, and we are not focused on Christ.”
Why do we fear righteous living? Why do we think it will offend others? Why do we hesitate to worship full-on? When we put the Lord first in our lives we make His way available to each choice that we make. And, oh, how we need His input!
President Marion G. Romney said in his talk, “The covenants we enter into here in mortality are to help us attain our objective of eternal life, which is explained in, and made possible by, the new and everlasting covenant of the gospel.” So, the more covenants we make, the more ability we have to be guided and protected by the Lord because His promises are sure.
Another insightful thought from President Romney is this: “No man who comprehends, believes, and lives according to gospel covenants will be inactive in the Church.”
Unfortunately, I see various attitudes in church that surprise me:
1–Those who think they are too righteous, excluding others from coming unto Christ.
2–Those who like to play devil’s advocate for sport.
3–Those who undermine the church, doctrine, and leaders.
4–Those who avoid teaching pure doctrine as to not offend others.
Why do we do this to each other?
President Tanner quoted from a personal letter he received from Elder Neal A. Maxwell, who said:
“The leader who is willing to say things that are hard to bear, but which are true and which need to be said, is the leader who truly loves his people and who is kind to them.”
I’ve felt that purifying slice of the two edge sword before and it is the spirit, along with truth, that uplifts me. It is the spirit that teaches with love and patience; the spirit that accepts all of us and eagerly helps us move further along The Path. God’s truth builds people where man’s truth belittles.
Do we think we can use the gospel to separate anyone from the whole? This is never God’s way. God’s way is by lifting one person we lift thousands.
If we believe in God, then let us believe Him. If we covenant with Him, then let us be faithful. We chose to come to earth to prove ourselves worthy, to return home, and to bring all our friends and family with us.
President Spencer W. Kimball told a story about a young boy traveling on a train by himself. The older gentleman sitting across from him began asking him questions. Upon discovering the boy was Mormon, he started asking questions about what Mormons believe. The boy had memorized the Articles of Faith and in reciting them shared the very doctrines of our gospel. The man was so impressed that a young boy would have such profound knowledge that he decided to stop in Salt Lake City and learn more.
It is our responsibility to study the doctrines, accept the gospel as it is given to us, and obey and keep the covenants we have willingly made with our Savior. And then we are to share it with everyone around us–with our loved ones, those we live near, people we attend church with, and anyone else we run across–our’s is an inclusive church where we want everyone to win.
My friend decided to receive her endowment years ago and now works in the temple. Her family still isn’t active but I believe the covenants have been set in place and she will reap the happiness she longs for. Her friends at church supported her when she needed support. She felt included and loved. Learning pure doctrine strengthened her. And through her efforts, her family will win. We all will.