Welcome to the Talk Of The Week Club. I began this club as a way to share my love of learning and growing in the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My hope and desire is for you to learn and grow in your faith and love of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Each Thursday a new talk will be posted, come back, open your heart and mind, allow yourself to receive and I promise you will be spiritually fed.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Week 6: Gifts of the Spirit For Hard Times

Hi there,

This week's talk is about how we need the gift of the spirit in our lives especially during hard times. I love how President Eyring presents. he certainly cares for each of us and you can sense his love for the gospel and for the Lord each time he speaks. I too believe it is so important for each of us to know how to listen to the Holy Ghost. I especially feel a great responsibility as a mother to teach my young children how to hear, feel and respond to the promptings of the Spirit. I hope each of you will feel the love of our Father and Savior this week and continue to do such a wonderful job in seeking and feeling the Spirit in your lives.


Streaming Audio:



Gifts of the Spirit for Hard Times

Elder Henry B. Eyring
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
CES Fireside for Young Adults • September 10, 2006 • Brigham Young University

Elder Henry B. EyringI am grateful for the lovely music and for the Spirit that it has brought. I am grateful for this opportunity to be with you this evening. Many of you are here in the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University. There are thousands more listening and watching at locations across the world. I cannot see all of you, but your Heavenly Father can. He knows your name and your needs. He knows your heart. Each of you has unique challenges. I pray that I may be inspired to say the words He would have you hear.

Blessings and Challenges of the Last Days

With all of our uniqueness, we all have some things in common. We are all in the probationary test of mortality. And, wherever we live, that test will become increasingly difficult. We are in the last dispensation of time. God’s prophets have seen these times for millennia. They saw that wonderful things were to happen. There was to be a restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The true Church was to be brought back with prophets and apostles. The gospel was to be taken to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Most marvelous of all, the true Church and its members are to become worthy for the coming of the Savior to His Church and to His purified disciples.
But the true prophets also saw that in the last days Satan would rage. There would be wars and rumors of wars. That would inspire fear. The courage of many would fail. There would be great wickedness. And Satan would deceive many.
Yet, happily, many would not be overcome. And many would not be deceived. The fact that you are here listening tonight is evidence that you want to be among those who will not be overcome and will not be deceived. My purpose is to teach you how you can reach that happy and glorious goal.

The Holy Ghost Is the Key

The key for each of us will be to accept and hold the gift we have been promised by God. You who are members of the true Church of Jesus Christ will remember that, after you were baptized, authorized servants of God promised you that you could receive the Holy Ghost. Some of you may have felt something happen when that ordinance was performed. Most of you have felt the effects of that promise being fulfilled in your lives. I will tell you tonight how to recognize that gift, how to receive it every day in your life, and how it will bless you in the days ahead.
You have felt the quiet confirmation in your heart and mind that something was true. And you knew that it was inspiration from God. For some of you it may have come as the missionaries taught you before your baptism. It may have come during a talk or lesson in church. It may have come already tonight when something that was true was said or sung, as I felt when I heard the singing, as some of you did. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth. You feel peace, hope, and joy when it speaks to your heart and mind that something is true. Almost always I have also felt a sensation of light. Any feeling I may have had of darkness is dispelled. And the desire to do right grows.
The Lord promised that having those experiences would be true for you. Here are His words, recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants:
“And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy” (D&C 11:12–13).
The Lord also promised that those who have accepted the gift of the Holy Ghost in their lives would not be deceived. He spoke reassuringly to you and to me, who live in the times when the Church is being made ready for the time when He comes again. Here is the promise from the Doctrine and Covenants:
“And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.
“For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
“And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.
“For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver” (D&C 45:56–59).

Manifestations of the Spirit

As you heard those words just now, you may have felt another instance of receiving a manifestation of the Spirit that you have been promised. Those words paint a picture of the day when we may be with the Savior, who spoke of the ten virgins and of His coming again—only this time in glory. And they describe a day when we might be with Him and have His glory upon us. Of all the things to which the Holy Ghost testifies, and which you may have just felt, none is more precious to us than that Jesus is the Christ, the living Son of God. And nothing is so likely to make us feel light, hope, and joy. Then it is not surprising that when we feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, we also can feel that our natures are being changed because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We feel an increased desire to keep His commandments, to do good, and to deal justly.
Many of you have felt that effect from your frequent experiences with the Holy Ghost. For instance, in the mission field some of you had to rely on the Spirit to have the words to teach what the people needed. More than once, and perhaps every day, you had the blessing that Nephi and Lehi had among the people in their mission, described in Helaman:
“And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did preach unto the Lamanites with such great power and authority, for they had power and authority given unto them that they might speak, and they also had what they should speak given unto them—
“Therefore they did speak unto the great astonishment of the Lamanites, to the convincing them, insomuch that there were eight thousand of the Lamanites who were in the land of Zarahemla and round about baptized unto repentance, and were convinced of the wickedness of the traditions of their fathers” (Helaman 5:18–19).
Although you may not have been blessed with so miraculous a harvest, you have been given words by the Holy Ghost when you surrendered your heart to the Lord’s service. At certain periods of your mission, such an experience came often. If you will think back on those times and ponder, you will also remember that the increase in your desire to obey the commandments came over you gradually. You felt less and less the tug of temptation. You felt more and more the desire to be obedient and to serve others. You felt a greater love for the people.
One of the effects of receiving a manifestation of the Holy Ghost repeatedly was that your nature changed. And so, from that faithful service to the Master, you had not only the witness of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ but you saw evidence in your own life that the Atonement is real. Such service, which brings the influence of the Holy Ghost, is an example of planting the seed, which Alma described:
“And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
“And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.
“O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
“Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.
“And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit” (Alma 32:33–37).

Receiving Revelations Daily

Now, if you and I were visiting alone (I wish we could be), where you felt free to ask whatever you wanted to ask, I can imagine your saying something like this: “Oh, Brother Eyring, I’ve felt some of the things you have described. The Holy Ghost has touched my heart and mind from time to time. But I will need it consistently if I am not to be overcome or deceived. Is that possible? Is it possible, and, if it is, what will it take to receive that blessing?”
Well, let’s start with the first part of your question. Yes, it is possible. Whenever I need that reassurance—and I need it from time to time too—I remember two brothers. Nephi and Lehi, and the other servants of the Lord laboring with them, faced fierce opposition. They were serving in an increasingly wicked world. They had to deal with terrible deceptions. So I take courage—and so can you—from the words in this one verse of Helaman. The reassurance is tucked into the account of all that happened in an entire year, almost as if to the writer it was not surprising. Listen:
“And in the seventy and ninth year there began to be much strife. But it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi, and many of their brethren who knew concerning the true points of doctrine, having many revelations daily, therefore they did preach unto the people, insomuch that they did put an end to their strife in that same year” (Helaman 11:23).
They had “many revelations daily.” So, for you and for me, that answers your first question. Yes, it is possible to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost sufficiently to have many revelations daily. It will not be easy. But it is possible. What it will require will be different for each person because we start from where we are in our unique set of experiences in life. For all of us there will be at least three requirements. None of them can be gained and retained from a single experience. All of them must be constantly renewed.

Faith in God

First, receiving the Holy Ghost takes faith in our Heavenly Father and in His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. A memory of a great spiritual experience some time ago, where you had confirmed to you that truth, won’t be sufficient. You will need to be sure of your faith in the moment of crisis, which may come at any time day or night, when you plead for the influence of the Spirit. You must then be unshaken in your confidence that God lives, that He hears your cry for help, and that the resurrected Savior will do for you what He promised to do for His servants in His mortal ministry. You remember:
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).
The brothers Nephi and Lehi received many revelations daily. The record shows that they knew concerning the true points of doctrine. Of all the true doctrine, nothing is more important to you and me than the true nature of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. For that I return again and again to the scriptures. For that I return again and again to prayer. For that I return again and again to partaking of the sacrament. And, above all, I come to know God and Jesus Christ best by keeping the commandments and serving in the Church. By diligent service in the Church we come not only to know the character of God but to love Him. If we follow His commands, our faith in Him will grow and we may then qualify to have His Spirit to be with us.
Vibrant faith in God comes best from serving Him regularly. Not all of us have received callings to offices in the Church. Some of you may not yet be called to something in a formal way, yet every member has a multitude of opportunities to serve God. For instance, for years we have heard the phrase “every member a missionary.” That is not a choice. It is a fact of our membership. Our choice is to speak to others about the gospel or not. Similarly, each member is to care for the poor among us and around us. Some of that we do privately and alone. Some we do together with other members. That is why we have fast offerings and service projects. Our choice is to decide whether to join with the Lord and His other disciples in our day as He and His disciples did during His mortal ministry.
Most of us have or may have callings as home and visiting teachers. There is in those callings great opportunity to grow in faith that the Lord sends the Holy Ghost to His humble servants. That builds faith and renews our faith in Him. I’ve seen it and so have many of you. I received a phone call from a distraught mother in a state far away from where I was. She told me that her unmarried daughter had moved to another city far from her home. She sensed from the little contact she had with her daughter that something was terribly wrong. The mother feared for the moral safety of her daughter. She pleaded with me to help her daughter.
I found out who the daughter’s home teacher was. I called him. He was young. And yet he and his companion both had been awakened in the night with not only concern for the girl but with inspiration that she was about to make choices that would bring sadness and misery. With only the inspiration of the Spirit, they went to see her. She did not at first want to tell them anything about her situation. They pleaded with her to repent and to choose to follow the path the Lord had set out for her and that her mother and father had taught her to follow. She realized as she listened that the only way they could have known what they knew about her life was from God. A mother’s prayer had gone to Heavenly Father, and the Holy Ghost had been sent to home teachers with an errand.
More than once I have heard priesthood leaders say that they had been inspired to go to someone in need, only to find the visiting teacher or the home teacher had already been there. My wife, who is here with me tonight, is an example. We had a bishop once who said to me, “You know, it bothers me—when I get an inspiration to go to someone, your wife has already been there.” Your faith will grow as you serve the Lord in caring for Heavenly Father’s children as the Lord’s teacher to their home. You will have your prayers answered. You will come to know for yourself that He lives, that He loves us, and that He sends inspiration to those with even the beginnings of faith in Him and with the desire to serve Him in His Church. Stay close to the Church if you want your faith in God to grow. And as it grows, so will your ability to claim the promise you were given that you can receive the gifts of the Spirit.

Requirement to Be Clean

The first requirement was faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in our Heavenly Father. A second requirement for frequent companionship and direction from the Holy Ghost is to be clean. The Spirit must withdraw from those who are not clean. You remember the sad illustration of that in the history of the people in the Book of Mormon:
“And because of their iniquity the church had begun to dwindle; and they began to disbelieve in the spirit of prophecy and in the spirit of revelation; and the judgments of God did stare them in the face.
“And they saw that they had become weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples” (Helaman 4:23–24).
The path to receiving the Holy Ghost is to exercise faith in Christ unto repentance. We can become clean through qualifying for the effects of the Savior’s Atonement. The covenants offered in baptism by authorized servants of God bring that cleansing. We renew our pledge to keep those covenants each time we partake of the sacrament. And the peace we all seek is the assurance that we have received forgiveness for our sins of omission or commission.
The Savior is the one who has been given the right to grant that forgiveness and to give that assurance. I have learned that the Lord gives that assurance at the time He chooses, and He does it in His own way. And I have learned to ask for it in prayer. One way He grants that assurance is through the Holy Ghost. If you have difficulty in feeling the Holy Ghost, you might wisely ponder whether there is anything for which you need to repent and receive forgiveness.
If you have felt the influence of the Holy Ghost during this day, or even this evening, you may take it as evidence that the Atonement is working in your life. For that reason and many others, you would do well to put yourself in places and in tasks that invite the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost works both ways: the Holy Ghost only dwells in a clean temple, and the reception of the Holy Ghost cleanses us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. You can pray with faith to know what to do to be cleansed and thus qualified for the companionship of the Holy Ghost and the service of the Lord. And with that companionship you will be strengthened against temptation and empowered to detect deception.

Pure Motive

A third requirement for the companionship of the Holy Ghost is pure motive. If you want to receive the gifts of the Spirit, you have to want them for the right reasons. Your purposes must be the Lord’s purposes. To the degree your motives are selfish, you will find it difficult to receive those gifts of the Spirit that have been promised to you.
That fact serves both as a warning and as helpful instruction. First, the warning: God is offended when we seek the gifts of the Spirit for our own purposes rather than for His. Our selfish motives may not be obvious to us. But few of us would be so blind as the man who sought to purchase the right to the gifts of the Spirit. You remember the sad story of a man named Simon and of Peter’s rebuke:
“And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
“Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
“But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
“Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
“Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
“For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
“Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me” (Acts 8:18–24).
Apparently Simon recognized his own corrupt motives. It may not be so easy for each of us. We almost always have more than one motive at a time. And some may be mixtures of what God wants as well as what we want. It is not easy to pull them apart.
For instance, consider yourself on the eve of a school examination or an interview for a new job. You know that the direction of the Holy Ghost could be of great help. I know from my own experience, for example, that the Holy Ghost knows some of the mathematical equations used to solve problems in thermodynamics, a branch of the sciences. I was a struggling physics student studying in a book that I still own. I keep it for historical and spiritual reasons. Halfway down a page (I could even show you where it is on the page), in the middle of some mathematics, I had a clear confirmation that what I was reading was true. It was exactly the feeling I had had come to me before as I pondered the Lord’s scriptures and that I have had many times since. So I knew that the Holy Ghost understood whatever was true in what I might be asked on an examination in thermodynamics.
You can imagine that I was tempted to ask God to send me the Holy Ghost during the examination so I wouldn’t need to study further. I knew that He could do it, but I did not ask Him. I felt that He would rather have me learn to pay a price in effort. He may well have sent help in the examination, but I was afraid that my motive might not be His. You have had that same choice to make often. It may have been when you were to be interviewed for a job. It may even have been when you were preparing for a talk or to teach a missionary discussion. Always there is the possibility that you may have a selfish purpose for yourself that is less important to the Lord.
For instance, I may want a good grade in a course, when He prefers that I learn how to work hard in the service of others. I may want a job because of the salary or the prestige, when He wants me to work somewhere else to bless the life of someone I don’t even know yet. He surely will have purposes for your hearing me speak tonight. He knows you. I might have a desire to entertain or impress you. But I have tried to suppress my desire and surrender to His.
I saw a man do that once. It changed my life. A member of the General Authorities came to speak to a conference where I was sitting on the stand. I was in the local priesthood presidency. I knew personally the struggles of the local families and the members. He, the General Authority, had just flown in from a long assignment in Europe. He was obviously tired. He stood to speak in the meeting. It seemed to me that he rambled from one subject to another. At first I felt sorry for him. I thought he was failing to give a polished sermon of the kind I knew he had delivered many times.
After a while I was thrilled to recognize that as he moved from one apparently unrelated topic to another, he was touching the need of every poor struggling member and family we were trying to help. He did not know them and their needs. But God did.
How grateful I am that his motive was not to give a great sermon or to be seen as a powerful prophet. He must have done what I hope you and I will always do. He must have prayed something like this: “Father, I need Thy help. I am tired. Please guide me with the Holy Ghost. Bless these people. I love them. I ask only that I can do Thy will to help them.”
The Holy Ghost came that night. And the Lord’s will was done. The General Authority had spent a lifetime feeding himself and others on the good word of God. He had served the Master faithfully. He was a special witness of Jesus Christ because he had paid the price to be one. All of that came from keeping his motives as closely tied as he could to what the Lord wanted. That made it possible for the Lord to send the whisperings of the Holy Ghost to His servant and so bless the people.

Pure Love of Christ

I surely don’t understand all the meaning of the scriptural words “the pure love of Christ.” But one meaning I do know is this: It is a gift we are promised when the Atonement of Jesus Christ has worked in us. The gift is to want what He wants. When our love is the love He feels, it is pure because He is pure. And when we feel our desire for people is moving toward being in line with His, that is one of the ways that we can know that we are being purified. When we pray for the gifts of the Spirit—and we should—one for which I pray is that I might have pure motives, to want what He wants for our Father’s children and for me and to feel, as well as to say, that what I want is His will to be done.
That is what these words from Moroni mean to me:
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
“But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen” (Moroni 7:46–48).
I bear you my witness that God the Father lives, a glorified and exalted Man. He is the Father of our spirits. He and His Beloved Son, both resurrected and glorified, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in a grove of trees in New York. They were there. The Father spoke to Joseph, first calling him by name and then introducing His Son. Heavenly messengers came to restore all the priesthood keys of authority. Joseph translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God. It had been written on plates by ancient prophets, one of whom gave them to Joseph and took them back when the translation was done. The keys of the priesthood are on the earth today. As a witness of Jesus Christ, I testify to you that I know He lives and that He leads His Church.
I pray with all the energy of my heart that you will have your prayers answered to meet the requirements to receive the Holy Ghost. And I pray that you will endure faithful to the end and that, for you, it will be glorious.
I leave you my blessing that your pleadings for the gifts of the Spirit to serve the Lord will be granted. And I leave you my love. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Week 5: Endure It Well

Hi friends,

This weeks talk is by Neal A. Maxwell entitled, Endure It Well. I loved how he used the scriptures to encourage and teach the how and why of endure to the end. I have found that sometimes in my challenges I don't endure it well but I am learning how to endure better with each trial and test of faith. I am so very grateful for a loving and patient Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Have blessed week,


Text below:

“Endure It Well”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Neal A. Maxwell, “Endure It Well,” Ensign, May 1990, 33
May I add my personal welcome to those brethren and sisters newly sustained today. What has happened today would not have occurred had you not married so well spiritually so many years ago.

On one of those rare occasions when His very voice was heard, the Father testified, “Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved” (2 Ne. 31:15.) Of all that the Father might have said, He stressed endurance. Why?
First, because God has repeatedly said He would structure mortality to be a proving and testing experience. (See Abr. 3:25; Mosiah 23:21.) Brothers and sisters, he has certainly kept His promise. He has carried out His divine intent, hasn’t He? Thus, even our fiery trials, said Peter, should not be thought of as “some strange thing.” (1 Pet. 4:12.) Hence, enduring is vital, and those who so last will be first spiritually!
By taking Jesus’ yoke upon us and enduring, we learn most deeply of Him and especially how to be like Him. (See Matt. 11:29.) Even though our experiences are micro compared to His, the process is the same.
There are so many things to be endured: illness, injustice, insensitivity, poverty, aloneness, unresponsiveness, being misrepresented and misunderstood, and, sometimes, even enemies. Paul reminds us that meek and lowly Jesus, though the Lord of the universe, “endured contradiction of sinners against himself.” (Heb. 12:3.) Smaller variations of these contradictions or hostilities will be felt by His disciples.
We tend to think only in terms of our endurance, but it is God’s patient long-suffering which provides us with our chances to improve, affording us urgently needed developmental space or time. (See Alma 42:4–5.)
Paul observed, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” (Heb. 12:11.) Such “peaceable fruit” comes only in the appointed season thereof, after the blossoms and the buds.
Otherwise, if certain mortal experiences were cut short, it would be like pulling up a flower to see how the roots are doing. Put another way, too many anxious openings of the oven door, and the cake falls instead of rising. Moreover, enforced change usually does not last, while productive enduring can ingrain permanent change. (See Alma 32:13–16.)
Patient endurance is to be distinguished from merely being “acted upon.” Endurance is more than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance; it is not only acceptance of the things allotted to us, it is to “act for ourselves” by magnifying what is allotted to us. (See Alma 29:3, 6.)
If, for instance, we are always taking our temperature to see if we are happy, we will not be. If we are constantly comparing to see if things are fair, we are not only being unrealistic, we are being unfair to ourselves.
Therefore, true enduring represents not merely the passage of time, but the passage of the soul—and not merely from A to B, but sometimes all the way from A to Z. To endure in faith and doeth God’s will. (See D&C 63:20; D&C 101:35) therefore involves much more than putting up with a circumstance.
Rather than shoulder-shrugging, true enduring is soul-trembling. Jesus bled not at a few, but “at every pore.” (D&C 19:18.)
Sometimes spiritual obedience requires us to “hold on” lovingly, such as to a rebellious child, while others cry, “Let go!” Enduring may likewise mean, however, “letting go,” when everything within us wants to “hold on,” such as to a loved one “appointed unto death.” (D&C 42:48.)
Patient endurance permits us to cling to our faith in the Lord and our faith in His timing when we are being tossed about by the surf of circumstance. Even when a seeming undertow grasps us, somehow, in the tumbling, we are being carried forward, though battered and bruised.
Enduring temptation is one of the greatest challenges. Jesus endured temptation but yielded not. (See Mosiah 15:5.) Christ withstood because He gave “no heed” to temptations. (D&C 20:22.) You and I tend to dally over and dabble in temptations, entertaining them for a while, even if we later evict them. However, to give temptations any heed can set the stage for later succumbing.
The customized challenges are often the toughest and the most ironical. For instance, King Mosiah was venerated of his people, yet, ironically, his sons became damaging enemies of the Church for a season. Nevertheless, his discerning people still esteemed Mosiah.
Will we have that same perceptive tolerance for those being wrenched by a cruel irony? When, for the moment, we ourselves are not being stretched on a particular cross, we ought to be at the foot of someone else’s—full of empathy and proffering spiritual refreshment. On the straight, narrow path, which leads to our little Calvarys, one does not hear a serious traveler exclaiming, “Look, no hands!” (See 1 Cor. 10:13.)
With enduring comes a willingness, therefore, to “press forward” even when we are bone weary and would much rather pull off to the side of the road. (See 2 Ne. 31:20.) Hence, one prophet was especially commended by the Lord for his unwearyingness. (See Hel. 10:4; see also Hel. 15:6.)
Paul wrote of how, even after faithful disciples had “done the will of God,” they “[had] need of patience.” (Heb. 10:36.) How many times have good individuals done the right thing initially only to break under subsequent stress? Sustaining correct conduct for a difficult moment under extraordinary stress is very commendable, but so is coping with sustained stress subtly present in seeming routineness. Either way, however, we are to “run with patience the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1), and it is a marathon, not a dash.
When you and I are unduly impatient, we are suggesting that we like our timetable better than God’s. And thus, while the scriptural phrase “in process of time” means “eventually,” it also denotes an entire spiritual process:
“The Lord showed unto Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth; and he beheld, and lo, Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven.” (Moses 7:21; see also D&C 38:13; Gen. 4:3; Gen. 38:12; Ex. 2:23; Judg. 11:4; 2 Chr. 21:19.)
By itself, of course, the passage of time does not bring an automatic advance. Yet, like the prodigal son, we often need the “process of time” in order to come to our spiritual senses. (Luke 15:17.) The touching reunion of Jacob and Esau in the desert, so many years after their sibling rivalry, is a classic example. Generosity can replace animosity. Reflection can bring perception. But reflection and introspection require time. So many spiritual outcomes require saving truths to be mixed with time, forming the elixir of experience, that sovereign remedy for so many things.
We find that experience can produce a high spiritual yield. (See D&C 122:7.) Laban, for instance, was reluctant for Jacob to leave his employ, “for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake.” (Gen. 30:27.) The modern Church even today is instructed to “wait for a little season” to build up central Zion. Why? So that we “may be prepared … and have experience.” (D&C 105:9–10.) We gain knowledge through particular experiences, but only incrementally, “in that thing.” (Alma 32:34.) Hence the ongoingness of it all, and perhaps we can be forgiven for wondering, “Is there no other way?” Personal, spiritual symmetry emerges only from the shaping of prolonged obedience. Twigs are bent, not snapped, into shape.
Without patient and meek endurance we will learn less, see less, feel less, and hear less. We who are egocentric and impatient shut down so much of our receiving capacity.
In any case, brothers and sisters, how could there be refining fires without enduring some heat? Or greater patience without enduring some instructive waiting? Or more empathy without bearing one another’s burdens—not only that others’ burdens may be lightened, but that we may be enlightened through greater empathy? How can there be later magnification without enduring some present deprivation?
The enlarging of the soul requires not only some remodeling, but some excavating. Hypocrisy, guile, and other imbedded traits do not go gladly or easily, but if we “endure it well” (D&C 121:8), we will not grow testy while being tested.
Moreover, we find that sorrow can actually enlarge the mind and heart in order to “give place,” expanded space for later joy.
Thus, enduring is one of the cardinal attributes; it simply cannot be developed without the laboratory time in this second estate. Even the best lectures about the theory of enduring are not enough. All the other cardinal virtues—love, patience, humility, mercy, purity, submissiveness, justice—they all require endurance for their full development.
Puzzlement, for instance, is often the knob on the door of insight. The knob must be firmly grasped and deliberately turned with faith. The harrowing of the soul can be like the harrowing of the soil to increase the yield with things being turned upside down. Moses experienced such topsy-turvy change. A lesser individual couldn’t have forsaken Egypt’s treasures and privileged status only to be hunted and later resented as a prophetic presence in the royal courts which he had doubtless known earlier, but as an insider. Yet we are told Moses endured by faith. (See Heb. 11:24–29.)
George Macdonald has said that God is easily pleased, but hard to satisfy. As a Father, God is delighted with our first and further steps, but He knows how straight, how narrow, and how long the ensuing path is. Again, how vital endurance!
Happily, while the Lord has promised us a tutoring mortality, He has also promised us glorious things as well!
“And all they who … endure in faith … shall … partake of all this glory.” (D&C 101:35.)
Eternal life brings to us, brothers and sisters, the full bestowal of all the specific promises made in connection with all the temple’s holy ordinances. John declared that the “called, and chosen, and faithful” shall “inherit all things.” (Rev. 21:7; see also Rev. 17:14.) Modern scriptures confirm that these special souls will eventually receive “all that [the] Father hath.” (D&C 84:38.) “All”! You and I cannot even imagine such bounteous blessings.
Meanwhile, with spiritual endurance there can be felicity amid poverty, gratitude without plentitude. There can even be meekness amid injustice. One never sees the “root of bitterness springing up” in the enduring meek. (Heb. 12:15.)
While in the midst of all these things, if we are wise like Job, we will avoid charging God foolishly. (See Job 1:22.)
As with every virtue, Jesus is the Exemplar. While shouldering Jesus’ yoke, we, too, can better come to “know according to the flesh how to succor [each other].” (Alma 7:12.)
Likewise, by seeing life’s experiences through to the end, on our small scale, we can finally say, as Jesus did on the cross, “It is finished.” (John 19:30.) We, too, can then have “finished [our] preparations,” having done the particular work God has given each of us to do. (D&C 19:19; see also John 17:4.) However, our tiny cup cannot be taken from us either. For this reason have we come unto the world. (See John 12:27.)
In a small, but nevertheless sufficient way, we will experience what it is to suffer “both body and spirit.” (See D&C 19:18.) Some afflictions are physical, others mental, or so begin. Often, however, they are interactive, forming a special pain.
Therefore, one of the most powerful and searching questions ever asked of all of us in our sufferings hangs in time and space before us: “The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?” (D&C 122:8.) Jesus plumbed the depths and scaled the heights in order to comprehend all things. (See D&C 88:6.) Jesus, therefore, is not only a fully atoning but He is also a fully comprehending Savior!
Jesus’ few dozen words describing the agonies of the Atonement reveal that He was determined that He “not drink the bitter cup, and shrink” (D&C 19:18) or pull back. Instead, submissive Christ reminded us that He both “partook” and “finished.” (See D&C 19:19.) Each act was so essential! No wonder Paul called Jesus the “finisher of our faith.” (Heb. 12:2.)
After describing the agonies of the Atonement, Jesus urged us to “walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.” (D&C 19:23.) This is the only way, brothers and sisters, that you and I can avoid shrinking while achieving that peace which “passeth all understanding.” (Philip. 4:7.)
You and I see in those who “endure it well” a quiet, peaceful majesty, an unspoken, inner awareness that, like Paul, they have “kept the faith.” And they know it, though they do not speak of it.
Now, as this lovely Primary chorus will sing, our task is “trying to be like Jesus” and remembering the “lessons He taught.” (“I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus,” Children’s Songbook, p. 78.)
For the eloquence and for the exquisiteness and the elegance of Christ’s everlasting example of enduring, I express again my public gratitude, my undying gratitude to the Father for the gift of His Son, and I so express it in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Week 4: What Time Is It

Happy Valentines Day!

This week’s talk is full of wonderful lessons for us in all stages of life. I love that it was given by a husband and wife team. It is great to get the perspective of a General Authority and his wife. I hope each of you will feel the love that Elder and Sister Holland offer to all those who listen and truly take in their message. One of my favorite parts is the final testimony of Elder Holland, he evokes an apostolic blessing on all who hear his message. I testify that his blessing is in effect no matter when you hear it and it is powerful and inspired!

Unfortunately this talk is only in video or audio format so no text will be in this email. A great way to enjoy these talks is to burn them to CD's and listen in the car while running errands or at home while cleaning. If any of you would like some suggestions or help in doing this I would be glad to walk you through the processes so that you may all enjoy the blessings of hearing these messages.

I love you all and pray for your hearts to be opened and strengthened through these talks! Thanks for being apart of the club and remember to pass it on.

Shauntell Ottley

MP3 link:

Video Link:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Week 3: Spokes of a Balanced Life

Hi friends,

This weeks talk was one forwarded to me by a friend. It is an awesome talk to listen to. It is full of humor and great advice on keeping our lives balanced. I hope you enjoy it and thanks goes out to Tahnean for sending it my way. Have a great week!



MP3 link:




The Spokes of a Balanced Life


Gary K. Palmer was a teaching professor in the
BYU Department of Recreation Management and Youth Leadership
when this devotional address was given on 29 May 2007.

© Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Complete volumes of Speeches are available wherever LDS books are sold.

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Speeches, 218 University Press Building, Provo, Utah 84602.
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I grew up in the small community of South Ogden, Utah. As boys, my older brother and I lived on our bicycles. We rode our bikes everywhere. With the aid of clothespins, we would attach cards on the bicycle frame next to the spokes so that the snapping sound of the cards would imitate the rumbling sound of a motorcycle engine. At least that was our intention. The more cards the better. They wouldn’t last long, and soon we would have to replace them with newer cards.

Other than creating an annoying sound for our neighbors, there was one problem this practice seemed to cause. Some of the spokes began to loosen. Of course my older brother, being 18 months smarter than I, thought he knew exactly what to do: tighten them up. With the help of a special tool we eagerly tightened all the spokes—even the spokes that didn’t need tightening. We gave them all an extra tug or two just to be sure they wouldn’t loosen again.
Soon we began our first test run of our newly tightened rims and wheels. To our surprise the tires were wobbly and crooked. What we didn’t know was that all the spokes needed to be perfectly balanced in tightness to keep the rim and tire straight so they wouldn’t rub against the bicycle frame.
Could it be that sometimes our lives are similar to this? Do we have a few loose spokes? Let’s review some of our spokes today and see how we are doing in creating a smooth and balanced ride through life.

Spoke Number One: Include Laughter Each Day

I have learned that the ability to find the humor in life, to laugh at everyday family calamities, helps keep life in perspective. If we will learn to laugh and play more with our family and friends, not only will we feel better but so will they.
As Brigham Young put it:
I will take the liberty of suggesting to my brethren who address the congregation that our sermons should be short, and if they are not filled with life and spirit let them be shorter. [JD 12:27]
Sister Hinckley would say concerning her counsel of laughing your way through life: “You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache” (quoted in Virginia H. Pearce, ed., Glimpses into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999], 107; see also “At Home with the Hinckleys,” Ensign, October 2003, 24).
Humor, used with sensitivity, can unite spouses. While I was serving as bishop of a singles ward, an engaged couple asked me if they could have their wedding reception at our house.
I quickly replied, “Of course you can.”
I forgot to tell my wife. When she received their wedding invitation a few days before the big event, she happened to notice the address of the reception. When I got home from work she asked me if I had forgotten to tell her something important.
After considerable thought I said, “No, not that I can think of.”
“Are we having a wedding reception at our house?” she asked.
From the expression on her face, I could tell I was in trouble.
“Oooooh, you mean that reception,” I replied.
This is when you hope your wife has a good sense of humor. I quickly helped her prepare our home for the wedding reception—under her able direction, of course.
Most family calamities, given enough time, provide humor and laughter—like the time I took our misbehaving two-year-old son, Tyler, home from sacrament meeting. (We live right next door to the church.) After turning on cartoons for my son, I fell asleep and didn’t wake up when my five-year-old showed up to take Tyler back to Primary.
Sacrament meeting was not quite over, and the bishop was pouring out his soul to the congregation when the two children returned. The trouble was, Tyler had stripped down to moon boots and training pants and picked up his popgun rifle on the way out the door. It became whisper quiet when Tyler marched up the aisle with his rifle, took aim, and shot the bishop. It sure woke up the congregation.
Of course it wasn’t funny then. Time helps humor emerge gradually. The trick is finding the humor in the event now.
So perhaps a laugh a day does keep the doctor away. As the scriptures say: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).
Does this mean we go around laughing all the time? Of course not. But we certainly could laugh a lot more than we do.

Spoke Number Two: Pray

“Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10).
When I turned 12 years old, I went on my first overnight campout with the Scouts. With eager hands I packed my hand-me-down camping gear and headed to the mountains with the troop. I ended up sleeping in a large tent with several other boys, including my older brother. Being the newest and youngest Scout, I felt somewhat intimidated by it all. It was nice to have my older brother with me. He was big and strong and older than most of the other Scouts.
As we all prepared for bed, I quietly climbed out of my sleeping bag and knelt down to say my nightly prayer. As I was praying, I could hear some of the other boys laughing at what I was doing. I was embarrassed and stopped.
My older brother came to my rescue. Responding to the teasing boys, he said in a loud voice, “If my little brother wants to pray, he’s going to pray. Anybody object?”
Not a word was said, and I went back to my prayer. I have often thought of this experience, and I’m thankful for my brother who taught me not to be ashamed to pray regardless of where we are.
President Faust has said:
Each of us has problems that we cannot solve and weaknesses that we cannot conquer without reaching out through prayer to a higher source of strength. That source is the God of heaven to whom we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. [James E. Faust, “The Lifeline of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2002, 59]
Prayer is our direct communication with our Heavenly Father. We do need to be on the right frequency, however, and be precisely tuned in to communicate. It reminds me of a time when I was trying to listen to a BYU basketball game on KSL while driving home from Idaho. The ball game would fade in and out as I meandered through the mountains on my journey home. And so it is with prayer: One cannot be tuned into the right frequency while engaged in inappropriate behavior. We may from time to time need to adjust our spiritual frequency dial to hear our Heavenly Father with perfect clarity.
While I was serving as a missionary in Western Canada, our mission president asked one of the elders to bless the food we were about to partake of. The elder blessed the food and everything else he could think of. After the lengthy prayer ended, the mission president tactfully counseled us about public prayers. He said that when we are asked to pray, we should keep the prayer focused on the purpose of the prayer. If you are asked to bless the food, then bless the food and that’s it.
Francis M. Lyman, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was quoted by Bruce R. McConkie in Mormon Doctrine concerning meeting prayers:
It is not necessary to offer very long and tedious prayers, either at opening or closing. It is not only not pleasing to the Lord for us to use excess of words, but also it is not pleasing to the Latter-day Saints. Two minutes will open any kind of meeting, and a half minute will close it. [In MD, 583, “prayer”; emphasis in original]

Spoke Number Three: Make the Best of Each Day, Good or Bad

As I was growing up, my family would occasionally go to an amusement park located a few miles from Ogden. In those days you would purchase a special pass containing a certain number of tickets for different rides in the park. One of the tickets was for entrance into what they called the fun house. We always saved the fun house for last because once we got in we could stay there for as long as we wanted.
Inside this attraction were two very large moving barrels. They were connected together, each one turning in the opposite direction. The idea was to see if you could keep your balance and walk upright through these two barrels without falling down. When I tried to walk through the barrels, I immediately fell down. I tried to stand up but fell down again. Being somewhat determined, I tried a third time, only to fall again. Most of the other people had mastered the challenge and either stepped on me or maneuvered around me and continued through the barrels.
At this point, somewhat embarrassed and slightly in pain, I decided to quit and just sit down and stay at the bottom. Well, the barrels didn’t care what I decided to do; they just kept turning. I found myself being tossed and tumbled like I was inside a giant clothes dryer. It didn’t take long to realize that giving up was much worse than trying.
I gathered myself together as best I could and, with some struggle, began to crawl on my hands and knees just to stop from tumbling and to keep my balance. Soon I was able to go from crawling to standing up in short spurts. Finally I could stand up and walk in perfect rhythm with the turning barrel.
I began to slowly make my way through the first barrel but soon encountered the second barrel going the opposite direction. This required me to quickly switch directions while maintaining my balance. After several miscues I finally made it through the barrels.
I tell this story because it reminds me of how life is sometimes. Have you ever felt your life moving in opposite directions? Tumbling, falling, standing up, falling again, and wanting to give up? But be advised: You don’t want to give up. You never want to give up.
As Paul put it:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . .
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. [Romans 8:35, 37]
We know that we don’t have control over all the situations that come into our lives each day. But, then again, it’s not so much what comes into our lives as it is how we respond to it. For example, when I think of the story of Joseph who was sold into Egypt, it is easy to see that Joseph made the best of each situation he encountered. I believe he was a good son. He was obedient and respectful to his parents, but, sadly, his brothers were jealous of him and eventually sold him as a slave. It’s kind of hard to imagine that brothers would do that. Of course we know the story doesn’t end there, does it? He was the best slave; he was the best prisoner; he was the best servant; he was the best steward over Potiphar’s household. Eventually he became the best ruler in Egypt. And in the end he forgave his brothers and saved his family. He made the best out of each situation that came his way, good or bad.
The Apostle Paul said: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God. . . . If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28, 31).
Described by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, President Hinckley’s philosophy is: “Things will work out. Keep trying. Be believing. Be happy. Don’t get discouraged. Things will work out” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “President Gordon B. Hinckley: Stalwart and Brave He Stands,” Ensign, June 1995, 12).

Spoke Number Four: Serve Others

Spencer W. Kimball said: “When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective” (“Small Acts of Service,” Ensign, December 1974, 2).
How do we serve? One of the best ways to serve is in our local ward. We should be active in our ward. I don’t mean a little active. I mean very active, very involved. This is the one area in which we can probably serve the most. We don’t necessarily have to have a formal calling. There are many ways to serve without a calling. The Lord has said: “It is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant” (D&C 58:26).
When sign-up sheets are passed around in priesthood or Relief Society, do we sign up? Or do we only sign up when it fits our schedule? Is that really how to serve? Are we good home teachers, good visiting teachers? Could it be that we are some of the people who passed by the wounded man on the road to Jericho in the parable of the good Samaritan? I hope not. I hope we are the good Samaritan.
As the Savior told the lawyer:
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. [Luke 10:36–37]
While serving as bishop of a BYU singles ward, I knew one young man in the ward who supported everything we sponsored. He came to every family home evening, every activity, every dance, every service project. Anything the ward sponsored, he was there. The reason I bring this up is because he didn’t actually need the activities for himself. He had a serious girlfriend in another ward and was soon to be engaged, but still he came. I asked him why he came to all the ward social functions. He humbly replied, “I feel like if I attend, perhaps I can contribute to the success of the event. Maybe I can help someone feel welcome, maybe I can add to the fun. I just think it’s another great opportunity to serve.” In other words, he didn’t attend to see what was in it for him but rather what he could contribute to others.
When my older brother and I were growing up, my dad always dragged us to the welfare farm. I say “drag” because we didn’t want to go, but dad always took us anyway. I remember that usually the work was hard and unpleasant, like pulling weeds in the hot sun. I recall my father telling us once that all those people working out there were serving people they didn’t even know. He said, “Take a good look and see who is here. These members are the stalwarts of our ward. They don’t have to be here. There is no glory, no fanfare, no recognition here—just quiet, behind-the-scenes service.”
As a newly married student at BYU I was called to serve in a BYU ward bishopric. I tried to serve the bishop as best I could, but my wife and I loved to travel to visit with our families on the weekends as much as possible. This meant getting excused from my church responsibilities.
After a few months serving this way, I noticed that while the bishop did politely excuse me, he was disappointed that I would be away again. I asked him if it was all right that we visit our families so often. His reply surprised me: “I would like to visit my family as well, but my calling is to serve here.”
I got the message. I was serving when it didn’t interfere with my plans—when it was convenient. I learned from this good bishop what it really meant to actually serve the Lord. I thought I knew how to serve before this experience, but I was wrong. Visiting my family was certainly important, but I learned I could do both. With some planning I found time to visit my family after I had completed my calling. There will always be some things you have to give up to do justice to a calling, whether it’s in the bishopric or as a home teacher. I’ve decided that we probably have enough time to do all that the Lord expects us to do—including visiting our families—but we probably don’t have enough time to do all the things we would like to do.
As King Benjamin said: “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).

Spoke Number Five: Don’t Be Distracted by Worldly Things

It is easy to get caught up in worldly things. The world is always selling something so enticing, so inviting. We are always wanting things and then more things. Everywhere we are told, “Go ahead; you deserve it.” Not that wanting things is all bad, but it can be if this becomes the dominant force of your life. The Apostle Paul counseled: “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
My parents always told me that the best things in life are free. Now I think I know what they meant: family, friends, grandchildren, church, smiles, sunsets, mountains, trees, birds, flowers, and even my dog. Of course, some of these aren’t actually free, but they are eternal.
The Savior said:
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. [Matthew 6:24]
Some people think you can have one foot in the world and one foot in the Church. Is this really possible? And why would you want to anyway? I believe the reason why the Lord told Adam to stop what he was doing on the seventh day and worship Him was to have a reminder of why we are here in the first place. It’s a weekly course correction to see if we are on track. I’m sure after Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden that life was filled with hard work just to survive. But, even so, Adam stopped, paused, and worshipped God on the seventh day—pretty good advice for all of us.
Nephi told us that in our day good would be called evil and evil would be called good (see 2 Nephi 15:20). Does that sound like the world to you? Have you ever noticed how often religion and spirituality are portrayed as confining, narrow-minded, and weak?
Be careful about what you accumulate in this life. Paul warned: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7).
We need to remember that all we take with us is who we have become through serving God.

Spoke Number Six: Be an Example

Years ago a friend of mine told me an incredible story about his father’s first exposure to the Church. His father was in the navy during World War II. While serving on a battleship he became acquainted with two Mormon boys from Idaho. They were nice boys and everyone seemed to like them, but they were different. When the ship would come into port, many of the sailors would go into town to party and drink—but not these two. They seemed to find their own fun and avoid the crowd. When the war ended my friend’s father married, settled in Southern California, and became the father of two young children. One Sunday morning while working on his roof, his wife shouted up to him, saying something like this:
“Don’t you think it’s about time that we started taking our children to church?”
“Good idea,” he replied.
“Yes, but what church?” she asked.
“Take them to the Mormon Church,” he said. “Two of the nicest sailors I ever met were Mormons.”
“But where is the Mormon Church?” she asked.
“Look it up in the phone book,” he answered.
And so she did. To her surprise she found a Mormon church building not far from their home. She dressed her two small children in their nicest clothes and took them to the LDS Church. They were welcomed with open arms. The ward members took the children directly to junior Sunday School. The children had a great time and asked to go back week after week. Soon the parents were attending also. They were all baptized into the Church.
The story doesn’t end there. The parents were so excited about this new church they had found for their family that they told some of their best neighbor friends about it. Soon other families in the neighborhood were going to the same Mormon ward. From this small beginning, three generations later, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people in the Church today. Why? Because two Mormon boys from Idaho lived their religion.
One of the amazing parts of this story is that these two boys from Idaho had no idea of the impact they had on one person in the navy. Imagine their joy in the next life when they meet all these Latter-day Saints. “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).
Sometimes when a missionary returns home we hear questions like: Have you made the adjustment to normal life? Have you returned to the earth yet?
Why in the world would we suggest that? Shouldn’t we be trying to be more like them? Wouldn’t it be better if all of us acted like recently returned missionaries? Isn’t that what a Latter-day Saint should be?
As President McKay said many times: “Whate’er thou art, act well thy part” (Cherished Experiences from the Writings of President David O. McKay, comp. Clare Middlemiss [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1955], 174).

Spoke Number Seven: Build Your Foundation on Christ

As a teenager I worked for my brother-in-law doing house construction. It was always interesting to watch the excavation crew with their big bulldozer come out and dig a huge hole for the house. After the bulldozer was finished, we would all climb down into the large hole and begin digging the footings upon which the foundation would rest. It was hard to imagine that this hole would soon become a beautiful new home. But this is where it all begins. Without the foundation, there is no home—at least not a home that would make it through the changing seasons of our climate. This is what makes the home strong, firm, and almost immovable.
This must have been what Helaman meant when he counseled his sons:
Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you. [Helaman 5:12]
So, yes, it’s probably a good idea to check your spokes of life periodically, just as we as boys checked the spokes on our bicycles. Be careful though; keep them not only tight but also balanced for a smoother ride through life.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.