General Conference Talk
|The Laborers in the Vineyard
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Of the Quorum
of the Twelve Apostles
Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ..
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United Member Missionary Work
Asia Area Leader Message
United Member Missionary Work
ElderSiu Hong Pon of the Seventy
The conversion story of Alma the Elder in the Book of Mormon has helped me understand what true conversion to the gospel means. This account reflects that true conversion should bring forth the desire to share our testimonies, teach others the gospel, and help build up the kingdom of God.
Alma the Elder was a priest of wicked King Noah and a descendent of Nephi (see Mosiah 17:1-2). He was there when Abinadi gave his testimony in front of King Noah. After hearing and believing Abinadi, Alma was cast out as the king wanted to take his life. He fled, hid himself and wrote Abinadi’s words (see Mosiah 17:3-4). He repented of his sins and iniquities, and then went about privately among the people and began to teach the words of Abinadi (see Mosiah 18:1). He baptized those who believed in his teachings at the waters of Mormon (see Mosiah 18:12-16). Through baptism, Alma the Elder covenanted “to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death” (Mosiah 18:9). He then established the Church (see Mosiah 18:17-29).
We all have our own conversion stories. I trust that we all went through a similar process – after someone shared their testimony and taught us the gospel, we believed what was taught, we repented, and we were willing to be baptized. Through this process, we internalized the gospel and started the changes in our minds and our hearts to obtain our testimonies. The internalization of the gospel and testimony we had obtained gave us the strength and desire to share our testimony with others. When others were willing to hear and accept what we shared with them, it started the conversion process within them.
Nephi reminded us that after our conversion, “ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Nephi 31:20). We know that eternal life is God’s greatest gift to man.
When we were baptized into Jesus Christ’s church, we committed to the same covenant as Alma did – that we are willing to mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that we may be in, even until death (see Mosiah 18:9). Thus, we are obliged to share the gospel among family members, relatives and friends. Through latter day revelation, we also understand that “if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” (D&C 18:15). Thus, sharing the gospel brings forth happiness and blessings.
Although we will face challenges in sharing the gospel such as political issues, dominant religion in the country, restrictions to access the homes of people, misunderstanding of our beliefs or any other reasons, let us all unite and participate in this important work of sharing the gospel. No matter whether we are children, youth or adults, we can accomplish this work with great desire and strength which we have gained through our own true conversion. The Holy Spirit will guide us to those who are willing to accept the gospel when we live a worthy life and have a pure heart. The Lord will provide a way for us to accomplish His work (see 1 Nephi 3:7).
Through modern technology, gospel messages can break through all access restrictions to reach the homes of people at their desktops. Thus, we are encouraged to share our testimony and the gospel through social media and other on-line resources. We are encouraged to share Church leaders’ inspiring messages, gospel principles and teachings, Church videos and sacred music with our friends, relatives and family members through social media. We can invite them to visit Church websites. Technology is a powerful tool to help our family members and friends. We may now be able to share the gospel at any time or place from our desktop in an appropriate manner. Let us all be prepared not only to share the gospel and testimony with our mouth, but also by learning and using technology to accomplish such tasks.
Jesus Christ urged his disciples to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Prophets have also taught us to “proclaim my gospel from land to land, and from city to city… bear testimony in every place, unto every people” (D&C 66:5,7), and to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
Young men, please prepare yourself so that you can serve a full time mission at the age of 19. The two years of your mission will be the most valuable blessing of your life. Your mission will help you live a better life no matter what challenges or trials you may face in the future. Although technology helps to introduce the gospel to people, it cannot replace the great conversion power of meeting face-to-face and teaching through the power of the Holy Spirit that touches the hearts of people and edifies both the teacher and the learner (see D&C 50: 17-22). Serving a mission will help missionaries understand and experience, a little, what Jesus Christ has gone through in His life. Such experiences will certainly strengthen your testimony and help you come closer unto Christ. Such personal experiences can never be replaced by technology.
My beloved brothers and sisters, let us all be united and accelerate missionary work no matter whether we are a member, a leader or a full-time missionary. Let us remember always that “We talk 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 Nephi 25:26).
I know that this is what our Lord wants us to do. I bear my testimony to you that I know that He lives, He loves us and He is our Savior. When we anxiously engage in the Lord’s work, we will be blessed and will be rewarded with the greatest gift of eternal life. I bear this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Holding a Current Temple Recommend
Asia Area Leader Message
Elder Victor Chen
Of the Seventy
During one of our recent Sunday ward priesthood meetings, our bishop invited all the priesthood bearers to learn of our duties. I believe his wise counsel includes understanding our priesthood responsibilities, seeking personal revelation by studying the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets, and studying instructions from the handbooks.
As I think of our bishop’s invitation to learn of our duties, I am reminded of the revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in Doctrine and Covenants section 107 in the year 1835. We read in this revelation on priesthood the importance of learning our duties. In the revelation, priesthood holders are commanded to magnify their callings by serving diligently. They are to lift, strengthen and nurture convictions of righteousness in the lives of those for whom they have responsibility. The Lord has commanded, "Let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence". Though this commandment was given specifically to priesthood holders, I truly believe this commandment of learning our duty and to act accordingly applies to all members of the Church.
Duty of the members of the Church
As members of the Church, we have many duties to perform – some are routine and others are more important and meaningful. Elder Claudio R. M. Costa of the Seventy, quoted President Gordon B. Hinckley’s teaching to the priesthood holders in the June 21, 2003 worldwide leadership training meeting on our fourfold responsibility. “Each of us has a fourfold responsibility. First, we have a responsibility to our families. Second, we have a responsibility to our employers. Third, we have a responsibility to the Lord’s work. Fourth, we have a responsibility to ourselves.”
We also have other important duties such as daily striving to be Christ-like by setting good examples and to seek opportunity to help others each day. We can do this with an encouraging word, a compliment or by any simple act of kindness. We are reminded that doing our duty to God is not only a very serious responsibility but also a remarkable privilege. One of our many important duties as adults is to hold a current temple recommend and to visit the temple often where time and circumstance permit.
President Monson reminded us about the importance of holding a current temple recommend and visiting the temple often during last April General Conference when he said, “If you have not yet been to the temple or if you have been but currently do not qualify for a recommend, there is no more important goal for you to work toward than being worthy to go to the temple. Your sacrifice may be bringing your life into compliance with what is required to receive a recommend, perhaps by forsaking long-held habits which disqualify you. It may be having the faith and the discipline to pay your tithing. Whatever it is, qualify to enter the temple of God. Secure a temple recommend and regard it as a precious possession, for such it is”.
There are many reasons why members may not be renewing their temple recommends. In many cases, some of the members forget to renew their expired temple recommends. Some do not renew their temple recommends due to the lack of understanding of the doctrine, blessings and importance of temple ordinances and having a temple recommend. There may be some who may be struggling with commandments such as tithing, word of wisdom, not attending priesthood and sacrament meetings, etc. There may be some who may feel that they live far from the temple and may have no opportunity to go so they don’t see a need to renew their temple recommends.
I remembered a story shared by Sister Anne J Pingree on how faithful African saints understand that holding a current temple recommend pleases the Lord. She related how she and husband had to travel to remote locations to conduct temple recommend interviews with members in southeastern Nigeria during their mission. Some of these members lived about 5,000 kilometers away from the nearest temple in Johannesburg, South Africa. Many of them had been Church members for less than two years. Though these members knew the appointed day each month that President and Sister Pingree would come to their district for the interview, but no one know the exact time they would arrive and making phone calls were not possible because telephones were rare in West Africa then. The committed African Saints would come early in the morning and many would have to wait the whole day for the temple recommend interview knowing that they would probably never have the privilege of using it. Sister Pingree said that these faithful Nigerian Saints believed in the counsel of President Howard W. Hunter: “It would please the Lord for every adult member to be worthy of – and to carry – a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it”.
Duty of Priesthood Leaders and Ward Council Members
Priesthood leaders and all other members of Ward Council have the duty to lovingly encourage every endowed man and woman without a current temple recommend to qualify for a renewed recommend, and to use it regularly if they are living close to a temple. They are to teach, counsel, and train the members and their families, so that they will live worthily to hold a current temple recommend and to go into the House of the Lord to receive these ordinances and blessings that lead to family exaltation. In addition, they should be encouraged and counseled to return often to the temple for the spiritual uplift such temple attendance will give those who attend. When we return to the temple to perform vicarious work for others, we receive a renewal of spiritual strengthening which bring us closer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I know that as leaders, we have a sacred duty to God to help lift, strengthen and bless the lives of the members. I am reminded of what President John Taylor taught regarding the importance of performing our duties as leaders. He said, “If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty.” I know that our Heavenly Father will help us if we prayerfully seek His guidance and inspiration as we magnify our callings in fulfilling our sacred duty.
I am grateful for holy temples and to know that families can be together forever. I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ who makes temple blessings available to all of us. May we live worthily to have a current temple recommend and return to the temple as often as our circumstances permit. May we give our kindred dead the opportunity to receive the ordinances of exaltation. May we enjoy the spiritual strength and the revelation we receive as we attend the temple regularly. May we remain faithful in making and keeping temple covenants to receive the full blessings of the Atonement. May we follow the wise counsel of my bishop and all our leaders to seek to learn and to do our duty well. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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|ASIA AREA LEADER'S MESSAGE - DEC 2011
The Hong Kong China Temple: In a Land of Temples
by President John Aki
Hong Kong, China Temple
The Hong Kong China Temple overlooks the towering high rises of the city of Hong Kong.
The temple was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley on May 16-17, 1996. Its temple district ranges from Mongolia in the northeast, India and Pakistan to the west, Nepal to the northwest and countries of the Indochinese Peninsula in the middle. The district encompasses approximately 50% of the earth’s population.
Some of the world’s major religions and their religious temples are found in this area. This is a land where families and ancestors are important and revered. The Hong Kong China Temple is indeed a temple in a land of temples. Yet it is the only temple that offers a path where families, living and deceased, can be together eternally.
Located in Kowloon-Tong, the temple is within easy access to saints from both Hong Kong and other Asian countries. Saints from Hong Kong arrive on the local Metropolitan Transit Railway system that serves the entire territory. Saints from Mongolia and China come on the Kowloon-China railway system. Saints from other Asian countries fly in and ride the Express Airport Bus that stops conveniently next to the temple.
Early History of Temples
An early account of temples is given in a dream by Jacob. “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder [stairway] set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;” “And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, how dreadful [awe-inspiring] is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:12-13, 16-17).
The scripture describes, long before physical temples were built, a multi-level temple similar to that of the Hong Kong China Temple. Angels going up and down could be compared to patrons performing the different ordinances for their ancestor on the different levels of the temple.
President Gordon B. Hinckley in his dedicatory prayer of the Hong Kong China Temple said, “Thy Church has grown and blessed the lives of many of Thy sons and daughters in this place. We thank Thee for all who have accepted the gospel and who have remained true and faithful to covenants made with Thee. Thy Church in this area now comes to full maturity with the dedication of this sacred temple.”1
Saints come from the various countries of Asia are truly saviors on Mount Zion. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained, “How are [we] to become saviors on Mount Zion?” “By building … temples, erecting … baptismal fonts, and going forth and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations and sealing powers upon [our] heads, in behalf of all [our] progenitors who are dead, and redeem them that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with them.”2
Making a Sacrifice to Attend the Temple
It is not uncommon for those who live far away to make a significant sacrifice to attend the temple. A brother, from a distant country, brought his wife to be sealed in the Hong Kong China Temple. He commented that he made a significant sacrifice to be able to come. He sold the family cow, a source of milk and family income. When asked why he sold the cow instead of something else. He replied, “I can be sealed to my wife for time and all eternity, but I cannot be sealed to my cow.”3
Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught: “We are still commanded to sacrifice, but not by shedding blood of animals. Our highest sense of sacrifice is achieved as we make ourselves more sacred or holy. This we do by our obedience to the commandments of God. Thus, the laws of obedience and sacrifice are indelibly intertwined. … As we comply with these and other commandments, something wonderful happens to us. … We become more sacred and holy—[more] like our Lord!”4
Some Things You Can Do to Come to the Temple
1. Set your temple visit as a high priority. Write it in your calendar as an “unbreakable appointment." When you receive calls for another event that threatens to displace your temple visit, reply “I have an unbreakable appointment.”
A story is told of President Ezra Taft Benson, who was noticeably absent from the Friday morning inauguration of Elder Rex E. Lee as the new President of the Brigham Young University. When asked about his absence, on this auspicious occasion, he replied, “Friday is my temple day. Where else would I be on a Friday morning.”5
2. Attend the endowment sessions of newly called missionaries from your ward. President Howard W. Hunter said, “Let us prepare every missionary to go to the temple worthily and to make that experience an even greater highlight than receiving the mission call.”6
3. Offer to perform any of the ordinances in the temple. Initiatory, sealing, baptism are just as important as the endowment. A brother, who comes frequently to do initiatory, commented that he was taught by his father that all of the ordinances are important and there are blessings and much to learn in participating in all the different ordinances. Would a person attend a play to see only one act and not the others?
4. Seek spiritual experiences and understanding that are eternal in nature. A sister reminisced that it was her grandmother who brought her to the temple to receive her own endowment long ago. Each time she comes to the temple, she remembers her grandmother.
Another sister lovingly watched as her deceased father’s baptismal ordinance was completed. Her countenance expressed joy and the assurance that she would see and live with her father again.
5. For those who come from far distances, spend time during the days or weeks before your temple visit in prayer and scripture reading. Reflect upon the plan of salvation, the atonement, and the importance of eternal families. Prepare family file names of deceased loved ones to take with you. Careful preparation for the journey can add to the wonderfulness of the destination itself.
Every Member Temple Worthy
As we see the many temples, in this land of temples, may we remember President Howard W. Hunter’s admonition, “Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow. Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety which is provided within those hallowed and consecrated walls. The temple is a place of beauty, it is a place of revelation, it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord. It should be holy unto us.”7
- Gordon B. Hinckley, Hong Kong Temple: “May Thy Watch Care Be Over It,” Church News, 1 Jun. 1996, 4.
- Joseph Smith, Chapter 41: Becoming Saviors on Mount Zion, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007), 468–478.
- John Aki, Personal Journal, March 2011.
- Russell M. Nelson, “Lessons from Eve,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 88.
- S. Michael Wilcox, House of Glory, Deseret Book Company, SLC, 1995, 4.
- Howard W. Hunter, “Follow the Son of God,” Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 118; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 88.
- Howard W. Hunter, “A Temple-Motivated People,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 2-5. See also Liahona, Oct. 2010, 37-39.
Keep All His Commandments
|ASIA AREA LEADER'S MESSAGE - FEB 2012
Keep All His Commandments
by Elder Sam Wong
Of the Area Seventy
In the October 2011 general conference, President Thomas S. Monson gave us this wise counsel – “There may be those of you who are thinking to yourselves, ‘Well, I’m not living all the commandments, and I’m not doing everything I should, and yet my life is going along just fine. I think I can have my cake and eat it too.’ Brethren, I promise you that this will not work in the long run” (“Dare to Stand Alone,” Liahona, Oct. 2011, 62). To me, our living prophet is raising his warning voice to help keep us stay in the narrow and strait path. We need to keep All His commandments.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we made a covenant at our baptism. In the book True to the Faith, it states that “Your Baptismal Covenant - When you were baptized, you entered into a covenant with God. You promised to take upon yourself the name of Jesus Christ, keep His commandments, and serve Him to the end (see Mosiah 18:8-10; D&C 20:37). You renew this covenant each time you partake of the sacrament (see D&C 20:77, 79). Taking upon Yourself the Name of Jesus Christ - When you take upon yourself the name of Jesus Christ, you see yourself as His. You put Him and His work first in your life. You seek what He wants rather than what you want or what the world teaches you to want” (True to the Faith, 23).
In Mark 10 of the New Testament, a rich young man came unto Jesus and asked Him, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17). In the past, I thought this young man could not have been a member of the Church. This year when I read this story again, I realized that I might have made a mistake. I think he could well be one of us who have already made our baptismal covenant. He ran and kneeled to Jesus Christ. He wanted to find out how he might inherit eternal life. He had a great desire to follow Jesus Christ and receive exaltation, just like us.
This rich young man knew Jesus Christ was a good master and he wanted to learn from Him. He had been observing from his youth the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother” (Mark 10:19).
In verse 21, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” When Jesus saw this young man, He loved him. Our Lord loved him so much that He gave this young man His loving invitation – to follow Him, the Savior of the world.
Verse 22 recorded the young man’s response, “And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” Are we in the same situation at times? Not willing to give up everything or anything to follow our Savior. When we heard counsel given at General Conferences, did we go away grieved? Do our great or even small possessions hinder our progression along the strait and narrow path to eternal life? Do we really own our possessions or do our possessions own us instead? Are there things standing between us and our Savior that hinder us from making the best choice to seek the Lord’s kingdom first? Possessions come in many ways and forms. Do our possessions cloud our view in making the best choices? We have to prepare spiritually daily by keeping all His commandments and praying for the Holy Ghost to guide us in our choices.
Do you still remember the “Good, Better, Best” counsel wisely given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks in 2007 October’s general conference? Elder Oaks taught that “We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives…. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families” (“Good, Better, Best,” Liahona, Nov. 2007, 104, 107).
In the Book of Mormon, this counsel was recorded many times – “For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence” ( 2 Nephi 4:4). Let us remember our baptismal covenant by observing the Sabbath every week and worthily partaking of the Sacrament. Renewing our covenants and promised blessings helps us keep them.
May we all be wise by “selling our possessions,” following Jesus Christ and prospering in His kingdom. May we all be joyfully keeping All His commandments is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
|ASIA AREA LEADER'S MESSAGE - APR 2012
The Joy of Resurrection
by Elder Joseph Chung
Of the Area Seventy
“He (Jesus) is not here: for He is risen, as He said” (See Matthew 28:5-6). This, by far, is the most exciting news in human history!
At the end of the Chinese Song dynasty, loyalist Wen Tianxiang wrote the following verse before he was martyred:
Since ancient times,
Who can escape death?
May my loyal heart
(Wen Tianxiang, 1236-1283, “Leaving Sea of Desolation.”)
While stories like Wen’s, who unflinchingly facing death moved us, the resurrection of Christ inspires our souls. Indeed, “God shall wipe away all tears from [our] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
The resurrection of Christ assures us that death for the righteous is sweet. Jesus said,” …they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:29). In a world where sins are more prevalent all the time, “good deeds” have become rare commodities and at times even defiled as bad. In more and more cases, we see people “call[ing] evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).
By His resurrection, the Savior declared that He had overcome death. All that He has taught is truth and what He promised will be fulfilled. How comforting and relieving, how encouraging and rejuvenating this assurance is! Righteousness will eventually overcome evil; truth will shatter lies. No wonder, after the Savior ascended to heaven after His resurrection, Peter and John boldly testified of Christ’s resurrection. The priests and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees put Peter and others in hold and questioned them. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). They commanded Peter and John not to speak at all, but Peter and John answered and said unto them, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye” (Acts 4:19).
After the Savior was crucified, people in the American continent experienced tempests, earthquakes, fires, whirlwinds, and physical upheavals (See 3 Nephi 8) and three days covered with darkness, “And it was in the morning, and the darkness dispersed from off the face of the land, and the earth did cease to tremble, and the rocks did cease to rend, and the dreadful groanings did cease, and all the tumultuous noises did pass away. And the earth did cleave together again, that it stood; and the mourning, and the weeping, and the wailing of the people who were spared alive did cease; and their mourning was turned into joy, and their lamentations into the praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord Jesus Christ, their Redeemer” (3 Nephi 10:9-10). To the righteous who survived the disasters, resurrection was neither a myth nor hearsay. Their joy and assurance must have been great beyond description!
Through the power of the Holy Ghost, we all can know for ourselves the reality of Christ’s resurrection (See Moroni 10:5,7). The resurrection of the Savior and His Atonement are inseparably connected. The resurrection has been free and unconditional given to us, just as Paul said, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). However, the effect of the Atonement is conditional as the prophet Nephi taught, “Unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved” (2 Nephi 31:16).
Dear brothers and sisters, at this Easter season as we commemorate the resurrection of the Savior, may we ponder upon the atoning sacrifice of the Savior, His triumph over death, and His glorious resurrection. Let us ask ourselves this question, “Will we accept Christ’s invitation to follow Him” (see Matthew 4:19)?
The Lord said, there is no man that hath followed Him ”who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting” (Luke 18:30). The gospel of Jesus Christ allows us to receive many blessings in this life. For example, keeping the commandments may seem boring or even difficult to some, but through time it is proven that we are happier and life is easier when we keep the commandments than if we disobey them, because ”wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10). King Benjamin said, “I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness” (Mosiah 2:41).
Another blessing we can receive when we keep the commandments is the joy we experience when we help others. Those who help people selflessly know that it is more blessed to give than to receive. When we help others, we can feel an inner happiness which is just like what parents will experience when they love their children unselfishly and tirelessly. There are many people in this world, regardless of their religious beliefs, who are willing to give and help others in private and don’t expect any recognition or rewards. We admire such people for their charity. They also make us feel ever grateful for the teachings and example of Jesus!
The Lord told Peter, “and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32). After Christ was resurrected, Peter became even more converted and determined, and he indeed strengthened many Church members. In one of his epistles, Peter wrote, “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:14-15).
As Christians, in addition to commiting that we are willing to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death” (Mosiah 18:9), we need to do as the prophet Joseph Smith said, “A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 426). All in all, the gospel of Christ brings kindness to homes, harmony to society, and peace to the world.
We’re grateful for the resurrection of the Savior. We rejoice in this knowledge. It helps us to be more willing to follow Him, and strive to know Him and emulate His example. Christ has elevated our vision and helped us understand how pure and dignified human nature is and what the infinite worth of souls are. Furthermore, His gospel teaches us that humans have unlimited potential and can someday become like Him and our Father in Heaven. Through a revelation in modern scriptures, He taught us, “Virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy” (D&C 88:40). The worth of virtue surpasses wealth, knowledge, and fame. The Lord looks on the heart and not on the outward appearance (See 1 Samuel 16:7). He respects our agency and doesn’t force us. He works according to people’s faith in Him. He helps us realize how insignificant we are, and yet He loves each one of us. He died for us to make it possible that we can have eternal happiness.
May we all take upon us His name, and worship Him together!
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