True Crown Jewels
Royal weddings and state occasions are top news items in our world. The reason for that is that people in general, of nearly every nation and culture, enjoy the show, pomp and ceremony that these occasions feature. A conspicuous aspect of many of these occasions is the use of crowns and crown jewels, of royal purple, and other finery.
The use of crowns themselves is an ancient custom that seems to have four somewhat interrelated origins. Some crowns were first helmets, part of personal military gear. As the rank of the person increased, the helmet tended to become more elaborate, sometimes losing all pretense of being a protective device and serving solely to signify to all the high rank of the wearer. We see an example of this in the “scrambled eggs” on the visor of a naval officer’s cap.
A second antecedent of the crown is found in the laurel wreaths that were anciently bestowed as honors on the heads of successful athletes. These were later bestowed on persons receiving honor and status of many kinds. The garlands became stylized, and we are probably seeing a version of the garland in the festive headbands some modern people wear.
A third antecedent of the crown is the religious headdress worn in many different cultures to suggest the possession of authority. These are represented in the modern world by the rather massive crown used in the coronation ceremony of the Pope.
A fourth related item is the bridal garland that is part of the traditional marriage regalia in many cultures.
All of these cultural streams converge in the regal headdress so familiar as part of the courtly trappings of European aristocracy, including crowns, coronets, and tiaras, each often festooned with precious gems according to the wealth and rank of the possessor. The investment of a fortune in such items has been deemed desirable to set the wearer apart from those of lesser status. Sometimes the common people of a nation are insulted if their leaders are not appropriately bedecked; they seem to take a vicarious pride in such ostentation. All of this provides the show and pageantry of which some people are so fond and that attract worldwide attention. Ordinary people tend to mimic royalty by wearing jewelry and expensive clothing even though they cannot indulge in crown jewels and royal purple. The highlight of some commoners’ lives is to live and look like the nobles and the wealthy for a moment, perhaps to be “queen for a day.”
Though the world is awed and carried away by the royal show of jeweled crowns and royal purple, it is important to remember that in the restored gospel frame of reference, those worldly indulgences are counterfeits of something good and spiritual. Crowns are counterfeits of true priesthood authority. Purple robes and other rich and royal vestments are counterfeits of the robe of righteousness that every person may wear and bear through faith in Jesus Christ. The jewels that are so costly and outwardly beautiful are counterfeits of the true concepts and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ that make a life of righteousness possible. These precious jewel concepts, when properly cut and polished, become instruments through which the light of Christ is translated into understanding and good deeds in the life of a Saint.
Let us now turn to an examination of some of the precious jewels one may find in connection with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Like natural jewels, these concepts that pertain to godliness are first found rough and irregular, mixed with things of lesser value. The deposit to which we turn to seek out these treasures is the scriptures. The fullness of the scriptures is itself a treasure, but within the scriptures are some ideas that stand out as precious guiding lights when properly uncovered, shaped and polished, and installed in our system of thinking.
The Concept of Fear
An example of a real and eternal jewel is the concept of fear as found in the scriptures. As we turn to instances where the word “fear” is used, we see that fear is commended and commanded. In Deuteronomy 6:13 we read, “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.” Samuel tells the children of Israel in 1 Samuel 12:14–15,
If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God:
But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers.
We see plainly from these scriptures and many others like them that the servants of God are to fear him.
But turning to other scriptures, we read passages such as the following in the same chapter in 1 Samuel just quoted:
And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart;
And turn ye not aside for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.
For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people.
Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:
Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great things he hath done for you. [1 Samuel 12:20–24]
How is it that a prophet of God would tell the people both to fear and not to fear in almost the same breath?
We see the same problem in Isaiah. Isaiah counsels Israel in Isaiah 35:4: “Say to them that are of a fearful fear, Be strong, fear not: behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.” But Isaiah also says, “Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (Isaiah 8:13). It sounds again as if we are both to fear and not to fear. Without further multiplying examples we can readily conclude that the concept of fear is important but needs to be clarified. But who shall we believe as to the correct concept of fear?
The one whom we should believe is, of course, the Lord himself. The written scriptures as we have them are our treasure mine. But the treasures do not jump out at us in ready-made splendor. We must search, hypothesize, test, correct, perfect, and live by what we find. The holy scriptures are our raw material; the revelations of the Lord that result from our diligent searching of the scriptures become our jewels, our keys to understanding and to faithful obedience.
Let us suppose we have made a diligent search of the scriptures, old and new, concerning fear. Having done that we are then in a position to make hypotheses in the attempt to lay out clearly and distinctly the concepts of the scriptures. If we have done our work well, every scripture should be clear and understandable with no contradictions. Great light should be shed on the topic, and it should tie beautifully with other correct concepts.
May I now share with you the results of my own personal search into the scriptures concerning the concept of fear. Without going through all the detailed steps of the search, I will give only my present conclusions, because every day as I think about the gospel and the scriptures, new light seems to come. A new insight in one area of ideas sheds light and new perspective on every truth hitherto discovered. Thus, one must constantly readjust his thinking to new and grander perspectives as the panorama of the Father’s marvelous love for his children slowly takes shape and detail. This is exciting to experience. Of all the experiences a person can have, I suppose that learning the ways of God is perhaps next to the greatest of all experiences. I believe that the greatest experience is to have the privilege of putting those newly learned truths into action, to do the work of righteousness that correct concepts and true understanding make possible.
May I then share with you my hypotheses concerning fear. Please do not be tempted to believe what I say because I say it. I am not an authority to you. But I am your brother in Christ, and gladly share what I believe in the hope you may hear something that will cause you to make your own diligent search into these matters. For if you search in faith, I believe you will find and be greatly edified. Should you already have made your search, you will be able to compare notes and see where I have both scored and failed. Perhaps then, some occasion of testimony will bring your insights to me that I may then test your hypotheses. Thus may we all grow together in the knowledge of the Lord.
But on to my hypotheses as illustration of the true crown jewels.
I see fear as an emotional state, a matter of the heart of man, having much to do with the choices he makes. But it seems from the examples we have already presented that there must be two different concepts represented by the English word “fear,” which would explain why we are commanded both to fear and not to fear. I shall begin with the more ordinary variety and will call it Fear One.
Fear One is closely related to prudence; it is prudence with a powerful emotional charge. When one is prudent, he carefully calculates the results of his actions before doing anything, taking care to avoid results that are not desirable. When that prudence becomes an emotional, compelling force, it turns to Fear One. Examples of Fear One are fear of heights, fear of the dark, fear of spiders and snakes, and most important, the fear of death. I personally have known this fear strongly in the fear of not surviving graduate school and in the fear of not being able to support my family adequately. In many ways this kind of fear is a good thing. Fear of traffic may help a child to be wary of a busy thoroughfare. Fear of falling may temper some desires to climb. But this fear can also become a paralyzing phobia as when a person freezes high on a building and cannot rationally be induced to save himself. I suppose that every human being is well acquainted with Fear One, and that life for many of us is a precarious balance between the strength of desire for results that impel us to action and Fear One, which prevents us from doing many things. When Fear One prevents us from doing things we should not do, that is one thing. But often it also prevents us from doing what we well know we should do. So it is a mixed opportunity.
I see Fear One well represented in the scriptures. In Deuteronomy 28:58–67, the curse upon wayward Israel is couched in terms of this fear:
If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;
Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.
Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God.
And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.
And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.
And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of the foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:
And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:
In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
Fear One has a complement concept in boldness. The more bold one is, the less Fear One one has, and vice versa. The fullness of Fear One is petrification, or the inability to act.
We turn now to build the concept of Fear Two by contrast. Fear Two is also an emotional state, a matter of the heart. But where Fear One is a negative emotion, Fear Two is largely a positive one. Fear Two is awe and respect and admiration for God and for his goodness. Fear Two begets reverence and faithful obedience to the commandments of God. Perhaps the clearest contrast between the two concepts of fear is seen in the relationship each has to sin. Fear One causes one to be afraid to sin for fear of the resulting punishment when justice comes. Fear Two, on the other hand, is a fear to sin lest one disrupt the plans and purposes of God in bringing to pass the salvation of all mankind. Fear Two trembles at the very thought of sin, as we see in the words of Nephi:
Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. . . .
O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road! [2 Nephi 4:16–19, 31–32]
We see that Fear One is fear of the consequences of sin, fear for one’s own skin, fear of the punishment that is surely to follow. It is a selfish fear, a concern only for oneself. Fear Two, by contrast, is fear of sinning, fear of harming others, fear of destroying the beautiful plan of blessing that God has ordained for all of his children here and now. It is not a fear for self, but a sorrow that one is weak and may harm others. It is a fear of thwarting God, of harming other persons; it even extends to plants and animals, which are also God’s creatures. Fear Two is a reverence for all of nature, which is God’s handiwork. Fear Two is the anguish of soul that causes a person to repent of all sin. Fear Two does not shrink from the penalties due for past sins. It gladly and willingly would suffer tenfold if that would do any good; but it learns that the freedom from sinning is inextricably coupled with the forgiveness for the debt of past sins. Fear Two cannot rest until repentance is complete and sin is done away with in the heart, mind, strength, and might of the person forever. Fear Two is also a concern for the welfare of others, an anxiousness when they will not repent.
A person driven by Fear One is obsessed with forgiveness of sins, if indeed he does believe in God and in an accounting. Fear One has a natural tendency to hope there is no God, and that there will be no day of accounting.
The salvation that Fear Two desires is to be free from sinning so that one will no longer inflict wounds on others. It so hungers and thirsts after righteousness that it is willing to forego eating and drinking, sleep and rest, riches and honors, even life itself in the quest for freedom from transgressing against the God it knows and reveres. Fear Two is not a motive open to atheists and agnostics. It is available only to those who have perceived the existence of God through the Holy Spirit and who worship to partake of more of the same.
Indeed, this Fear Two is a gift of the Holy Spirit, as we see in the account of the reaction of the people to the great sermon of King Benjamin:
And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.
And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them.[Mosiah 4:1–3]
The Fear of God
Now it is possible to call Fear One worldly fear and Fear Two godly fear on the model of the distinction between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow. But if we do that we must be careful to maintain a distinction between Fear One of God and Fear Two of God. As an instance of Fear One of God, Isaiah describes the situation of the wicked of the house of Israel in the last days, when they realize that the prophets were right, that there is a God, and that he is actually visibly arriving on earth to recompense every man for his deeds:
Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.
Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots:
Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:
And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.
Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty.
The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: . . .
And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
And the idols he shall utterly abolish.
And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;
To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. [Isaiah 2:6–12, 17–21]
For an example of Fear Two toward God, we turn to Psalms 22:23–31:
Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.
My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations. . . .
A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
Thus we see that Fear One sees God as terrible and threatening, whereas Fear Two sees God as marvelous and wonderful, the object of adoration.
This difference between Fear One and Fear Two of God is reflected in an interesting passage in Isaiah that is also represented in the Book of Mormon. In Isaiah 29:13–14, the Lord himself laments that men have only Fear One for him, and therefore he will restore the true gospel to them that they might again worship in spirit and truth:
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
When men teach the fear of God to other men, they usually do it by preaching hellfire and damnation, or purgatory and limbo. Or they may portray God as a terrible and unloving being, sometimes as completely impersonal. Such may generate wariness and prudence but can never become the heartfelt adoration of Fear Two, which comes only as a gift of the Holy Spirit. To know God is first to know his Spirit.
If we know his Spirit, the thing that Holy Spirit teaches us is the nature and attributes of God in the pattern revealed in D&C 93:19–20:
I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.
For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.
That grace begins with fear of and for God. It seems to me that it does not really matter whether one begins with Fear One or Fear Two. What does seem to matter is the reaction. Either Fear One or Fear Two can come as a gift of the Holy Spirit. When received as this kind of gift, the receiver is turned toward repentance. In repentance and faith, Fear One always turns to and becomes Fear Two. The basic issue seems to be, when one fears, does one turn to God through the Holy Spirit or does one turn away and harden his heart? We read in Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” With either Fear One or Fear Two as a beginning, the humble servant of God progresses from grace to grace until Fear One grows into Fear Two, and Fear Two grows into a perfect love for God and for all of God’s creatures. We read in 1 John 4:15–18:
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
This passage from John presents us with a problem. If perfect love casts out fear, is it Fear One or Fear Two that is cast out? Or is it both? I will venture an interpretation. My belief is that John was referring only to Fear One when he says perfect love casts out fear. One clue that this is his meaning is the phrase “fear hath torment.” Fear One indeed has and is torment. But Fear Two has no torment, unless you wish to call the agony of hating one’s own sins a torment. I deem John to be saying that when one accepts God’s love and the redemption from sin and sinning that eventually attends the faithful, he ceases entirely to have any Fear One, for anything. I believe that same idea is reflected in D&C 63:17, where the Lord speaks concerning the fate of those who covenant with him and then deliberately go on and die in their sins:
Wherefore, I, the Lord, have said that the fearful, and the unbelieving, and all liars, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie, and the whoremonger, and the sorcerer, shall have their part in that lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Now we know that only the sons of perdition suffer the second death and that only those who take the covenants in this life can become sons of perdition. Therefore, it seems urgent that anyone who has taken the covenants needs to press on in the gifts of the Spirit until their trust in the Lord is great, until they can acknowledge his hand in all things, until they know there are no accidents of nature, until they know that not a sparrow falls without the Lord being aware of it, until they know that all things work together for their good for they who love the Lord. Then there is nothing to fear in the sense of Fear One.
The Perfecting of the Soul
If, then, we walk in the Spirit of the Lord, the Lord will lead us in the paths of righteousness, and in that path nothing can harm us in any eternal way—that is to say, in any important way. Wicked men may prey upon us, disease may fell us, war may ravage us, but through all of this we will know that the Lord is working out his eternal purposes. Though these may indeed hurt our body, if we love God they can in no way hurt our eternal spirit. Therefore we endure them without Fear One, knowing that the Lord is master of all, that he is fully mindful of our predicament, and that he is but using our faith and suffering to work out his eternal purposes for all of his other children as well as for us. Thus we will have no Fear One, no gripping concern for the future welfare of ourselves or of our loved ones, for we rest content to do our part in the Lord’s great drama. Thus does love of God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength, serving him in all things in the name of Jesus Christ, cast out all Fear One.
My hypothesis is that a righteous being maintains Fear Two always. Fear Two forms a tension with the pure love of God. We see on the one hand the enormity of sin and the inability of God to look upon sin with the least degree of allowance because of his justice. That is in appropriate tension with the love and mercy of God on the other hand. Fear of sinning stretches against love of God. I see this tension as the power by which a righteous being keeps himself eternally on the straight and narrow path of righteousness.
The righteous, those who are impassioned and motivated by Fear Two, see sin as a devastating destruction of the happiness of mankind. They recognize that God has prepared a celestial heritage for every human being, one that can be claimed in all important aspects even here in mortality. They come to realize that the potential of every human life is to do great good through our Savior in establishing and maintaining that celestial society to which all men are invited. They see that sin, which is selfishness, is the great destroyer of the blessings of mankind, and it even causes God himself to suffer. The terrible thing about sin is not that one has to pay for sin, as the believer in Fear One would have it, but that I cause everyone else to suffer here and now when I sin. He who understands Fear Two knows that he is hating God and each of his fellowmen when he transgresses the commandments of God. Such a one would far rather suffer himself than cause the least of these, his brethren, to suffer because of his own weaknesses. Thus he strives for perfection by making every sacrifice necessary to love the Lord God with all of his heart, yearning to receive it.
My conclusions about fear, then, are that Fear One is human fear of being hurt, and it fears God and sin because of the possibility of being brought to justice and thus having to suffer. Fear One is selfish, an attempt to protect one’s own skin. Fear Two is godly fear, a gift of the spirit, a sense of awe and gratitude at the goodness of God and the life opportunity he has given. This awe and reverence makes one tremble at the very thought of sinning, or hurting someone else. The fullness and perfection of Fear Two is the perfecting of the soul through the sacrifice of repentance unto a perfect man, even to the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ. A person who has Fear Two is the God-fearing man of the scriptures, one who reverences God through faithful obedience, striving to love purely, even as God does.
The Riches of Eternity
Those are my conclusions about fear. These ideas are very precious to me; they are some of my jewels. But do not mistake them for the main point of my discourse with you today. The conclusions about fear are my conclusions, and are intended to be illustrative only. My main point concerns crown jewels and purple robes, if we may return to where we began. My belief is that the concepts and principles of the restored gospel have virtually infinite worth compared with the paltry dust of gold, silver, jewels, and expensive clothing. He who knows the ways of God has the riches of eternity, for having that knowledge, he can live the gospel of Jesus Christ and thus fulfill the work of righteousness. Those who lack that knowledge seem to know their lack and adorn themselves with that which has no life and cannot save. One beauty of the truths of the restored gospel is that they are not a limited resource. One does not need to deprive someone else to gain them. In fact, as they are shared, all grow richer.
We may all seek and obtain these riches by a simple process. The Father has ordained that we should have written scriptures. If we hunger and thirst after righteousness, these scriptures will be delicious to us. But the main thing we learn from them is that there is more. The fullness of the gifts of the Spirit, including all of the mysteries of godliness, are ours if only we will relinquish selfishness and begin to live by every word that proceeds forth out of the mouth of God. Through personal revelation we may share a fullness of all that the Father has, even unto eternal lives, but we must begin with a knowledge of him and his ways.
We may go to the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, in mighty prayer, fasting, scripture study—searching the words of the dead prophets but especially the words of the living prophets—pondering, piecing, hypothesizing, experimenting, feeling, thinking, and trying with all the power we have to search out the ways of God. I bear you my testimony that this is a very rewarding process.
The true jewels are of immense benefit to us. Even as light shines on earthly jewels and reflects visible light of pleasing color and brilliance, even so do the true concepts and precepts enable us to reflect the light of Christ into noble thoughts, clear ideas, and goodly deeds. Through correct gospel concepts and principles we receive and assimilate the riches of eternity. Through them we minister to our stewardship. Using them and the power of the priesthood, we have the ability to work mighty miracles unto the salvation of souls. In place of the purple robes of earthly royalty, we may enjoy the garment of the wedding feast when Christ comes as the bridegroom. Our wedding garment is the invisible sacrifices we make to keep our covenants and to minister to the poor and the needy out of the abundance that the Lord has given to each one of us. The true robes are the robes of righteousness, and they are spotless white, not royal purple.
We are saved no faster than we gain knowledge of the ways and goodness of our God. It is my prayer that we shall all be diligent in obtaining the true riches, that there will be no regrets when our eyes are opened in death and we realize that our whole life we lived in the hand of God. I believe that we shall then see that he was trying to bless us and help us all the while so we would not need to try to comfort ourselves with crown jewels and royal purple. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Chauncey C. Riddle was a professor of philosophy at BYU when this devotional address was given on 8 July 1986.
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