I’ll Go, I’ll Do, I’ll Be: Three Steps Toward A Monumental Lifeof the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles August 19, 1986 • Devotional
My dear fellow students, I am thrilled to be with you on this memorable occasion and to share it with my sweet companion, Dantzel, my father, Marion C. Nelson, and other members of our family. I should like to pay tribute to you and to those unseen who are similarly sacrificing that you might be here. All are here to learn. Some may also be happy for a temporary escape from diapers and dishes. But batteries do need to be recharged, and such regeneration comes from all that goes on in such a marvelous week as you have before you.
Last month a major focus of attention was the Statue of Liberty for her one hundredth anniversary and the celebration of her remodeling. While most monuments are erected to people or specific events, this one is indeed unique. Lady Liberty commemorates an ideal. But this and other monuments can teach us very important lessons about life.
Those lessons are linked to your theme of the week, “The Process of Becoming.” They are also embraced in the words of the song we have sung, “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go” (Hymns, 1985, no. 270). Within its text are several powerful commitments to action, including I’ll go (where you want me to go), I’ll do (thy will with a heart sincere), and I’ll be (what you want me to be).
By applying these concepts to personal development, each one of us here today can help build a monumental life. Through the process of becoming, you may go, do, and be a living monument. A monument requires a base to support the vertical shaft of its statement. The Statue of Liberty has a splendid 89-foot pedestal erected on a 65-foot star-shaped base.
A monumental life also begins with a broad base of understanding. This is one reason you are here today—to learn and acquire information and inspiration that will strengthen your pedestal of preparation. But you know that knowledge itself is rarely monumental. Just as pancake batter cannot make pancakes until exposed to heat, more than knowledge is required to mold a monumental life.
Three steps in the process of forging a monumental life from its base are neatly tucked in the verses of our song—I’ll go, I’ll do, I’ll be. These three statements constitute the outline of my message.
Step one is “I’ll go.” But before we go anywhere, it is good to consider where we have been. Life’s journey did not start with our first mortal breath. Prior to our birth, we were with God as his spirit children. We walked with him, talked with him, and knew him. We shouted for joy with the prospects of a journey to planet Earth to gain a physical body and to experience unique challenges here. I suspect we were terrified, at first, when told we would forget Father, friends, and facts we formerly knew so well. I can believe we were calmed when informed our Father in Heaven would provide prophets and scriptures to guide us and would provide a means whereby we could communicate with him through prayer and the spirit of revelation. But still we may have been a bit insecure when we learned that faith—faith to believe the intangible—was the key to success in our journey. Faith was to be the critical component in our safe return to our Father in Heaven. Few have had better insight than did Abraham, who recorded,
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them. [Abraham 3:22–25]
Once here, the journey through life for each of us may include other travels in order to meet our personal rendezvous with destiny. Father Lehi and Mother Sariah departed from the wealth and security of Jerusalem to trek for many days across hot desert sands to the eastern shores of the Red Sea. Then Lehi asked his sons to return to Jerusalem to get the brass plates of Laban. What did that assignment entail?
If we were to compare that trip to our own area, we would have walked a distance nigh equivalent to that from Provo to St. George, across scorching sand with no freeways, no air conditioning, no cold drinks. Then how would you like to be asked to walk all the way back to Provo, tackle a tough assignment, and then walk back to St. George? No wonder Laman and Lemuel murmured! That was the setting for this matchless statement by Nephi:
I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. [1 Nephi 3:7]
You know the story. They eventually returned with the brass plates. Even Mother Sariah had complained when her sons were required to make this long, hazardous journey. Shortly thereafter, they were told by their father to return once again to Jerusalem, this time to get Ishmael and his family. Perhaps each young man felt a bit better about it this time, knowing there was the possibility he might be rewarded with one of the daughters of Ishmael to become his wife. This rugged discipline was but prologue to their going subsequently all the way across what we now know as the Saudi Arabian Peninsula to its southeastern shore, where ships were to be built. And this challenge was but prelude to their ultimate destiny—to go across ocean waters to the promised land.
In fact, much of scriptural history reports requirements of the Lord’s prophets and people to go to their particular proving grounds. For David, his destiny with Goliath required him to go to the valley of Elah (see 1 Samuel 17:19). Moses had to go to the heights of Sinai and to the depths of the Red Sea, whose waters had been parted by the power of the priesthood he bore (see Alma 36:28).
Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and our early pioneer predecessors had to go from the eastern extremity of the United States to Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and then across a hostile environment where they established the mountain of the Lord’s house in the top of the mountains (see Isaiah 2:2; 2 Nephi 12:2) at a place we now know as the world headquarters of his church.
All eight of my great-grandparents, individually converted to the Church in populous nations of Europe, had to go from their family and the comforts of home to this new land and across its challenging terrain eventually to settle in the little town of Ephraim, Utah.
Each one of us will have to go to unique testing grounds of faith. For some it may be abroad, or on missions, for preparation or assignment far beyond comforts of home, family, and friends. For others, particularly you busy young mothers or fathers, your appointment with destiny is within the walls of your home. Your enemy is neither hot sands of the desert, nor smoking guns of foes in pursuit, but heated efforts of the adversary to undermine your marriage and/or the sanctity of your family unit. For the monument of your life to rise from its pedestal of preparation to your appointed site of destiny you must go where the Lord wants you to go. Wherever it is, go. Go with the same faith that allowed you to leave your heavenly home in the first place.
Step two is “I’ll do.” These words remind me of the development of the song “I Am a Child of God.” When lyricist Naomi W. Randall first composed the words to this hymn, they read, “Teach me all that I must know, to live with him some day.” Before he became President of the Church, President Spencer W. Kimball suggested that the word “know” be changed to “do.” President Kimball, explaining why he wanted the change, said, “To know isn’t enough. The devils know and tremble; the devils know everything. We have to do something” (“New Verse Is Written for Popular Song,” Church News, April 1, 1978, p. 16).
As President Kimball implied, some foes of righteousness may actually know more than many of us here know. To know isn’t enough. Even today, a few very knowledgeable physicians still smoke cigarettes. They know better. Some Latter-day Saints know about such divine laws as chastity, tithing, or honesty, but experience difficulty in doing what the law requires.
There are more things to do in life than there is time available in which to do them. That means choices need to be made. Choices are often facilitated by asking well-focused questions. Some may be thoughtfully tendered in prayer.
Joseph Smith recorded his question: “My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join” (JSH 1:18). The unexpected answer: “Join none of them” (JSH 1:19).
Such a question, asked with determination beforehand to do whatever is learned, will bring heavenly direction.
For example, near the end of the Book of Mormon is this challenge: “If ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent [meaning you intend to do], . . . he will manifest the truth of it unto you” (Moroni 10:4). Intent is an important part of the formula that preceded testimony, which brought many of us into the Church.
How did we get the Word of Wisdom? Joseph first asked an important question. In answer to fervent prayer with intent to do the revealed will of the Lord, section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants was received by revelation.
What preceded the vision of the redemption of the dead? President Joseph F. Smith pondered (not just read) the writings of Peter (see D&C 138:1–5). Pondering the scriptures is done with an inquiring mind.
What predated the revelation on the priesthood received by President Spencer W. Kimball in 1978? Extended meditation and intelligent inquiry, prayerfully posed in the holy temple.
Now, I notice your Campus Education Week program lists over eleven hundred offerings, and before you can start to do, you must ask, “What do I want to do?” Then you may properly select those classes that will help you do those things that are uniquely yours to do. That question involves your purpose and your destiny.
Can you summarize the goal of your life and state it in a simple sentence as did the Savior? He said, “My work and my glory—[is] to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
Counsel from President Joseph F. Smith was concisely stated: “The important consideration is. . . how well we can. . . discharge our duties and obligations to God and to one another” (GD, p. 270).
Should that concept not be part of your greatest goal, if you truly believe in God and believe you are one of his children preparing to return to him? And if it truly is your objective, can there be any action appropriate for you to do other than to keep his commandments?
This was the plea of the Savior, who reported, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Another writer so recorded this inquiry: “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). James admonished: “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). King Benjamin also confirmed this concept. He said, “If you believe all these things see that ye do them” (Mosiah 4:10).
One of life’s interesting challenges is that while you are doing one thing, you are not doing other things. So while you are here at Campus Education Week, you are not elsewhere, thereby assuming some risks. Partners, children, and other interests are among those at risk. Sister Nelson and I have occasionally taken leave from an engagement saying, “It’s time for us to go home now and see what our children are doing and tell them to stop.”
There is also a risk of discouragement when you return to your usual routines. During this week you will meet many wonderful people who are all on their best behavior. You will meet skilled teachers who have prepared well for countless hours and who successfully make it seem as though their lesson simply rolls out with such apparent ease. But don’t forget, their lives’ efforts are represented in that service. When you return home to cobwebs and dust and your own pile of problems that haven’t gone away during your absence, don’t be dejected because you were not sufficiently braced for the reality of your reentry.
Remember, educational opportunity is not confined to time or place. There is nothing magic about an institution, be it Harvard, Stanford, MIT, BYU, or any other. Personal motivation is more essential to education than campus setting. Fortunately, those of you here this week have both, and I admire you. But exciting, entertaining, charismatic teachers are not nearly as fundamental to the attainment of your goals as are your desire and your determination.
If the most important things in life are to know God and to keep his commandments, then to heed his prophets and abide their teachings should be among our most important educational objectives. In a way, the very repetition of the teachings of prophets may have sounded monotonous through the years. The pleadings of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Abinadi have not differed significantly from those of President Lee, President Kimball, or President Benson. Surely, when measured by eternal standards, teachings of the prophets are more important and enduring than the latest findings of competent researchers, even if these findings were both discovered and taught by use of modern technology and teaching aids.
Success at the end of this week will be determined largely by individual desire to learn. When you crave learning as much as you want to satisfy pangs of hunger, you will achieve your desired objective. When you return home, you will want to continue to satisfy your hunger and thirst for righteousness and the word of God on your own.
I was with Elder Mark E. Petersen in the Holy Land in October 1983, during his last mortal journey. Elder Petersen was not well. Evidences of his consuming malignancy were so painfully real to him, yet he derived strength from the Savior he served. Following a night of intense suffering, aggravated by pangs of his progressive inability to eat or to drink, Elder Petersen addressed throngs assembled at the Mount of Beatitudes to hear his discourse on the “Sermon on the Mount.” After he recited “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness,” he departed from the biblical text and pleaded this question: “Do you know what it is to be really hungry? Do you know what it is to really be thirsty? Do you desire righteousness as you would desire food or drink under extreme conditions? [The Savior] expects us to literally hunger and thirst after righteousness and seek it with all our hearts!”
I was one of the few present on that occasion who knew how hungry and thirsty Elder Petersen really was. His encroaching cancer had deprived him of relief from physical hunger and thirst. So he understood that doctrine. He withstood the trial. He thanked the Lord who lent him power to preach his last major sermon at the sacred site where his Lord Jesus had preached.
Counsel was given by another prophet who said, “Feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted” (2 Nephi 9:51). Nephi added: “If ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end. . . : Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20). Even though Elder Petersen was deprived of full physical feeding, he continued to feast upon the words of his Savior. He endured to the end, and I know he earned that promised reward.
To facilitate your feast, may I share a personal pattern of scriptural study that may also be helpful to you? I have marked my new LDS edition of the King James Version of the Bible to highlight enrichment material from three alternate translations. I have colored those little letters above the biblical text that draw attention to corresponding footnotes below, which I have colored with little round dots. Those citations from Hebrew I have marked with blue circles over both the cross-referenced superscript letter and the corresponding footnote below. The Old Testament comes to us primarily from the Hebrew language or those languages closely associated with Hebrew.
The New Testament comes to us primarily from the Greek language. Thus, frequently the alternate translation from the Greek adds significantly to a better understanding of the New Testament. The little superscript letters and corresponding footnotes from Greek I have marked with green circular dots.
For those passages clarified by excerpts from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, I have marked the little superscript letters and corresponding footnote citations with red circular dots. Now, whenever I turn to a page of scripture, I can immediately spot those special insights provided by this enrichment material.
The importance of these enhancements was taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith, who made this interesting statement: “Our latitude and longitude can be determined in the original Hebrew with far greater accuracy than in the English version” (Teachings, p. 290). But more about that later when we get to the third step of our discussion.
I note from the program that many course offerings are classified under “parenting,” which, of course, includes grandparenting. I think it’s time to tell a story about grandchildren. I should like to honor all who are grandparents here today and ask them to stand and be recognized. Would all grandparents please arise? What a marvelous sight!
Now, while you continue to stand, will those who are not yet grandparents stand as well, as I think you all need a little rest. You can stand while I tell you a true story—a one-on-one encounter between one of our grandchildren and her grandmother. It occurred during one of those special moments when they were alone. Grandmother asked our seven-year-old granddaughter, “Do you think I look younger with my glasses on, or with them off?”
The granddaughter replied, “Well, try them on, and now, try them off.” Her grandmother complied. Our granddaughter then said, “Do it again, Grandmother. First put them on, and then take them off.” And so her grandmother again demonstrated. Finally, the granddaughter, after asking her grandmother to repeat the exercise a third time, said conclusively, “Grandmother, its older either way.”
Sensing that her candor may have exceeded her diplomacy, our granddaughter then added, “Grandmother, have you tried Oil of Olay?”
Thank you. Now, as you return to your seats, I notice there are eight courses offered under the classification of aging.
Each time I go to the barbershop, I see the sheet that has been swirled about me has collected clippings that are grayer and scantier than the time before. But seriously, I give thanks for the aging process. Yes, I am grateful to be alive to participate in it. Our bodies are such magnificent creations. The healing power in each one of us causes broken bones to heal and cuts and bruises to repair themselves. Contemplate what would happen if you could create a chair that would repair its own broken leg, or if you could make stockings that would mend their own runs. If you could do that, literally, you could create dynamic life that would perpetuate itself infinitely.
Our bodies, capable of self-repair, would do the same thing, were it not for aging. Life on this earth would be without end and without hope of eternal life with our father, mother, and loved ones, if the healing process responded in this marvelous way to all injuries and illnesses. That hope we had in the beginning, to return to our Father in Heaven, would be but a baseless dream were it not for the assurance provided by the aging process. Alma so taught his son Corianton: “It was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8; emphasis added). Be grateful for the privilege of aging and all that it provides.
These marvelous bodies deserve our best daily care. So, as you consider optional courses on fitness and sports, health, and self-improvement, may you remember that no code of health can compare with section 89 in the Doctrine and Covenants for brevity, content, and efficacy.
Things do go wrong with these bodies from time to time. Lady Liberty and those of us eager to prolong useful life can appreciate help provided by necessary and timely repairs. And we should remember the remarkable principle revealed by our Creator to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies” (D&C 84:33).
Those choosing courses on family, human relationships, marriage, parenting, and time management—keenly aware of pressures of priority at home, at work, and in the Church, would do well to remember this revelation: “Thy duty is unto the church forever, and this because of thy family” (D&C 23:3). Thus, service in the Church is not competitive, but is essential to anneal our families.
As we review these things to do, we see they eventually lead us to that third step of our discussion today—“I’ll be.”
“To be” involves the “Process of Becoming.” That is the theme of your Campus Education Week.
The word becoming appears in the standard works in only nine verses of scripture. Two of those references pertain to the Lord’s becoming who he was (see Mosiah 15:3; 15:7). A third verse pertains to the mortal body and its becoming spiritual and immortal at the time of the resurrection (see Alma 11:45).
All six remaining verses employing this word refer to the ongoing battle of the flesh becoming subject to the spirit. We feel this every day as carnal temptations of the flesh contend with our deeper desire for spiritual supremacy (see Mosiah 15:5, 16:3; 27:25; Alma 12:31; 13:28; Helaman 3:16).
In this world of carnal competition for our fidelity, the “process of becoming” necessarily involves self-mastery—supremacy of the spirit over appetites of the flesh. We sang, “I’ll be what you want me to be.” Question: What does the Lord really want you and me to be?
He has given us the answer definitely and repeatedly. In the Sermon on the Mount he taught his disciples, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
My little red circular dot at Matthew 5:48 draws attention to a footnote where I find an even stronger statement from the Joseph Smith Translation: “Ye are therefore commandedto be perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (JST Matthew 5:50; emphasis added).
To his disciples on the American hemisphere, the resurrected Lord so proclaimed this divine injunction: “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48).
How do we explain these similar but significantly different statements? Between the time of his Sermon on the Mount and his sermon to the Nephites, the sinless Savior had become perfected by his atonement. “Perfect” in Matthew 5:48 comes from the Greek word teleios, meaning “complete,” and is derived from the Greek word telos, which means “to set out for a definite point or goal.” Thus, this scripture conveys the concept of conclusion of an act. Therefore, perfect in this scripture also means “finished,” “completed,” “consummated,” or “fully developed,” and refers to the reality of the glorious resurrection of our Master.
Before his crucifixion Jesus so taught, “Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected” (Luke 13:32).
His atonement provides that the body, once corruptible, now may become incorruptible. Our physical frame, once capable of death and decay, now may become immortal and beyond crumbling deterioration. That body presently sustained by the blood of life (see Leviticus 17:11) and ever changing, may one day become sustained by spirit—changeless and incapable of death any more.
So the admonition “to be perfect” should not cause depression among us. To the contrary, it should bring us great joy and jubilation. The Lord knew that the procedure would be long and challenging. So he added this word of encouragement:
For verily I say unto you, they [the best gifts] are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited. [D&C 46:9; emphasis added]
Those who are really seeking to do his will are recipients of his blessings, for he knows the intent of our hearts.
As he concluded his ministry among the Nephites, Jesus issued this powerful challenge: “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27).
I know from long experience as a teacher that a sure way to lose students is to use long or numerous quotations. Attention is easier to maintain through amusing stories. I have not been called as an apostle to entertain, but to teach the word of the Lord. You, too, are disciples as well as teachers and students. I know you can stay with me as we climb the hill of enlightenment through direct study from the scriptures. Fasten your mental seat belts and let us see how much we can learn about these two little words, I am. Are you with me?
These two words, I am, the simplest words in all scripture, appear in the New Testament in the Greek language as ego eimi. In the original text of the Old Testament, I am is read in Hebrew as hayah.
Let our jargonal journey begin with John 8:58. Inquisitors once asked Jesus if he had seen Abraham. “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (In the Greek text these two special words are ego eimi.)
My green-dotted mark at the superscript “b” before “I am” draws me down to this green-dotted footnote: “The term I AM used here in the Greek is identical with the Septuagint usage in Ex. 3:14 which identifies Jehovah.”
Now, what does that mean? Let’s turn to Exodus 3. To get the frame of reference for verse 14, let’s start with verse 11. The scene is on Mt. Sinai. A dialogue is taking place between Jehovah and Moses. I presume Moses was suffering some kind of identity crisis (at verse 11) when he said unto God:
Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. [Exodus 3:11–14]
In the Hebrew language of the Old Testament, I am comes from the word hayah. Translated into English it means “to be,” or “existence,” and applies as well to the future as it does to the present tense. Indeed, this verse could be translated, “I will become what I will become.” Here, to Moses, the premortal Messiah is proclaiming not only one of his names, but choosing a word that could literally imply the redeeming role he was yet destined to fulfill.
Two other facts about the word hayah are of interest: (1) hayah is the Hebrew root from which the word “Jehovah” is derived; and (2) it is closely related to the Hebrew termhavah, and shares in common two of three characters. Havah means “to be” as does hayah, but it also has the connotation “to breathe.”
Are there hints hidden in the deep meaning of God’s reply, recorded in Exodus 3:14? We know the treasured truth that the Lord God Jehovah, creator of heaven and earth under the direction of the Father, revealed to Moses one of the Lord’s special names. This word may have intimated his role in the eternal existence of man, including the inception of the breath of life into his nostrils, to man’s potential immortality. All this was to be made possible through the atoning sacrifice which he, Jesus the Christ, was to be sent to the earth to effect.
Now let us look at selected verses from the New Testament. In Mark 14:61–62: “Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am.” Next from John 4:25–26: “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”
In your Bible, the last word of that verse, he, is printed in italics, meaning that the King James translators added that word for clarification of meaning. In the Greek text, the sentence contains these two words: ego eimi, (I am). The words of Jesus in this passage could be translated, “I am [is] speaking to you.”
Let’s turn to John 8:28:
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
Here again, King James translators added the word he after I am and italicized it to note their honest addition. But the Greek New Testament records: “Then shall ye know thatego eimi (I am).
Yes, before Abraham was, Jesus was “I am,” hayah in Hebrew or ego eimi in Greek. Under the Father’s plan, Jehovah, Creator, God of this world, Savior and Redeemer, was indeed the Great I Am. Although this phrase, the Great I Am, does not appear in the text of the King James Version of the Bible, it is evident that the Prophet Joseph Smith understood this concept well. Three times he recorded this wording in the Doctrine and Covenants, in verse one of sections 29, 38, and 39.
I’ll conclude our scriptural sojourn by returning to Christ’s challenge to us: “What manner of men ought ye to be? . . . even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27).
So, my brothers and sisters, be inspired by such an example and by great monuments, and consider your living a monumental life. During this education week, enlarge your pedestal of preparation, and then ultimately build on these three fundamental steps: (1) I’ll go. Go with faith to the arena of life’s challenge. (2) I’ll do. Do whatever you can to erect a shaft of righteous, endeavor that will remain even beyond your days. (3) I’ll be. And “be not weary in well doing” (2 Thessalonians 3:13; see also Galatians 6:9), but “let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19).
Be not discouraged when imperfections of yours and of your loved ones seem more than you can bear. And please, “continue in patience until ye are perfected” (D&C 67:13).
Then you may be, as the Lord pleaded, “even as I am.” You will be numbered among his elect and will be known of him at the glorious advent of his Second Coming.
There is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness. [Alma 38:9]
By so learning and living, your life will become monumental, not only as a tribute to your own accomplishment, but as an everlasting credit to him who created you. God bless you to go where he wants you to go, to do his will with a heart sincere, and to be what he wants you to be, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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Russell M. Nelson was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this devotional address was given at Brigham Young University on 19 August 1986.