An Ever Present Danger

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

How wonderful it is to have the blessing of General Conference and be able to feast upon the words of Christ. Today’s thought to meditate on comes from a talk from the Saturday morning session of this weekend’s General Conference by Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy. Here is an excerpt of the talk:
 

“Some have come to think of activity in the Church as the ultimate goal.
 

Therein lies a danger.
 

It is possible to be active in the Church and less-active in the Gospel. Let me stress, activity in the Church is a highly desirable goal. However, it is insufficient. Activity in the Church is an outward indication of our spiritual desire. If we attend our meetings, hold and fulfill Church responsibilities, and serve others, it is publicly observed. By contrast, the things of the Gospel are usually less visible, and more difficult to measure, but they are of greater eternal importance.
 

For example, how much faith do we really have? How repentant are we? How meaningful are the ordinances in our lives? How focused are we on our covenants?
 

I repeat, we need the Gospel AND the Church. In fact, the purpose of the Church is to help us to live the Gospel.
 

We often wonder, how can someone be fully active in the Church as a youth, and then not be when they are older? How can an adult who has regularly attended and served stop coming? How can a person who was disappointed by a leader or another member allow that to end their Church participation?
 

Perhaps the reason is they were not sufficiently converted to the Gospel, the things of Eternity.
 

I suggest three fundamental ways to have the Gospel be our foundation:
 

  1. Deepen our understanding of Deity
    A sustained knowledge of and love for the three members of the Godhead are indispensible. Mindfully pray to the Father in the name of the Son, and seek direction from the Holy Ghost. Coupled with constant study and humble pondering, continually build unshakable faith in Jesus Christ. ‘For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?’ (Mosiah 5:13)
     

  2. Focus on the ordinances and covenants
    If there are any of the essential ordinances yet to be performed in your life, intently prepare to receive each of them. Then we need to establish the discipline to live faithful to our covenants, fully using the weekly gift of the Sacrament. Many of us are not being regularly changed by its cleansing power because of our lack of reverence for this holy ordinance.
     

  3. Unite the Gospel with the Church
    Concentrating on the Gospel, the Church will become more, not less, of a blessing in our lives. As we come to each meeting prepared to seek learning even by study and also by faith, the Holy Spirit will be our teacher. If we come to be entertained, we often will be disappointed. President Spencer W. Kimball was once asked, ‘What do you do when you find yourself in a boring Sacrament meeting?’ His response, ‘I don’t know. I’ve never been in one.’
     

In our lives, we should seek what occurred after the Lord came to the people of the New World and established His Church. The scriptures read, ‘And it came to pass that thus they’ (meaning His disciples) ‘did go forth among all the people of Nephi, and did preach the gospel of Christ unto all people upon the face of the land; and they were converted unto the Lord, and were united unto the church of Christ, and thus the people of that generation were blessed’ (c.f. 3 Nephi 28:23)
 

The Lord wants the members of His Church to be fully converted to His Gospel. This is the only sure way to have spiritual safety now and happiness forever.
 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”