Both talks by Pres. Uchtdorf and Elder Scott continued with the focus on Jesus Christ; a message appropriate for a sacred holiday that has been hijacked by the pagens and the shopkeepers.
As I listened to the talk by Dieter Uchtdorf, there was a segment that again led my thoughts to a scripture. As he described the discouragement felt by some members who are made to feel that they don’t belong among those of the church, I was reminded of the Zoramites who boasted of being ‘a chosen and a holy people.’ These misguided souls believed that they were saved, ‘whilest all around us are elected to be cast by [God's] wrath down to hell.’ Those that labored to construct the meeting places were cast out because of their ‘exceeding poverty.’
Pres. Uchtdorf reminded us that we are called to support and heal, not to condemn. Could he be addressing those who call themselves saints with the same warning that Alma delivered to the Zoramites? The pride and vanity is easily detected among a good segment of those who view church attendance as a way to establish their ‘rank’ and to appear in the ‘right’ places at the right time.
Unfortunately, the message is likely to go right over the heads of those who need to hear it.
The great plan of salvation is one that requires both good and evil, joy and pain. This opposition is needed to provide a complete lesson. At the same time, we are to act and not be acted upon. I had an earlier blog on that topic
I was particularly struck by Elder Hallstrom’s statement that the work of the Savior was to deliver us out of bondage; it was as if I had heard it for the first time. As I have grown older, I have been able to experience, firsthand, the bondage that comes from allowing our physical, emotional, and temporal needs to supplant the spiritual. There are no lower lows than that brought on by actions that attempt to fulfill our selfish needs. There are no higher highs than those that come to us through the spirit.
We must seek the face God. I have oft called upon God for the help of ministering angels. Sister Lant talked of the events during the visit of the Savior to the Nephites where the children were blessed to be ministered to by angels from on high. I am saddened that we were now told that we are the angels to help those around us. Yet another spiritual gift has been redefined for our modern church.
The quote from Joseph Smith reminded us that all things of spiritual merit are an appendage to the atonement. Given the clear definition of the gospel in the latter day scriptures, I heartily agree.
Much was said about reverence for the sacrament. The ordinance of the sacrament began as a miracle where all were filled with the associated bread and wine. This sacred ordinance was to be performed only by one of the twelve disciples at the time of Christ’s visit to the Nephites. Today, we allow teenagers to conduct a distribution of Wonder Bread and water. Are we truly reverencing one of the most sacred ordinances established by the Savior when we replace both the emblems and the conductor?
As President Monson began his address on the Savior and His atonement, I was struck by his comment that the words he was to speak were based on thoughtful consideration and the scriptures. Should this be all that the prophet and president of the church should use in his testimony of the Savior?
When I was growing up, it was oft quoted that the apostles were to receive a personal witness of the Savior. These men were to be visited from on high and endowed with power to prophesy, act as seers, and to reveal things sacred. Perhaps not, thoughtful consideration is the same thing that President Hinckley indicated was the process of decision making in the highest levels of the church. When will be see the highest leaders of the church speak of the things that will happen, to see that which we cannot see, and reveal those things that are hidden? Not this week….