I just wanted to post my talk - sheerly for my own personal journaling stuff that will be happening on here. It's on chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel and if you want to read it, that's fine. There are things in there that I talked about that weren't written down, but here's the general idea.
I got asked to talk on chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel which is all about developing Christlike attributes. As I’ve been studying this chapter, three things have stuck out in my mind. The first thing is that Christlike attributes are gifts from God. And in order to receive them, we must use our agency wisely. We have to:
1. Ask Heavenly Father to help us develop these attributes
2. Recognize our weaknesses
3. Be willing and anxious to improve ourselves
The second thought that impressed me is that because of the Restoration, we can become like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And the third is that who we are is as important as what we do. That’s the one point that hit me the most. Who we are is as important as what we do. Actions speak louder that words and so I asked myself if I was showing my co-workers, my family, the Young Women in my ward that I help teach, and everyone around me that I have these attributes. Preach My Gospel mentions 10 attributes of Christ that are important. They are faith, hope, charity, love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, and obedience. I just want to touch on a few of these attributes today that have given me experience in my life.
The minute I got this assignment, I thought of Bishop Burton’s talk “Let Virtue Garnish Your Thoughts” from the Sunday morning session of this last General Conference. He mentioned many “-ity” words that to me are most definitely Christlike characteristics. He says: “Virtuous traits form the foundation of a Christian life and are the outward manifestation of the inner man. The spelling in English of many individual virtues concludes with the letters ity: integrity, humility, charity, spirituality, accountability, civility, fidelity, and the list goes on and on. Relying on literary license, I refer to the virtues ending in ity as the “ity” virtues. “Ity” is a suffix that means quality, state, or degree of being.” Preach My Gospel says that “virtuous people are clean and pure spiritually. They live worthy of a temple recommend.” When I was 9, my parents got me this – I guess we’ll call it my mini temple recommend. It’s got the Salt Lake City temple on it and in the corner it says “Begin the Journey”. I’m not sure where this came from and I’m sure I only got it because of the pretty picture on the front. On the back it says: I, the undersigned, commit to:
-Uphold the Word of Wisdom at all times
-Keep myself morally clean and chaste
-Be honest with others and myself
-Provide frequent service to those in need
-Willingly obey the law of tithing
-Attend my church meetings and activities
-Strive to uphold all other commandments of God
-Gain forgiveness often by repentance through the Atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ
I signed this card as a future recommend holder and my mom signed as the witness. Now, I didn’t carry this mini temple recommend around with me. It got lost and found time after time in my room. I found it again the night after I had gotten my assignment to talk. I didn’t even know I still had it. And even though I hadn’t thought of it when I was 9, this future recommend was an example of virtue as well as the current temple recommend I carry with me today.
Other Christlike attributes that have impacted my life are those of charity and love. Moroni 7:47 says: “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” Matthew 22:36-39 states “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Charity and love go hand and hand. Jesus demonstrates that as He washes the disciples feet in John chapter 13. I was only a newborn when I had my first experience with love and charity. A lady in my ward had had a miscarriage shortly after I was born. My mom went over to her house to take her a meal and she left me in the car, not knowing if a baby would be exactly what she would want to see. After bringing the meal in, the woman asked where I was. My mom told her that I was out in the car and she was asked to bring me in. After holding me for an hours and hours, she handed me back to my mom and said that was exactly what she needed. To this day, this woman and I share a very special bond and friendship. I’ve learned from her example charity and love. I’ve learned how to be a better person and the value of someone. I’ve learned the pure love of Christ through her. She has and always will have a special place in my heart.
One of my favorite stories in the whole Book of Mormon is about Helaman and the Strippling Warriors. The 2000 young men that were part of Helaman’s army were so obedient that it saved their lives when they went to battle. Not only were they obedient to what they had been taught by their mothers, but by what their captain and Heavenly Father directed. I’ve learned obedience is a necessary aspect to receiving personal revelation. When I was in Idaho in January, I was all signed up for school. I had my classes set and was hoping my financial aid would come through for me. As I was checking into my apartment, my cousins came up with the great idea that instead of living in Rexburg, I should take a break from school, move to Idaho Falls to work and save up money. I thought that I wasn’t going to get my financial aid, so this sounded like a pretty good idea to me – especially since I wasn’t sure what I wanted to go to school for. I had to decide fast since I had a certain time period to back out of my contract. My cousin and I had hammered out all the details and so I called my parents to get an opinion. My mom told me that I could do what I want, but that I should ultimately pray and fast that Sunday to see what was right. I had every intention of moving to Idaho Falls until that Sunday. I felt that I wouldn’t spiritually grow in Idaho Falls and that I should stay in Rexburg. I ended up staying and I’m glad I did because it was in Rexburg where I first got the idea and impression that I wanted to go on a mission.
My last and final attribute I want to talk about is knowledge. We’re always told that knowledge is the only thing we get to take with us into the next life. And not just knowledge of the scriptures and the gospel, but secular knowledge. The things we learn at home and in school. I learned at home that even when Dad does it, you should not stick your fingers in the blender because they will get cut and bleed. A lot. I learned that when I was about 8 or 9. I learned that Mom will find out when you and your sister color your little brother. I also learned Mom’s are tricky and will find out the things the things you do when you know that she wouldn’t like it or probably wouldn’t approve of. And thanks to Elder Neil Anderson’s talk in the October 2008 Conference, I learned that I know enough. I know enough to be a missionary and thanks to the MTC, I’ll be able to learn even more! Elder Anderson talks about when he was a young guy and was embarking on his mission adventure. He says: “I felt very inadequate and unprepared. I remember praying, “Heavenly Father, how can I serve a mission when I know so little?” I believed in the Church, but I felt my spiritual knowledge was very limited. As I prayed, the feeling came: “You don’t know everything, but you know enough!” That reassurance gave me the courage to take the next step into the mission field.” There have been times during the last month where I’ve felt like Elder Anderson – inadequate and unprepared. I’ve felt discouraged and sadness, but the Lord knows exactly how I feel and what I need. He’s sent those people into my life to help me overcome those feelings that Satan would have me feel. He’s inspired my friends to tell me things that I need to hear. He’s sent the Spirit to comfort me. And since fear and faith cannot co-exist together, it’s the faith I have in my Father in Heaven that got me through those trials and will get my through my future trials.