Primary Leader Encourages Students to "Stay on the Path"
By Marianne Holman, Church News staff writer
Individuals come to know who they are as they live their covenants and follow the path of the Lord, Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president, said during a campus devotional held in the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University on March 12.
Drawing from the words of a Primary song, Sister Wixom shared some advice about entering and staying on the path: “I will follow God’s plan for me, holding fast to his word and his love. I will work, and I will pray; I will always walk in his way. Then I will be happy on earth and in my home above” (“I Will Follow God’s Plan,” Children’s Songbook, 164–65).
The key to following God’s plan is to hold fast to His word and His love and through praying to Him while simply living life, Sister Wixom said.
“We are a making and keeping covenant people, and nothing better shapes us than the sacred covenants we make to the Lord,” she said. “Living these covenants is when we follow His plan, and we come to know who we really are.”
Sister Wixom said there are many in this world who let the world mold them, allowing circumstances to dictate their future.
“It is as if they are watching the wind swirl around a block of sandstone,” she said. “The years go by, until finally one day a shape is created.”
It is when individuals decide the kind of person they want to become, grip the chisel, and go to work that they become a sculpture of their own creation, she said.
“At times, we may even stand back in awe at the form it is taking,” she said. “The pinnacle of our reality is when we come to know we are not alone in our work. The real Artist is standing at our side, and His vision for this exquisite piece is beyond our comprehension.”
The Lord provides the tools with which to create this being—those tools being the covenants individuals make and keep.
“A covenant is personal,” she said. “It is so personal that it is given to us individually, and often our very own name is said in conjunction with the ordinance that accompanies the covenant. By living our covenants with the Lord’s help, He sculpts us into a masterpiece.”
Church members enter into sacred covenants with God—beginning with baptism—and promise to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ, keep His commandments, and always remember Him.
How can we take upon ourselves the name of Christ?
“We do more than represent Him and follow Him; we see ourselves as His,” Sister Wixom said. “We put Him and His work first in our life. We seek what He wants rather than what we want or what the world teaches us to want.”
Living that baptismal promise in daily life is a process and oftentimes a wrestle to align one’s life with the Father’s will, she said.
Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president, speaks during a campus devotional at BYU on March 12. Photo courtesy Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo.
“At times we may even question our judgment,” she said. “We may rationalize our actions and say, ‘But others are doing it.’ The choices we make follow us into our classrooms, in our conversations, with our callings, and on our dates. The results may alter how we dress, our appearance, what we text, the movies we see, our very thoughts. When we seek His will, He will magnify our every effort to stay on the path back to Him. We need not ever feel alone. Be patient with yourself as you learn this process.”
When we are baptized we covenant to keep His commandments.
The commitment to come into God’s kingdom separates, not isolates, individuals from the world as they stand as a witness of God in everything they do and say. “In living the baptismal covenant, we look for ways to keep the commandments rather than looking for ways around them,” she said.
Part of keeping the commandments is serving the Lord. Sister Wixom shared many examples of Church members who, despite physical difficulties, continued to serve those around them. As they did, peace, gratitude, and even miracles occurred in their lives.
As we keep our covenant to always remember the Lord, He will help us follow His plan.
“Let’s be honest; while trying to live our covenants, we sometimes get discouraged,” she said. “We may see nothing but our imperfections. We may think our mistakes are impossible to repair, and we may think we cannot change. We may feel like we are failing. As we chisel in the sandstone to create this new self, we sometimes chip off huge chunks of stone that may appear to disfigure our ultimate goal.”
At these times, individuals must remember the real Artist, Jesus Christ, who patiently and lovingly stands by, waiting for individuals to ask for help in repairing mistakes. “He is ready to heal us.”
One blessing is the opportunity to renew baptismal covenants each Sunday by partaking of the sacrament, where individuals “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
“That newness of life is the Atonement working within us, and we can experience it weekly. The Artist, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer. … He will not halt the sculpting process or put down the chisel until we are perfect and living in His presence. The Atonement is the supreme expression of the Savior’s love for the Father and for us.”