The Lord’s Grace Is Sufficient for All

An Evening with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Address to CES Religious Educators • February 6, 2015 • Salt Lake Tabernacle


I am grateful to be with all of you who in any way contribute to this great cause of teaching young people. I have met many, many teachers over the years, including a number of you. I love you and am grateful for your dedication and influence on those you labor so diligently to teach. Being a teacher is challenging. One challenge I have noticed in some teachers is the tendency to feel that we are not good enough, talented enough, or powerful enough to do what we have been asked to do. We put forth our best efforts, but some of us struggle with feelings of inadequacy.

Sometimes these feelings arise as we compare ourselves with other teachers. I noticed while reading in the book of Ether that even the great prophet Moroni seemed to have some feelings of inadequacy as he compared his writings to those of the brother of Jared. Speaking to the Lord, he said:

“The Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing   … like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.   …

“…   When we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words” ( Ether 12:23–25 ).

In light of the powerful writing of the brother of Jared, Moroni was concerned his offering, his writing, wasn’t good enough—that it would be mocked. Have you ever felt that way about your teaching in comparison with other teachers around you? Have you felt your teaching wasn’t good enough—that it might even be mocked?

Some of the Lord’s words in answer to Moroni are very familiar to us. They have even been chosen as a scripture mastery passage: “If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” ( Ether 12:27 ).

Each of us has been inspired by the Lord’s words to Moroni. I am grateful that Moroni was also strengthened by these words and didn’t abort his task because of his feelings of weakness or awkwardness. What if, when he was exposed to the writings of the brother of Jared, he had just given up? What if we didn’t have his writings in the Book of Mormon? No conclusion to his father’s book, chronicling the final destruction of his people? No book of Ether? No book of Moroni? For someone who viewed himself as weak in writing, the Lord’s grace was sufficient, and then some. I don’t know if Moroni’s writing soared to the heights of the writings of the brother of Jared, but I do know that with the Spirit, Moroni’s words have had a powerful effect on me and on millions of others who have read them. I just saw a report on the digital versions of the scriptures, and three of the top five highlighted verses in all the standard works are from Moroni’s writings—including Ether 12:27 .

When we feel our teaching efforts are weak and don’t measure up to others’ abilities, we can look inward and upward, and not sideways or over our shoulders. We don’t need to spend our energies worrying about how we compare with others. We can spend our energies humbling ourselves and focusing on our students. The Lord’s grace is sufficient for us, too—sufficient for our efforts in teaching and sufficient for our efforts in gaining eternal life.

We are so pleased to have with us tonight Elder Jeffrey   R. Holland. Many of you may have already deduced that my thoughts tonight have been shaped by the prospect of sharing the podium with him. How would you feel if you were speaking in the same meeting as one of the most powerful, most beloved speakers in this dispensation, whose words are so mighty even to the overpowering of those who hear them (see Ether 12:24 )? In fact, as I looked at his biographical information, I even wondered if he might have had a sibling named Jared.

Elder Holland was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on June   23, 1994. At the time of this call, Elder Holland was serving as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, to which he had been called on April   1, 1989.

From 1980 until his call as a General Authority in 1989, Elder Holland served as the ninth president of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He is a former Church commissioner of education and dean of the College of Religious Education at BYU.

A varsity athlete at Dixie High School and Dixie College in his native St. George, Utah, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English and religious education, respectively, from Brigham Young University. He obtained master’s and doctor of philosophy degrees in American studies from Yale University.

I first met Elder Holland in person when I was a brand-new seminary teacher, and he visited our area in Arizona while he was serving as commissioner of education. I was struck by the power of his teaching and by his personable and loving approach to people. Now, after many years of watching him, I am even more inspired by his personal touch and his power as a speaker and teacher. May we open our ears, our minds, and our hearts as we are taught by him, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.