Kevin W. Pearson: Stay by the Tree
Contributed By the Church News
“Enduring to the end is a hallmark of true discipleship and is essential to eternal life,” Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the Seventy said during the Sunday afternoon session of general conference.
“When trials and challenges come our way, we are often told to simply ‘hang in there.’ Let me be clear, to ‘hang in there’ is not a principle of the gospel,” he said. “Enduring to the end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him.”
Two of Satan’s most powerful tools are distraction and deception, Elder Pearson taught.
“If enduring to the end is essential to eternal life, why do we struggle to be faithful?” he asked. “We struggle when we are caught between competing priorities. Casual obedience and lukewarm commitment weaken faith. Enduring to the end requires total commitment to the Savior and to our covenants.”
Looking to Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, Elder Pearson shared six important principles that help individuals endure to the end.
1. Don’t forget to pray.
“Each of us experience periods of darkness and loneliness,” he said. “When life gets dark and dreary, don’t forget to pray.”
2. Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.
“We can fill our lives with accomplishment and well-doing, but in the end, if we do not enter into sacred covenants to follow Christ and faithfully keep them, we will have utterly and completely missed the mark.”
3. Press forward with faith.
“There is a path that leads to the tree of life, to Christ,” Elder Pearson said. “It is strait and narrow, strict and exact. God’s commandments are strict but not restrictive. They protect us from spiritual and physical danger and prevent us from getting lost.”
4. The Book of Mormon is key to spiritual survival.
“When adversity comes, don’t let something you don’t fully understand unravel everything you do know. Be patient, cling to truth; understanding will come.“
5. Don’t be distracted and deceived.
“To heed is to give careful attention,” he said. “Heeding those who do not believe in Christ will not help you find Him.”
6. Stay by the tree.
“Lehi’s message is to stay by the tree. We stay because we are converted unto the Lord. … As we yield our hearts to God, the Holy Ghost changes our very natures, we become deeply converted unto the Lord, and we no longer seek the spacious building. …
“True disciples continue to awaken unto God each day in meaningful personal prayer, earnest scripture study, personal obedience, and selfless service.“