President Uchtdorf: “Live the Gospel Joyful”
Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor
- Pondering the truth that they are children of heavenly parents will fill women with a sense of origin, purpose, and destiny.
“Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us.” —President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency
Trust in the saving power of Jesus Christ and keep His laws and commandments, said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf to Latter-day Saint women, young women, and girls on September 27.
“In other words, live the gospel joyful,” he said.
Speaking during the general women’s meeting, which originated from the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City and was translated and broadcast across the globe, President Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said it is his prayer that the worldwide congregation will experience a renewed and an expanded measure of the love of God in their lives—“that you will find the faith, determination, and commitment to learn God’s commandments, treasure them in your hearts, and live the gospel joyful.
“I promise that as you do so, you will discover your best self—your real self. You will discover what it truly means to be a daughter of the Everlasting God, the Lord of all righteousness,” he said.
President Thomas S. Monson presided at the meeting, which was also attended by President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and members of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidencies and boards. Also speaking during the meeting were Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president; Sister Neill F. Marriott, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency; and Sister Jean A. Stevens, first counselor in the Primary general presidency.
During his remarks, President Uchtdorf said that pondering the truth that they are children of heavenly parents will fill Church members with a sense of origin, purpose, and destiny.
“It is good to remember that you are always a child of God,” he said. “This knowledge will carry you through the most difficult times in your life and will inspire you to accomplish remarkable things. However, it is also important to remember that being a daughter of eternal parents is not a distinction you earned or you will ever lose. You will always and forever remain a daughter of God. Your Heavenly Father has high aspirations for you, but your divine origin alone does not guarantee you a divine inheritance. God sent you here to prepare for a future greater than anything you can imagine.”
The promised blessings of God to the faithful are glorious and inspiring, he said. “And it takes more than a spiritual birth certificate or a child of God membership card to qualify for these incomprehensible blessings.”
For this reason, he said, he would speak on walking the path of discipleship and of obedience to God’s commandments.
“Our Father in Heaven is an eternal being whose experience, wisdom, and intelligence are infinitely and greater than ours,” he said. “He not only knows what is best for you; He also anxiously wants you to choose what is best for you.”
President Uchtdorf said if Church members truly believe the great mission of their Heavenly Father is to exalt and glorify His children and that He knows best how to do it, doesn’t it make sense for them to embrace and follow His commandments? “Should we not cherish the light posts He has given that guide us through the darkness and the trials of mortality? They mark the way back to our heavenly home!”
By choosing Heavenly Father’s path, Latter-day Saint women lay a divine foundation for their personal progress as daughters of God that will bless them throughout their lives, he said.
“Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven, refusing to give them to us unless we comply with some strict, paternalistic requirements He has set up. But the commandments aren’t like that at all. In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us.”
The Lord’s commandments are the loving instructions and the divine help to close the umbrella, he said.
“We need to accept that the commandments of God aren’t just a long list of good ideas. They aren’t ‘life hacks’ from an Internet blog or motivational quotes from a Pinterest board. They are divine counsel, based on eternal truths.”
President Uchtdorf said the Creator is reaching out to His children. “He is offering the grand recipe for happiness, peace, and eternal life! To qualify for these glorious blessings, you must humble yourself, exercise faith, take upon you the name of Christ, seek Him in word and deed, and resolutely ‘stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places’ (Mosiah 18:9).”
President Uchtdorf said once people understand the true nature of God and His commandments, they will also better understand themselves and the divine purpose of their existence.
“With this, your motivation for following the commandments changes and it becomes your heart’s desire to live the gospel joyfully,” he said.
He said when Church members treat God’s commandments and their part in building His kingdom like something to check off on a to-do list, they miss the heart of discipleship.
“Walking in the path of discipleship does not need to be a bitter experience,” President Uchtdorf said. “It is not a burden that weighs us down. Discipleship lifts our spirits and lightens our hearts. It inspires us with faith, hope, and charity. It fills our spirits with light in times of darkness and serenity during times of sorrow.
“It gives us divine power and lasting joy.”
He asked the congregation to live the gospel joyfully.
“My dear sisters in the gospel, whether you are 8 or 108, there is one thing that I hope you truly understand and know: You are loved. You are dear to your heavenly parents. The Infinite and Eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you,” said President Uchtdorf. “Yes, God loves you this very day and always.
“He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.”
President Uchtdorf promised the women and young women that the Lord knows of their successes and cherishes them.
“He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own.
“He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly—He knows you as you really are. And He loves you—today and always!”
President Uchtdorf added, “Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think your value to Him changes based on how many followers you have on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you think He wants you to worry or get depressed if some un-friend or un-follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe?
“He loves you not only for who you are this very day, but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become.
“More than you could ever imagine, He wants you to achieve your destiny—to return to your heavenly home in honor.”
Image Path: /bc/content/ldsorg/church/news/2014/09/27/president-uchtdorf-live-the-gospel-joyful_1.jpg
Caption: President Dieter F. Uchtdorf