Tenacity Is Required to Become Savior’s Disciples, Says Seventy

Contributed By Amber Clayson, Church News staff writer

  • 13 November 2014

Elder David F. Evans speaks about the importance of tenacity in the lives of Christ’s disciples at the BYU devotional address in the Marriott Center November 4.  Photo by Mark A. Philbrick.

Article Highlights

  • Tenacity is “the ability to stick to a task, even when obstacles arise” with an “absolute determination to accomplish the work or task.”
  • While tenacity is essential in missionary work, we also need it in our daily lives.
  • Strengthen tenacity by establishing reachable goals that align with God’s will.

“Trust God and believe in good things to come. Be tenacious in every righteous thing. You will see your faith strengthened, and you will see your strengths and talents which God has given you deepened and magnified as your faith increases.” —Elder David F. Evans of the Seventy

PROVO, UTAH

When Elder David F. Evans of the Seventy said the opening prayer in the final session of general conference last month, he mixed up his words and prayed that “our strength may be faithened,” rather than “our faith may be strengthened.” When he returned home and pulled up his Facebook account, he quickly discovered his mistake had been turned into a meme and was on the Internet.

“This experience has taught me, and it should teach you something about things you say that are sent out to the world in a digital form,” Elder Evans told the students in the Marriott Center at the BYU devotional November 4. Some missionaries from the MTC were also in attendance. “My prayer today is that not only will your strength be faithened, but that your faith might also truly be strengthened.”

Elder Evans continued his address by telling of a conversation he recently had with President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. President Uchtdorf was contemplating the meaning of the word tenacity and defined it as “the ability to stick to a task, even when obstacles arise” with an “absolute determination to accomplish the work or task.” He said it is a quality worth developing in the youth of the Church.

“I agree with President Uchtdorf,” Elder Evans said. “Tenacity is required to become true disciples of the Savior and to achieve those truly good goals—to become a great missionary, to complete your education, to find an eternal companion, and to start a family—that our Father knows we need to achieve in this life to prepare for eternity. Our ability to be tenacious in all good things will determine whether we become the sons and daughters of God He knows we can and must become.”

Elder Evans said the students’ generation of missionaries, like Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors, will be delivered as they trust in God and are tenacious in their desires.

“In life, it is when the rains descend and the floods come and the winds blow and beat upon us and our house that we determine whether our faith is strong and whether we put our trust in God continually,” he said. “There simply is no test until after the adversity.”

Elder David F. Evans speaks about the importance of tenacity in the lives of Christ’s disciples at the BYU devotional address in the Marriott Center November 4. Photo by Mark A. Philbrick.

But like the warriors, all will not come away unharmed. “A mission is not easy. Some faint. All will be injured in some way,” Elder Evans said. “Through all of this, we come to know God, and we grow to become the Savior’s disciples.”

Elder Evans told of a tenacious missionary named Sister Marci Barr who served in the Japan Nagoya Mission in 1999 when he was there serving as mission president.

Sister Barr dedicated her time and efforts to her missionary work: she studied the Japanese language with determination, she overcame the fear of rejection, and she continued to share the gospel through the very end of her mission.

On the last day of her mission, during the train ride to the mission home, Sister Barr approached a group of high-school Japanese girls and began to share with them the gospel. Years later, Elder Evans discovered the results of this encounter. One of the girls, Hitomi Kitayama, had joined the Church, served a mission in Tokyo, and was married in the Tokyo Japan Temple.

“I am grateful for those who have the tenacity to work through, hold on, continue doing right, and overcome,” Elder Evans said.

But we don’t need tenacity only for missionary work, Elder Evans taught. “We need this same righteous tenacity as we seek to overcome personal sin and temptation, complete our education, and seek temple marriage and an eternal family. … Each of us will need to be one who just won’t quit, who keeps trying until we reach our goal—eternal life.”

Elder Evans recommended that members strengthen their tenacity by establishing reachable goals that are compatible with the goal of eternal life. When God’s direction for them is clear, there is great motivation to follow Him, Elder Evans said.

He warned members of the devotional congregation to avoid pornography, for “nothing will distract you more from the achievement of righteous goals, including marriage and family, than this or other sexual sins.”

He also reminded the students that “the best measure we have of righteous living is the worthy holding and use of a temple recommend.”

Elder Evans encouraged students to be worthy of a recommend and avoid anything that will be a hindrance to their eternal progression.

Drawing from a quote from Elder Holland, Elder Evans said: “Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Keep walking and keep trying. There is happiness and help ahead. Trust God and believe in good things to come. Be tenacious in every righteous thing. You will see your faith strengthened, and you will see your strengths and talents which God has given you deepened and magnified as your faith increases.”