The Lord Requireth the Heart and a Willing Mind

Contributed by  Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy

  • 29 June 2012

“Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these the last days” (D&C 64:34).

I was born in Hawaii when it was a territory of the United States, ten years before statehood. Raised in those islands in a multi-cultural environment, I left for higher education on the United States mainland and a mission to England, and after marriage to a Canadian girl, we returned to Hawaii to raise our family. In the last twelve years, since being called to the Seventy, we have lived seven years in Asia. In my current assignment in the Presidency of the Seventy, it is a privilege to travel the world under the direction of the Quorum of the Twelve to assist in “building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations” (D&C 107:34).

With this growing worldwide perspective, I have spent much time pondering how the gospel is established in an individual life, in a family, in a country, and indeed throughout the world. The words of the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith often come to my mind. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33).

The Lord, of course, understands the process of developing a personal testimony, and of the combined force of sincere and righteous people necessary to build His Church in any area of the world. How does this happen? That question is answered in a companion verse. “Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these the last days” (D&C 64:34).

So, from these and other prophetic words we understand that both the heart and the mind must be fully engaged in this holy process. The conversion of our soul and the ongoing refinement of our life, as we adopt the attributes of Godliness, are our earthly missions and are rewarded with “eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7).

The heart is symbolic of love and commitment. Love is the most powerful motivator of all. We will make sacrifices and bear burdens for those we love that we would not endure for any other reason: not for money, not for recognition, not for power. If love does not exist, our commitment will surely wane. If we love the Lord with all our heart, we are willing to give Him everything we possess.

Having a willing mind is giving our best effort, our finest thinking, and seeking God’s wisdom. It suggests that our most devoted lifetime study should be of things which are eternal in nature. It implies that there should be an inextricable relationship between hearing the word of God and obeying it. The Apostle James taught “be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).

I am thrilled to serve among the great and noble Saints of Canada. To you I state that submitting our will—completely giving our heart and mind to God—is not easy, but it is worth it! With all my heart and with all my mind I witness of these truths. They have made all the difference in my life.