Hope in Christ

A few months ago, I read the words of Moroni in Ether 12:32: “Wherefore man must hope, or he cannot receive an inheritance in the place which thou hast prepared.” Three words, man must hope, stood out from the page. I felt my bosom burn with the influence of the Spirit, and I felt a great yearning for the power of hope in Christ in my life.

As a youth, I had wondered about the word hope as used in the scriptures. It had seemed meaningless, yet I knew it was important because it was often used in association with two important words, faith and charity. It was not until I became a wife and mother that I learned to cling to the word hope. In the gospel, I learned to center my hope in Christ, and this came to play a key role in my efforts to reach my eternal goal. It remains fundamental in my daily efforts to improve. Because of my hope, I try to take the character traits of Christ upon myself.

I see many who seem to have given up hope. Some think that because they have made serious mistakes, heaven’s gate is closed against them and they do not have the power to open it again. Others use their “hopeless state” to justify further sins.

Perhaps that is why Mormon and his son Moroni wrote for our times. Both prophets lived in a hopeless time, a time when the people of their nation were apostatizing and being destroyed. Yet even when destruction was nearly complete, Mormon continued to call his people to repentance. He instructed Moroni, “Notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation.” (Moro. 9:6.) Their society and ours have many similarities, and their counsel to never give up on ourselves or others is applicable for us today.

Moroni stated, “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world.” (Ether 12:4.) This indicates to me that anyone who believes there is a God can have hope. Moroni continues talking of hope, “which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men.” An anchor secures one from drifting away from the gospel path.

Satan is the author of hopelessness. The devil “seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (2 Ne. 2:27.) He takes advantage of our weaknesses and discouragement to whisper that it is no use for us to try because we can’t change. This is a lie. We must start from where we are and repent of our sins and then live so that the Spirit will guide us. Moroni invites all, the wicked and the righteous “to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written.” (Ether 12:41.)

I have a hope in Christ that through his atonement my sins can be forgiven. I am grateful for the scriptures that help me keep that hope alive. I have found that through reading the scriptures, I have the opportunity to be taught by the Holy Ghost, whose influence, if heeded, will lead me back to my home above.

[illustration] Illustrated by Robert T. Barrett

Kathryn Wood is a Gospel Doctrine teacher and choir director in the Perry Branch, Macon Georgia Stake.