My dear sisters, we have been blessed by the Spirit of God tonight. The inspired messages from the powerful sister leaders and the music have fortified our faith and increased our desire to keep the sacred covenants we have made with our loving Heavenly Father. We have felt an increase in our love for the Lord Jesus Christ and an appreciation for the marvelous gift of His atoning sacrifice.
My message tonight is a simple one. We have all felt peace tonight. All of us would like to feel such peace often within ourselves, in our families, and with the people around us. The Lord promised peace to His disciples as He was about to leave them. He has made the same promise to us. But He said that He would give peace in His way, not in the world’s way. He described His way of sending peace:
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:26–27).
The sons of Mosiah needed that gift of peace as they embarked on their mission to the Lamanites. With more than a little anxiety as they sensed the greatness of their task, they prayed for reassurance. And “the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted” (Alma 17:10; see also Alma 26:27).
At times, you may long for peace as you face uncertainty and what seem to you to be looming challenges. The sons of Mosiah learned the lesson that the Lord taught to Moroni. It is a guide for us all: “If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all [who] humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).
Moroni said that when he “heard these words,” he “was comforted” (Ether 12:29). They can be a comfort to all of us. Those who do not see their weaknesses do not progress. Your awareness of your weakness is a blessing as it helps you remain humble and keeps you turning to the Savior. The Spirit not only comforts you, but He is also the agent by which the Atonement works a change in your very nature. Then weak things become strong.
You will at times have your faith challenged by Satan; it happens to all disciples of Jesus Christ. Your defense against these attacks is to keep the Holy Ghost as your companion. The Spirit will speak peace to your soul. He will urge you forward in faith. And He will bring back the memory of those times when you felt the light and the love of Jesus Christ.
Remembering may be one of the most precious gifts the Spirit can give you. He will “bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever [the Lord has] said unto you” (John 14:26). The memory may be of an answered prayer, of a priesthood ordinance received, of a confirmation of your testimony, or of a moment when you saw God’s guiding hand in your life. Perhaps in a future day when you need strength, the Spirit may bring to your memory the feelings you are having during this meeting. I pray that this may be so.
One memory that the Spirit often brings to my mind is of an evening sacrament meeting held many years ago in a metal shed in Innsbruck, Austria. The shed was under a railroad track. There were only about a dozen people present, sitting on wooden chairs. Most of them were women, some younger and some older. I saw tears of gratitude as the sacrament was passed among the small congregation. I felt the love of the Savior for those Saints, and so did they. But the miracle I remember most clearly was the light that seemed to fill that metal shed, bringing with it a feeling of peace. It was nighttime and there were no windows, and yet the room was lit as if by noonday sunshine.
The light of the Holy Spirit was bright and abundant that evening. And the windows that let in the light were the humble hearts of those Saints, who had come before the Lord seeking forgiveness of their sins and committing to always remember Him. It was not hard to remember Him then, and my memory of that sacred experience has made it easier for me to remember Him and His Atonement in the years that have followed. That day the promise in the sacrament prayer that the Spirit will be with us was fulfilled and so brought feelings of light and peace.
Like you, I have been thankful for the many ways the Lord has visited me with the Comforter when I needed peace. Yet our Father in Heaven is concerned not just about our comfort but even more about our upward progress. “Comforter” is only one of the ways the Holy Ghost is described in the scriptures. Here is another: “And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good” (D&C 11:12). Most often, the good He will lead you to do will involve helping someone else receive comfort from God.
In His wisdom, the Lord has brought you together in organizations and classes in His Church. He has done so to increase your power to do good. Within these organizations, you have specific charges to serve others for Him. For example, if you are a young woman, you might be asked by your bishop or your Young Women leader to reach out to a Laurel who has become what we sometimes call “less active.” You may know her better than does the bishop or the Young Women leader. You may know that she is feeling troubled at home or at school or perhaps both. Your leaders may not know why they felt impressed to ask you to reach out to her, but the Lord does, and He directs this work through the inspiration of His Spirit.
Success in your efforts will take a miracle of change both in your heart and in the heart of the young woman you were sent to rescue—and that requires the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit can allow you to see the less-active Laurel as the Lord sees her. The Lord knows her heart and your heart, and He knows the possibilities of hearts being changed. He can visit you both with His Spirit to inspire humility, forgiveness, and love.
That Spirit can inspire the words, the deeds, and the patience necessary for you to invite a lamb back to the flock. And He can touch the hearts of the flock in the Laurel class to love and welcome the lost sheep so that when she returns, she will feel she has come home.
Your power to do good as a group of God’s daughters will depend, to a great degree, on the unity and love that exist among you. This is another gift of peace that comes through the Holy Ghost.
Alma understood this. That is why he pleaded with his people “that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another” (Mosiah 18:21).
Unity is necessary for us to have the Spirit in our class and in our family. But you know from experience, as I do, that such loving unity is hard to maintain. It takes having the Holy Ghost as a companion to open our eyes and temper our feelings.
I remember once a seven- or eight-year-old son of ours jumping on his bed hard enough that I thought it might break. I felt a flash of frustration, and I moved quickly to set my house in order. I grabbed my son by his little shoulders and lifted him up to where our eyes met.
The Spirit put words into my mind. It seemed a quiet voice, but it pierced to my heart: “You are holding a great person.” I gently set him back on the bed and apologized.
Now he has become the great man the Holy Ghost let me see 40 years ago. I am eternally grateful that the Lord rescued me from my unkind feelings by sending the Holy Ghost to let me see a child of God as He saw him.
The unity we seek in our families and in the Church will come as we allow the Holy Ghost to affect what we see when we look at one another—and even when we think of each other. The Spirit sees with the pure love of Christ. Listen to the words Mormon used to describe charity. Think of times you have felt it:
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren [and I add sisters], if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
“But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren [and sisters], pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure” (Moroni 7:45–48).
This is the goal that your Father in Heaven has for you, His precious daughters. It may seem to you like a distant goal, but from His perspective, you’re not that far away. So He visits you with His Spirit to comfort you, encourage you, and inspire you to keep going.
I leave you my sure witness that the Father knows you—knows your needs and your name—loves you, and hears your prayers. His Beloved Son is inviting you to come unto Him. And They send the Holy Ghost to attend you in your efforts to serve others for Them.
Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost will have a sanctifying and purifying effect on your spirit. You will then feel the peace the Savior promised to leave with His disciples. With that peace will come a bright hope and a feeling of light and love from the Father and His Beloved Son, who leads His kingdom on earth through revelation to His living prophet. I so testify in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.