Not long ago I had the opportunity to sail on a great ship along the marvelous coast of Alaska, USA. While the captain prepared for the ship’s overnight stay in a remote pristine bay, he carefully evaluated the location and circumstances, such as the sequence of the tides, depth of the waters, and distance from dangerous obstacles. When satisfied, he dropped anchor so that the ship would remain safe and firmly anchored, allowing the passengers an opportunity to marvel at the spectacular beauty of God’s creations.
As I was looking at the coastline, I began to realize that the ship was drifting almost imperceptibly with the slightest amount of wind and underlying current. Nevertheless, the ship stayed firmly and persistently within a fixed circle defined by the length of the anchor line and the strength of the anchor.
The captain had not kept the anchor stored on the ship, ready to be lowered only if a storm should approach. No, he had anchored the vessel as a preventive measure and protected the ship from moving into unsafe waters or slowly drifting aground while passengers and crew felt safe.
As I was contemplating this scene, it occurred to me that if this wasn’t an opportunity for a parable, I had never piloted an airplane.
Why We Need Anchors
The purpose of an anchor is to keep a ship safe and secure at a desired location or to help control the ship during bad weather. However, to accomplish these vital purposes, just having an anchor is not enough. The anchor must be solid, dependable, and used properly at the right time and place.
Individuals and families need anchors as well.
Adversity can come as a great storm to blow us off course and threaten to cast us against the rocks. But sometimes we are also in danger when everything appears to be safe—the winds soft and the waters smooth. In fact, we can be in the greatest danger when we are drifting and movement is so slight that we scarcely notice it.
The Gospel Is Our Anchor
Anchors must be solid, strong, and well maintained to be ready when needed. In addition, they must be attached to a foundation capable of bearing the weight of opposing forces.
Of course, the gospel of Jesus Christ is such an anchor. It was prepared by the Creator of the universe for a divine purpose and designed to provide safety and guidance to His children.
What is the gospel, after all, besides God’s plan to redeem His children and bring them back into His presence?
Knowing that it is in the nature of all things to drift, we must firmly set our anchors on the bedrock of gospel truth. They must not be lightly lowered onto the sands of pride or barely touching the surface of our convictions.
This month we have an opportunity to hear from God’s servants in a general conference of the Church. Their words, joined with the scriptures and the promptings of the Spirit, provide a secure and steady bedrock foundation of eternal values and principles to which we can attach our anchors so we can remain steadfast and secure amid the struggles and trials of life.
The ancient prophet Helaman taught, “It is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).
The Value of Firmly Set Anchors
Life has a way of testing our anchors and tempting us to drift. Nevertheless, if our anchors are correctly placed in the rock of our Redeemer, they will hold—no matter the force of the wind, the strength of the tide, or the height of the waves.
Of course, a ship is not designed to remain stationary in a harbor but rather to raise anchor and sail the seas of life. But that is a parable for another time.
For now, I take comfort in knowing that the anchor of the gospel and the rock of our Redeemer will keep us steady and secure.
Such an anchor will keep us from drifting into danger and misfortune. It will allow us the glorious opportunity to enjoy the incomparable beauties of the ever-changing and sublime scenery of life.
Life is beautiful and worth living. Wind, storm, and prevailing currents may tempt us to drift into dangers seen or unseen, but the gospel message and its divine power will keep us on our path back to the safe harbor of our Heavenly Father.
Let us, therefore, not only listen to the talks of the April general conference but also apply their messages as a firmly set anchor to our daily lives.
May God bless and guide us in this significant and essential endeavor!
Teaching from This Message
Consider discussing the importance of anchors in the context of Lehi’s family sailing to the promised land (see 1 Nephi 18). You might point out 1 Nephi 18:11–15, a time when Nephi is bound, the Liahona ceases to work, and the ship is driven by violent storms. What consequences do we face when we are not securely anchored in the gospel? You might also point out 1 Nephi 18:21–22 and discuss how we can find safety by turning to the Savior.
Conference and Me
The author lives in Toronto, Canada.
I used to think general conference weekend was long and boring, but as time has passed, I have come to love and look forward to it. General conference weekend can be spiritually recharging, but it is easy to let these feelings fade when normal life continues on Monday. Some of the following ideas have helped me continue to get as much from conference as possible.
I prepare myself for conference by writing down questions, and then I make notes as my questions are answered. Afterward, I like to download the conference addresses and music from LDS.org and put them on an MP3 player so I can listen to a talk or hymn as I go about my daily routine. I also love to study the conference issue of the Liahona. I highlight and make notes in the margins of my personal copy. By the time the next conference rolls around, my magazine is well used. My family sometimes studies the messages together in family home evening.
Keeping the spirit we felt during conference with us and continuing to learn from the messages requires work, but doing this has been a great blessing for me. I have received so much strength and guidance in times of need by studying the messages from general conference, and I know that these messages are inspired.
Set Your Anchor
What will keep you anchored to the gospel? Draw a line from the rope in the boy’s hand to the items that President Uchtdorf said are safe places to set your anchor.