This week I really though I'd have to postpone my blog entry. Not so! I'm here ready to discuss another talk by an apostle. This week we'll be with Elder Dallin H. Oaks - who has been a member of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles since May 1984. The title of his latest conference address is "Followers of Christ".
This talk is full of examples, facts, and anecdotes that show the deep commitment Mormons have to follow Jesus Christ. It both shows non-members that we are Christians indeed and reminds us all - as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - what we should be do, think, and believe to qualify for the title of Christians (literally "followers of Christ").
Elder Oaks is well aware that we are not perfect, and one of his first admonishments is for those of us who've stumbled in their efforts to follow Christ:
As taught by President Monson, obedience is key. You will find Elder Oaks' teaching about obedience pretty useful as well.
Elder Oaks goes on to point out how we, as Christians, pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ; are committed to strengthen and uphold the role of family in today's society; always strive to help our neighbor and rescue who's in need; forgive each other.
This is a very touching experience related by Elder Oaks about Christlike forgiveness, which is one of the core values of the LDS faith:
"Chris Williams drew upon his faith in Jesus Christ to forgive the drunken driver who caused the death of his wife and two of their children. Only two days after the tragedy and still deeply distraught, this forgiving man, then serving as one of our bishops, said, 'As a disciple of Christ, I had no other choice.'"
Many people are not aware of the outstanding efforts made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the humanitarian field. Some numbers given by Elder Oaks leave no room for doubts:
- $13 million given in cash and relief supplies after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011+31,000 Church-sponsored volunteers who gave more than 600,000 hours of service;
- 300,000 hours of service in cleanup efforts by about 28,000 Church members following the hurricane Sandy that hit the eastern United States;
- 300,000 pounds (136,000 kg) of clothing and shoes for the refugees in the African nation of Chad only in the last year;
- 30 million people of all faiths and races assisted in 179 countries during the last 25 years.
The missionary effort of the LDS Church is well known and it's inspired by one of the last teaching the Savior left with His original apostles: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). At the time when this talk was given (April 2013) the missionary force of the church consisted of 60,000+ missionaries. Today there are more than 75,000!
The last point Elder Oaks touches on in this talk is the LDS belief and practice of becoming more like Jesus Christ everyday:
"From modern revelation, unique to the restored gospel, we know that the commandment to seek perfection is part of God the Father’s plan for the salvation of His children. Under that plan we are all of our heavenly parents. “We are the children of God,” the Apostle Paul taught, “and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16–17). This means, as we are told in the New Testament, that we are “heirs … of eternal life” (Titus 3:7) and that if we come to the Father, we are to “inherit all things” (Revelation 21:7)—all that He has—a concept our mortal minds can hardly grasp. But at least we can understand that achieving this ultimate destiny in eternity is possible only if we follow our Savior, Jesus Christ, who taught that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). We seek to follow Him and become more like Him, here and hereafter."
Much doctrine and much encouragement can be found in this talk.
We invite all men to come unto Christ and we ourselves strive to do that on a daily basis.
I hope you enjoyed this week's entry! I'm always eager to have your feedback :)
Singe the October 2013 General Conference is coming up, here's a page where you can find useful tools to share this wonderful, unique event with your online friends and family members!
Bye for now :)