Saturday, September 5, 2015

Richard L. Evans on clinging to eternal truths

Elder Richard L. Evans (1906-1971) served as a Seventy from 1938-1953, when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.  He died in 1971 at age 65.  He was known as "the voice of the Tabernacle Choir" from the beginning of its broadcasts in 1929 until his passing.
"I would say today to those who are in the classroom, to farmers in the field, to the laborers in factories, to men pursuing professions, to young men in military service, to all of us in life, whatever the discouragements, whatever the seeming areas of conflict and confusion, whatever the infinite area of things we don't understand, cling to these eternal verities always: that God lives, that men were made in his image, that life is purposeful, that men are immortal. Cling to the commandments and give observance to them and to the knowledge that it is our Father's plan and purpose to bring immortality and eternal life to man (Moses 1:39). If we will cling to these eternal verities in simplicity and truth and keep our lives well balanced in all our pursuits, we shall reach a glorious end....
"Now as to this discouragement and confusion: I think the enemy of men's souls wouldn't care too much what means he used to render our lives ineffective, just so long as he did render them ineffective. I don't think he would care too much whether it was by indolence or indifference or by withholding willing work, or by doubt, or by discouragement, or by uncertainty—so long as he could render us ineffective, it would please him. And it must be our purpose to see that we pursue our purposes regardless of the things we don't know which we hope sometime to know. It must be our purpose to pursue with all earnestness every righteous purpose.
"No matter how much we may be discouraged or how often we are set back, we must begin again and again, if necessary, and earnestly pursue the purposes of life, full of faith for the future. Enduring to the end is exceedingly important. Pursuing the opportunities and the duties of every day is exceedingly important, and repenting while there is still time to repent is also exceedingly important."
- Richard L. Evans, "With Faith for the Future," Conference Report, October 1950, pp. 138-142
Click here to read the full talk

It was 65 years ago when Elder Evans noted the complexities of life, the challenges and discouragements, the confusions, the conflicts. How those problems have intensified since then, both in society and in our individual lives! But he reminds us of the perspective of eternity that enables us to survive, if we "cling" to the "eternal verities" that are revealed in the gospel. The real challenge is to keep those things alive in our minds and hearts. The word "cling" is very descriptive.

The second point he makes is to explain how "the enemy of men's souls" makes every effort to "render our lives ineffective" through a variety of methods. We must be aware and vigilant, even in the midst of "things we don't know which we hope sometime to know."

And this final encouragement is inspiring:

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