Friday, March 9, 2018

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf on staying on course in life

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf (born November 6, 1940) served as a Seventy from 1994-2004, when he was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve.  He served as second counselor in the First Presidency from 2008 to 2018.
"Our willingness to repent shows our gratitude for God’s gift and for the Savior’s love and sacrifice on our behalf. Commandments and priesthood covenants provide a test of faith, obedience, and love for God and Jesus Christ, but even more importantly, they offer an opportunity to experience love from God and to receive a full measure of joy both in this life and in the life to come.
"These commandments and covenants of God are like navigational instructions from celestial heights and will lead us safely to our eternal destination. It is one of beauty and glory beyond understanding. It is worth the effort. It is worth making decisive corrections now and then staying on course.
"Remember: the heavens will not be filled with those who never made mistakes but with those who recognized that they were off course and who corrected their ways to get back in the light of gospel truth.
"The more we treasure the words of the prophets and apply them, the better we will recognize when we are drifting off course—even if only by a matter of a few degrees."
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "A Matter of a Few Degrees," General Conference, April 2008
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

This talk, delivered shortly after Elder Uchtdorf was called to serve as a member of the First Presidency, was one of his classic "airplane analogies." He talked about how a very slight error in navigation, only two degrees, had once caused a tragic airplane crash; and applied that to our life situations—when we start with a mistake or a wrong choice, even a very small one, over time the impact can be compounded into tragic results.

President Uchtdorf described the commandments of God, and the covenants we make, as tests of our faith in, and love for, God; but the powerful truth he emphasizes is that obedience and faithfulness open the way for us to experience love from God in deep and profound ways.

After testifying of the importance and value of our choices and commitments, he offered this helpful insight:

We all occasionally make those "navigational errors" in our life. But the key is to correct them quickly and get back on course. And the way to do that, according to President Uchtdorf, is to keep our attention fixed on the words of modern-day prophets so that we can recognize when we begin to drift away from the planned course that will lead to joy and safety.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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