Monday, July 18, 2016

Dallin H. Oaks on the burdens carried by modern-day pioneers

Elder Dallin H. Oaks (b. August 12, 1932) served as president of BYU from 1971-1980.  He was then appointed as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and resigned when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984.
"Many modern Saints do their pioneering on the frontiers of their own attitudes and emotions. The proverb says, 'He that ruleth his spirit [is better] than he that taketh a city.' (Prov. 16:32.) Modern Saints know that one who subdues his own spirit is just as much a pioneer as one who conquers a continent.
"The path of modern pioneers is not easy. Burdens carried in the heart can be just as heavy as those pulled in a handcart. And just as some early pioneers struggled for the benefit of others, so some modern pioneers carry burdens imposed by the transgressions or thoughtlessness of others....
"In our day, as in the days of earlier pioneers, those in the lead wagons set the direction and signal onward, but it is the faithful men and women in the wagons which follow that provide the momentum and motive power for this great work.
"As modern pioneers press forward, they suffer hardships and make sacrifices. But they are sustained by an assurance given by the Lord Himself. These words, first spoken to the struggling Saints in Ohio, apply also to the faithful of our day:
"'Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;
"'Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.
"'Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name's glory, saith the Lord.' (D&C 98:1-3.)"
- Dallin H. Oaks, "Modern Pioneers," Ensign, November 1989, pp. 64-67
Click here to read the full talk

As we talk about the pioneers of early Church history, we often hear that each of us today are pioneers in our own way. Elder Oaks explains in this article some of the ways that pioneering spirit can be expressed. This paragraph was insightful to me:

"Subduing" our own attitudes and emotions can be a great challenge at times. As Elder Oaks explains, we sometimes complicate that struggle with added burdens in our hearts and souls. The gospel plan helps us learn to lessen those extra, unnecessary burdens.

The promise of D&C 98 quoted by Elder Oaks I think is one of the most beautiful in the scriptures. The promise is given to us by God "with an immutable covenant" that we'll be blessed through our afflictions; and that God's glory will be magnified in the process.

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