Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ronald A. Rasband on the responsibility to assist one another in life's challenges

Elder Ronald A. Rasband (b. 1951) served as a Seventy beginning in 2000.  He was the senior president of the Seventy when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2015.
"Many of you have in your youth recreated that trek experience out on a trail just to feel a small measure of what they felt as they followed the Lord's call to come to Zion. I doubt yours was in snow up to your knees and yet that push and pull up the hill was still a staggering feat. How did you make it? How did they make it? 'By travelling over the hill three times—twice forward and once back.' (John Chislett) The experience was truly an example of the second great commandment, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' (Mark 12:31)
"Think about it. You have careers, families and adventures ahead of you, however, no one of them can be counted a success if you do not see that your fellow travelers get to the top of the hill.
"That is a different perspective than the world would espouse. In our Father's kingdom—here on earth—we operate by different rules. The Lord laid out His expectations for us during His ministry. Remember the account of the man who asked the Savior, 'what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?' (Matthew 19:16) The Lord listed commandments to him ending with 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' (Mark 12:31) And the young man said, 'All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?' (Matthew 19:20)
"'Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
"'But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions' (Matthew 19:21-22)."
- Ronald A. Rasband, "To the Summit," commencement address at BYU-Idaho, 4/8/16
Click here to read the full talk

In this address to graduates at BYU-Idaho, Elder Rasband uses powerful examples from the pioneers to remind us of a key concept of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There were no solo treks across the plains, no pioneer companies of one person—they depended on each other to get through the challenging times. In John Chislett's memorable phrasing, we travel the hill three times; once as we climb ourselves, a second time as we return down to help another, and then a third as we climb again, sharing burdens of others.

Likewise, the Gospel message is that we only succeed when we "see that your fellow travelers get to the top of the hill." The essence of the Savior's message (and of the covenants we make) is that we "bear one another's burdens" as we move up the hills and through the challenges of life.

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