Friday, March 17, 2017

President Howard W. Hunter on being a true and living member

President Howard W. Hunter (1907-1995) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1959.  He served as Church President for only nine months, from June 5, 1994 to his death on March 3, 1995.
"On November 1, 1831, at a conference of the Church in Hiram, Ohio, the Lord revealed in the preface to the Doctrine and Covenants that this is the 'only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.' Then he added, 'with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually' (D&C 1:30). This should raise a question in our minds of eternal significance: We know that this is the true and living church institutionally, but am I a true and living member individually?
"This question may appear as a play on the words of the Lord when he said this is the true and living church. When I ask, 'Am I a true and living member?' my question is, am I deeply and fully dedicated to keeping the covenants I have made with the Lord? Am I totally committed to live the gospel and be a doer of the word and not a hearer only? Do I live my religion? Will I remain true? Do I stand firm against Satan's temptations? He is seeking to cause us to lose our way in a storm of derision and a tide of sophistry. We can have victory, however, by responding to that inner voice calling 'stand firm!'
"To answer affirmatively the question, 'Am I a living member?' confirms our commitment. It means that we now and always will love God and our neighbors as ourselves. It means our actions will reflect who we are and what we believe. It means that we are every day Christians, walking as Christ would have us walk."
- Howard W. Hunter, "Am I a 'Living' Member?", Ensign, May 1987, p. 16
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

I remember smiling at President Hunter's application of the Lord's description when he offered this talk. If there is a "true and living Church"—is it made up of "true and living members"? If so, what would that imply in our lives and actions? President Hunter offered some suggestions for us to consider in our individual lives:

I think both of those adjectives are very significant: "true," meaning faithful, consistent, firm, fixed; and "living," meaning vibrant, growing, alive.

The concept is summarized President Hunter's phrase "every day Christian"—we strive each day to live the life of a disciple, to walk as Christ would have us walk. That's a beautiful and inspiring challenge.

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