Saturday, November 4, 2017

Elder Neil L. Andersen on the challenges and opportunities of our time

Elder Neil L. Andersen (born August 9, 1951) served as a Seventy beginning in 1993, and was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2009.
"Every person who has ever been born into mortality and is able to live his or her life into adulthood will experience both happiness and sadness; peace and challenges; good and evil. Whatever the generation, life has its highs and lows....
"Advances in science, medicine, manufacturing, transportation, and communication will continue throughout your lifetime. There will be variety in entertainment and innovation never imagined. These are your days, and it’s a beautiful time to be alive.
"However, in this time of prosperity and advancement, there are also real challenges. You live in a world that is sometimes divisive and contentious. Information is everywhere, and with it, a host of enticing voices attempts to pull you one way and then another. There is confusion and commotion, with many moving away from God and His commandments and away from the Savior....
"Your days are a time of sifting in the Church. It will be very important for your eternal welfare that, as the Apostle Paul said, you are grounded, rooted, established, and settled in spiritual things.
"There are great privileges, possibilities, and opportunities in this wonderful time of life."
- Neil L. Andersen, "Complete Honesty, Unselfish Humility," BYU-Idaho devotional, February 14, 2017
Click here to read the full talk

When the brethren address the youth of the Church, they give counsel that almost always applies to readers of all ages. This is certainly true for this address. Many of us who have been around a little longer can witness to the truthfulness of Elder Andersen's description of the experience of mortality. It will have sadness, challenges, and disappointments; but it will also have much happiness, peace, and joy. Keeping that long-range perspective is so important.

Elder Andersen shares the perspective of opportunity and adventure of our time. The advances in so many fields of science and technology will change aspects of our lives, in ways that are wonderful and also challenging. It becomes more and more crucial that we not allow the "confusion and commotion" that will result from this time, to draw us away from the foundation of truth and light.

That association of descriptive adjectives—"grounded, rooted, established, and settled"—was originally described by Elder Neal A. Maxwell in a 1981 BYU devotional, based on several admonitions of the Apostle Paul. I love its imagery of firmness and stability. In the midst of the "great privileges, possibilities, and opportunities in this wonderful time of life" we must not neglect the kind of firm and solid faith that we are being encouraged to develop by our leaders.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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