Saturday, February 17, 2018

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf on finding happiness in the gospel path

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.
"The gospel of Jesus Christ is not an obligation; it is a pathway, marked by our loving Father in Heaven, leading to happiness and peace in this life and glory and inexpressible fulfillment in the life to come. The gospel is a light that penetrates mortality and illuminates the way before us.
"While understanding the 'what' and the 'how' of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the 'why.' When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet.
"Let us not walk the path of discipleship with our eyes on the ground, thinking only of the tasks and obligations before us. Let us not walk unaware of the beauty of the glorious earthly and spiritual landscapes that surround us.
"My dear sisters, seek out the majesty, the beauty, and the exhilarating joy of the 'why' of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"The 'what' and 'how' of obedience mark the way and keep us on the right path. The 'why' of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration."
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Forget Me Not," General Conference, October 2011
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Are we finding true happiness along the gospel pathway? Elder Uchtdorf testifies that we should, if we approach life in the right way. Though there is often darkness along the path, the gospel provides illumination to help us see the good and understand the purposes of our lives. But this is a critical point of allowing that to happen: it requires that we understand not just the things the gospel suggests we do, but the reasons for them:

As we understand this process, living the gospel life can indeed become "a joy and a delight" and "precious and sweet" to us.

Sometimes, however, we are so consumed in our challenges and frustrations that we see only the short-term difficulties, with our eyes symbolically fixed on the immediate path when there are glorious vistas all around. Elder Uchtdorf warns us of that danger, encouraging us to lift our eyes upward so that we can see the true beauty of life.

Elder Uchtdorf offered this beautiful concluding thought about the power of a proper gospel understanding to transform our lives:

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

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