Tuesday, February 13, 2018

President Dallin H. Oaks on how the gospel transforms our lives

President Dallin H. Oaks (born 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. He became President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and also 1st Counselor in the First Presidency in January 2018.
"The gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to change. 'Repent' is its most frequent message, and repenting means giving up all of our practices—personal, family, ethnic, and national—that are contrary to the commandments of God. The purpose of the gospel is to transform common creatures into celestial citizens, and that requires change....
"The traditions or culture or way of life of a people inevitably include some practices that must be changed by those who wish to qualify for God’s choicest blessings....
"There is a unique gospel culture, a set of values and expectations and practices common to all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This gospel way of life comes from the plan of salvation, the commandments of God, and the teachings of the living prophets. It is given expression in the way we raise our families and live our individual lives. The principles stated in the family proclamation are a beautiful expression of our gospel culture."
- Dallin H. Oaks, "Repentance and Change," General Conference, October 2003
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

There is no growth without change, and in the spiritual sense, that means repentance. We grow as we learn to accept and follow the commandments of God. As we discover areas where our practices are contrary to the commandments, the call to us is to follow Him and allow Him to bless us:

I love that statement, "The purpose of the gospel is to transform common creatures into celestial citizens." Transformation is sometimes painful, but it is certainly worthwhile as we progress toward an idea.

President Oaks discusses the difference between cultural and doctrinal aspects of change in his message. Sometimes both are necessary; as we come to understand the benefits of the "gospel culture" that is taught to us, we will be eager to adopt it and will be blessed as we do.

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

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