Monday, October 15, 2018

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf on overcoming the sadness and misery of the world

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.
"There is a word in German, Weltschmerz. Loosely defined, it means a sadness that comes from brooding about how the world is inferior to how we think it ought to be.
"Perhaps there is a little Weltschmerz in all of us.
"When silent sorrows creep into the corners of our lives. When sadness saturates our days and casts deep shadows over our nights. When tragedy and injustice enter the world around us, including in the lives of those we love. When we journey through our own personal and lonely path of misfortune, and pain darkens our stillness and breaches our tranquility—we might be tempted to agree with Solomon that life is vain and devoid of meaning.
"The good news is, there is hope. There is a solution to the emptiness, vanity, and Weltschmerz of life. There is a solution to even the deepest hopelessness and discouragement you might feel.
"This hope is found in the transformative power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the Savior’s redemptive power to heal us of our soul-sickness.
"'I am come,' Jesus declared, 'that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.' (John 10:10.)
"We achieve that abundant life not by focusing on our own needs or on our own achievements but by becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ—by following in His ways and engaging in His work. We find the abundant life by forgetting ourselves and engaging in the great cause of Christ.
"And what is the cause of Christ? It is to believe in Him, love as He loved, and do as He did."
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Believe, Love, Do," General Conference October 2018
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Elder Uchtdorf is the Great Optimist; his messages always present visions of hope and encouragement in spite of the challenges and troubles we frequently confront in mortality. His introduction of the German word Weltschmerz in this message helps to present the contrast between the gloomy, discouraged view of the world, and the hopeful view offered to the faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.

Another apt and descriptive word Elder Uchtdorf uses to describe the challenges we face is soul-sickness. When we become too much influenced with the world's negativity, our soul can feel the burden of misery and we can be weighed down by the grief it brings.

But how blessed we are to know of "the transformative power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and ... the Savior’s redemptive power to heal us." Truly, we will find the "abundant life" through following the gospel plan for happiness and becoming "true disciples of Jesus Christ."

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

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