Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Elder Dale G. Renlund on the blessings of choosing to obey

Elder Dale G. Renlund (born November 13, 1952) served in the First Quorum of Seventy starting in 2009, until his call to the Quorum of Twelve in October 2015.
"God’s plan includes directions for us, referred to in the scriptures as commandments. These commandments are neither a whimsical set nor an arbitrary collection of imposed rules meant only to train us to be obedient. They are linked to our developing the attributes of godliness, returning to our Heavenly Father, and receiving enduring joy. Obedience to His commandments is not blind; we knowingly choose God and His pathway home. The pattern for us is the same as it was for Adam and Eve, wherein 'God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption' (Alma 12:32). Though God wants us to be on the covenant path, He gives us the dignity of choosing.
"Indeed, God desires, expects, and directs that each of His children choose for himself or herself. He will not force us. Through the gift of agency, God permits His children 'to act for themselves and not to be acted upon' (2 Nephi 2:26; see also 2 Nephi 2:16). Agency allows us to choose to get on the path, or not. It allows us to get off, or not. Just as we cannot be forced to obey, we cannot be forced to disobey. No one can, without our cooperation, take us off the path."
- Dale G. Renlund, "Choose You This Day," General Conference October 2018
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Elder Renlund addressed a question that many have asked: why does God give us commandments? They are not "whimsical" or "arbitrary"—not randomly imposed to "train us to be obedient." Our loving, caring Father in Heaven has a purpose for our mortal experience, and that purpose is to help us develop "the attributes of godliness" that will bring us ultimate joy:

Furthermore, God does not ask "blind obedience" but wants us to willingly choose the "covenant path" of happiness. We have the agency to choose to follow that path; and we have the agency to choose to stop following the path. But true joy can only be found in one way.

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

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