Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Elder Mark E. Petersen on living the gospel with enthusiasm

Elder Mark E. Petersen (1900-1984) served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve from 1944 until his death in 1984.
"Do you see why the Lord said we should be in the world but not of the world? How do we know he expects enthusiasm from us? Did he not say that we were to love him with all our heart, might, mind, and soul? Is that not enthusiasm? And when he talked about love of God, he talked in terms of service to God: 'O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day' (D&C 4:2).
"He expects us to put our priorities in order, too. What is to come first in our lives? Pleasure? Even work here at this university? You remember what the Savior said in the Sermon on the Mount. He was talking about shelter and food and raiment, what I call the bread-and-butter blessings, but he did not put them first. He said, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you' (Matt. 6:33).
"Do we have the faith and the courage to be Latter-day Saints first, last, and always, and to put the gospel of Jesus Christ first in our lives, knowing that if we do God will bless us and prosper us in all of our righteous activities? He gives many illustrations, but I mention only one. What did Malachi say would happen if we pay our tithes and offerings? The windows of heaven would be opened to such an extent that we could hardly receive the blessings (see Mal. 3:8-10). Do we believe Almighty God? Do we really accept Jesus as the Christ? He said, 'If ye love me, keep my commandments.... He that hath my commandments and keepth them, he it is that loveth me' (John 14:15, 21).
"I pray earnestly that we will love him and serve him and honor him by our righteous lives."
- Mark E. Petersen, "The Covenant People of God," BYU Fireside, September 28, 1980
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

I was a student at BYU when Elder Petersen gave this address. I remember the first part of the talk, when he described the meetings and setting for the weekly gatherings of the Quorum of Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple. That was impressive to me. But I had forgotten these later words, where he offers great counsel about how we should live the gospel in our lives.

The concept of living the gospel with enthusiasm underscores both the joy that we should feel in the process, and the deep commitment we should have to be obedient and to serve others. As we make wise choices in our beliefs and actions, we will feel this spirit:

Elder Petersen asks if we have enough courage and faith "to be Latter-day Saints first, last, and always." There should be no other priority that eclipses this one, in any setting or situation of our lives!

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

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