Friday, December 14, 2018

Elder D. Todd Christofferson on having a sense of the sacred

Elder D. Todd Christofferson (born January 24, 1945) was called to the Seventy in 1993, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2008.
"The importance of having a sense of the sacred is simply this—if one does not appreciate holy things, he will lose them. Absent a feeling of reverence, he will grow increasingly casual in attitude and lax in conduct. He will drift from the moorings that his covenants with God could provide. His feeling of accountability to God will diminish and then be forgotten. Thereafter, he will care only about his own comfort and satisfying his uncontrolled appetites. Finally, he will come to despise sacred things, even God, and then he will despise himself.
"On the other hand, with a sense of the sacred, one grows in understanding and truth. The Holy Spirit becomes his frequent and then constant companion. More and more he will stand in holy places and be entrusted with holy things. Just the opposite of cynicism and despair, his end is eternal life.
"Paradoxically, much of what I want to convey cannot really be passed from one person to another. It must grow from within. But if I can help you think about some things in a contemplative way, then the Spirit may work in you so that you will not need me or anyone else to tell you what is sacred or how to respond—you will feel it for yourself. It will be part of your nature; indeed, much of it already is."
- D. Todd Christofferson, "A Sense of the Sacred," BYU Devotional, November 7, 2004
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The address by Elder Christofferson was very thought-provoking to me. What are the "sacred things" in my life? How do I think about them, and respond to them? There can be sacred locations, sacred events, sacred actions, sacred thoughts. All of those are a part of the higher portion of living, and we must learn to draw them into our life and not neglect their role and place in our living and progress.

When we start to neglect the things that are most sacred, we start to lose them, and according to Elder Christofferson, will eventually come to despise them. That though be a frightening prospect to us. On the contrary, if we recognize and emphasize the sacred things, we grow and progress in our understanding and in our spiritual life, and are entrusted in greater measure with additional sacred things. That "more abundant life" is truly a joyful gift from God.

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

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