Saturday, February 2, 2019

President Dallin H. Oaks on the greatest miracle

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.
"I have spoken about miracles. I have given illustrations of miracles in the Church as a whole and in many different circumstances involving a few individuals or a crisis of weather or war. But the greatest miracle is not in such things as restoring sight to the blind, healing an illness, or even raising the dead, since all of these restorations will happen, in any event, in the Resurrection.
"Changing bodies or protecting temples are miracles, but an even greater miracle is a mighty change of heart by a son or daughter of God (see Mosiah 5:2). A change of heart, including new attitudes, priorities, and desires, is greater and more important than any miracle involving the body. I repeat, the body will be resurrected in any event, but a change affecting what the scripture calls the 'heart' of a spirit son or daughter of God is a change whose effect is eternal. If of the right kind, this change opens the door to the process of repentance that cleanses us to dwell in the presence of God. It introduces the perspective and priorities that lead us to make the choices that qualify us for eternal life, 'the greatest of all the gifts of God' (D&C 14:7).
"My dear brothers and sisters, I pray that each one of us may experience and persist in that miracle of the mighty change of heart, that we may realize the destiny God has prescribed for all of His children and the purpose of this Church to bring to pass the eternal lives of men and women."
- Dallin H. Oaks, "Miracles," CES fireside in Calgary, Canada, May 7, 2000; printed in Ensign, June 2001, pp. 6-17
Click here to read the full talk

We often view "physical" miracles as most dramatic and impressive. Healing of a sick person, raising the dead, profound inspiration or discernment—these present such dramatic and obvious expressions of God's power. But President Oaks points out that there is something far more impressive and powerful: the "mighty change of heart" that takes place in the life of a true disciple.

A changed heart is so significant because that event or process "opens the door to the process of repentance that cleanses us to dwell in the presence of God." The change is just the beginning; the process that follows is what truly matters, because we can grow and evolve in the way that will open the door of eternal life.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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