Saturday, March 16, 2019

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on having courageous hearts in challenging days

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (born December 3, 1940) served as Church Commissioner of Education from 1976-1980, as the president of BYU from 1980-1989, as a Seventy from 1989-1994, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1994.
"Prophecies regarding the last days often refer to large-scale calamities such as earthquakes or famines or floods. These in turn may be linked to widespread economic or political upheavals of one kind or another.
"But there is one kind of latter-day destruction that has always sounded to me more personal than public, more individual than collective—a warning, perhaps more applicable inside the Church than outside it. The Savior warned that in the last days even those of the covenant, the very elect, could be deceived by the enemy of truth. (See Matthew 24:24.) If we think of this as a form of spiritual destruction, it may cast light on another latter-day prophecy. Think of the heart as the figurative center of our faith, the poetic location of our loyalties and our values; then consider Jesus’s declaration that in the last days 'men’s hearts [shall fail] them' (Luke 21:26).
"The encouraging thing, of course, is that our Father in Heaven knows all of these latter-day dangers, these troubles of the heart and soul, and has given counsel and protections regarding them.
"In light of that, it has always been significant to me that the Book of Mormon, one of the Lord’s powerful keystones in this counteroffensive against latter-day ills, begins with a great parable of life, an extended allegory of hope versus fear, of light versus darkness, of salvation versus destruction....
"Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all troubles in all times—including the end of times. That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair. That is the message with which the Book of Mormon begins, and that is the message with which it ends, calling all to 'come unto Christ, and be perfected in him' (Moroni 10:32) ...
"Brothers and sisters, God always provides safety for the soul, and with the Book of Mormon, He has again done that in our time. Remember this declaration by Jesus Himself: 'Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived' (JS—Matthew 1:37)—and in the last days neither your heart nor your faith will fail you."
- Jeffrey R. Holland, "Safety for the Soul," General Conference October 2009
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The Savior's warning about "Men’s hearts failing them for fear" in the last days has always impressed me; there will be trying times, even for "the very elect"—perhaps especially for them. But Elder Holland points out that the Lord offers light and hope in the midst of the darkness and fear that otherwise might consume us.

"Love. Healing. Help. Hope." There is certainly a "safe harbor" available to each of us, as we turn to Him. In the rest of this encouraging and hopeful talk, Elder Holland testifies of the power of the Book of Mormon to help us find those sources of faith and light.

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

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