Thursday, March 21, 2019

Elder Neil L. Andersen on recognizing our divine potential

Elder Neil L. Andersen (born August 9, 1951) served as a Seventy beginning in 1993, and was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2009.

The following report of a talk he gave to a group of Seminary students includes direct quotes and summaries; a full transcript is not available.
"You are a child of God with eternal possibilities available to you, and one of the greatest things you can do with your life is to accept who you are, where you came from, and where you are going," he said. "Now, with a monarch butterfly it is very innate. We as sons and daughters of God feel this is true, but we must confirm it and believe it."
Sharing a story of his young grandson singing the Primary song "I Am a Child of God," Elder Andersen said that youth today need to believe those sacred words.
"Come to believe it," he said. "Sometimes when you feel like you are a caterpillar and say to yourself: 'I’m not smart, I’m not very coordinated, I’m different, I don’t have this, I don’t have that'—keep in mind who you are. We don’t all have to be the same. We come in different sizes, different shapes, different colors. Some have some talents, some have others; we don’t have to be exactly like someone else." ...
Individuals must look on their potential and think, "One day I will fly," Elder Andersen taught.
- Neil L. Andersen, "Lessons Learned from a Butterfly," address to seminary students in Bountiful, Utah 1/6/2012
Click here to read a report of the address

According to this report published in the Church News, Elder Andersen was speaking to a group of Seminary students in Bountiful, Utah. Using imagery of caterpillars and butterflies, he shard "four spiritual lessons individuals can learn from the monarch butterfly." These included:

  1. You are a child of God with eternal possibilities available to you.
  2. To become who God would have you become, you will need the gifts of the Savior and your own correct choices.
  3. Your spiritual senses are refined and delicate and are protected by honesty and obedience.
  4. As you see beyond yourself, you begin to see who the Lord would have you become.

There are good insights in Elder Andersen's comments, worth reviewing and pondering.

When we struggle, when we know we have many shortcomings and much to learn and experience, Elder Andersen counsels us to remember: "One day I will fly," Profound advice!

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

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