Monday, May 13, 2019

Elder Ulisses Soares on learning and teaching the gospel

Elder Ulisses Soares (born October 2, 1958 in Brazil) has served as a Seventy since April 2005, and as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy since January 2013. He was sustained to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles on April 1, 2018.
"As recorded in the book of Acts, Philip the evangelist taught the gospel to a certain Ethiopian who was a eunuch in charge of all the treasures belonging to the queen of Ethiopia. (See Acts 8:27.) While returning from worshipping in Jerusalem, he read the book of Isaiah. Compelled by the Spirit, Philip came closer to him and said, 'Understandest thou what thou readest?
"'And [the eunuch] said, How can I, except some man should guide me? …
"'Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.' (Acts 8:30–31, 35.)
"The question asked by this Ethiopian man is a reminder of the divine mandate we all have to seek to learn and to teach one another the gospel of Jesus Christ. (D&C 88:77–78, 118; 130:18–19; 131:6.) In fact, in the context of learning and teaching the gospel, we are sometimes like the Ethiopian—we need the help of a faithful and inspired teacher; and we are sometimes like Philip—we need to teach and strengthen others in their conversion.
"Our purpose as we seek to learn and to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ must be to increase faith in God and in His divine plan of happiness and in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice and to achieve lasting conversion. Such increased faith and conversion will help us make and keep covenants with God, thus strengthening our desire to follow Jesus and producing a genuine spiritual transformation in us—in other words, transforming us into a new creature, as taught by the Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17.) This transformation will bring us a more happy, productive, and healthy life and help us to maintain an eternal perspective. Isn’t this exactly what happened to the Ethiopian eunuch after he learned about the Savior and was converted to His gospel? The scripture says that 'he went on his way rejoicing.' (Acts 8:39.)"
- Ulisses Soares, "How Can I Understand?," General Conference April 2019
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Elder Soares speaks of a two-fold "divine mandate" given to each of us: "to seek to learn and to teach one another the gospel of Jesus Christ." Learning must precede teaching, and so our quest should be continually to study, ponder, ad build on our understanding and testimony. Truly in this quest "we need the help of a faithful and inspired teacher." We should seek them out and be eager for their influence. Then, we are preparing to accept our opportunities to pass on what we have learned.

Our quest for divine knowledge brings many benefits: lasting personal conversion, increased faith, growing resolve to follow Jesus, spiritual transformation. And ultimately, the changes we experience "will bring us a more happy, productive, and healthy life."

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

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