Monday, April 12, 2021

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on the great needs of our time

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.
"Brothers and sisters, we do see too much conflict, anger, and general incivility around us. Fortunately, the current generation has not had a Third World War to fight, nor have we experienced a global economic crash like the one in 1929 leading to a Great Depression. We are, however, facing a kind of Third World War that is not a fight to crush our enemies but a conscription marshaling the children of God to care more about each other and to help heal the wounds we find in a conflicted world. The Great Depression we now face has less to do with the external loss of our savings and more to do with the internal loss of our self-confidence, with real deficits of faith and hope and charity all around us. But the instruments we need to create a brighter day and grow an economy of genuine goodness in society are abundantly provided for in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot afford—and this world cannot afford—our failure to put these gospel concepts and fortifying covenants to full use personally and publicly.

"So, in a world 'tossed with tempest, and not comforted,' as Jehovah said it would be, how do we find what He called 'the covenant of … peace'? We find it by turning to Him who said He would have mercy on us and 'with everlasting kindness' would grant peace to our children. In spite of frightful prophecies and unsettling scriptures declaring that peace will be taken from the earth generally, the prophets, including our own beloved Russell M. Nelson, have taught that it does not have to be taken from us individually!"

- Jeffrey R. Holland, "Not as the World Giveth," General Conference April 2021, Saturday afternoon

Elder Holland's talk was among those in this conference that reflected deeply on the challenges of our times. But it's not just social turmoil and viral outbreaks that present concerns. It's the moral decay and spiritual challenges of our time that are also deeply concerning. The "search for peace" has perhaps never been more difficult, but never more important to our safety and progress.

The "gospel concepts and fortifying covenants" Elder Holland describes are the key to our search. Through them we can find the otherwise elusive confidence and peace. As we "apply the healing balm of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ" in our lives and families, we will find that peace.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2020)

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