Thursday, October 7, 2021

President Dallin H. Oaks on the blessings of church service

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.
"In a church we don’t just serve alone or by our own choice or at our convenience. We usually serve in a team. In service we find heaven-sent opportunities to rise above the individualism of our age. Church-directed service helps us overcome the personal selfishness that can retard our spiritual growth.

"There are other important advantages to mention, even briefly. In church we associate with wonderful people striving to serve God. This reminds us that we are not alone in our religious activities. We all need associations with others, and church associations are some of the best we can experience, for us and our companions and children. Without those associations, especially between children and faithful parents, research shows increasing difficulty for parents to raise children in their faith....

"Our members’ religious faith and Church service have taught them how to work in cooperative efforts to benefit the larger community. That kind of experience and development does not happen in the individualism so prevalent in the practices of our current society. In the geographic organization of our local wards, we associate and work with persons we might not otherwise have chosen, persons who teach us and test us.

"In addition to helping us learn spiritual qualities like love, compassion, forgiveness, and patience, this gives us the opportunities to learn how to work with persons of very different backgrounds and preferences. This advantage has helped many of our members, and many organizations are blessed by their participation."

- Dallin H. Oaks, "The Need for a Church," General Conference October 2021, Saturday morning
Click here to read or watch the complete talk

President Oaks spoke about the importance and benefits of church participation in our lives. He discussed a number of advantages, including the opportunities to serve that an organization provides.
Our service opportunities are often assigned to us (in callings), but can also be voluntary as a part of the organization. In either case, we learn many lessons from the act of service. One of the most important is to overcome the self-focused attitude so prevalent in our time, and become more aware of the needs and challenges of others all around us.


The chance to "learn spiritual qualities like love, compassion, forgiveness, and patience" is a powerful blessing, along with the associations with others in our neighborhoods and communities. All of those things are blessings of service, but the real motivation should always be Christ-like love for our brothers and sisters.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)

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